The most common human-animal bond is between humans and their pets, but there are also some eccentric couples that are incredibly touching. Indeed, the unique bond between 79-year-old diver Hiroyuki Arakawa and a strange fish named Yoriko has captured the hearts of people everywhere. Arakawa started diving at the age of 18 and has loved being underwater ever since. When the gates of a Shinto shrine were built 56 feet under water some 30 years ago, he was given the job of supervising the construction. That's when he first met Yoriko, an Asian sheep wrasse (or kobudai) who lives right by the temple gate. For many years, Arakawa would visit Yoriko at her home on Tateyama Bay in central Japan.
One of the most exciting aspects of their friendship has to do with Yoriko's looks. Kobudai are so called in Japan because of the characteristic bump (kobu) on their forehead, which gives them a supernatural, almost human appearance. "If you look closely from the front, they look like a human face," Arakawa commented in an interview with Great Big Story. "If you look closely, you think she looks like someone you know."
Over time, they got used to each other's presence. Their mutual awareness was also crucial on a particular day when Arakawa noticed a fish was injured. Yoriko had a mouth injury that made it impossible for her to find food on her own, which could have resulted in her death. Determined to cure his friend, he spent the next ten days feeding Yoriko the crab meat he had opened for her.
Luckily, it didn't take long for Yoriko to heal, and in no time she was curious again. The best part? The fish appears to have noticed its savior and strengthened its bond. "I think anyone can get an animal's attention by feeding it, but touching it or interacting with it is more difficult," Arakawa admits. "I would say we understand each other. It's not like we're talking... I kissed her once. I'm the only one she would let that happen to."
The man isn't sure if it's in the nature of a kobudai or not to form such a bond, but either way he appreciates their friendship. "That's probably because there's a sense of trust between us. I think she knows that I saved her... that I helped her when she was badly injured. So I'm proud that I can do it," says Arakawa. "I have an incredible sense of accomplishment in my heart."