Kabagon — The Sea Monster

An unidentified sea creature with very bulbous eyes, which was later named Kabagon.

Image by Barroa from Pixabay

In the Japanese newspaper “Manichi Daily News” on July 18, 1971, a curious article was published about how Japanese sailors off the coast of New Zealand encountered an unidentified sea creature with very bulbous eyes, which was later named Kabagon.

“A goggle-eyed monster spooked the crew of the 253-ton Kompira Maru while observing their fishing operations off the south coast of New Zealand,” the note began, with a drawing of the creature by the ship’s captain.

“A team of 26 people recently returned to Yaizu Port, Shizuoka Prefecture. Crew members reported that the goggle-eyed monster’s head was about 1.5 meters above the surface of the sea, and its eyes appeared to be about 15 cm in diameter.

The sketch of the creature was drawn by the captain of the ship. The monster had a nose like a deformed giant, so they named it “Kabagon”, after Kaba, a specific Japanese term for an animal that lives in water.
The ship’s log showed the date of the incident at around noon on April 28 and the location at 44.15 degrees south latitude and 173.34 degrees east longitude, about 40 kilometers southeast of Lyttelton, New Zealand, off the South Island.

The depth of the sea at that place was about 40 meters, the weather was good, and the wind was blowing from the north. According to the fishermen, the animal looked somewhat like a hippopotamus. But one of them noticed that hippos live only in freshwater.

According to the fishermen, when their boat approached the monster about 30 meters, and the loaded harpoon gun was ready, it disappeared. New Zealand Weekly Magazine later reported that strange footprints had been found on the Lyttelton Peninsula.

Regarding the resemblance to hippos, besides the fact that hippos cannot physically live in salt water, they only live in Africa, which is very far from New Zealand.

There were versions where the Japanese could see a giant walrus, but walruses are not found in this region either, they live in the north.
And even if it was a walrus that somehow sailed to New Zealand, then, firstly, it must be a female walrus, because no one has seen the creature’s tusks, and secondly, female walruses are much smaller than males in size, and if it had been a walrus, it was abnormally gigantic.


The eyes, about 15 cm in diameter, are a particularly remarkable detail, as neither hippos nor walruses, even the largest, have such huge eyes. It is also worth noting that Japanese sailors encountered many sea creatures during their work, and if they admit that they saw something strange, then this is clearly not the usual local resident.

As for the mysterious tracks on Lyttelton beach, very little is known about them, and the presence of ways already confirms that it was not a walrus, walruses do not leave tracks as such.

By the way, many Japanese have discovered that the spectacle-eyed Kabagon monster is suspiciously similar to Umiboza, a sea spirit (yokai), which in Japanese mythology was often depicted as a primitive whale or catfish with huge bulging eyes.

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