Some friendships last forever and it seems this one between a Japanese man and a fish is headed that way. Although it seems surreal that a human can have a bond with a fish in the ocean, Hiroyuki Arakawa has developed a bond with the sea creature that is something quite extraordinary. Arakawa had been given the important job of overseeing one of the Shinto region’s shrines called Torii, located beneath the surface of Japan’s Tateyama Bay. Throughout his time protecting everything under the water, he has got to know the marine life well but became the most familiar with one fish.
The fish in question is an Asian sheepshead wrasse named Yoriko and she originally met the 79-year-old man when she was on the brink of death and Arakawa took it upon himself to nurse her back to health. By feeding her five crabs a day, Yoriko slowly made a turn for the better and her recovery was all down to her new friend, Hiroyuki. He said of the incident “I guess she knows that I saved her and that I helped her when she was badly injured. I think anyone can get an animal’s attention by feeding them.”Ever since, Yoriko has remembered what Arakawa did for her and she shows the diver affection and love when he comes down to visit. While the fish is bowing her head, allowing Arakawa to stroke and kiss her head, the other fish in the vicinity seem to hurry away as fast as they can, thinking the friendly Japanese man is a predator.
The fish has gone on to live over two decades more and has the ability to grow up to 3.2 feet, but the life expectancy of this particular breed of fish is not known. Of the relationship between the two, a recent study found that one species of fish was capable of facial recognition. The study stated that “Scientists presented the fish with two images of human faces and trained them to choose one by spitting their jets at that picture, the researchers decided to make things a little harder. They took the pictures and made them black and white and evened out the head shapes. You’d think that would throw the fish for a loop. But no, they were able to pick the familiar face even then – and with more accuracy: 86%!”
This new evidence seems groundbreaking in the development of humans relationships with animals and vouches for Arakawa’s story, making it completely legitimate and his friendship with Yoriko looks to stand strong.