Issie - イッシー - [UMA/Cryptid] - [Not to be confused with "Kussie" from Hokkaidō's Lake Kussharo.] - (Both are named after the world famous Loch ness monster of scotland: Nessie.)
• About this UMA: The Lake monster of Lake Ikeda, Ibusuki City, Kagoshima Prefecture, Kyushu island, Japan. Often described as a massive, white, black or gray, 20m long, plesiosaur-like creature with four flippers, and two large bumps on its back, It has a yellowish underbelly -in old times, issie (or a creature similar to it) was said to have been sighted outside of the water, resting by the shoreline.*
• History: Lake Ikeda is the largest lake in Kyushu, located close to Ibusuki city, famous for its scenic view of Mt.Kaimon, (also known as the 2nd mt Fuji for its conical shape) the lake is located on top of the caldera of an extinguished volcano.
Issies first sighting was allegedly in 1961, and the creature has also been spotted as recently as 1991. However, The best-known & well doccumented sighting was in 1978 when 20~ people witnessed something large and black moving below the surface of the water, they saw two large lumps surface, about 5m apart!! Shortly after the tourism department did their job and began to promote the Issie story to attract visitors to the region! - The department had once even offered a reward of 100,000 Yen ($670) to those who could produce a believable photo of Issie, which in the end was incredibly awarded to Toshiaki Matsuhara, who was interested in folklore and legends. (sadly his photographs have never been published to avoid scrutiny.) - According to the local souvenir shop, pink female "Issie" are (rather adorably) called "Ippie." ("イッピー")
Issie is most often theorized to actually be mistaken sightings of Giant Eel (The lake is famous for having big eels which can reach up to 6ft!!) - Locals often say that people from outside of the prefecture might have mistaken them for a sea monster. - The small, local aquarium has an rather large Eel on display, the eel is one of the the areas national monuments & they are a protected natural species.
[a lake side issie statue.]
• The description on the sign reads close to the following: "In September 1978, many people saw a black object swimming by, moving at breakneck speed. The distance between the bumps on the surface of the water was about 5 meters, and the surface of the lake was said to be buzzing. This incident was widely reported in newspapers and on television, and many sightings were subsequently reported. This unknown giant creature came to be called "Issie" after Loch Ness's Nessie. Various theories have been floating around as to the true identity of Issy, including that it is a survivor of dinosaurs, a giant eel, or a giant fish, and unmanned surveillance cameras have been installed and TV stations have searched for the creature to find it, but there have been no clearly confirmed sightings to date, and it remains a mystery. Lake Ikeda"
[Lake Ikeda. - google maps.]
Similar to its Hokkaidō cousin "Kussie" (and Nessie as well, to an extent) a lot of sightings of the creature could also be explained simply by a sightings of Wild horses or deer swimming.
• Related yokai: On that note: there is a horse related legend which connected to issie, it was included on the English Wikipedia for the lake. - (However, notably, this legend is also not included on the Japanese wikipedia entry.) - in a nutshell the story goes as follows: "Issie was a white mare who lived together freely with her foal on the shore of Lake Ikeda. However, when the foal was kidnapped by a samurai and Issie was unable to find it, she jumped into the lake and her despair transformed her into a giant, saurian beast, which since then frequently surfaces, trying to find her lost child." - This story seems to originate from "まんが日本昔ばなし" a TBS animated series which animated short stories based on old tales and folklore, produced in 1992. - The episodes wiki page itself says that the story dates back to at least 1976, closer to the time of issies first sighting. so perhaps it's based on a local, oral legend. further details are unkown.
*There is also a dragon myth, which dates back much further than the above story and its arguably more popularly linked to issie too: Lake Ikeda has had legends of dragon gods since ancient times: (as most bodies of water in Japan do.) The lake apparently used to be known as "神の御池" - "gods pond" which According to the "Sangoku Meisho Zue" [a text from 1843] - "a farmer was invited to a wedding and was walking near lake Ikeda when he saw something with a human head and a dragon-like body lying in the grass. When the farmer drew his dagger and cut the creature's neck, the strange creature bled and fled into the lake. That night, the farmer suddenly died of illness, and his wife said madly, "I am the dragon king of this lake." When his relatives apologized and built a shrine to atone for their sins, the dragon king calmed down and his wife's madness subsided. immediately a shrine was built to enshrine the dragon. It is said that it is the same shrine which stands today."
• Art sticker by @samkalensky part of my UMA/Japanese Cryptids series of stickers, check my shop & follow for many more!