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Locals Believe Giant Sea Creatures Of Doom 'Predicted' Japan's Biggest Tsunami In 240 Years

Dominic Smithers

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Locals Believe Giant Sea Creatures Of Doom 'Predicted' Japan's Biggest Tsunami In 240 Years

Over a decade ago, Japan suffered one of the worst natural disasters in history, when the Tōhoku earthquake struck, triggering a devastating tsunami.

The huge quake, which killed over 19,000 people, created 13ft waves that crashed into the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant, causing the most serious nuclear meltdown since Chernobyl in 1986.

But many locals believe that sightings of a mysterious sea creature pointed to the earthquake before it even happened.

According to Japanese folklore, the enormous oarfish is known as 'ryugu no tsukai', which translates to 'the messenger from the sea dragon god’s palace'.

Over 19,000 people died following the 2011 earthquake in Japan. Credit: Alamy
Over 19,000 people died following the 2011 earthquake in Japan. Credit: Alamy

So the legend goes, the long, silvery fish, which lives deep down in the ocean, comes to the surface to warn people about coming dangers.

This compelling story gained a lot of attention following the events of 2011 because in the two years leading up to the Tōhoku earthquake, at least 20 oarfish were found stranded on the shores.

In the aftermath, many connected the dots, strengthening their belief in the myth.

However, despite the lure of the legend, scientists conducted tests back in 2011 to determine whether there was any truth in it. And it's not good news for the believers.

A giant oarfish. Credit: Alamy
A giant oarfish. Credit: Alamy

Researchers compiled a listed of 392 sightings of deep-sea fish between 1928 and 2011.

From the 45 species of fish recorded, only eight were associated with earthquakes.

According to the study, no deep-sea fish were spotted prior to an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 or higher, while between January and February 2010, no earthquakes with a magnitude of 6.0 or higher were recorded despite the appearances of 30 deep-sea fish.

Thus they concluded that fish proved no use in predicting upcoming natural disasters. You will be surprised to know.

But while the myth behind it might have been busted, the oarfish is still an incredibly impressive specimen.

A 16ft oarfish was pulled out of the water in Chile. Credit: Jam Press
A 16ft oarfish was pulled out of the water in Chile. Credit: Jam Press

Earlier this week, footage from a boat in Chile showed a group of fishermen pulling one of them out of the water.

The video of the monstrous fish, which was more than five metres long, attracted 10 million views and 600,000 likes on the platform – where many users couldn’t believe their eyes. 

One commented: "That’s a scary amazing fish."

Another said: "And now where do we escape?"

Featured Image Credit: Jam Press/Alamy

Topics: Animals, Science

Dominic Smithers
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