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.