Saturday, July 19, 2008

Yamato Iwana and Appalachian Brookie

The native Japanese Iwana is referred to as the Yamato Iwana. Yamato is an ancient name for Japan and often used to convey a sense of respect for items that are "truly" Japanese. Such as yamato-damashii meaning a nationalistic "Japanese spirit", (similar to our American patriotism).
The Yamato Iwana is held in high regard in Japan and has taken on almost mythic proportions because of their rarity and illusiveness. They are only found in the most remote and rugged parts of the Japan Alps. Catching a Yamato Iwana requires many miles of trecking through difficult terrain.
Recently, my good friends Mr. Sakai-san, Kurematsu-san and Daichan went on an expedition to the Norogawa River on Mt. Kitadake (the second tallest mountain in Japan). Here are some photos with captions by Daichan of their trip.

Mr. Sakai-san caught a huge 31 cm Yamato Iwana. Omedito! (congratulations!).

The Iwana is in the Char family, the same as the Brook trout or Brookie. You can see the similarities between the Brookie and the Iwana. Notice the white markings on the front edge of the lower fins and the reddish belly. Also, char have very long mouths that extend past their eyes.
Although, the char I catch in the Mountains of North Carolina are MUCH smaller than Mr. Sakai's. I find it amazing that we have members of the same family of fish on opposite sides of the planet.