A sad day for fugu blowfish everywhere. 

The most famous fugu (pufferfish) in Japan would arguably be the giant one hanging above the street outside Osaka’s beloved 100-year-old fugu restaurant Zuboraya. Measuring a whopping five metres (16 feet) long, three metres (10 feet) wide and three-and-a-half metres (11 feet) high, the giant blue-and-white fish with “Zuboraya” written across its belly had become something of a symbol of Osaka’s Shinsekai entertainment district over the years, but sadly that’s all in the past now, as the fish was removed from the area overnight.

The removal of the big fish was something that had been on the cards since June, when it was discovered that the lantern violated City laws stating signage must not extend into the street further than one metre (three feet). In June, the restaurant also announced it would be closing permanently on 15 September due to poor business as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

While the fish’s days were clearly numbered, the exact time it had left to swim in the sky above the restaurant remained under wraps, so it came as a surprise for everyone to learn that a removal crew had stepped in before dawn on 3 September to take the fish away.

▼ Video of the fish being removed under the cover of night.

Today, the absence of the giant blowfish had passersby stopping to take photos of the altered landscape, and the store posted a banner out the front that read, “Thank you for your longtime patronage. Be well, everyone. Well then! Goodbye.”

▼ Posted just below the area where the fish was once located, the sign reads like a sign-off from the big fugu itself.

After being removed by workers with crane trucks, the paper lantern was taken to a warehouse in Osaka City, where its future remains uncertain. Spa World, a public bath, pool, and hotel facility located about 100 metres up the street from Zuboraya has offered to take the large fish, but it’s yet to be revealed if this will go ahead.

Locals are keen to see the fish preserved in the area, so there’s hope the fugu will be resurrected in a similar way to Kuidaore Taro, Osaka’s beloved drum-playing, cymbal-crashing mechanical clown who sat outside a restaurant in Dotonbori from 1949 until its closure in 2008. Kuidaore Taro returned to its neighbourhood in 2009, where it’s been gracing the lobby of a building in Dotonbori ever since.

Here’s hoping the big fish returns to its own neighbourhood in the near future as well, because Shinsekai just won’t be the same without it.

Source: Livedoor News via Jin
Top image: Pakutaso (edited by SoraNews24)
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!