Real heroes don’t need thanks, or even a name, apparently.

In the late afternoon last Sunday, a six-year-old Japanese boy was at Hakozaki Wharf in Fukuoka City with his parents, older brother, and younger sister. The wharf is a popular spot for recreational fishing, despite being fairly close to the center of the city.

▼ It’s only a little over 10 minutes by car from Hakata Station, Fukuoka’s primary rail hub, to the wharf.

However, the family’s Sunday fishing outing took a frightening turn at around 5:10 p.m. The boy had become temporarily separated from the rest of his family, and slipped while walking along the edge of the wharf. Because it’s in an industrial area, there’s no gentle slope stretching down to a shoreline. Instead it’s a roughly two-meter (6.6-foot) drop to the water, and the kid, who wasn’t wearing a life jacket or any other sort of flotation device, fell right into the sea, which, as the video below shows, isn’t particularly calm where it hits the wharf.

Luckily, a 26-year-old Filipino man, who’s living in Japan under a technical trainee program, saw what happened and didn’t miss a beat. He quickly dove into the water and swam to the boy’s rescue, keeping him afloat until others above were able to lower fishing nets and buckets tied to ropes. After helping the boy get back up on dry land, the Filipino man followed, with neither of them sustaining any physical injuries. The boy showed signs of hypothermia and was taken to the hospital, but his condition was not life-threatening.

During the ordeal, someone had contacted the fire department and coast guard, who spoke with the Filipino man and asked for his name and identification, which he provided. However, when the boys’ parents asked him for his name and contact information as well, so that they could send him a token of their appreciation, he replied, in Japanese, “Nanoru hodo no mono de wan nai,” or…

“I’m not important enough for people to need to be concerned about my name.”

And with that, he turned and went home.

Nanoru hodo no mono de wan nai” isn’t a phrase you’ll find in many Japanese textbooks, but it’s a theatrical declaration you’ll hear in action movies or manga, often said by a samurai or some other sort of humble hero who’s just saved the day. Between the man’s heroic actions and dramatic choice of words, he’s been getting lots of praise from online commenters, including:

“That guy’s a true hero.”
“A superhero.”
“I want to be able to use that line at least once in my life.”
“He’s awesome. Leaping into action like that isn’t something that just anyone can do.”
“It takes a lot of courage.”
“Too cool. I hope that he’ll be blessed with happiness in his life.”

“If he hadn’t jumped in to save the child, it could have turned out very badly,” said a coast guard representative. So really, even if the Filipino man says he himself isn’t important, this is a reminder of just how huge a difference being ready to help those in a crisis can make.

Source: Asahi Shimbun, Tele Asa News, YouTube/ANNnewsCH
Top image: Pakutaso
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