Taro Makeburu, a stage comedian, used to be a fisherman. A resident of the Izu Islands, he enrolled in a public high school whose curriculum, understandably, offered numerous subjects related to oceanography.
Magazine columnist Kureichi Matsuzawa has long been a fan of Makeburu's humorous fish stories, which, Matsuzawa notes, can't get too raunchy or personal when he's performing in public as they might alienate the audience.
But get him in private and, well, you wind up reeling in something a bit bestial.
We're not talking about legends of making it with mesmerizing mermaids, but something that's the genuine thing. Like manta rays.
"Almost everybody in the fishing business has had sex with a manta at some point," Makeburu asserts.
What!!! A manta??? You mean one of those enormous, intimidating winged things with a stinger on their tail that looks like an aquatic Batman?
Yep. After all, fisherman out on ships spend a loooonggg time at sea without ever encountering a woman, and, well, let's face it, they can get pretty horny. No, dammit, let's make that incredibly horny. Even desperate enough to do it with a manta. Right?
"Nah," shrugs Makeburu. "Coastal fishermen poke them too."
Apparently it's a ritual of manhood, done out of recognition of the dangers of life on the sea.
Before mounting one of these intimidating creatures, points out J.K. special, it is "absolutely essential" that its stinger be removed. Yes, that certainly would make sense.
And of course, there's the matter of protocol. To wit, the ship's captain, if he so chooses, is entitled to go first.
Is your mind suitably boggled? No? Ready for some more?
"A manta's ... thing is kind of similar to a human's," Makeburu says.
Okay, well ... not exactly. More than a reproductive organ, it's basically an organ of elimination. So engaging in sex with a manta is basically an act of deep-sea sodomy.
"It's shallow and there's resistance at the other end, so the feeling isn't that good," is how he describes it.
At least the manta survives the violation. "With most fish, we just whack 'em, but we release the manta's we screw back into the ocean," Makeburu relates.
A curious Matsuzawa wonders ... if the captain had an STD, wouldn't the other crew members who had sex with the manta contract it too?
"That's right," grins Makeburu. "So some guys slip on condoms before they do it. Once I came down with the clap. But we were in port around that time and I did it with a woman, so I don't have any way of knowing if I picked it up from her, or from the manta."
Is it common, then, for marine students to lose their virginity to a manta?
"Well, no, actually it's more common for them to lose it to a moray eel," he confides.
What??!! Isn't that, like, dangerous, as in crazy?
"You can stick it in until it bites," he says. "But if you pull it away too fast the skin on your cock will tear."
Apparently once out of the water a moray becomes less aggressive. So you can force its mouth open with your hands, and then stick in your cock and let it chew on your chin-chin.
Of course you can't actually call that sex either; it's only oral sex. Or as an Italian fisherman might croon, "That's a moray!"
Should you happen to find yourself climbing on a seaside crag, you might come across a type of anemone known as "isoginchaku." And this, says Makeburu, bodes well for some fishy frolic.
The creature gets its name from the old Japanese coin purse called a "kinchaku," which puckers tightly in the center when you pull on the drawstrings.
"So if you stick in your you-know-what, it'll snap shut around it," he says. "You don't need any foreplay at all. Just ram the old avenger home. It feels goooood," he grins, rolling his eyes.
Alas, sighs Jitsuwa Knuckles Special, Japan's fishing industry is fading fast, and the charming old customs it spawned appear almost certainly doomed. Someday, perhaps soon, all that will remain are these titillating tales, about romances between the men who went to sea and the obliging creatures they encountered therein.
(By Masuo Kamiyama, contributing writer)