Japanese Giant Fish, Part 1- The Namitarou

Posted by: mystery_man on May 30th, 2010

Not too long ago here on Cryptomundo I posted an article I wrote on the legendary Takitaro, a giant fish said to inhabit a lake known as Otori-ike, in Japan’s Yamagata prefecture. The Takitaro is by no means the only mysterious monster fish to be found over here in the Land of the Rising Sun. In fact, giant fish of various types have long been a part of the cryptozoological landscape in Japan. In the coming days, I will be presenting a series of overviews of some of the more well known of these Japanese aquatic enigmas.

The Namitarou

By- Brent Swancer

The Namitarou is a giant fish said to lurk in Takanami Pond in Niigata prefecture, Honshu, Japan. Eyewitnesses describe the fish as being from 2 to 4 meters (6.5 to 13 feet) in length. This cryptid fish has become quite well known in the area, and has even been photographed on occasion.

Takanami Pond

Alleged photo of the Namitarou

The Namitarou is said to be most likely a giant carp of some variety. The two main candidates most often brought up are the grass carp (Ctenopharyngdon idella), or the silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix). Both of these species are widely found in Japan, where they are popular as a food fish. Grass carp can reach lengths of over 1.2 meters (3.9 ft) long and weights of up to 18kg (40lbs), while silver carp can get over 1 meter long (3.2 ft), and up to 27 kg (60 lbs). Perhaps a long lived specimen with its run of the pond has reached an even larger size?

Siamese giant carp

There is also the possibility that a large species of exotic introduced fish could also be behind the sightings. The world’s largest species of carp is the Siamese carp (Catlocarpio siamensis), pictured above, which can be up to 3m (10 ft) long and 300kg (660 lbs) in weight. In Japan, where carp are valued as a food fish and are often kept for ornamental purposes, it is thought that an exotic species may have been imported from elsewhere and released into the pond.

Takanami Pond lies 540 meters (1,772 feet) above sea level in a wilderness area. It is an unusual place to find a cryptid of any type since the pond is not particularly large, and is only 13 meters deep at its deepest point. The surrounding area is famous for its camping, and is actually fairly developed as a tourist spot, with hiking trails, campgrounds, playgrounds, restaurants, and shops.

The pond has become a popular destination for people looking to get a glimpse of its mysterious inhabitant, and the wave the fish is said to produce when breaking the surface has become affectionately known as the “Tarou Wave,” from which the name “Namitarou” comes from ( nami is Japanese for “wave”).

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3 Responses to “Japanese Giant Fish, Part 1- The Namitarou”

  1. E responds:

    Now this is interesting. Though it is used for more of a tourist attraction, as always, but it’s at least a more probable cryptid explanation so far. Don’t know too much about carps, but here’s the chance to find out! =)

  2. Sordes responds:

    Besides the gras carp and the silver carp there are also two other very large asian “carps” (actually they are no carps at all), the black carp (Mylopharyngodon piceus and the bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis). They are both closely related to the silver carp and gras carp, but have different ecological niches. The first one feeds mainly on mollusks and the second one on zooplankton (and small fish to some degree). Both grow very large, surpassing silver and gras carp in size. The black carp is comparably long-bodied and can probably reach the highest total length, but possibly not the weight of the largest bighead carps. All of this species were not native to Japan, but are introduced in some areas.

    The giant siamese carp is without doubt a really huge freshwater fish, but the often quoted dates about its maximum sizes are highly dubious. They are only based on very old anecdotal information, and there is no confirmed record of any giant siamese carp only close to 3 m and 300 kg.

    As usual for anecdotal claims of massive sizes the size-weight-relation is absolutely out of proportion. The siamese carp is an extremely stocky. If I take for example a large specimen of 117 cm total length and 45 kg weight, I come with this dimensions to around 750 kg for a hypothetical 3 m specimen…

    A siamese carp would already be around 300 kg at roughly 2,2 m, and we donĀ“t even know if the claimed maximum weight is nothing but a big fish story.

  3. PhotoExpert responds:

    This story interests me on two levels. I am both an avid fisherman and avid cryptophile.

    When I saw that photo of the fish, I immediately thought carp! But based on the estimates, that would have to be one giant carp!

    Keep up posted. Hopefully, some new photos will turn up where we can make a more accurate guess as to the identity of the fish!

    Mystery_man, how have you been? Greeeaaaat to see you here posting at Cryptomundo!

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