Japanese Diver Befriends Huge Fish

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. nurse (someone) back to health / nɜrs bæk tə hɛlθ / (idiom) – to take care of a sick person or animal

    She worked hard to nurse her sick father back to health.

  2. forge / fɔrdʒ, foʊrdʒ / (v) – to make

    People can forge strong relationships by spending time with each other.

  3. stroke / stroʊk / (v) – to gently let the hand pass over something

    Dogs like being stroked by their owners.

  4. accomplishment / əˈkɒm plɪʃ mənt / (n) – something done that shows success

    The doctor has achieved many accomplishments throughout his life.

  5. pet / pɛt / (v) – to gently tap or touch an animal in a friendly way

    Most dogs only let people pet them if they consider those people friends.


Read the text below.

A video recently became viral as it featured a Japanese diver kissing a huge fish

Hiroyuki Arakawa, a diver and caretaker of an underwater shrine, was shown kissing an Asian sheepshead [SHEEPS-hed] wrasse [RAS] named Yoriko. In an interview, he said that he befriended the fish 25 years ago after he took care of her.

Arakawa first met Yoriko at the underwater Shinto shrine in Tateyama Bay. During one of his visits to the shrine, he found her very weak and unable to feed herself, so he decided to nurse the fish back to health. For ten days, Arakawa fed Yoriko. This helped forge a strong bond between the two. Since then, Yoriko would always come to meet Arakawa at the shrine.

The viral video shows Arakawa banging a piece of metal to call Yoriko, who arrives and is stroked by Arakawa a few times. Then, he takes off his goggles and mouthpiece and kisses Yoriko on her big head.

According to Arakawa, saving Yoriko gave him a sense of accomplishment. He said that Yoriko probably also understands what he did for her.

Arakawa and Yoriko aren’t the only ones who have formed an unlikely friendship. American diver Randy Jordan also has a video of him petting a lemon shark in the waters of Florida. According to Jordan, the shark named Blondie comes to meet him every time he goes diving.

In the Philippines, some fishermen were seen hand-feeding giant whale sharks near the island of Cebu. Conservationist Shawn Heinrichs said it is uncommon for whale sharks to approach humans. He believes that this behavior is the result of whale sharks forming a bond with the fishermen, whom they see frequently.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Is it really possible for animals to have an emotional attachment to humans? Why or why not?
• Why do you think humans get emotionally attached to animals?

Discussion B

• What are acceptable human interactions with wild animals (e.g. feeding, petting)?
• In your opinion, is human intervention necessary to ensure the survival of wildlife?