9 pillars of light appear in night sky above coastal Japanese town

These Are (Not) Aliens.

Tharun Suresh | May 19, 2024, 03:20 PM



An otherworldly sight was spotted above a town in Tottori prefecture, Japan, on May 11, 2024.

A user by the name of Maashii posted to X (formerly Twitter) an intriguing picture of what appears to be nine pillars of light appearing in the night sky above Daisen, a coastal town:

ninebeams Photo from @maashii_taiyo/X.

According to his X biography, Maashii works in Daisen as a "tourism producer". He told Hint-pot, which reported on the story on May 14, that the lights could be seen in the direction of the Sea of Japan.

Maashii also told Hint-pot that he has only seen these lights three or four times since he moved to Daisen from Tokyo nine years ago. When he spotted them, he quickly pulled out his smartphone to snap a picture.

Another X user by the name of totoro8201 claims to have spotted the same lights from Nariishi beach, located on the same stretch of coastline just 12.7km east of Daisen, according to Google Maps.

The user posted this in a reply to Maashii's tweet:

lights Photo from totoro8201/X.

Netizens replying to the post pointed out that the scene resembled something out of the popular Japanese anime "Neon Genesis Evangelion".

All the same, the lights have nothing to do with angels or extraterrestrials. Rather, they have to do with fish.

Fish-attracting light pillars

Maashii told Hint-pot that this phenomenon is known in Japan as "Isaribi Kochu".

According to Japan Today"Isaribi Kochu" literally means "fish-attracting light pillars". The article was reporting on a similar "pillar of light" sighting back in 2015.

Japan Today explained that "Isaribi", literally "fishing fires", refers to the lights that are placed on fishing boats to attract larger catches. The practice is fairly common in squid fishing.

As temperatures cool overnight, crystals sometimes form in the air above the lit-up fishing boats. If the conditions are just right for the formation of large crystals without any precipitation, the beams can form as light from the boats reflects off the crystals.

Top photo from @maashii_taiyo/X