Date: August 25, 1972
Location: Kera, Kochi City, Japan
A group of Japanese kids had repeated run ins with a small, silver UFO, which they managed to not only photograph, but actually capture for a brief time during the summer of 1972.
There is little information to be found regarding the strange series of events that began on August 25th, 1972, in the Kera area of Kochi City, on the Shikoku island of Japan.
On the afternoon in question a 13 year old student named Michio Seo was on his way home from middle school when he allegedly caught site of a metallic object hovering over a rice field.
Seo watched the odd apparatus zip back and forth above the rice paddy. The airborne object resembled a dull, silver hat with a flat bottom and a narrow lip. The curved dome atop the lip was relatively steep and level at the apex. Seo would later compare the objects movements to that of a bat making hairpin turns in pursuit of its insect prey.
Seo’s curiosity swiftly surpassed his fear, and he began to approach the miniature flying saucer, but before he could get too close the object allegedly shot a blinding beam toward the teen. Seo, not wishing to further provoke the UFO, or its possible occupants quickly fled the scene.
As soon as young Seo got back to Kera he hurriedly rounded up 4 of his best friends, Hiroshi Mori, Yasuo Fujimoto, Katsuoka Kojima and a buddy known only as Yuji, and told them about his encounter. His skeptical pals, though intrigued, wasted no time in forming a posse to go out and find this miniature flying dome.
At approximately 7:00 pm. they arrived at the rice field. The boys kept a steadfast vigil for the better part of an hour when, to the shock of all, except Seo, the small object returned. The thrilled teens stared at the strange object that was hovering over the field approximately 60' from them. Then, as the sun set over the horizon and dusk began to settle in, the device began to emit a pulsating multicolored light.
One of the boys, no doubt bolstered by the pressure of his peers, began to stalk the erratically floating UFO. As he neared the object it suddenly emitted an earsplitting pop, and began to shimmer with a bluish hue. This was all the 5 needed to send them back toward their homes.
They would occasionally visit the field following their sighting and on September 4th, Just over a week after their initial run in, their patience paid off. At about 9:30 pm. the five boys once again came face to face with the silvery object flying only 3' above the field. The little UFO started glowing and began to zoom toward the boys causing them to scatter and once again retreat with haste.
Once home, the boys reclaimed their courage and got a camera to spend every waking moment they could staking out the field in hopes of finally capturing the unusual object on film. Their surveillance began the next evening, but the object did not return. The following night, however, would be a different story.
On September 6th the boys vigilance paid off when on their way to the rice paddy they saw the object lying on the ground in the middle of the field before them. Now armed with a camera, one decided to snap a photo before they approached the craft. Once the flashbulb went off the object on the ground began spinning and rapidly rose into the air. The cameraman shot another photo just after its ascension.
This is where accounts get a little iffy, what seems to have happened next is that the object emitted a light that was even brighter than the flashbulb’s burst, before once again plummeting to the ground. The still spinning object almost seemed to be burrowing into the dirt when it stopped moving.
At this point, 14 year old Hiroshi Mori cautiously moved toward the flying saucer. The brave, or foolhardy, boy decided to bend over and lift the object up with his bare hands. As he did so he claimed that he felt something moving inside.
The boys marveled at their prize before Miro wrapped it in a plastic bag and placed it in his backpack and took it home. Once there the boys warily measured the object and declared it to be nearly 8" wide and almost 4" tall. The UFO was said to weigh about 3 lbs.
They also discovered a series of concentric curves, 31 small holes along with 3 designs etched into the base of the object. The boys deemed that the etchings represented waves or clouds, a bird or some sort of flying object, and something they interpreted to be a budding flower. There was no visible propulsion system.
Following their inspection, the boys repacked the object in plastic and brought their puzzling find to the home of Yasuo Fujimoto. Fujimoto’s father, Mutsuo, was the current director of the Center for Science Education in the city of Kochi.
The senior Fujimoto gave the object a cursory examination, assuming that the find was of little significance. That would be a decision that he would come to regret.
In his own words:
The frequent nights out of the boys began to worry parents, I told my son if it was true what he said, to bring the object. He did, it was something like an ashtray, cast iron, but too light for this metal. It had a top down it was impossible to open and inside were pieces similar to a radio. I did not give more importance, but now I regret not having studied more closely.
Following Mr. Fujimoto’s brief once over, the object was returned to Mori’s backpack, but, much to the humiliation of all involved, it was discovered missing just a day later. This would not be the last time this mysterious object would be seen, or recovered for that matter.
Over the course of the next two weeks Seo, Mori, Fujimoto, Kojima and Yuji all claimed to have seen the same, or identical, objects in flight on at least six more occasions. Fujimoto himself saw it 3 times. The boys even managed to capture it a second time, but the object disappeared under mysterious circumstances yet again.
The boys, trying to predict when the object would next rear its head, deduced that the single unifying factor in all of their sightings was the fact that they never seemed to occur on rainy days. This, they surmised, was due to the fact that the object feared water. Bearing this in mind they made a plan to capture the device.
On September 19, the group once again returned to the now notorious rice paddy to try and catch the UFO. This time the boys were armed with a bucket of runoff water and some tattered rags. As luck would have it they found the device sitting motionless on the ground.
The group hurriedly covered the object with rags and poured the water in the bucket over it. They then turned the object over and started to fill the perforations at the base with the remainder of the greenish water. As soon as the liquid entered the device it began emitting a deafening noise that they compared to a cicada like buzzing. The interior of the object also started to glow.
The youngsters were abruptly struck with the notion that the object might try to retaliate to this perceived attacked and started to back away from the stationary UFO, pelting it with stones. The once flying object remained earthbound and the boys reclaimed their possibly extraterrestrial prize.
Once back at Katsuoka Kojima’s house, the young men looked through the tiny holes and noticed what appeared to be a plethora or miniature mechanisms, Levers and weird drawings.
The daring youths then took more pictures and attempted to open the device by inserting a wire into one of the holes and manipulating it. Eventually they hung the device upside down by the wire, Gravity pulled at the top of the dome resulting in a slight separation between the top and bottom sections of the object. The boys could see what they referred to as complicated electronic equipment inside the item as well as unidentified a viscous material. Could this have been the liquefied remains of the pilot, who much like Oz’s Wicked Witch melted on contact with the water?
The boys then attempted to see how strong the exterior shell of the object was by beating it with a hammer. They discovered that even the thinnest parts of the light metal remained unblemished no matter how hard they hit it. This seems to be a fairly common trait of materials recovered at alleged UFO crash sites.
At this point, the boys decided to try yet another experiment by putting the UFO in the oven to see what kind of temperatures it could withstand, but before they got the chance Kojima’s mother, Aiko Katsuoka, wisely put the kibosh on that. She also refused to allow them to store it in her refrigerator, which the boys believed might prevent the UFO from escaping yet again.
The boys then came to the conclusion that the device was likely some kind of remotely controlled surveillance mechanism of unknown origin. It was then that they decided it was time to reveal their cherished mystery mechanism to their classmates the following week, but before putting it away for the night they wrapped in additional rags under the naďve impression that it would prevent the thing from leaking any atomic radiation.
The object was then given to Seo and Mori for safekeeping while the rest returned home for dinner and chores. The pair, feeling that the object was secure in the room with them, relaxed for an evening of comic book reading and the anticipation of the notoriety that would greet them and their cohorts the following Monday at school when they revealed their wondrous find.
When the rest of the group returned later that evening to check on their discovery, they were all upset to discover that beneath the pile of rags there was nothing to be found. After a fruitless search, the boys reached the conclusion that their mini saucer has once again flown the coop, so to speak.
A few hours later, Kojima and Mori were playing at Mori’s house. Kojima lunged over the fence pursuing the ball and much to his surprise and delight stumbled across the missing UFO. Kojima and Mori swiftly went back into the house with the recovered saucer.
At his juncture the comrades decided that they should mark the silver dome with paint lest it pull another disappearing act. This would be to confirm that they were actually encountering the same UFO over and over again, rather than similar machines. The boys had lost and found the object so many times by this point they naturally assumed that if it vanished it would again turn up near the rice field or in one of their backyards.
On the evening of September 22nd, the boys gathered together for a bike ride into Kochi City. It was decided that they would all take turns carrying the device, which they no longer left unattended. To further prevent its escape Mori determined that the UFO would be sealed in a plastic bag full of water, which they continued to hypothesize, had some sort of restraining effect on the apparatus. As if that weren’t enough, the boys tied a piece of string from the knot on the bag to the wrist of whomever was carrying it to insure that nothing would happen this time.
The knotted bag containing the UFO was then placed in duffle bag and inserted into the bicycle basket of the first carrier, and the group set off. The bag switched from rider to rider as they rode through the city until it ended up in the basket of its last caretaker, whose name was not revealed.
The boys continued their journey until they neared a local bicycle repair shop. At that moment, the final rider claimed he felt his wrist, which was attached by string to the bag, wrench with immense force. He immediately called out to his friends, who skidded to a halt ahead of him.
The boys instantly opened the bag and untied the string and the knots on the plastic bag, but when they looked inside they found that, even though the knots had not been tampered with, the tiny UFO was nowhere to be found. The boys would never see the object again, much to their disappointment.
This unique case remained largely unknown to the general public until May of 2004, when UFO Comics published an illustrated retelling of the case. This introduced the encounter to a new generation of UFO enthusiasts garnering it somewhat of a cult following in Japan.
Due to the buzz, in 2007, a full 35 years after the events in question, Shinichiro Namiki, the director of the Japan Space Phenomena Society, JSPS, reopened the investigation. The head of the JSPS Osaka chapter, Kazuo Hayashi, was sent to speak with the remaining witnesses and confirmed that they all maintained their original accounts.
During the course of his investigation, Hayashi encountered another tiny UFO tale that occurred in the same way as the Kera event just 4 years later. On the evening of June 6th, 1976, a 9 year old girl named Sachiko Oyama, from the village of Agawa, now known as Niyodogawa-cho, went outside to find her pet cat when she noticed a small, yellow luminous object floating in the eastern sky.
Oyama walked into the middle of the street to give herself a better view. It was then that she saw the unusual object descend in a nearby wooded grove. Overcome by curiosity, the young girl followed the UFO to the edge of the tree line. It was then that the object allegedly hit a tree and proceeded to silently land on the pavement near her feet at which point it emitted a hissing sound.
Oyama would layer describe the object has resembling a silver, though some accounts say black hat that was about 7" in diameter; a familiar description to say the least. The courageous girl bent over and touched the object, which she claimed was covered with a slimy substance that stuck to her finger.
Like the boys who encountered the virtually identical object in Kera, Oyama suddenly found herself overwhelmed by fear. She turned and began to run for the safety of her home, but when she glanced over her shoulder she noticed that the downed device had started to glow yellow once again. Oyama watched in disbelief as the UFO rose, spun counter clockwise three times, then shot skyward and out of view.
Hayashi also confirmed that the then 40 year old Oyama still stood by her story in 2007. It was then that Hayashi put forth the hypothesis that these flying objects were actually inter dimensional vehicles that had temporarily lost their way after slipping into our realm.
Hayashi seemed satisfies with his theory, but what should we make of these mysterious objects that seemingly toyed with these Japanese kids back in 1972 and 1976? Were they UFOs in the classic sense of a interstellar or inter dimensional vehicles? It goes without saying that by 1970s, or current technological standards an object as decidedly non aerodynamic as this could not have been capable of such precise or speedy maneuvers as were attributed to it.