The Tiny Beauties and Mothra
A “Snapping Turtle” Exclusive!
It’s often said that a reporter will come to be defined by one story. One grand, world-changing story that forever secures his legacy and puts his name on the lips of every man, woman, and child in the world. Many reporters spend their entire lives trying in vain to find such a story. Many reporters fail.
But then again, not many reporters can honestly say they’ve nearly been crushed under the titanic body of an immortal caterpillar in the pursuit of such a journalistic highpoint.
Well, dear readers, I’m here today to tell you that the unbelievable incident I just described above was not only very real, but is easily the most astounding, most sensational, and most rewarding experience this reporter has ever encountered. There’s no doubt that you’ve already heard about this unprecedented event; the memories of collapsing bridges, massive destruction, and tremendous casualties are still fresh in the minds of every citizen across the nation. But what, you might be asking, is the real cause for this tragedy? What could’ve led to the arrival of the massive beast known as Mothra? Was it simply a mindless attack, the vengeful wrath of a gruesome marvel? An unprompted onslaught from a mindless giant that sought nothing more than death and destruction?
The answer to all of these questions, dear readers, is a resounding no! Despite the misinformation, the rumors, and the outright lies spreading across the nation about Mothra’s attack, I can assure each and every one of you that the creature did, indeed, arrive on our soil with intent. An intent not to destroy, but to protect. She was a prehistoric entity – a goddess, not a monster – who acted purely for want of her family’s safe return. A mighty thing displaced by time and place, driven by a deep connection – a connection that mankind cannot hope to understand – to ravish a city for love.
How do I know all these things to be true? Because I, your humble reporter, was lucky enough to have been on the inside of this story from the very beginning. As loyal Nitto readers know well, the Snapping Turtle never lets go of a story once he’s gotten a hold of it, and believe me: this was a story that I had no intention of loosening my jaws on.
At least, that’s how I started this strange and amazing journey. What began as a simple journalistic curiosity would steadily grow into a tale of unbelievable greed, lost worlds, international intrigue, exotic beauty, and – at the end of the day – integrity. Not just of the journalistic variety, but true, honest, human integrity. The kind of integrity that can change a person’s life, and the kind of integrity that can cause even a seasoned reporter like myself to reconsider the usual urgency with which fantastical stories are shared with an eager audience.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. It’s best to begin where the rest of the world did: with news that a Japanese ship, the Genyo-Maru II, had been lost at sea, and that multiple survivors had been rescued from the site of a lethal atomic test. The story made headlines across Japan, and piqued the curiosity of the bewildered public. How had this happened? How had four lucky souls been able to survive the radiation of mankind’s greatest weapon without so much as a burn or a scratch?
Naturally, I had to find out.
However, this was easier said than done. The four survivors had been taken to the Atomic Energy Commission’s National Synthesis Nucleus Center in Tokyo for observation, and no reporters were allowed access to them. But no security team has ever kept the Snapping Turtle from a scoop, and this incident was no different. Through means that I will not divulge here, I was able to gain access to the building and, along with my trusted photographer Michi-san, cleverly disguise myself as a doctor. With the center’s staff none the wiser, we managed to locate and interview the brave men who’d survived the nuclear blast.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Fukuda-san fails to mention in this article that his ruse was quite short-lived, with the center’s staff quickly figuring out that he and Michi-san were not meant to be there. Upon their discovery, the scientist heading up the investigation, Dr. Harada, was gracious enough to grant them official access to the survivors.]
During our exclusive interview, we made a remarkable discovery: the men claimed that their lives had been spared thanks to a mysterious red juice, a juice given to them by a primitive tribe that lived on the island where they’d been found. They believed that drinking the juice had protected them from radiation sickness, and that the natives of the island had likely survived the nearby atomic testing by doing the same thing.
Naturally, the report that resulted from our interview caused a sensation when it hit the front page of Nitto’s newspaper the next day. One mystery had been solved, but a new one had taken its place: how in the world had an entire tribe of natives gone undiscovered within an atomic test site? The eyes of the world soon turned to the country responsible for the tests: Rolisica, a small nation within the European Union. The Rolisican government was quick to respond and confirm that they had indeed conducted a thorough pre-test survey of the small atoll, which maritime maps had dubbed “Infant Island.” They claimed that no trace of a tribe had been found, and that they were just as baffled as the rest of the world. As of this writing, there is still no official word on the legitimacy of their claim. It seems unlikely that a “thorough survey” could’ve possibly missed an island filled with natives, and the human rights implications of the Rolisican government knowingly conducting their tests with the knowledge that people might be living in the area are staggering. Unfortunately, we may never know the whole truth.
Whether culpable or not, Rolisica obviously realized that they needed to save face and act on the situation. A scientific expedition to Infant Island was announced in short order, as was the news that the voyage would be a joint Rolisican/Japanese venture. Michi-san and myself decided to seek out a bit of exclusive information from one of the scientists lucky enough to be selected for the mission: noted linguist, anthropologist, and – I’m happy to say – now close friend, Dr. Shinichi Chujo.
Unfortunately, establishing colloquial communication with the recalcitrant Chujo-san was difficult at first, and getting his picture to include with our report was even harder. However, after some careful persuading, we were able to discuss his work and plans for the expedition at length. It was the beginning of a valued partnership that would last through the remainder of this amazing story.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: The “careful persuading” that Fukuda-san refers to above actually involved Michi-san secretly acquiring Dr. Chujo’s photo with a small camera disguised in a cigarette lighter. Further rumors of Fukuda-san endearing himself to the doctor by wrangling his kid brother’s pet mouse have never been verified.]
Briefly put, Dr. Chujo was an incredible wealth of knowledge. As an expert in South Pacific and Polynesian cultures, languages, and traditions, it was hoped that he could provide some context for the history of Infant Island and its people. I must confess, much of what Chujo-san discussed with us that day regarding his research went right over my head, but nevertheless, I was fascinated. At any rate, our full interview with Dr. Chujo can be found in a previously published issue from Nitto Press.
The Infant Island expedition came together remarkably quickly, with only a few days passing between the announcement of the journey and the arrival of the Rolisican half of the exploratory team in Japan. Said team included multiple scientists under the command of noted geologist Dr. Obel Roff, and a man whose name would soon become infamous around the world for his involvement with this story: Clark Nelson. Nelson’s lack of apparent/relevant credentials made his involvement in the expedition curious right from the beginning, but no one could’ve guessed what atrocities lay in his immediate future.
Almost immediately upon his arrival, Nelson quickly established himself as the point at which the proverbial buck stopped on the expedition. All major decisions, discoveries, and pre-departure research was to be funneled through him, with no exceptions. In addition to this, and to my intense displeasure, Nelson also made it clear that no journalists were allowed to join the party. There would be no reporting, no photographs, and no way for the people to know the truth behind the strange events occurring on Infant Island.
And I can assure you, my loyal readers, that I was having none of it.
When Nelson declined to provide a reason behind the decision to bar the press from the expedition, I became convinced that something nefarious was afoot. My well-honed reporter instincts kicked in; there was more to this story than anyone knew. More than anyone was allowed to know.
It was too late to simply turn away and give in to Nelson’s double-talk and non-answers. The Snapping Turtle had latched onto his next story.
Several days after the Rolisican team arrived in Japan, the entire expedition party boarded a ship and prepared to set sail. There were plenty of smiling faces that day, most of them staring down at Michi-san and myself from the deck of the ship during the departure festivities. As a band played a triumphant tune and streamers flew through the air, I took advantage of the commotion to quietly slip away from Michi-san’s side. Using the crowd as cover, I got closer to the ship, and prepared to put a daring plan into action.
I won’t divulge the exact methods by which I accomplished this plan, but rest assured: by the time the expedition departed from Japan and began its trek to Infant Island, I had found my way onboard the vessel. I had beaten Clark Nelson at his own game, and thanks to the assistance of Dr. Chujo, I even managed to become an official member of the Japanese team. The truth had to be told, and nothing – not even a frightening encounter with a gun-wielding Nelson – was going to stop me from finding it.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: How exactly Fukuda-san managed to secret his way onto the ship is still unknown. This article also skips a few additional confirmed details, including the fact that Fukuda-san disguised himself as a cabin boy for the first few hours of the voyage. Dr. Chujo later confirmed Fukuda-san’s allegation that Nelson had pulled a gun on him, but it appears that no shots were fired or injuries incurred.]
The journey to Infant Island was not a long one, and for the first few days, I feared that I would be left onboard the ship when the scientific teams inevitably disembarked. Fortunately, upon our arrival to the island, I was granted the opportunity join the party and venture into the depths of the mysterious landmass. Donning on a thick, silver radiation suit and helmet, I joined Chujo-san in a small boat and watched as our destination grew closer and closer.
Infant Island wasn’t especially huge, but its silhouette certainly made an impression. Massive rocky peaks rose jaggedly into the sky, and it wasn’t immediately clear that the atoll was in any way capable of supporting life. It appeared desolate, broken and discarded like a piece of shattered china floating in the waters of the pacific. I would later learn that the island hadn’t always appeared like this; prior to the region’s nuclear testing, Infant had been a lush, green place filled with life. But those days were long gone, and the sight that met our landing party was not one of peace and tranquility, but of death and decay. The sand of the beach where we docked our boat and established a forward base was dried and cracked, as if the heat of a thousand suns had cooked it. The massive bones of unknown creatures lay scattered on the rocks, proof positive that we were standing in a manmade graveyard.
With Geiger counters at the ready, we began our trek toward the center of the island. Our journey took us over tall peeks and across vast expanses of blasted rock. We were all thinking the same thing: how could any human being still be alive in this unforgiving place?
But finally, as we reached the summit of a particularly tall peak, our eyes were greeted with a most unexpected sight. There, resting between two tall mountains and isolated from the rest of the island, was an oasis of trees. A small but miraculous patch of green in the center of a radioactive wasteland. We were stunned. Suddenly, the tale told by the four survivors of the Genyo-Maru II didn’t seem so unbelievable, after all.
After a few more minutes of climbing, we finally descended into the forest. The Japanese and Rolisican teams split up to begin a search for human life, and Dr. Chujo immediately began investigating the bizarre plants that grew up around us. Within seconds, most of the team had dispersed throughout the vicinity, each man doing his job to learn the secrets of the fantastical place we’d found ourselves. Each man, that is, except Nelson.
Before departing the ship, each member of the landing party had been given a rifle, including myself. While none of the men seemed particularly fond of adding the weapon to their already significant collection of equipment, Nelson had maintained a firm grip on his rifle since landing on the island. As I watched him sulk through the jungle, I couldn’t help but see him as dangerous. He appeared for all the world like a big game hunter looking to bag his latest catch. Or, perhaps more accurately, a criminal preparing to shoot his way out of a fight.
With my reporter wings effectively clipped, I’d resolved during our walk to keep as close an eye on Nelson as I could without incurring his anger. There was still something about him that seemed remarkably off, something that set him apart from the rest of the Rolisican team. My instincts told me that he was the farthest thing from a team-player; he was a man out for himself, a man with goals and ambitions that he clearly intended to keep close to the chest.
All these thoughts and more were cycling through my head as I attempted to maintain a safe distance from Nelson. Unfortunately, my focus on Nelson distracted me from my environment, and a snapping tree branch quickly alerted him to my presence. In an instant, he twirled around and pointed his rifle directly at me, demanding to know what I was up to. I quickly made up an excuse that I had been wondering lost through the jungle, but I was certain that Nelson hadn’t believed me. Even worse, we were completely alone in the immediate area. If he’d wanted to shoot me, right then and there, no one would’ve been able to save me.
Fortunately, fate intervened, and the Snapping Turtle’s life was spared by the sound of an alarm going off in my helmet. Each of the suits given out to the expedition members contained an emergency alarm that, when activated, alerted the other explorers and allowed them to home in on the endangered man’s location. It was clear that someone on the team needed our help, and both Nelson and I quickly rushed off in the direction of the alarm.
After several minutes of running and searching, I was shocked to discover that it had been Dr. Chujo who’d activated his alarm. Chujo-san’s unconscious body was found ensnared in the vines of a hideous plant that Dr. Roff later identified as a “blood-sucking plant.” The vines had apparently attempted to strangulate Dr. Chujo, but had ceased their attack for reasons unknown. In the moment, I didn’t particularly care how or why his life had been spared. I was just glad that my friend was okay.
With Chujo-san incapacitated, the exploration of the island was called off for the remainder of the day. We quickly rushed the doctor back to the ship, and waited with him until he finally regained consciousness. He then proceeded to tell us about what had happened, and his story not only left us in shock, but forever changed the course of the expedition, the story I was following, and ultimately, the world itself.
According to Dr. Chujo, he’d suddenly been attacked by the vines of the blood-sucking plant, and despite having triggered his alarm, he’d quickly begun to black out. But just when all hope seemed lost, Chujo-san’s blurring eyes had perceived something unexpected and miraculous: two small women, clothed simply and appearing to stand no more than a few centimeters high. He would later recall seeing their mouths move and hearing a strange, otherworldly frequency coming from their direction. By his account, these two tiny women had saved his life, fending off the plant and allowing him to be recovered by the team.
Unsurprisingly, most of the expedition members greeted this story with a large dose of skepticism. I certainly couldn’t blame them; a story about two tiny, exotic girls emerging from the jungle seemed far-fetched, and many of the men surely assumed that these girls had been hallucinations brought on by Chujo-san’s lack of oxygen.
I must confess, even I was unsure what to make of Chujo-san’s story at first. But despite the incredulity of it all, I found myself willing to accept the seemingly impossible and believe him. After all, why would he lie? Why would a rational scientist believe such a fantastical event unless it had truly happened before his eyes?
It didn’t take long for my journalistic instincts to kick in, and I immediately began asking Dr. Chujo about the “tiny beauties” he’d witnessed. And while Chujo-san played coy on that night and left me hanging for answers, our brief exchange did result in the birth of the now well-known name for the girls he’d discovered. Henceforth, the world would know these mysterious and beautiful denizens of Infant Island as the “Shobijin.”
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Fukuda-san’s reporting on the Mothra story was not the first time the name “shobijin” had been used in the press, nor was it the first time Fukuda-san himself had used the moniker. Nevertheless, the name has stuck, and its association with the priestesses of Mothra has become an integral part of the story.]
The next day, the expedition crew and I returned to the island with the intent of locating the Shobijin and learning more about them. Chuju-san, however, clearly had a secondary desire: it was obvious that he wanted to find and thank the two tiny beings for saving his life. The entire team was buzzing with anticipation. While most were still skeptical of Chujo-san’s claims, others were at least curious to see what might happen. And then there was Clark Nelson, who had remained quiet and focused for the entire day. Suspiciously so, I thought.
Not too long after arriving in the jungle, Chujo-san finally succeeded in proving his story. When we heard his emergency alarm begin sounding again, we all quickly rushed to his location fearing the worst. But when we arrived, we found him perfectly unharmed. He revealed that he’d intentionally triggered his alarm, believing that the sound was what had lured the girls to his aid the previous day. As it turned out, he had been completely correct in this assumption, and with a careful swipe of some ground-level leaves, the doctor revealed a most incredible sight to us. Sure enough, right before our eyes stood two tiny fairy-like women, completely human in appearance but only a fraction of the average man’s height. Indeed, they were small enough to be mistaken for children’s dolls, but they were very much alive. They also appeared for all the world to be identical to one another, a stunning example of perfect twins. What’s more, despite being skittish at first, they soon began to smile up at us.
It was at this point that the strange frequency Chujo-san described began to fill our ears. It sounded almost like music, far more melodic than any spoken language that I was familiar with. Chujo-san, however, claimed that he could perfectly understand what they were saying. Within the Shobijin’s strange code-like language were words, and those words were as simple as they were profound. For according to Chujo-san, the Shobijin were asking for that most human of courtesies: peace.
Chujo-san would later describe their words to me in more detail, away from the nefarious ears of Clark Nelson. He told me that the tiny girls had recognized them as outsiders, but not as aggressors. They knew our kind had been responsible for the destruction of their island, but that we ourselves had not been responsible. They had simply asked for an end to the destruction, that no more great fires be triggered on their now-desolate home.
It was a message that affected us all in a profound way. While Chujo-san’s translation of their words lacked the extra detail that I’ve supplied in this report, the Shobijin’s plea for peace was something that every member of the expedition heard on that day. The feeling it gave me was one that I’ve yet to be able to effectively articulate. It was so simple, and so pure. We’d come to Infant Island in search of a greater scientific truth, but what we’d found was a world torn asunder by mankind’s destructive ambitions. And within this mysterious, devastated place, we’d found a miracle. And all that miracle wanted was to be left alone. Left in peace. Left far away from the encroaching hand of man and his atom bomb.
It was in that moment of realization and introspection that I realized something else, something so profound yet so easily accepted that, for the briefest of seconds, I forgot to breathe. This story was far bigger than anything I’d ever reported on in my career. Beyond that, it was the kind of “big” that made words like “report” and “career” feel meaningless and insignificant. This was bigger than my career itself. Bigger than being the first to publish an article, more significant than any front-page photographs, and far more important than the kind of industry clout that I’d no doubt receive for revealing all of it to the world.
It was, without a doubt, the most non-journalistic series of thoughts I’d ever had in my life. After a career of latching onto stories and never letting go, I suddenly felt an incredible desire – a need – to do something that I’d never done before in all my time as a reporter: walk away. Leave it be. Let this island, its tiny beauties, and its secrets stay right where they were, away from the prying, exploitative eyes of the masses. Safe. At peace…
However, before my brain had any further time to process these thoughts, I suddenly became aware of a man moving past me and toward the girls. Before any of us could react, a member of the Rolisican team – and one of Nelson’s goons, no less – had rushed forward and roughly grabbed both of the girls in his hands. It had all happened so fast, and by the time Chujo-san, the rest of the team, and myself had spun around to face the man holding the girls, he had arrived at Nelson’s side. I was the first to speak, pleading with Nelson to release the helpless duo at once. Nelson’s response was bone-chilling: “These are unique specimens, and I’m taking them.”
It was clear from that moment on that Nelson never considered the Shobijin as anything other than exactly what he’d just called them: specimens. Commodities. Something less than human. I was disgusted, and instinctually rushed forward to try and save them. But Nelson’s henchman was having none of it, and quickly pulled a pistol on me. The team was in a state of shock, and none of us were sure what to do next.
Suddenly, a new sound began echoing through the jungle. A rhythmic pounding, like drums, but sharper and more aggressive. Within seconds, the rustling of nearby trees gave way to the forms of approaching humans. By my count, more than a dozen men were surrounding us, the pounding of their instruments growing quicker with each step they took forward. At long last, our expedition had found the reclusive natives of Infant Island. Or, more accurately, they’d found us. And they weren’t happy.
It was Dr. Roff who spoke first, ordering Nelson to release his tiny captives. Nelson’s response was, once again, callous and horrific: “We have weapons.” Roff and the leader of the Japanese team, Dr. Harada, reacted with understandable anger, and called for the nearby guards to lower their weapons. Roff once again commanded Nelson to release the girls, and this time, Nelson seemed to agree. Chujo-san took advantage of the moment and gently seized the Shobijin from the grasp of Nelson’s man, and no sooner had he carefully placed them back on the ground than the incessant drumming from the natives came to a sudden stop.
As Chujo-san stood up, I caught a glimpse of the small twin girls as they turned to look at me and my comrades. Somehow, despite what had just happened to them, they were smiling. And before my stunned eyes, they raised their hands to wave goodbye before slipping back into the safety of the foliage.
Upon their departure, a silence fell upon the clearing where we all stood. The natives had also disappeared into the forest, leaving us in peace. It was clear that they’d never intended to harm us, only to intimidate us. And I certainly couldn’t blame them. We were the invaders here. And we’d obviously crossed a line.
But something else was at play, something that once again sent thoughts of peace and journalistic neglect through my mind. The natives had backed away, and had not sought to hurt any of the team. The girls had smiled, even waved at us. They’d understood. They’d known that we were on their side, that we wanted no harm to come to them or their island.
It was more than understanding that had transpired between us. It was trust. Despite what Nelson had done to them, despite what humanity itself had done to them and their island, they had trusted us. They had trusted Chujo-san. They had trusted me.
And it was in that exact moment that I knew what I had to do. What we all had to do.
As the exploratory team began to depart for the shore, I turned to Dr. Chujo and Dr. Harada and spoke these words: “You know, this may just be a romantic notion, but wouldn’t it be better to just leave this island alone?” Those words went against every journalistic instinct I’d ever known, but in the moment, none of that mattered. All that mattered was keeping the peace that the Shobijin had trusted us to keep. All that mattered was allowing this tiny, magical spot on the map to simply exist, free from worry, death, and the destruction of modern man. And to my relief, both Harada-san and Chujo-san felt the same way.
In fact, nearly every member of the expedition came to agree with my way of thinking. As we departed Infant Island for the final time, there was a sort of unspoken vow between us all. A vow to keep the secrets of this island to ourselves, to do our part to keep the peace.
Unfortunately, this was not to be. The very fact that you’re currently reading this report is proof that, despite our best efforts, we failed. Today, the whole world knows of Infant Island. The whole world knows of the Shobijin fairies. And the whole world knows of the giant beast that came forth from the island to save the fairies
Why does the world know? Because while most of our expedition realized the importance and significance of keeping the island and its inhabitants a secret, there was one man among us – one fly in the proverbial ointment – who saw the entire situation as nothing but a means to a greedy end. And much like Infant Island, the Shobijin, and Mothra, the world now knows his name all too well.