Although it is a little-known case in the west, an incident in the Kera region of Kochi City in Japan in the early-1970s is not only one of the most debated in the country, but a case that would leave behind physical evidence.
It is also a case, even in its native Japan, that was not widely discussed, however, until the early twenty-first century, over three decades after it occurred, when it was retold as a comic strip in a UFO magazine. Bizarrely, this retelling would ultimately lead to the case being reopened and reinvestigated.
It is a truly interesting account in that while there are cases with some similar aspects, this appears to be a rather unique encounter. Not least due to the several photographs the witnesses would take of the craft, as well as the number of adults who would corroborate the strange device, at least for a time, being in their possession.
A “Dull, Silver Hat” Hovering In The Air On The Walk Home From School!
On the afternoon of the 25th August 1972, 13-year-old Michio Seo was returning home from school, using the same route he would use every school day. On this afternoon, however, he would witness a bizarre, metallic object hovering in the air over a rice field that ran along the side of the road.
He would later describe it as looking like a “dull, silver hat” as he watched it move back and forth before it hovered again for a moment and then repeating the process. Seo would recall how the movement of the object reminded him of how a bat flies through the air.
Although a little unnerved, Seo was beyond curious. So much so, he approached the strange object and began making his way across the water-soaked field. However, before the could get too close, a strange beam shot out from the object in his direction.
With this, Seo began to back away immediately. He wasn’t sure if there was anyone inside this small craft, or if it was under any type of control, but he took the shot very much as a warning and decided against any further investigation.
He would rush home and after relieving himself of his school equipment, rushed back out again to tell his friends of this strange encounter. And, with safety in numbers, would look to return to where he witnessed the strange craft.
The Return Visits
Seo, along with his friends, Hiroshi Mori, Katsuoka Kojima, Yasuo Fujimoto, and “Yuji”, would return to the field shortly after, arriving at around 7 pm. They would keep watch for close to an hour with no activity to report. Then, however, the object returned and hovered over the field once more.
All five of the young boys watched the object as it hovered over the rice fields. As the dark arrived to claim the skies, however, the object itself began to glow and cast out a multicolored array of lights.
As the group began to cautiously approach the object it would let out a sudden and loud bang. At first, this froze the boys in fright. After a moment or two, though, they each turned and ran as fast as they could.
Over the coming nights, the boys would return to the field in the hope that the strange object would return once more. However, each night they would leave disappointed. That was until the evening of 4th September.
On that evening, at a little after 9:30 pm, the strange, metallic object returned. This time, it appeared to be much lower than normal, about three feet above the ground. Of more concern to the group of youngsters, though, was the that it was heading straight for them. Glowing brightly as it did so.
Once more, this would cause the five teenagers to quickly turn and run. They would arrive back from the field safely. Before they each returned to their respective homes, they would decide they would return the following night. Only then, they would have a camera with them.
Pictures And Retrieval
The following evening on the 5th September, the five young boys returned. Their efforts and patience, however, would go unrewarded. Undeterred, they would return the following evening. And this time, the night would be anything but uneventful.
On this evening, with night already gripping the sky above, the boys would spot the object hovering extremely low to the ground. Instead of trying to get any closer, one of them simply raised the camera and snapped a picture quickly. You can view that shot below.
As soon as the area lit up in the glow of the camera’s flash, the object burst into motion, spinning tightly and ascending directly upwards several feet.
As it did so, the boy with the camera managed to snap a second picture. Then, almost in response, the object sent out an intense flash of its own before descending once again. The boys watched in awe as the object continued to spin, as if it were trying to dig itself a tunnel in the ground below.
Then, it suddenly stopped. After several moments, the group approached, slowly.
Hiroshi Miro would continue forward, eventually bending down to pick up the strange, metallic craft. He would later claim that he witnessed “something moving” inside it. However, it is not clear what this might have been, or if he was certain of what he saw.
He would hold the object out in front of him, and one of the boys took a picture.
Miro would then wrap the object carefully and place it inside his backpack. From there, the five friends would make their way to Miro’s parent’s home, where they could examine their find a little closer.
Examination And Disappearance!
Once there, they would carefully unwrap it and begin exploring it more closely. It was around 4 inches across and around 8 inches high, with strange circular grooves on the underside. Furthermore, on the middle section of the round underneath, was a square with 31 holes, surrounded by three strange symbols.
Although they had all seen this object fly on several occasions, including this evening, now it appeared decidedly still. They studied it closely, turning it over and around. However, try as they might, they could not see or discover what might make it fly. There was no obvious engine or propulsion system.
They would ultimately decide to take the object to Fujimoto’s home, whose father was, at the time, the director of the Center for Science Education. He had said to his son if they happened to “catch” this strange object he would look at it. However, when he did, he would declare he could see nothing of any real importance about it. He would later claim “regret (at) not having studied it more”.
The boys would place the object back in Mori’s backpack. They would decide what to do with it later. However, the following day, when they went to examine the object once more, it was gone. It had seemingly completely disappeared.
No Appearances In The Rain?
Despite the mysterious disappearance of the device from right under their collective noses, the five friends would continue to return to the field where they first witnessed the strange craft. They would even spot it on several more occasions.
They began to take the sightings much more seriously. So much so, they noticed that the object only appeared on dry days and not on days where it was raining.
On the evening of 19th September, the five teenagers returned to the rice fields. With them, they had a large bucket of water and several rags. They could see the craft hovering in the field as they arrived.
They rushed over to where it sat and threw the rags over it, eventually leaping in its direction to ensure it was completely covered. Once achieved, they would pour the water over the top of it. Then, turning it over, they would steadily pour water in the holes on the underside. Almost instantly, the object began to glow, and an ear-splitting buzzing sound cut the night air rudely.
So loud was the buzzing sound that it began to strike fear in the boys. They would back away from the now soaking device. As they did so, they would pick up any stones or rocks that were nearby and lob them at the object.
Once satisfied that it was again incapacitated, they would scoop it up. This time, they would return to Katsuoka Kojima’s home where they would examine it further.
A Device Full Of Miniature “Complicated Electronic Equipment!”
As small as the craft was, when they peered inside through the holes on the underneath, there appeared to be several levers, symbols, and other mechanical equipment. Indeed, it looked, for all intents and purposes like the inside of a miniature spacecraft.
When they managed to separate the top and bottom sections – albeit, only marginally – they were able to view “complicated electronic equipment” inside. They also saw a strange substance inside this apparent cockpit area.
For the first time, the boys wondered if there was a living entity inside when they captured it. Had the water reacted in such a way that turned the creature into this strange mush? Remember, Mori had stated he thought he saw something moving inside when he first picked up the object several weeks earlier.
Then, with a large hammer, they struck the object several times to test the exterior. To their amazement, despite the (relative) lightness of it, none of the blows left even a mark, much less any damage. This is an interesting point in itself. Multiple UFO reports and accounts make reference to a material that has the appearance of steel or iron but is also ultralight. Most remarkable, though, is the absolute strength and resiliency of these mystery exteriors.
In a detail that perhaps is a testament to the authenticity of the account, the boys were only stopped from placing the object Kojima’s parent’s oven by his mother, who refused to allow any further such experiments in her home.
They would wrap the object back up in the rags. Before they parted ways for the evening, the consensus between them was that the object was some kind of surveillance device, probably remote controlled. Where it came from, however, and who was controlling it was something that eluded them.
A Final Vanishing
They would make a decision to take the strange object to class and inform their wider circle of friends of their discovery. As Seo and Mori were staying together that evening, they would take care of the object until the following day.
However, when all five of the boys came to unwrap their prize the following evening, to their shock and dismay, it was gone. After accepting “defeat” they would stumble upon it later that evening in the garden. Seemingly unable to move once again, the boys would pick up the strange craft once more.
This time, they would dab silver paint on the dome section of the craft. If it should escape them again, unless someone cleaned it off, they would know it was the same craft if they saw it again. They would take turns in keeping watch over the device, and would no longer leave it out of their sight, even for a moment.
In fact, so methodical was the boys’ approach, they would seal the object in plastic. And would then place it inside a bag of water. They would then make sure that the bag was physically tied to the wrist of one of the boys.
However, on the evening of the 22nd September, as they were on their way to the rice field with the mystery object with them, the boy with the string tied to his wrist felt a sudden pull from inside the package.
When the boys opened it, even though it was still sealed and tied, the object itself was no longer inside. It was as if it had literally vanished into thin air from inside the package.
Top-Secret Technology? An Alien Drone? Or A Machine From Another Dimension?
Despite the resurgence of interest in the case, as well as the reopening of the investigation in 2007, just what might be behind the mystery objects remains exactly that. As you might imagine, there are many theories from all corners of the UFO community.
That the devices were, in fact, top-secret test models would appear relatively sound. Until, that is, we factor in their disappearance on multiple occasions. Then, we should consider whether the case is nothing more than a hoax. Once more, this appears unlikely, simply due to how little lasting notoriety or financial return they received.
Some researchers state the devices are likely to be “alien drones”, on Earth on reconnaissance missions. Other researchers ponder whether the devices were due to some kind of “rip” in between realms. One allowing an object from another dimension to travel here. This might also explain why the object seemingly vanished on three separate occasions.
Perhaps that is why activity such as this is seemingly limited to Japan. Might it be that there is some planetary anomaly that allows for some rip in dimensions at this particular point on the planet?
Just one person who supports this theory is, Sachiko Oyama. When she was 9-years-old in June 1976, she witnessed an object exactly like that in Kera. Only in the small village of Agawa.
She would witness it while going outside to bring in the family cat. She described the object as a “silver hat” which made a “hissing sound”. Oyama would even reach out and touch it, leaving a strange substance on her fingers before it ascended directly upwards at speed.
Was this the same device as the one witnessed by the five boys four years earlier? The video below looks into the case a little further.