A legend is born: Filipino hero hailed by Japanese netizens

You’ve probably heard this news by now, about a Filipino technical intern trainee who rescued a boy from drowning in Fukuoka City in southern Japan. It has been reported by many news outlets and even tweeted by the Japanese ambassador to the Philippines.

Ambassador Endo Kazuya:

Heroism knows no boundaries :jp: :handshake: :philippines:! A story of a true #BayaningFilipino :philippines: in Fukuoka who selflessly saved a young boy from the sea. His selflessness and bravery inspire us all. :pray:

Here is Asahi Digital’s news item in English:

Jumping into the sea to save a drowning boy without thinking of your own safety is a truly heroic act. But what nailed it for many Japanese netizens is what our hero said afterwards:

But when the boy’s parents asked him for his contact information because they wanted to do something to thank him, he said, "What I did is not worth giving my name” and went home, according to the Fukuoka Coast Guard official.

What he reportedly said–translated into Japanense–was “名乗るほどの者ではない” (Nanoru hodo no mono dewanai), which translates to “I’m not a man whose name is worth mentioning,” which is a line a ronin would probably say after saving a village by killing off a gang of bandits and disappearing from history without a trace.

The comment section of Yahoo Japan, normally disdainful of foreigners, where a similar news item appeared, was full of praise for the nameless hero. (Edit: our hero has been identified as Mark Anthony Obena Rivera. Remember his name.)

Here’s a selection of comments, translated from the original Japanese.

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (23) :open_mouth: I see (0) :thinking: Hmm (1)

What a badass!!!

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (16) :open_mouth: I see (0) :thinking: Hmm (1)

The way he left is like something out of a Japanese period drama. That’s so cool.

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (10) :open_mouth: I see (1) :thinking: Hmm (1)

Thank you. Handsome hero.

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (9) :open_mouth: I see (0) :thinking: Hmm (1)

This guy is a samurai.

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (46) :open_mouth: I see (3) :thinking: Hmm (1)

Coolness like drawn in a painting. That line right out of a samurai movie. I hope we can meet this young foreigner again.

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (80) :open_mouth: I see (1) :thinking: Hmm (1)

Thank you!

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (8) :open_mouth: I see (0) :thinking: Hmm (0)

What a badass!! Thank you so much for saving this little boy.

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (6) :open_mouth: I see (0) :thinking: Hmm (0)

I’m falling in love!

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (6) :open_mouth: I see (0) :thinking: Hmm (0)

This is so cool.

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (13) :open_mouth: I see (0) :thinking: Hmm (1)

A foreigner with a samurai spirit, jumping right in is so awesome.

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (107) :open_mouth: I see (2) :thinking: Hmm (3)

Give this man an award.

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (17) :open_mouth: I see (0) :thinking: Hmm (1)

“I’m not worth identifying myself,” he said and walked away. That’s a Filipino with a samurai spirit.

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (6) :open_mouth: I see (1) :thinking: Hmm (0)

Cute, I guess he learned that expression from a Japanese manga or something.

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (13) :open_mouth: I see (0) :thinking: Hmm (0)

What a wonderful man. I want to emulate him…

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (7) :open_mouth: I see (0) :thinking: Hmm (0)

So cool! I wonder if this kind of aesthetic is universal?

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (705) :open_mouth: I see (32) :thinking: Hmm (21)

I remember a young Korean man who climbed down to the train tracks to rescue a drunken person at Shin-Okubo station more than 20 years ago. In that incident, he and another Japanese man who went down to help with the rescue both died, but I am very glad to hear that both the child and the Filipino man are safe this time.

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (588) :open_mouth: I see (9) :thinking: Hmm (5)

The fact that they know his age probably means that they are respecting his wishes and are not reporting his name. Still, that’s really cool. Thank you so much.
年齢が分かっているということは、本人の意思を尊重して名前を伏せて報道しているということだろう。それにしても、カッコいいよ。 本当にありがとう。

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (554) :open_mouth: I see (12) :thinking: Hmm (16)

Prejudice and discrimination are truly shameful. There are Japanese people who don’t want them in the country, and there are foreigners who want them to stay in the country. Just because it’s hard to communicate doesn’t change the heart of the people.

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (48) :open_mouth: I see (1) :thinking: Hmm (7)

People like this should be given permanent residence permits. I want the government to be stricter on bad foreigners. I would very much welcome young foreigners like this man. When I think about the father’s feelings, the guy is truly a life saver. As a Japanese person, I would like to express my sincere gratitude. Thank you, Philippines.

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (281) :open_mouth: I see (8) :thinking: Hmm (8)

This guy is so cool! But the parents will want to thank him so much, so it might be a good idea to give his name out. I’m sure that child will remember his face. I’m sure the police and fire department will also give him recognition.

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (180) :open_mouth: I see (3) :thinking: Hmm (2)

That’s so cool. He jumped from high up into a deep place to rescue the boy, and even though his arms and legs must have been shaking, his mind was working and he said those words at a time like that. That must be the kind of person he normally is. It’s pretty hard to act cool in a situation like this, you know?

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (285) :open_mouth: I see (22) :thinking: Hmm (5)

I’m glad they were both saved. I saw in another news story that he revealed his identity to the Coast Guard, so we know how old he is. But they didn’t give his name to the parents, did they?

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (243) :open_mouth: I see (17) :thinking: Hmm (38)

Just the other day, a Brazilian(?) guy jumped in and died, right? When something happens, foreigners are told to leave the country, and they are slandered and discriminated against, so I feel really sorry about that. In today’s Japan, no industry or business would function without foreign workers.

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (33) :open_mouth: I see (5) :thinking: Hmm (12)

Let’s make this bigger news and encourage him to come forward. There’s no doubt that hearing the thoughts of people like him will be beneficial for the world. I’m really grateful.

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (71) :open_mouth: I see (5) :thinking: Hmm (7)

What a cool guy. This may be causing some discomfort in Japan, where there is still a lot of isolationism. Thank you for taking action like this. It’s an example for others.

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (116) :open_mouth: I see (2) :thinking: Hmm (1)

I’m glad that both of them were safe. Of course, children should wear life jackets and other things when fishing.

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (9) :open_mouth: I see (3) :thinking: Hmm (9)

If he didn’t identify himself because he was staying in the country illegally or for some other reason, I think it was admirable that he took the risk to go and help.

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (215) :open_mouth: I see (8) :thinking: Hmm (5)

I would like more foreigners with this kind of heart to come to Japan.

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (9) :open_mouth: I see (1) :thinking: Hmm (4)

Not all foreigners are bad people. But there are people who drink on the street in the city center. It’s hard to generalize, so it’s reassuring to know that there are people like this.

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (142) :open_mouth: I see (4) :thinking: Hmm (6)

While there are many news reports about crimes committed by foreigners, there are good people like this out there. Thank you so much for helping :bowing_man:

外国人の犯罪ニュースが多い中、このように良い人もいるんですよね。助けていただき本当にありがとうございましたm(_ _)m

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (2) :open_mouth: I see (1) :thinking: Hmm (4)

I like the fact that many Filipinos have big hearts, but now I like them even more!

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (9) :open_mouth: I see (0) :thinking: Hmm (1)

This is really cool. I don’t think we should repay this kindness with insult. I really can’t find the words to express my gratitude.

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (15) :open_mouth: I see (4) :thinking: Hmm (18)

Maybe he entered the country illegally. If that’s the case, I hope he’s given special residency status to such a good person.

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (149) :open_mouth: I see (4) :thinking: Hmm (2)

There is information that he is 26 years old though…! Thank you very much. What a wonderful young man.

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (3) :open_mouth: I see (1) :thinking: Hmm (39)

First of all, was it a licensed fishing spot? Were safety measures such as life jackets taken? This was a story that didn’t need to become a heroic tale.

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (6) :open_mouth: I see (0) :thinking: Hmm (1)

That’s something that every man wants to say at least once in his life. Only a few people who can do such a brave act can say that line.

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (143) :open_mouth: I see (3) :thinking: Hmm (2)

This Filipino man who rescued a boy, just left looking cool like a scene from a movie.

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (13) :open_mouth: I see (0) :thinking: Hmm (0)

The man who says he’s not worthy of giving out his name is too much of a real hero.

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (1) :open_mouth: I see (1) :thinking: Hmm (0)

I think I would have helped too. And then I would have said my name. LOL

:slightly_smiling_face: Agree (1) :open_mouth: I see (0) :thinking: Hmm (5)

Maybe he didn’t have a visa? He has courage though.

1 Like

Wow! The shortest translation of 名乗るほどの者ではない that I can think of is “My name is not worth mentioning” but it doesn’t sound as cool as the original Japanese.

The shortest? “I’m nobody.”

Of course he didn’t say the Japanese 名乗るほどの者ではない, that’s just too cool to say by someone who was probably too shaken and wet to say something so bad-ass (especially in Nihongo). Those were the words that the police/coast guard said to the media. But this guy is a legend just the same, whatever his words were. Maybe something like: “No, it’s really nothing, you don’t have to tell them my name” and then went home.

Wow, astiggg. Ma-memorize nga yang linya na 'yan :sweat_smile:

Here’s another story about this topic:

[Fukuoka] A 6-year-old boy falls into the sea and is rescued by a foreign trainee. His words as he leaves become a hot topic online. “So cool!” “I’d like to say that at least once”

On the afternoon of the 16th, a 6-year-old boy fell into the sea at Hakozaki Pier in Higashi Ward, Fukuoka City. The boy was fishing with his family when he slipped and fell about 2 meters into the sea from the pier. The boy was not wearing a life jacket and was in a dangerous situation.

At that time, a Filipino technical intern trainee (26 years old) who was fishing nearby jumped into the sea and rescued the boy. With the help of people around, they were able to pull the boy safely onto the pier using a bucket with a rope and a dip net.

The boy was suspected of hypothermia and was taken to the hospital, but his life is not in danger.

Meanwhile, the boy’s family wanted to express their gratitude to the Filipino man for his brave actions and asked for his contact information. However, the man left without saying that he was “not worth identifying” and left.

A Fukuoka Coast Guard official also pointed out the danger of the accident, saying, “The boy was not wearing a life jacket, and if the man had not come to his aid immediately, it could have been very serious.”

Online comments on this topic

“That’s really amazing.”

I’m glad they’re both safe."

“That was a courageous act.”

“I can only thank him for his bravery.”

“That is so cool.”

“I’d like to say that at least once.”

“I’m grateful to the technical intern trainee who helped the boy.”

This topic was met with many voices of praise for the technical intern trainee. The brave act of the technical intern who saved the life of a stranger seems to have touched the hearts of many people.

And this comment:

It may sound bad but I feel like foreigners, especially people from less developed countries, to put it positively tend to be seen as courageous and proactive, or negatively as reckless and foolhardy.

In that respect, Japanese people tend to be seen as positive = cautious and prudent, or negative = lacking in initiative and timid.

I don’t think either is good or bad though.