Animals | Mind & Inspiration

This Japanese Diver Has Been Visiting His Best Friend Fish For 25 Years Now

Friendship grows in the most unexpected places and expands well beyond the world of humans. Friends share a special bond, and they make each other better people.

Japanese diver Hiroyuki Arakawa has the most inspiring story. His friendship of 25 years has made the best headlines, and yes, it will make you cry. Arakawa met a local fish, Yoriko, an Asian Sheepshead wrasse many years ago. The fish thrives in rocky reef areas in China, Japan, the Korean peninsula, and the Ogasawara Islands.

In Japan, people call it “Kobudai.” The fish is hermaphrodite and it grows about 100cm.

Three decades ago, Arakawa was overseeing an underwater Shinto Shrine at the Hasama Underwater Park, near Tateyama, Japan. He met the fish on the brink of death and decided to help her. His best friend was eating five frabs every day for 10 days. That’s how he gained her trust. Yoriko was injured, and Arakawa healed her wound.

Arakawa dives to the shrine and knows on a piece of metal to “call” his friend. Yoriko comes right away. They kiss and, yes, Arakawa is the only human to do that. Yoriko doesn’t let other people do this.

The man shares photos of their selfies. He tells people that he has “an amazing sense of accomplishment” in his heart.

“I’d say we understand each other. Not that we can talk to each other, but it just happened mutually. I’m not sure if it’s the nature of the Kobudai or not, but it’s probably because there is a sense of trust between us.”

How much do you know about fish? Australian biologist, Culum Brown, explains that people call fish “stupid” just because they don’t know how to interact with them. Moreover, most people are unable to have a meaningful interaction with fish.

“Everyone thinks that fish have a three-second memory. I have no idea where that started.’’

A 2016 study conducted by Dr. Cait Newport from the University of Oxford on the Discrimination of human faces by archerfish showed that these fish can be trained to recognize humans even though they don’t have the fusiform gyrus. It’s the part of the human neocortex that regulates facial recognition.

“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%!”

Of course, experts have to do so much research on the topic. But, this story is definitely promising. You can be best friends with fish and Arakawa’s story is the best proof of that. This man helped an injured fish and got a friend for life. Humans can be friends with animals. It’s time to get a new best friend! You can adopt one, too.