UFOs in the Land of the Rising Sun

An article by Scott Corrales

The Journal of Hispanic Ufology
February 12, 2003

UFOs in the Land of the Rising Sun
Scott Corrales
(C)1993. Institute of Hispanic Ufology

While seldom mentioned in UFO chronicles, Japan has been a major theatre of operations for the phenomenon over the past three decades, and boasts prehistoric lore that links it closely to the possible presence of ancient astronauts.

The most significant postwar sighting turned out to be singularly dramatic: a luminous object, dangling in the air from an enormous, darkened craft, was witnessed by many observers over Tokyo Bay in the summer of 1952. The objects were also picked up by radar, prompting jet fighters to scramble to intercept. The huge aerial contraption proceeded to elude the military aircraft with maneuvers never thought possible before. In the early days of the Cold War, with the Korean conflict still brewing on the other side of the Sea of Japan, the thought of a surprise attack by unknown Soviet technology was fresh in every strategist' mind.

But it wasn't until 22 years later, in June 1974, that an interceptor--an F4 Phantom--would lock on to its mysterious quarry and experience the nearest of close encounters: a head-on collision with a UFO.

Originally under the impression that the signal on the screen was a notoriously errant Soviet Bear bomber, the fighter's crew was surprised to see that their target was a 40-foot wide disc with square portholes that could have been viewports or exhausts. When the Phantom trained its weapons on the object, the intruder hurtled toward it, smashing the fighter's nose and causing the pilot and weapons officer to eject. The latter died in the collision, and the Japanese government remained silent about the event, never acknowledging if the UFO had fallen to the ground during the "accident". The Phantom's loss was tersely attributed to "a collision with an unknown object at 30,000 feet."

The Japanese Air Force's tight-lipped silence was triggered, perhaps by the number of sightings that had already been reported by civillians. Four months prior to the Phantom incident, a young woman, Akiko Nakayama, had come into contact with three strange creatures in a rice paddy in the village of Hoshimachi. The alien trio re-entered a glowing orange vehicle that took to the night skies in a matter of seconds, rejoining what was a veritable armada of UFOs slowly crossing the skies over Japan. Magazines devoted to the subject of UFOs in both Japan and the U.S. made much of the fact that Ms. Nakayama's sighting had taken place not too far from the site of the unique, mysterious prehistoric statue of the Inu-Ningen, the "man-dog" that has been taken by many to be a depiction of a prehistoric, nonhuman visitor to our world. This large, perplexing statue, along with the small Dogu statues (helmeted figures that suggest respirators and air hoses) have defied all rational explanation.

In February 1975, near the town of Kofu, two boys walked around a grounded UFO which bore distinctive "oriental characters" on its hull (reminiscent, perhaps, of the Oriental script on the object recovered in Kecksburg, PA in 1965). The youngsters reported seeing "a ladder emerge from the craft" and a Klaatu- esque, silver-clad entity descend toward them. In what can best be described as a case of "unrequited contact", the boys broke and ran from the spot in abject terror. One of the children's parents was later able to confirm having seen an unusual craft rising skywards from the direction in which the boys had run.But by September of that very same year, UFOs would be seen by everyone living in western Japan, prompting a deluge of phone calls to the authorities. A Japan Air Lines DC-8 was "tailed" by an unknown device for twenty minutes until it landed safely at a local airport.

The sightings were building up to a climax: in 1976, fifty witnesses beheld a golden UFO in the early morning hours of October 17th. The scintillating disk remained suspended in mid- air for ten minutes, prompting the air traffic controllers at Akita Airport to warn all approaching planes of the potential obstacle. The crowd of witnesses included members of the Japanese media, who had been filming a documentary on pilot instruction at the airport. Earlier in the year, a dark UFO had hovered directly over the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, its maneuvers witnessed by agents of the National Police from their office building.

The increasing frequency of the sightings became such that in 1977, the country's first official investigation of the phenomenon was launched under the auspices of the Japanese Air Force, with inconclusive results.

The phenomenon did not wait around for the government findings either: strange globes of light were seen flying around Mount Senohara in 1982, and two years later, the crew of a passenger jet reported seeing what first appeared to be the mushroom cloud following a nuclear detonation, rising to a height of sixty thousand feet and expanding to a diameter of a hundred miles before dissolving altogether. No explanation was offered for this event. UFOs are not the only enigma bewildering the Japanese. In the summer of 1986, a circular, levelled "crop circle" was discovered in Yamagata, constituting the first instance of this mystery's appearance in Japan.

Like the United States, Japan has either the fortune or ill luck of being located next to one of the dozen or so anomalous areas that surround the planet. The Devil's Triangle, the Pacific Ocean's equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle, which extends from the Japanese archipelago to the Marianas, covering an area of tremendously deep marine trenches and underwater volcanoes. Aside from the legendary number of disappearances recorded as having taken place in or near the site, frequent UFO sightings have also been reported, suggesting the possibility of a natural aberration that serves as a materialization spot for the phenomenon.

The crew of the Kitsukawa Maru reported, in April 1952, an encounter with a pair of wingless, silver disks that plunged into the ocean off the port bow. The ship's captain promptly noted the event, which occured at the edge of the nineteen thousand foot deep trench surrounding Japan. In 1967, a number of U.S. fighters were sent after a formation of UFOs off Okinawa, which had been picked up on radar.

There have been indications that the Japanese government is possibly ready to re-open its investigations into the UFO enigma: at the International UFO and Space Symposium, held in Hakui City in the fall of 1991, then prime minister Toshiki Kaifu expressed an opinion that "it was time to take the UFO situation seriously." Time will tell if his suggestion will be taken with equal seriousness.

UFOINFO would like to thank Scott Corrales (Inexplicata) and UFO UpDates for granting permission to use this article. To keep up to date with follow-up reports and discussions you are advised to subscribe to UFO UpDates by contacting Errol Bruce-Knapp at: http://ufoupdateslist.com

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