On 2 July at approximately 5:30pm, a group of junior high school students were playing around the banks of the Ara River in Toda City, Saitama Prefecture when they spotted something floating near the river’s edge.

Thinking it was a soccer ball, the trio of 15 year olds began to pull it in with a tree branch. However, upon closer inspection the “soccer ball” turned out to be a human skull.

This horrific discovery has alerted everyone to a grim reality about Saitama Prefecture: it’s sorely lacking in physical education, especially competitive sports.

Granted there are a lot of variations to soccer balls in terms of design but I think if you were to ask anyone to draw a soccer ball on a sheet of paper, you’d get the typical white sphere with little black pentagons around it.

If I had to imagine a ball that a skull would resemble, a volleyball springs to mind first. Still though, in the name of sciencey type stuff, let’s compare various popular sports balls with a human skull.

Okay, that got a little ridiculous near the end. There’s no way a bowling ball would be floating in a river. And even though the eye sockets and other crevices does lean towards a soccer ball, I still say their PE teacher would be disappointed.

Sports equipment identification problems aside, the youngsters did do the right thing and immediately reported the remains to the police. Authorities are currently trying to identify the owner of the skull, but we fear it may be too late.

Source: Saitama Shimbun via Golden Times (Japanese)
Images: Amazon 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6