Friday, April 25, 2008

Human-Faced Fish

I live near several small rivers. In my town you can't walk across the street without stepping knee-deep into a river, or--if your lucky--crossing a bridge. Every single one of these streams seems to be teeming with koi (carp). Occasionally, you see the pretty ones.




But most often they're a nice mucky grey.

Unless, however, you get lucky and find one that has the face of a man.

They're called jin men gyo; literally, human-faced fish. And look something like this:

Although that one looks more like a rabbit if you ask me.

My son had a friend in kindergarten who refused to walk to school because she had to cross a bridge with several jin men gyos in it. She was entirely freaked out by them.

In 1990 someone sent in a picture to a magazine and all of the sudden they became the fad all throughout Japan. Everyone was talking about them, taking pictures, making TV shows...

It was during that uproar a Japanese newspaper reported that the creepy fish were found in Korea as well. The paper below actually states there was a resurgence of human-faced fish in Korea after a fourteen year absence (I just think nobody was looking).





Here's a Korean news station with the news.




There is also this type of jin men gyo. As well as a neko men gyo, a carp with a cat face. The legend has it that at night it gets out of the pond and walks around.


Oh, and since we're on the subject of Japanese koi, I found this link. Which is just about the coolest thing I've seen all week. Although they do cost two hundred bucks.

9 comments:

Pat said...

How interesting! Don't you just wonder what caused them to evolve with their eyes on the top of their heads instead of on the sides? And those jeans are so cool. I want a pair!

Hilary said...

Very cool. Here we just have men that look like fish. Frank would probably think that's a compliment though. ;)

Kappa no He said...

Pat, I wonder if it isn't all the the people chucking bread at them...thousands of years of evolution smushed into a few decades. Ha ha.

And aren't they, though?

Hilary, Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Wonder what Benny would make of one of these critters?

Ello said...

Seriously that's a bit freaky. Can't eat something with a person's face on it!

Kappa no He said...

Sooo true. Ha ha!

MDK said...

Whoh! That's so cool. Reminds me of an episode of Carl Sagan's Cosmos where he describes the story of the Heike Crab of Japan

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heike_crab

Katarina-bakajo said...

That would just... I dunno... id probably turn around and pretend i never saw the thing in the first place. I have a strong aversion to fish... so maybe, just maybe I'd like a fish with a mans face better...

Kappa no He said...

Oh, but they makes these really grotesque slurping noises near the surface of the water. So, I don't know...

Now, if they had faces like Christian Bale or Hugh Jackman, then!

Mary Witzl said...

There was a story about koi in our town. A woman with a carp pond decided to steal one of the fish from Teganuma, the local lake, to increase her own stock. She released it into her pond and the next day every one of her fish had died, whereas the Teganuma carp was alive and kicking. (Teganuma being one of the most polluted lakes in Japan...)

I hope my 16-year-old doesn't see those jeans! Every single bit of money she makes goes on clothes with kanji on them. I swear, every other day she's got a package from Japan or Korea in the mail -- something she's bought off E-bay. (Wish I had those jeans myself, come to think of it...)