The “psychic octopus” that correctly predicted the outcomes of all three of Japan’s group games in the World Cup was slaughtered and sold shortly before Japan crashed out of the tournament on Monday.
Rabiot, a giant Pacific octopus, was caught off the port of Obira in Hokkaido before the tournament began and quickly put to work predicting the results of Japan’s matches.
Kimio Abe, the fisherman who captured Rabiot, placed the octopus in a tank with three baskets of food representing a victory for Japan, a defeat or a draw.
Remarkably, the smart mollusc correctly predicted Japan’s win over Colombia in Japan’s opening game of the tournament, followed by a draw against Senegal and a defeat to Poland. Despite losing to the Poles, Japan advanced courtesy of the fact that its players had received fewer cautions during the three group stage games.
Rabiot’s uncanny knack of correctly picking Japan’s results made the creature a national sensation, with day-time chat shows lining up to report its latest prognostications.
“I was happy that Japan was able to qualify for the knock-out stages”, Mr Abe told the Mainichi newspaper, although the octopus’ run of form had not been enough to save it.
Concluding that his business was more important than Rabiot’s predictions, Mr Abe said Rabiot had been “shipped” – a euphemism for gutted and sold.
Fans of the psychic octopus reacted with stoicism, with one Twitter user messaging “Rabiot, sayonara” and another adding “I hope you end up in something really delicious”.
Mr Abe brought in a substitute octopus ahead of the first match in the knockout stage of the tournament, saying, “I hope the second Rabiot will also predict all the outcomes correctly and that Japan will go all the way”.
Those hopes were dashed when Belgium rallied from being 2-0 down with just over 20 minutes to play in Rostov-on-Don to win 3-2. It is not known whether the replacement octopus predicted the result correctly, although it is certain that it will meet a similar fate to Rabiot.