• The Encounter('s) & Case History •
Our story begins One warm August Day, towards the end of summer vacation, 13 year old junior high student Michio Seo was strolling home, when out of the corner of his eye something amazing caught his attention: what appeared to be a Dull-silver-metal, floating Hat was haphazardly hovering, darting around a nearby rice field, he stood awestruck watching the mysterious object zoom & zigzag about from a distance. (He would later describe that 'it was like how a bat in flight chases insects.') – As he approached, his curiosity quickly turned to terror as the UFO glowed blue, and shot a beam of light at him, not wanting to provoke the thing further, the young man fled home.
Later that day, Michio told his friends about the flying object, by 7:00 PM the four of them had readied themselves and set out to the field in search of the mysterious object, much to the surprise of everyone, the UFO was still hovering in the same spot!! The group watched it float for a bit before The UFO began to emit a pulsating silver light, as they neared the object it let out a loud "POP!" once again it began to glow a blue hue: the group again fled home.
Following the first encounters, the boys would periodically visit the field, (notably, the craft did not come out during a storm.) ––But, their curiosity & patience would be rewarded-- when two weeks later on Sept 4th at about 9:30 the group of youngsters would once again meet with the object, which was hovering around 3ft above the field, when they approached, this time it charged at them immediately. The boys retreated yet again!!
A couple days later, (Sept 6th) they would encounter it again!! – this time they found that it had crash landed. - they took a picture of it and the craft rose up into the air, spun around rapidly flashed lights which was even brighter than the camera flash then it crash-landed sideways into the dirt:
Fortunately, The kids where clever enough to take a few photographs, as well as weigh & measure it: The silver hat-shaped craft was about 1.3kg and measured roughly 3 inches tall by 6 inches in diameter. - It had dirty, circular grill-like ridges around the 18.2" flat bottom, 37 holes in the centre like a stereo (or a drain) it was surrounded by Japanese style, imprinted pictures of "waves", what looked like birds & a fork or trident shaped object (often said to be a flower.) Something rattled around inside when it was shaken, looking through the holes there were parts similar to a radio inside. That night, Biking home Hiroshi realized that the craft had escaped from his backpack. - it vanished into thin air!
--But not before too long, the boys had encountered the object again, They once again captured it, but again, it soon vanished. - This happened repeatedly about five or six times over the next two weeks. so the order of things get pretty fuzzy after this:
At One point they experimented on it, apparently smashing it with a hammer but it just wouldn't break. (not even a scratch.) - They also filled it with a 3lb bucket of water (it didn't over flow.) The object emitted a loud cicada-like buzzing sound and glowed brightly inside, something gooey like paste came out the bottom... At one point they had kept it under some pillows and it vanished, later being found by the road outside. They had wanted to try & keep it in the stove, microwave or keep it in their freezer so that it couldn't get away, but their mom would not let them! - ( Later the mom was interviewed and said that she saw it glow too, The mother one evening coming home after doing groceries, apparently saw the ufo fly away. )One of the boy's fathers was a teacher who also served as the chief science education officer at the Kochi City Science Center refused to believe the kids, it looked like a vintage ashtray so he figured they where pulling a prank on him...
Finally In late September (some accounts say 14th, others the 22nd) Hiroshi was biking home from a friends house (some accounts say shopping) with the craft in his backpack, when it once again, vanished, after which: it was sadly never seen by them again…
A few months later, they were interviewed by Mr. Junichi Yaoi on the national radio about their experiments & the encounter, as a result of which, Mr. Yaoi said that there were no discrepancies in they or their parent's accounts: he fully believed them. - According to one interview, At one point in 1972 the city also instructed a gag order on them to keep quiet! (The price of the land would be lowered if a UFO scare occurred.)
...It was quiet for a while, but then in 2004 This case regained a moment of popularity in when "UFO Comic" published an illustrated manga retelling of the case.
Then in 2007 (35 years after the fact.) - The case was briefly reopened by 'Japan Space Phenomena Society' (JSPS) the head of Osakas division – went to visit with the remaining witnesses who reportedly all stood by their stories, confirming that there was no indication of it being a prank. - They also found out that 4 years later (June 6, 1976) a 9 year old girl in the nearby village of Niyodogawa-cho encountered a similar small silver-craft while looking for her family cat. (it apparently flashed yellow & was slimy to touch.)
in October of 2008 yet another hat-shaped UFO was encountered near Nukui dam park! (this one was larger, however.)
In 2010: its seems there was a string of debunkers who harassed the (now grown up) boys into admitting they made it all up! Hiroshi said that he spray painted it. - (You can read more about the 2010 debunkings in english here.) - (But, even if it is all fake on hiroshis account. it certainly doesn't explain the June 1976 encounter (Hiroshi also wasn’t the one to spot it first.)
In 2017: NHK also did a separate documentary on the subject, however it seems that it was pretty inaccurate to the original subject.
• Folkloric connections: The boys & their family members would later be quoted as comparing the 'glow' to the folkloric "Onibi" (demon fire, will-o-wisp.) also worth mention, is that in old times, the area was historically famous for "Shibaten Kappa" stories.
[As an aside to this last point, while researching this & looking through old articles, I had read in several English written articles about this subject which said that "UFO had yet to become a household word in Japan by 1972" – However I'd like to clarify & point out, that's not to say the concept was entirely unheard of or something, there where several different sightings which are acredited to the 70's alone. - As well as Popular TV shows like that of 'Ultraman' that had been out since 1966: Ultraman was the world's third top-selling licensed character by the 1980s (that success certainly didn't happen suddenly overnight! it might not have been on the minds of adults, but children sure where into it!!!) ]
- if you want to look back at least 200 years there was also the mystery of the "utsurobune" (though thats a bit more of a 'USO') as well as the famous folkstory of Princess Kaguya (She's from the Moon! often said to be the worlds earliest sci-fi.)
Sticker art by @samkalensky (yo, thats me!) part of my UFOlogy/aliens sticker collection, please check my shop for many more! :)