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You may have thought that the Loch Ness Monster had cornered the market on fresh-water cryptids, but Japan has one of its own mythical lake beasts. There may be a monster lurking in the depths of Kyushu’s Lake Ikeda, a monster who goes by the terrifying name of… Issie-kun.
Lake Ikeda, at just 15 km around and with a maximum depth of 233 meters, is still the largest lake in Kyushu, which just goes to show that there are not that many lakes in Kyushu. It’s a caldera lake, meaning it doesn’t connect to the ocean and depends mostly on precipitation to maintain water levels.
The lake is supposedly also the home of a huge saurian creature called Issie, or Issie-kun, to give him the diminutive male suffix the city seems to prefer. Issie was first spotted by a family in 1978. Twenty witnesses reported seeing some black humps several meters in length moving through the water. Later that same year, a man named Toshiaki Matsuhara caught the creature on film.
▼ It’s Issie! …or some glare on the water. Or maybe some lake weeds? Whatever. Proof!
Since then, the tourism authorities have been promoting the Issie story to attract visitors to the region. There is even a mythology to explain Issie’s creation. In the story, a white mare lived on the shores of the lake with her foal. When the foal was captured by samurai, the white mare leapt into the lake in despair, transforming into a huge water creature. She surfaces now and then to look for her child. There is no explanation as to why Issie is a female in the story, but the monster is generally considered male. Another mystery!