Photo: Pakutaso
crime

Japanese pond owner breaks into tears after 3,000 fish die in robbery

22 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Kazunori Yamada runs an indoor fishing pond called Tsuribori Honpo in the town of Toki, Gifu Prefecture. When he arrived at the facility last Tuesday morning to get the place ready to open for the day, he noticed that someone had cracked the inset window on the building’s back door and broken into the office.

The burglars stole a few thousand yen in cash, along with the office WiFi router and the hard drive containing the data from the digital security camera system. As far as burglaries go, you could say that Tsuribori Honpo didn’t lose much, but the loss of property pales in comparison to the emotional damage the 48-year-old Yamada feels from the loss of life that occurred, as some 3,000 fish that were in the pond died as a result of the break-in. In addition to breaking the back window, the thieves also cut the building’s power line, which disabled the pond’s air pump and filter system, and by the time Yamada showed up for work on Tuesday morning, the fish had perished.

“To me, the fish were our company’s employees. My employees were killed,” said Yamada, who broke into tears multiple times while describing the incident, as seen in the video below.

“For five years we’ve cared for the fish, raised them, and now all I can say is I don’t know what to do,” Yamada said, his throat choked with sadness and sympathy. “The money we lost and the property damage, honestly, don’t matter at all compared to [the fish]. It hurts my heart so much that they were killed like this. This is so wrong.”

It might seem surprising that the owner of a fishing pond would have so much concern for the wellbeing of the same fish that his business encourages customers to try to catch. Indoor fishing ponds in Japan are sort of unique, though, in that they’re not always exclusively stocked with fish meant to be eaten.

Tsuribori Honpo was home to goldfish, koi, and sturgeon. Of those three, sturgeon are the only one that’s primarily a to-eat fish in Japan. Goldfish are never eaten in Japan, and so if you see them at fishing facilities in Japan, it’s usually with the idea that a customer will take home what they catch to keep as a pet, and while eating koi isn’t unheard of, they’re far more prized for their appearance than their appearance and their flavor, and most Japanese people would much rather have a koi in their garden than their kitchen.

Even if a fish is going to ultimately end up on a dinner plate, Japanese cultural values still hold that the animal’s life should be valued and treated with respect. This is, after all, a country where it’s customary to say Itadakimasu, or “I gratefully accept this,” before every meal, not only as thanks to the person who prepared it, but also to the plants and animals whose lives are about to nourish us. “Fish are living things, and I wish [the thieves] could understand the value of their lives,” said Yamada.

▼ As further proof of Yamada’s compassion, you can hear genuine joy and excitement in the video here where the staff discovers one fish that has managed to survive.

Yamada’s focus on the loss of life being the true tragedy here, the financial damage to the business is devastating. He estimates that the value of the fish was somewhere in the range of five to six million yen. The timing couldn’t be worse, either, coming during the summer vacation season when kids and families come to fish and also following two years of tough economic times due to the pandemic. The business is currently closed, and Yamada says there is currently little prospect of being able to reopen, though sympathetic online commenters have discussed the possibility of setting up a crowdfunding campaign to get Tsuribori Honpo back on its feet.

Location information

Tsuribori Honpo / つりぼり本舗

Address: Gifu-ken, Toki-shi, Hida Asano Asahimachi 1-4

岐阜県土岐市肥田浅野朝日町1-4

Website

Sources: Tokai TV via Yahoo! Japan News via Hachima Kiko, Tsuribori Honpo

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© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

22 Comments
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Sad story.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

sympathetic online commenters have discussed the possibility of setting up a crowdfunding campaign to get Tsuribori Honpo back on its feet.

This would be a worthy cause for a crowdfunding campaign.

Hopefully the burglars can be caught soon and be held responsible for the full damage they caused.

20 ( +21 / -1 )

Didn’t pay the Yakuza or some other maggots

-14 ( +6 / -20 )

Even if a fish is going to ultimately end up on a dinner plate,

Folks eat these?

Japanese cultural values still hold that the animal’s life should be valued and treated with respect. 

Maybe in the classrooms, coffee shops and cities in general, but if any wild animals start to interfere with farmers crops or animals, all rules are off the table. As with most farmers around the world.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

Rip!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Very unfortunate, but can recover and breed new fish,

I hope so..

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Something very fishy about this story.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Don't worry. The NPA will get these guys.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

These burglars did a very professional job, cutting cables, disabling security cameras and wifi. They should make a movie.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

« Japanese cultural values still hold that the animal’s life should be valued and treated with respect »

Really? I have been in several restaurants where they get a fish from an aquarium and cut shashimi from it in front of you without killing the fish beforehand.Crual.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

I feel for this guy and I hope they catch the responsible party and prosecute them to the fullest.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Does Japan have A GiveaLittle type service?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Very sad! Hope they find the thieves and punish them harshly!

one thing I disagree here is “Japanese cultural values still hold that the animal’s life should be valued and treated with respect” gimme a break, animal right in this country are a joke.

again what a sad story! Hope he rebuilds his business.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Really? I have been in several restaurants where they get a fish from an aquarium and cut shashimi from it in front of you without killing the fish beforehand.Crual.

Yet you went several times.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Truly sad

one must have a plan in case of emergencies but i myself a carefree person who usually is too careless;(

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Seems like a lot of work for “a few thousand yen” but sad story never the less!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

“Yet you went several times”

Seems like a good point but I was invited there both for business and by familly in law. Hard to suddenly leave the place when you discover the scene. Would never place such an order myself.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

As a koi keeper you dont have to speak any Japanese to feel his pain, to get fish to these sizes take time and money, its probably taken 2-3 year to get them to this size. once the filters are turned off the nitrites would have gone sky high this is probably killed a lot of fish, and the lack of oxygen, its soul destroying to see all of these fish floating, the smell must be horrendous too. poor bloke, I hope they catch the crooks and then they can buy all of the dead fish off him at the price they were worth before there actions killed them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Kazunori Yamada invested in a lot of yen into this enterprise and those burglars must have thought they were being funny by killing all those fish like they did. It's not funny. They should be caught and held accountable for this. It's devastating, enough to make anyone cry.

“Japanese cultural values still hold that the animal’s life should be valued and treated with respect”

Many cultures see it that way. Native American peoples give thanks to the Great Spirit for the animals (and plants) that 'gave their lives' so that the people can eat and live. I admire that outlook and attitude; I eat meat for health and nourishment. For food.

 have been in several restaurants where they get a fish from an aquarium and cut shashimi from it in front of you without killing the fish beforehand.Crual.

Have you ever heard of the kosher/Jewish butcher ethic? One exact merciful slaying cut to the animal, do it fast - then you start to process the meat. Make it as swift, and less of a mess as you can.

Fra pokeAug. 7  04:33 pm JST

Very sad! Hope they find the thieves and punish them harshly!

Thieves and vandals and goofhead pranksters. Like I said, it looks like cutting the power line and disabling the air pump and filter system these jerks must thought they were being 'cute' or funny. It's not funny and I hope they get charged for property damage, vandalism and other crimes as well as stealing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Such an incredibly sad story.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Glad to see all is not lost atleast One survive.

Yamada san , don’t worry the criminals will be brought to Justice.

Thats really a lot of losses for a single day.

when people give you a single reason that you are a failure, give them thousands reasons that you can do more better.

we know just words alone cannot relived your innermost pain, but don’t worry Justice will surely prevail.

stay blessed and strong.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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