Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 18th, 2009
The following is a guest blog from Brent Swancer (Mystery Man), writing from Japan. Cryptomundo is appreciative of his contribution, and we think you will enjoy the thought-provoking nature of its overview:
The indigenous Ainu people of Japan have long told of an enormous marine animal known as the Akkorokamui. The creature is said to lurk in Funka Bay, also known as Uchiura Bay or Volcano Bay, which is located in the Southwestern portion of the Northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.
The bay is ringed on three sides by Oshima peninsula and is surrounded by the volcanoes Mt. Usu and Mt. Komagatake.
The Akkorokamui is said to be an enormous octopus-like or squid-like creature, reaching sizes of up to 110 meters in length. The coloration of the Akkorokamui is said to be a striking red, often described as incandescent and sometimes likened to the color of the reflection of the setting sun upon the water.
Due to this coloration and the creature’s immense size, it is believed that the Akkorokamui is visible from a great distance away. The Ainu people have always feared the Akkorokamui, believing it to have a tendency for swamping boats, and many fishermen were known to carry large sickles aboard their boats in order to protect themselves from the creature.
There have long been alleged sightings made by Ainu, but there are also accounts written of by non Ainu as well. The 19th century Englishman and missionary John Batchelor, who lived among the Ainu and is known for his extensive writings on Ainu life, wrote firsthand a journal entry of an alleged actual incident concerning an apparent Akkorokamui in his book The Ainu and their Folklore.
In the morning, we found the whole village under a cloud. Three men, it was said, were out trying to catch swordfish, when all at once a great sea monster, with large staring eyes, appeared in front of them and proceeded to attack the boat. A desperate fight ensued. The monster was round in shape, and emitted a dark fluid and noxious odor. The three men fled in dismay, not so much indeed for fear, they say, but on account of the dreadful smell. However that may have been, they were so scared that the next morning all three refused to get up and eat; they were lying in their beds pale and trembling.
Another old 19th century account was made by a Japanese fisherman which I [Brent Swancer] have translated from the original Japanese.
And I saw ahead something huge and red undulating under the waves. I at first thought my eyes deceived me and that I was merely seeing the reflection of sun upon the water, but as I approached, I could see that in fact it was an enormous monster, 80 meters in length at least, with large, thick tentacles as big around as a man’s torso. The thing fixed me with a huge, staring eye before sinking out of sight into the depths.
Other eyewitness reports of the creature have surfaced over the years as well. These sorts of reports are all very similar to old sea serpent sightings in the West, which leads me to wonder if there is perhaps some unknown animal lying at the heart of some of these stories. For example, based on descriptions and accounts, it has been speculated that there is perhaps a type of undiscovered, giant octopus in the bay.
Is this what it could be? Although the Akkorokamui is most often thought of as merely part of Ainu folklore, is there a chance that it could be more than that? Could this creature be based in some way on a real, living animal?
[For illustrative purposes, the pink-red octopus images shown are of museum-quality replicas of the North Pacific Giant Octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini). The maps and location photos are specific to the Akkorokamui sighting sites. – Loren]
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.