The entire world is filled with intriguing and unknown phenomena that have long fascinated experts. Japan is home to one of the world’s oldest cultures, which has preserved the greatest secrets of past civilizations. Legends about the undersea ship (USOs) abound in the island country, many of which are linked to Masuda-no-Iwafune, an 800-ton monolith in Asuka Park.
The story starts in 1803, during the Edo period when Japanese fisherman hauled an Underwater Submerged Object off the coast of Hitachi province’s eastern coast. Legend has it that the fisherman came upon a Utsuro-Bune, an adorned hollow-ship with an alive foreign lady within. The ship was believed to measure six meters wide and nearly four meters tall, with symbols resembling old Egyptian hieroglyphs on the internal walls.
An example of a woman from Hyryki-sh who is characterized as being between the ages of 18 and 20, well-dressed, and attractive. (Photo courtesy of Nishio, Aichi Prefecture’s Iwase Bunko Library)
Inside the ship, there was a lady with light skin and red hair. She held a box and spoke in an obscure language that the fisherman couldn’t understand. Three distinct manuscripts recount the account about her and the ship: Toen shsetsu (1825), Hyry kish (1835), and Ume-no-chiri (1844).
Initially, there was speculation that it was an edited account about the wreck of a Russian whaling ship, but there is no mention of wrecks in official papers. Professor Kazuo Tanaka claims to have discovered Utsuro-Bune after reading American UFO sightings and Japanese mythology in which he saw flying saucer pictures in Edo period texts.
Yashiro Hirokata, a shogunate retainer and calligrapher who was also a member of the Toenkai circle, wrote Hirokata zuihitsu (Essays by Hirokata; 1825). (Photo courtesy of Japan’s National Archives)
Tanaka initially assumed it was an edited narrative about the sinking of a Russian whaling ship, but he couldn’t find any evidence to back up his theory in the official documentation. He discovered more information and resources regarding Utsuro-Bune as he dug deeper. He claims to have discovered 11 such manuscripts that recount the story of Utsuro-Bune, a Hitachi province resident. Two of them, Mito bunsho and Banke bunsho, related legends that reportedly occurred in 1803.
Tanaka discovered an illustration of a woman dressed similarly to a Buddhist statue of Shofukuji at the Shfukuji temple in Kamisu in “Mito bunsho.” The paper mentions a legend about Princess Konjiki (Golden Princess), who arrived in Hitachi province via sea in a cocoon-shaped boat. The people assisted her in regaining her health, and she returned the favor by teaching sericulture.
The Utsuro-bune symbols are compared to those from RAF Bentwaters and Roswell.
Another document, Banke bunsh, details the exact location of the ship at the time of its arrival. It landed at Hitachihara Sharihama, now Hasaki Shirahama in Kamisu, according to a map created by legendary cartographer In Tadataka.
“This ship was likened to the shape of a Japanese incense burner,” claimed Nick Pope, a former employee of the British Government’s Ministry of Defence and UFO researcher. It resembles a flying disk or a flying saucer. There were many little metal plates on the outside of this vessel, comparable to heat-resistant tiles found on a space shuttle.”
Asuka Park’s Masuda-no-iwafune.
According to some sources, the Masuda-no-iwafune at Asuka Park in Japan, an 800-ton monolithic cut from a single block of granite, follows the description of the Utsuro-Bune. It measures 36 feet long, 26 feet wide, and 15 feet tall. There are two three-foot square holes in the rock as well.
The monolith could be caved in “commemoration of the building of Masuda Lake, which was originally located nearby (now drained and part of Kashiwara City),” according to Dr. John Syrigos. Other beliefs speculated that it was an antique astronomical observatory or a royal family mausoleum.
Masuda is the name of a place, and iwafune is the Japanese word for “rock ship.” Some think the rock ship descended from the sky directly to Earth. The Asuka Park monolith, according to ancient astronaut theorist Giorgio A. Tsoukalos, could be a sky boat, as depicted in Japanese folklore. “I suppose with the combination of those legends of celestial beings, this may be some form of the portrayal of one of those flying vehicles that our ancestors may have witnessed,” he speculated.
Although there are many legends surrounding the Masuda-no-Iwafune and Utsuro-Bune, their origin story remains a mystery. Did the Japanese have any encounters with extraterrestrials? Is Masuda-no-Iwafune a true-to-life model of a flying boat?