Japanese school students sent a message in a bottle. 37 years later, it washed up in Hawaii

By Junko Ogura and Sara Spary, CNN

    (CNN) -- A glass bottle containing a message from 1984 has washed up in Hawaii and been discovered by a 9-year-old girl -- 37 years after high school students in Japan dropped it into the ocean as part of an experiment.

The message in a bottle, titled "Ocean current investigation," was written by the students and placed in the Kuroshio Current near Miyajima Island, western Japan, as part of a school project into ocean currents.

The letter sealed inside, dated July 1984, asked whoever found the bottle to return it to the school, Choshi High School.

The bottle's finder, named in local media in Hawaii as 9-year-old Abbie Graham,was on a family visit to a beach near the city of Hilo, Hawaii, when she discovered it. It had traveled some 4,350 miles.

The school said in a press statement that it released 450 bottles in 1984 and a further 300 in 1985 as part of its ocean currents survey.

So far, 51 have been found and returned. However, the school added, this is the only bottle to have been found since 2002.

Other bottles from the experiment washed up in Washington state in the US, Canada, the Philippines, and the Marshall Islands in the central Pacific.

Mayumi Kanda, a former student of the school, who was a member of the science club in 1984, said she was surprised the bottle had reappeared after so long. She said hearing the news had "revived the nostalgic memory of my high school days."

Choshi High School said its pupils planned to write to Abbie to thank her for returning it.

They said they will include a miniature Tairyo-bata -- a type of fisherman's flag once used to indicate a good haul -- with the letter as a gift.

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