JapanSaitama, Japan Experiences Strange Rainfall, Black In Color: What Caused It?

6596 min

Recently, in Saitama (the prefecture directly north of Tokyo), the weather was rainy, but it was a very odd type of rain. It was a black rain. In some country/countries, “Black Rain” is a code word meaning “very heavy downpour,” for example, in Hong Kong, but in this case, this was not just figure of speech. The rain was actually the color black!

The black rain came at night, days after a very violent lightning storm. People woke up to find stains from black rain on their cars, buildings, etc. They were initially alarmed, but fortunately, scientists have taken out their Geiger counters and figured out that the rain isn’t radioactive.

Why would anyone think the rain would be radioactive, just because it was black? Well, in 1945, after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, black rain fell there, and elderly Japanese still remember it. Given that Fukushima is separated from Saitama by only one prefecture in between (Tochigi), some people started to develop conspiracy theories. One Facebook user wrote “Are they secretly burning bodies of coronavirus victims?” He wondered, perhaps in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, if crematoriums were responsible. Another (perhaps facetious) commenter asked “Didn’t North Korea fire missiles on that day?”

Other netizens responded, as well:
It was “a little bit scary” wrote one.
It was “about as bad an omen as you can get these days,” wrote another.
“It might not be fallout, but it’s probably hazardous, so be careful out there.”

What caused it? The current hypothesis is that a fire at a plastics factory, in Hasuda, northern Saitama deposited fine particles of ash into the atmosphere. The particles reached the clouds and dissolved into them, then eventually fell back to Earth.

Black rain in Japan isn’t the only occurrence of oddly-colored rain. There has been black, green, and yellow rain before. In fact, in Kerala, India, in 2001, blood-colored red rain fell for almost a month. It discolored people’s laundry that had been hanging out to dry, and alarmed the local population. What caused the blood-rain rain, there? The answer is probably “a comet.” A comet fragment probably broke up somewhere in the atmosphere and put 50,000 kilograms (about 110,231 pounds) of organic material into the air, that mixed with water vapor and caused blood-red rain. However, this is only one hypothesis and hasn’t been proven.

By the way, if the material was organic, then does this mean that a comet could also transport life from one celestial body to another? Maybe the answer is “yes.” This concept is called “panspermia.” Who knows, perhaps our planet was seeded with life in a similar fashion billions of years ago?

In 2003, two physicists working at Mahatma Gandhi University, named Godfrey Louis and Santhosh Kumar, published the hypothesis about the red rain in Kerala. They were in Kottayam, Kerala, at the time, and their paper was titled “Cometary panspermia explains the red rain of Kerala.”

In 1876, there was rain onto farmland, near a settlement in Olympia Springs, Bath, KY in the US. However, unlike a normal rain (or even one involving colored rain), raw meat fell. Strangely enough, it was a clear, not rainy, day (other than this brief incident). No one seems to know for sure what caused it.

Anyhow, if you live in or near Saitama, keep an eye out. If you notice that raw meat, you might consider doing the “smell test” and cooking it up, if you dare. If you see anything that appears to be of extraterrestrial origin, contact the authorities, unless you’re confident in your abilities to make first contact yourself.