People have heard of tales about the giant squid, with stories describing the marine animal too enormous and terrifying. And for centuries, it only remained among tales and legends until last year when a joint US-Japan venture explored the deep seas in search for the giant squid, which locals call ‘daio ika.’ People nowadays don’t even have to dive into the sea to have a glimpse of the creature. A preserved specimen of the gigantic invertebrate is now on exhibit at a museum in Tokyo. Its tentacles might even challenge the length of visitors coming to see it.
The National Museum of Nature and Science in Ueno District began displaying the specimen of an 18-metre daio ika on July 6 for the museum’s Shinkai (Deep Sea) exhibition. So far, the exhibit has already lured 450,000 visitors. The discovery of the giant squid began when NHK and Discovery Channel collaborated in search for the legend. Using a special camera, designed to make no sound while mimicking the bioluminescent light coming from deep-sea jellyfish, the Japanese national broadcasting company and the U.S.-based documentary channel were able to capture on video the creature of legend.
The 630-metre deep joint exploration of NHK and Discovery Channel was made off Chichijima, an island that is part of Ogasawara archipelago in July 2012. In January, NHK featured the documentary film of the exploration. Called “Legends of the Deep: Giant Squid,” the broadcast even garnered a 16.8 percent viewer rating, which is unusually high for a documentary film. Even foreign broadcasting networks, including BBC, secured broadcasting rights for the program.
The squid had a golden body and jet black eyes. According to Prof. Sakana from Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, these features intrigue people, who thought that squids’ eyes are round. However, what they saw were oval orbits. “Its eyes look just like a human’s,” the professor said. One of the visitors to the exhibit even came all the way from Hokkaido. Hikaru Hashimoto, a third-grade pupil from Hakodate must’ve been proud to have seen the giant squid in person. “It’s very popular at my school,” said the 9-year old. “If you don’t know about it, you will be so behind.” People can visit the museum in Ueno until the 6th of October.
[via Asahi Shimbun]