The Unexplained: Was this the first recorded UFO event?

In 1803, the strange boat drifted ashore on fief of Lord Ogasawara in Japan. The old documents with illustrations such as this one call it “a mystery of substanxe”

The Japanese fishermen found a young woman inside the capsule, and she was like no woman they had ever seen before. 

Those of us who are drawn to the strange have a sort of card file in our memories of all the bizarre subjects that have been written about.  It is a handy reference, right there in our heads.  I know of a large number of these oddities.  Every now and then something crosses our paths that we have never heard of before.  It is rare but it does happen.  One such subject is the Utsuro-Bune Event.  I don’t remember ever hearing of it, at all.

This tantalizing mystery is recorded in several old Japanese documents, for that is where the event is said to have happened—Japan.  One of the main analyzers of these old documents call it a mystery of substance.

Tanaka Kazuo is an esteemed professor emeritus at Gifu University.  Tanaka is an optical engineer specialist by profession, but he has an all-consuming hobby on the side—that of studying the Mystery of Utsuro-Bune.  He may even be the foremost living authority on this odd event, a legend.  Does he believe the event really happened?  He won’t commit himself to that, but there are many others who feel that facts point to the possibility that the legend is much, much more.

Here is the story:  Several independently-written Japanese texts tell the tale of a strange object drifting on the water toward the Japanese shore in March of 1803.  This was in the Hitachi Provence on Japan’s eastern coast.  It seemed to be a capsule, a pod.  The rough translation for Utsoro Bune is hollow boat.

Sara Marie Hogg

This same story appears in three old well-known, but different texts.  The texts are accompanied by ink illustrations done at the time the texts were written, and included with them:  One was written in 1825, composed by Kyokutei Bakin, Tales from a Rabbit Garden.

Another was from the Edo Period, 1835, Diaries and Stories, author unknown.  A third important work is a manuscript by Nagahashi Matajuro, Plum Dust.  The tale and illustrations appear in other places, but these three are the most prominent.

A summary of the legend is such:  When a strange and foreign object was noticed on the Japanese shoreline by fishermen in 1803, it was towed to land.  What was this craft?  If it was a boat, it was like nothing these fishermen had never seen.  The craft was described as looking like a rice cooking pot or an incense burner.

The upper part of the contraption was dome-like—the bottom part was covered by protective brazen plates.  They were calculated, for protection, it seemed.  The domed top had at least four windows made of clear crystal-like glass.  The windows were then covered by bars.

When towed to land, they found a young woman inside the capsule, they guessed to be 18-20 years old.  She was like no woman they had ever seen before.  She had strange skin, almost pink.  She had red hair and eyebrows.  Her hairdo had white, fluffy extensions fastened to it.  Her clothing was of a long, flowing unknown fabric.  She spoke, but they could not understand her words, nor could she understand theirs.

She clutched a box, tightly, and would not let anyone touch it or look inside the chest, made of a very strange material.  The fishermen did look inside the pod-like craft.  In it were two sheets of fabric, like bedsheets.  There was a container of water, some cake, and what looked like kneaded meat.  The inside walls were covered in written texts that were not readable or understandable.

The young woman was friendly and mannerly, but no method of communication could be devised.  The fishermen who came upon her felt it best to return her to her craft and set her adrift again.  They did not want to be blamed with interference by whatever entity had caused the craft to come to their shore.

Was she a princess from a distant land?  Was she being punished for a crime?  Maybe she was from a land under the sea, or from somewhere in the heavens.  The possibilities were all too scary to think about.  They helped her inside—she did not protest—and set her back afloat.

Where did the odd capsule come from?  Where did it go?  Who was the woman?  Why did her story turn up in many different documents along with illustrations of her capsule?

Maybe it was one of the first recorded UFO events.

Sara Marie Hogg is the author of Quite Curious, a collection of true stories about the bizarre and unexplained. Please click HERE to find the book on Amazon.

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