Like most relationships, this friendship between this man and a fish started naturally. Japanese 79-year-old Hiroyuki Arakawa has been exploring deep waters of the sea as a scuba diver for years. Though it might be an isolated activity, Hiroyuki found unexpected company under water and couldn’t be separated from his fish friend ever since. Read all about this heartwarming story about the scuba diver who befriended a fish at sea.
Beneath the surface of Japan’s Tateyama Bay lies a shrine that belongs to the Shinto religion. Hiroyuki Arakawa is its responsible caretaker and he makes sure it is protected and preserved over time.
UNDER THE SEA
During his under-the-sea watch of the shrine, Hiroyuki has become familiar with the flora and fauna of the area. He not only came to know most marine creatures, but also befriended one of them.
One day, as Hiroyuki was near the shrine, he noticed a weirdly-shaped fish that caught his attention: a sheepshead wrasse. The fish seemed lost and had no energy to catch its own food, so Hiroyuki approached it to help.
Native to the Western Pacific Ocean, this species of wrasses inhabit rocky reefs areas from Korea, China, and Japan. Their face looks similar to that of a human, and their total average weight can reach about 15 kg.
FRIENDS WITH YORIKO
Hiroyuki fed Yoriko crabs every day for 10 days until the fish was better. They became really close and developed a friendship no one expected: there’s a viral video that captured their beautiful relationship and the loving way in which Hiroyuki greets the fish with a kiss.
THE GIFT OF FRIENDSHIP
It is easy to catch an animal’s attention by giving them food, but it is a complete different story to be able to interact with them. Hiroyuki developed a sense of trust with Yoriko after he saved her and helped her when she was badly injured.
A recent scientific study discovered that fish can recognize human faces, which probably explains why Yoriko could befriend a diver. When Hiroyuki swims near the shrine, Yoriko spots him and becomes happy to see him.
Oxford University Researcher Cait Newport explained that, in the study, researched showed the fish two pictures of human faces. The fish were trained to choose one by spitting their jets at the correct picture—the results were surprising.
BLACK AND WHITE
To challenge the fish even more, researchers showed them black and white pictures to see if the fish were still able to recognize them. The fish not only were successful at choosing the correct image, but they were also even more accurate than before.
IT’S BEEN 25 YEARS
Twenty five years have passed after that first encounter, and Hiroyuki still visits Yoriko since then. Their friendship grew stronger, teaching us all an important lesson: friendship has no boundaries as long as the love is real.