Ningen – Japanese Mermaids?

A reader recently told me about Ningens, that is, Japanese mermaids, so I had to investigate! If you saw my previous articles about mermaids, you’ll already know how I stand on whether they exist or not. (Those articles can be found to the right in the tab marked “Most Popular”. Just scroll down.)

Ningen translates to “human” in Japanese, so we already have a clue that the Japanese who see them believe they are related to humans in some way. They have been seen by crew members on government operated whaling ships. The witnesses describe them as totally white and measuring about 66-98 feet long (20-30 meters)!

They further report that they seem to have fins or a large mermaid-like tail instead of legs. Some think they are human shaped, having legs and/or arms and even five-fingered hands.

One report states that crew members saw what they first thought was a submarine in the distance. They approached it and could see the object was shaped irregularly and wasn’t something man-made. They believed it was alive. After that the creature disappeared under the water.

Red Flags

I see a bunch of red flags in these accounts. No one seems to have a consistent description of this creature, other than the fact that they are always completely white.  The shape varies from one account to the other. I think that’s a good clue.

These whale hunters mostly ply their trade in the frigid waters around Antartica. An ocean full of melting icebergs. Icebergs that are consistently white. They’re also seen sometimes in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, but reports say they prefer frigid cold water, and they may be nocturnal.

So I have to wonder if these crew members are just seeing various melting icebergs and matrixing what they see into human form. We do it with clouds, don’t  we? And faces on tree bark?

I’m disappointed by these reports, because in my previous articles/blog posts, I mention that I believe sailors who have spent years on the sea are experts of their environment – now these reports make me wonder about that assumption. I feel these crew members should be able to tell the difference between calving/melting blocks of ice, and something actually swimming in the water.

History of Sightings

Ningen sightings began in the 1990s, but it wasn’t until 2007 that a Japanese magazine, Mu, published an article about them. They even included a Google Maps image of what they claim is a Ningen, but which also looks like a whale carcass, or perhaps a living whale, or an iceberg. See it to the right.

Some of the crew members on the whaling ships have reportedly taken photos of the creature they’ve seen, only to have them taken away by government officials. Remember their whaling ships are government run and the government officials would not want any hint of scandal associated with them.

Conspiracy Theories

So with the government taking away the photos, they’ve left the door wide open for conspiracy theories, much like what happened in the U.S.A. after Roswell. Reports from Japan say that there are many Men in Black-type agents  who warn witnesses to keep quiet about what they saw.

As I mentioned, there are many terrible “photos” of this creature on the internet. Some say that’s part of the conspiracy – put out disinformation and no one will believe it. However, if that’s true, it seems to have backfired because the Ningen phenomenon is huge in Japan.

Photographic “Evidence”

I’m going to share some photos of these Ningen that I found on the internet. Some, as you will see, are outright laughable. The first one (on the left) is an artist’s rendering of what a Ningen looks like.




































Any Truth to These Sightings?

I’ve read several theories as to what these crew members could be seeing.

  1. A new species of Giant Ray that is albino. Detractors say that if one existed, they would have been seen throughout history and sightings of the Ningen only began in 1990. They may not have been seen before because remember what I said in the Shag Harbor and Sognefjord USO post – there are 300 million trillion gallons of water on Earth – ANYthing could be hiding down there.
  2. Yokai: Some have speculated that one of Japan’s many mystical creatures (Yokai) may have come to life especially as it seems to be only Japanese who see them. This is the goofiest explanation in my opinion. If that’s true, why start in the 1990s? If that’s true, maybe it’s trying to tell them to stop hunting whales.
  3. USOs. I think there have been some very credible cases of alien craft seen under our waters (see the blog post about USOs: The Shag Harbor and Sognefjord Incidents), so I’m not against thinking some of these sightings may be USOs. However from all the photos that I’ve seen (bad or otherwise) none of them look like a USO.
  4. Aliens. Another report speculated they could be aliens that arrived on our planet in the 1990s and that’s why we never saw them before that time. I don’t see white blobs, some with arms and fingers, others not, building interstellar space ships. So I don’t buy it.

Best Explanation

Based on the evidence that I’ve been able to find, I think in most cases these people are just misidentifying melting icebergs. In other cases, there may be another “cryptid” that we’re only just learning about, like a giant albino ray. But I don’t see these blobby formations having anything whatsoever to do with mermaids. I’m sorry if that disappoints you, but I don’t want to be fooled. I want the truth, and that’s what I try to share with my readers.

Til the next time!


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