Saturday, September 27, 2008

JJNN Saturday: Pseudoscience - 08

Welcome again to JJNN for Saturday September 27th, 2008. Today we will be talking about a Japanese lake monster.

Almost every culture that lives near water has to deal with some sort of creature that lives within the depths of the water. Weather it be a deep river, a lake or the ocean there are almost always Gods or monsters associated with the body of water at some point in its history. Wether it be the famous Loch Ness monster or Champ who lives in Lake Champlain in New York. Other examples are Whitey, the monster that lives in the White river in Arkansas, or the Kraken that is said to live in the ocean.

Large body of water, even if it is shallow and can't really support large animals, is said to have one of these monsters. The one thing that connects these monsters is that the bodies of water that support the animals are murky. If the water is murky you can't see what is just below the surface so any disturbance on the surface could very well be a monster. Sure, those ripples could be made by a large school of fish that are looking for something to eat (something that happens everywhere in nature) or it could be some sort of undiscovered or forgotten anima: AKA a lake monster (something that is extremely rare).

Like everywhere else in the world lake monsters are not rare in Japan. They have special monsters called Kappa that are said to live in almost every river in Japan (though no one has ever actually filmed or taken a picture of one). Also, in some lakes, there are lake monsters.

In one lake in Kagoshima prefecture called Lake Ikeda there is suppose to be a lake monster. This lake monster is called Isshii. It is suppose to be named after Nessie. Below you can see a picture of Lake Ikeda fronted with a sign that is suppose to show what Isshii looks like.

Well, apparently Isshii was not only named after Nessie, but the statue was also made to look like the statues of Nessie. The basic story of Isshii started in 1961. Apparently someone saw a hump coming out of the water and it was estimated that the length of the creature that had that hump was from 10 to 20 meters (about 32 to 64 feet) long. Later it was said to be sighted in 1978 and 1991.

What could this thing be? Well I doubt it looks anything like that statue, because no one has ever seen its head. The best way to figure out what the creature might be is to look at what animals we know live in the lake. A lot of fish live in the lake, but the best known of these can be seen below.

That is a huge eel. Like it says in the picture it measures to 170cm (about 5 and a half feet) in length. Probably the most likely explanation for Isshii is one of these eels coming to the surface and swimming around looking for food. The way the eel moves can be described as a hump coming out of the water if you can't actually see the eel (black eel on dark colored water). It is basically case closed in my book, but what do you guys think?

Thanks to Isshii the number of people that go to Lake Ikeda has gone up a lot. Thanks to the monster and the way town uses it to draw people in, the town around the lake is booming. I guess pseudoscience can be used for good, but I would rather not see it at all to tell you the truth.

Any way, it is now time for the word of the day. Today's word is 鰻(うなぎ). It is pronounced unagi and means eel. Unagi refers to fresh water eels while anago is Japanese for salt water eels. Both taste good though!

That's it for today. See you next time at JJNN.

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