A Japanese underwater diver has over the years befriended the creatures of the sea and has nurtured those connections for decades. Shinto, the ethnic religion of Japan, is known for focusing on ritual practices to be carried out diligently, to establish a connection between present-day Japan and its ancient past; some of these traditional practices take place in underwater shrines called Torii. Hiroyuki Arakawa has been entrusted to oversee and take care of one of the Torii located beneath the surface of Tateyama Bay, located in the Chiba Prefecture on the Pacific Ocean. Over the decades, Hiroyuki has got to know the marine creatures who live around the shrine, but it is his relationship with a friendly Asian sheepshead wrasse named Yoriko that has spanned a quarter of a century. Their unusual but long lasting friendship was captured on video last year, and the images of the diver greeting the fish with a kiss have circled the planet and warmed hearts everywhere.
One recent scientific study conducted in England discovered fish can recognize human faces. “Scientists presented the fish with two images of human faces and trained them to choose one by spitting their jets at that picture,” Dr. Cait Newport from Oxford University told CNN. “The researchers decided to make things a little harder. They took the pictures and made them black and white and evened out the head shapes. You’d think that would throw the fish for a loop. But no, they were able to pick the familiar face even then – and with more accuracy: 86%!”
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Meet Japanese diver Hiroyuki Arakawa and his friend of 25 years, an Asian sheepshead wrasse named Yoriko
Hiroyuki first encountered Yoriko when he was entrusted to look after an underwater Shinto shrine located in Tateyama Bay
Nowadays, the diver greets his old acquaintance with a kiss whenever they meet again
Check out Hiroyuki and Yoriko’s unique marine friendship in this video that went viral and made headlines all around the world.