One Japanese diver has been best friends with the same Asian sheepshead wrasse fish for over 25 years—and this isn’t a fairytale, guys. This friendship with an animal is real.

Hiroyuki Arakawa has been entrusted with overseeing one of the Shinto religion’s shrines called torii, located beneath the surface of Japan’s Tateyama Bay. Over the decades, he got to know marine creatures and sea fishes who live around the shrine, and, most importantly, became buddies with a friendly Asian sheepshead wrasse named Yoriko, aka Yoriko fish. 

Their beautiful relationship was captured in a viral video, in which we see Arakawa’s custom of greeting the fish with a big head with a kiss.

Gif of Hiroyuki Arakawa kissing Yoriko (fish) underneath the water

Credits: Youtube

One scientific study showed that fish can recognize human faces—and that’s a big deal. “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%!”

This new evidence makes the diver and this animal’s friendship even more inspiring and legit.

More info: Facebook (h/t: atlasobscura)

This is Japanese diver Hiroyuki Arakawa and his buddy of 25 years, Yoriko fish


Image credits: Youtube

Their first encounter was when Arakawa got entrusted to look after an underwater Shinto shrine

Image credits: Inhabitat

Over the decades, their friendship only grew stronger, and this is something all of us can learn

Image credits: Youtube

Facts About the Asian Sheepshead Wrasse

The Asian sheepshead wrasse, known as kobudai in Japan, or just the fish with the big forehead, is a large wrasse species—popular for its sweet, shellfish-like taste. It’s native to the western Pacific and is mostly found around the Korean Peninsula, China, Japan, and the Ogasawara Islands. Its color-switching and sex-changing abilities as it grows older make it quite unique. Still, we’ve got a few more facts about the fish with a bulbous head that might surprise you!

  • It can reach 39 in (100 cm) in length and weigh up to 32 lb (14.7 kg). 
  • As a hermaphroditic species, this fish has both male and female organs. 
  • Every Asian sheepshead wrasse is born a female but later changes to male.
  • Males are territorial with other fish to control harems of females.
  • This friendly fish is a typical omnivore. It eats mostly aquatic crustaceans, blue crab, oysters, shellfish, small fish, and zooplankton. 
  • The lifespan of a fish with a big forehead is around 20 years.
  • The Asian sheepshead is among the largest wrasse species. 
  • This fish is known for its distinctive pinkish-gray color and notable swelling-like protrusions on both the ‘forehead’ and ‘chin.’