Will our UFO-chasing reporter finally get the answers he’s been looking for since the alien encounter he says he had in high school?

At the risk of sounding arrogant, we’ve got a pretty impressive collective resume of life experiences here at SoraNews24. Our staff includes world travelers, former employees of some of the world’s largest and most prestigious tech and IT firms, and even one person who contributed to making San Dimas High School Football rule. But perhaps no one has a more unusual episode in the past than our Japanese-language reporter Masanuki, and no, we’re not talking about that time he live-streamed himself sleeping for several hours in order to stay in Japan’s cheapest hotel.

According to Masanuki, back when he was in high school he saw a UFO. It wasn’t a flying saucer, but instead a pair of connected triangles he saw floating in the sky, which dropped a glowing orb.

▼ Masanuki’s detailed drawing of the incident

Unfortunately, this was in the days before Masanuki was employed as a professional journalist, and so he was unable to flash his press credentials and demand an interview before both the alien craft and the orb mysteriously vanished from sight. Ever since, though, he’s been consumed with a desire to know what happened on that fateful day, and his quest for the truth recently took him to Mito, the capital city of Ibaraki Prefecture.

Specifically, Masanuki had come to Kurefushi no Sato Kofun Park, which boasts one of east Japan’s most impressive clusters of kofun (burial mounds). However, as we mentioned, Masanuki wasn’t here to form a connection with the ground, but one with the stars. He’d heard rumors that there’s a special place inside the park where you can receive ancient messages from space, so he continued making his way towards the back of the park…

…and then he saw it.

That’s the Hanimaru Tower, a massive version of the clay Haniwa dolls that were placed inside kofun back when the mounds were the preferred way of honoring prominent people who’d passed away, an era roughly 1,500 years ago. Haniwa are usually small figurines, but the Hanimaru Tower stands 17.3 meters (56.7 feet) tall, making it almost as big as the Great Sphinx of Giza or Tokyo’s life-size Gundam statue.

However, in order to receive a message from beyond the stars, you actually have to consult the Haniwa of Hope, another figure that’s housed inside the Hanimaru Tower.

And so Masanuki began climbing the staircase found on the tower’s backside. With each successive step, he could feel himself getting closer to unraveling the mystery of the UFO that had been haunting his memories since his youth.

▼ On the way up, he also had time to ask himself “Why is there so much weird stuff in Mito?”

Finally, he rounded a corner of the staircase and gazed upon what he’d come for: the Haniwa of Hope!

Once again, the Haniwa of Hope is a little different from a normal Haniwa doll, as it’s pretty much just a face set into a wall. This makes it resemble Italy’s Bocca della Verità/Mouth of Truth, and even the way it operates is similar. A sign posted next to the Haniwa of Hope informs visitors “Gently insert your hand into the mouth of the Haniwa of Hope. An ancient message from space will come to you.”

This was it. Masanuki wiped the excitement sweat from his palms and placed his hand inside the Haniwa of Hope’s mouth.

Then he waited…

and then!

Nothing. Absolutely nothing happened.

Masanuki was baffled. Maybe the Haniwa of Hope’s messaging system works through telepathy, and he was doing something wrong that was preventing the transmissions from the alien lifeforms trying to send them his way? Hoping to raise his consciousness, he made his way back down to the ground and walked to the park management’s office, where he asked the staff member on duty how he could open his mind and hear the voice of the cosmos, to which the attendant replied:

“Oh, the Haniwa of Hope has been broken since years ago. You can’t get messages from it anymore.”

Masanuki was sad to hear this, but he also found the story a little suspicious. Why wouldn’t the park repair this literally monumentally important connection between humans and aliens, especially when they’d had years to do it?

But something about the attendant’s words kept coming back to Masanuki…

“Oh, the Haniwa of Hope has been broken since years ago.”
“…broken since years ago…”
“…years ago…”

Years ago…when Masanuki was still a high school student! Of course! Either the aliens, or some shadowy government organization, knew that the teenage Masanuki had spotted the ship, and would be coming for answers. They must have sent agents to damage the Haniwa of Hope before he could use it to expose their existence to the rest of the world, and are no doubt continuing to apply political pressure to keep it from being prepared (probably by blackmailing local officials with photos of them eating their ramen the wrong way).

But the joke’s on you, alien/government cabal, because Masanuki will never stop looking for the truth, as long as he still breathes and our boss still agrees to bankroll his search.

Park information
Kurefushi no Sato Kofun Park / くれふしの里古墳公園
Address: Ibaraki-ken, Mito-shi, Ushibushicho 201-2

Photos ©SoraNews24
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