It happened one evening in May, 53 years ago, in 1947. Many people in Tokyo had switched on to the American Armed Forces Radio Station. It was two years since the Second World War had ended and Japan had been defeated. But the Americans were still around. And so was their radio station.
Around 7 pm, the radio programme was interrupted. An announcer screamed that a huge sea monster had risen from the sea.
It was more than 20 feet long. Having waded ashore, it was scaring the wits out of people. And it had been seen in the stretch between Tokyo and Yokahama. Like the TV news channels tell us to “stay tuned for further news,” the radio announcer did the same. Fear could be heard in his voice.
The news kept getting worse and worse with every five-minute bulletin. The monster was heading straight for the Japanese capital, Tokyo. The armed forces of the United States were asked to keep off the streets. A train had been derailed by the nasty monster, and some people had been hurt.
The news spread like wild fire in Tokyo. There was total panic among people, and even among the American armed forces. One senior army officer left a dinner party midway, filled up three trucks full of soldiers and went off to fight the monster.
At 8 pm there was a final announcement from the radio station. The news of the sea monster was a practical joke, the announcer said. The radio station had wanted to celebrate its fifth anniversary in a new manner. It had been their idea of a joke.