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ACUFO is my comprehensive catalog of cases of encounters between aircraft and UFOs, whether they are "explained" or "unexplained".

The ACUFO catalog is made of case files with a case number, summary, quantitative information (date, location, number of witnesses...), classifications, all sources mentioning the case with their references, a discussion of the case in order to evaluate its causes, and a history of the changes made to the file.

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Sea of Japan, on September 1942 or October 1, 1943:

Case number:



A photo (below) circulating in modern UFO magazines and on the Internet is said to show a "Foo-Fighter" near Japanese "Sally" bombers on the Sea of Japan. The date varies, "September 1942", or "October 1, 1943".

I found no other information, and several reasons to assess this as very dubious.



Temporal data:

Date: September 1942 or October 1, 1943
Time: Day.
Duration: ?
First known report date: 1980?
Reporting delay: Decades.

Geographical data:

Country: Japan

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 0
Number of known witnesses: 0
Number of named witnesses: 0

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: UFO magazine U-K., 2000.
Visibility conditions: Day.
UFO observed: ?
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: ?
UFO action: ?
Witnesses action: ?
Photographs: Yes.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: ?


Sensors: [ ] Visual:
[ ] Airborne radar:
[ ] Directional ground radar:
[ ] Height finder ground radar:
[X] Photo: 1
[ ] Film/video:
[ ] EM Effects:
[ ] Failures:
[ ] Damages:
Hynek: DD
Armed / unarmed: Armed, machine guns.
Reliability 1-3: 1
Strangeness 1-3: 1
ACUFO: Probable photo fault, no credibility.


[Ref. jbu1:] JEROME BEAU:

September 1942

A Japanese imperial Sally bomber, on a mission over the Sea of Japan, is approached by a small, dark spherical object flying around and between the aircraft in formation. A cameraman-shooter on alert takes a photograph (opposite).

Note: The photo is not displayed.



Date: 1943

Location: Sea of Japan


Summary: World War II sighting


[Ref. tkw1:] "THE KLEW" WEBSITE:


Foo Fighter (with Japanese Sally)

October 1, 1943


Japanese Sea, Japan

Numerous UFOs photographed during WW2. They received the nickname ‘Foo Fighters’ from a maxim used by a cartoon comic character Smokey Stover. This comic was a favourite among US forces during WW2. Picture source : UFO Magazine UK Jan/Feb 2000. In this photograph, a Japanese Sally Bomber flies over the Japanese Sea in 1943, followed by a dark sphere.

Sea of Japan

via UFO Evidence, UFO Magazine UK Jan/Feb 2000, reprinted on Original source webpage / article
Photograph ID: 133 ID: 133



This photograph appears with the caption:

Interestingly enough, with all the sightings and reports, and all the gun cameras and high altitude photographs, no truly GOOD pictures of Foo Fighters from the period have surfaced.


A Japanese Sally bomber (some say it's a Betty), with a UFO (Foo Fighter) trailing it.

Aircraft information:

"Sally" or sometimes "Gwen" (photo below), was the US designation for the Mitsubishi Ki-21 Japanese bomber, used during World War II. It first flew in 1936 had begun operations during the Second Sino-Japanese War. In WWII it was used, among other places, to attack targets in Western China, thus it is nothing anomalous that it would fly on the Sea of Japan.

Mitsubishi Ki-21.

I spot an anomaly with the plane in the alleged "Foo-fighter": the bump at the bottom of the fuselage:

Mitsubishi Ki-21.

Apparently some Internet users suggested it was not a "Sally" but a "Betty", aka Mitsubishi G4M. I can see why: it must be because of the bump under the fuselage, as it would approximately match the machine gun belly nacel of the "Betty". However, the tail of the "Betty" does not match the tail we see in the alleged "Foo-fighter" photo here.



There are other alleged "Foo-fighters" photos on the Web and in books allegedly near Japanese WWII aircraft. A common feature is that there is no context information, no "report" per se. One noted ufologist commented in the 1980's that as far as he know, the whole bunch of those photo came from a Japanese group called "Cosmic Brotherhood Association" which never provided any context for these photos.

We do see here that one source says it was in September 1942, the other says it was on October 1, 1943.

The multiple-photos set up as found by the klew in "UFO Magazine" looks like a dumb trickery: it gives the impression that the object is only present in one of the photo, making believe it "approached". It even may create the impression that there was a film. Not so: the two photos on the lower left are the same single photo, just cropped so that the "object" does not appear on them.

In my opinion, the credibility of the case is about null.

And given the poor quality of the photo, the so called "Foo-fighter" could be just a fault on the negative of print.


Probable photo fault, no credibility.

Sources references:

* = Source is available to me.
? = Source I am told about but could not get so far. Help needed.

File history:


Main author: Patrick Gross
Contributors: None
Reviewers: None
Editor: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross September 28, 2023 Creation, [jbu1], [tai1], [tkw1].
1.0 Patrick Gross September 28, 2023 First published.
1.1 Patrick Gross January 22, 2024 Addition [gfn1].

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This page was last updated on January 22, 2024.