This Japanese Diver Is Best Friends With A Fish The Diver Saved The Fish Once and It Still Remembers!

This Japanese Diver Is Best Friends With A Fish | The Diver Saved The Fish Once and It Still Remembers!

Hiroyuki Arakawa, a Japanese diver shares a unique bond with Yoriko, an Asian sheepshead wrasse. This remarkable bond shows that friendship knows no bounds. Arakawa met Yoriko for the first time around 25 years ago! On one dive below 56 feet, Arakawa visited Yoriko and noticed that its mouth had been badly injured. Even so, she greeted him. Arakawa decided to take care of her for 10 days while hand-feeding her. Their friendship remained strong over the years, as Yoriko seemed to remember how Arakawa helped her even though many years had gone by. Let’s dive into the story of this remarkable friendship. 

The Unlikely Meeting: A Diver and A Fish

Arakawa’s encounter with Yoriko wasn’t a planned meeting; it’s fair to say that it was fate. While supervising the construction of an underwater Shinto temple gate, Arakawa came face to face with Yoriko. This wasn’t just any fish; the Asian sheepshead wrasse, known as kobudai in Japanese. It has a human-like face that can make you do a double-take. Native to the Pacific’s cooler waters, these fish are a marvel of the sea, changing colors and even their sex as they age.

 “I’d say we understand each other. Not that we talk to each other. I kissed her once. I’m the only person she’ll let do it. If you look closely, from the front, they look like they have a human face. When you look really close, you’ll think it looks like someone you know.”

Hiroyuki Arakawa
Japanese Diver Is Best Friends With A Fish
Image source: Atlas obscura

Saving The Fish – Yoriko

The turning point in this underwater saga came when Arakawa found Yoriko with a badly injured mouth. Knowing she couldn’t fend for herself, he took it upon himself to feed her hand-hammered meat from crabs. This act of kindness showcased a commitment that went above and beyond. What is even more surprising is how she still remembered it. Yoriko’s recovery strengthened their bond, proving that empathy and care can cross species barriers.

“I’m not sure if it’s the nature of the kobudai or not. It’s probably because there is a sense of trust between us. I guess she knows that I saved her… that I helped when she was badly injured. So for me to be able to do that, I am proud. I have an amazing sense of accomplishment in my heart.”

Hiroyuki Arakawa (Arakawa told GBS)


In a world where the lines between nature and humanity often seem stark, the story of a diver and his fish friend blurs these boundaries, inviting us to rethink our relationship with the natural world. It’s a narrative that not only enriches our understanding of interspecies relationships but also inspires us to look beyond our reflections to find kinship in the most unexpected of faces.

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