Kochi: Rock stops rattling, incensing locals

Courtesy of the Kochi city government
A rope is looped around the Gotogoto rock and a log left beside it on Nov. 28.

KOCHI — In a mountainous area of Kochi City, there is a rock that stands at about 1.5 to 2 meters high and is estimated to weigh several tons.

The “Gotogoto” rock — known as such because of the sound it makes when rattled — maintains an extremely delicate balance: it rattles when it is pushed, but never falls.

“Slip” and “fall” are words associated with failing exams in Japan. So in winter especially, for students who want good luck because they are trying to get accepted into college, things that do not slip or fall, such as this rock, attract their attention. It is also popular among politicians who hope not to lose in elections.

But now, the rock no longer rattles.

On Nov. 28, a tourist notified the municipal office that the rock no longer made a rattling sound, and the city government confirmed that stones had been inserted in the gap between the bottom of the rock and the ground.

A rope was also looped around it, and a log, a jack and a pair of gloves left nearby, leading to the assumption that it was done intentionally.

Gotogoto rock garnered attention after a TV program did a report on it, encouraging tourists to visit the area. Local residents have faithfully looked after the rock.

Being deprived of their regional treasure, they have become incensed, and are considering some means of putting it back the way it used to be.