Mysteries, Oddities, and Everything Strange: Japanese Metal Ball

Bridget Vaughan, Staff Writer

Japanese Metal Ball: Dragon-Like

The Chinese spy balloons that have been found all across the world are the subjects of international attention. Everyone wants to know what exactly their purpose really was, and since the Chinese government has been less than eager to divulge, speculation has run rampant. The balloons were technically classified as Unidentified Flying Objects (or UFOs), and a term so commonly associated with alien life being assigned to a domestic object brings into question the nature of UFOs themselves. Although the Chinese spy balloons are being hunted across the globe, there have been mysteries springing up all across the world that some are even linking to these events. And the metal ball that washed up on the shores of Japan is just one of these strange events.

So what even is this metal sphere? It surfaced on Enshu Beach, located in the city of Hamamatsu on the eastern coast of Japan’s main island Honshu. During the week of February 22, 2023, the ball appeared with no context or possible origins. Local officials utilized x-ray scanning technology to discover that the ball was completely hollow on the inside. This way, they were able to affirm it wasn’t in danger of detonating and possibly causing damage in the surrounding area. Despite this, there are still no clues or leads that could help identify the original purpose of the ball.

The ball measures 1.5 meters in diameter (almost 5 feet) and its weight is currently unknown. It was discovered by a woman who was walking in the area and appears to be a mix of orange and brown with two handles protruding from the side. This would support the hypothesis police concocted that it was some sort of buoy or floating object attached to a seacraft that simply dislodged. An investigation into the ball was launched immediately, as 200 meters of the surrounding area was roped off and explosive experts arrived to investigate what could possibly be inside the sphere. One broadcasting service released footage of an investigation of the ball, which yielded no intriguing results. 

The ball will be removed from the beach very soon, and officials believe there is no sort of spy equipment or potential danger that could result from its presence. One local reported that the ball had been located in the exact same spot for a month or more and he was confused as to why so much attention was drawn to it. In any normal times, this ball likely would not have garnered international attention, but after the spy balloon crises across the globe, paranoia is at an all-time high. 

The first spy balloon wasn’t actually the first spy balloon, but rather was the one that had the most national attention from American news networks. On February 4, 2023, a balloon floating over North Carolina was shot down by a single missile from an Air Force airline. China claimed that this balloon was simply a weather measuring mechanism that had been blown severely off course, condemning the U.S.’s response as unnecessary and aggressive. The U.S. had been tracking the balloon for a week before it was actually dismantled and the Navy is now searching the water for debris and remnants.

This wasn’t actually the first Chinese balloon to peruse the United States. In fact, there had already been one discovered aircraft during Joe Biden’s time in office and three that had been documented during Donald Trump’s term. According to Glen VanHerck, an Air Force general and the one administrating the United States’ response to these domestic air threats, the United States government was not aware of the threats when they entered American airspace. The North American Aerospace Defense Command, also known as NORAD, was unable to discover their existence until they had completely passed over the country. 

The motivations of the Chinese government are almost entirely unclear, but suspicion still remains high. There was no heavy concern or worry about these events until they were discovered and nationally documented. If the balloons had gone unnoticed, who knows how long China would have deployed “weather” balloons over the territory of the United States? The answer is uncertain at this point, but these balloons, along with the Japanese metal ball, would likely have not caused as much fervor if they had remained under the radar. So is the Japanese metal ball something to worry about, or is it simply a side effect of the paranoia that has surfaced from the Chinese weather balloons all across the world? Only time will tell. Maybe it actually is a Godzilla egg or Dragon Ball from the hit Japanese movie and anime respectively. More likely, though, it is just a metal ball.