Welcome to the “Hunters of the Ocean” Exhibition 

Our living sphere is surrounded by the ocean, and ocean‐dwelling organisms are living in interaction of to “hunt or be hunted”.

For the predators (hunters), it is vital that they acquire skills to hunt efficiently in order to survive in the ecosystem.

This exhibition focuses on oceanic hunters’ “predation,” the activities for survival, and presents the diversity of the hunters’ shapes, sizes, hunting techniques, and other features, with a particular attention to the evolution of their jaws and teeth.

The main attraction of this exhibition is an immersed specimen of the entire body of a 3.2 meter‐long, Great White Shark(Carcharodon carcharias). This is the first time such a specimen has been exhibited in Japan. The immersed specimen of the Great White Shark was made after the shark was found dead, hooked on a fishing trawl line off Motobu‐cho in Okinawa Prefecture at the end of August 2014. It is the first known immersed specimen of the entire body of an adult great white shark for research purposes in the world. This specimen is expected to contribute greatly to the advancement of various studies, including morphological comparison of the sharks, and research of their habits and ecology.

In addition, the exhibition presents a variety of other immersed specimens, skeletal specimens, stuffed specimens, fossils, and restoration models of oceanic hunters in different parts of the world and those that thrived in ancient times. There are also exciting “action‐packed” videos capturing their hunting scenes. Further, this exhibition addresses the issues concerning the future of fishery resources, such as the displays of Bluefin Tuna and Japanese Eels, and explores how humans and the ocean can co-exist.

We sincerely hope that this exhibition will serve as an opportunity for many people to experience the greatness of the ocean and deepen their understanding on how marine organisms survive and sustain their lives.

July 2016

National Museum of Nature and Science

Nikkei Inc.

BS Japan Corporation


Title Hunters of the Ocean
Dates Fri. 8 July – Sun. 2 October, 2016
Closed July 11 (Mon.), July 19 (Tue.), September 5 (Mon.), September 12 (Mon.), September 20 (Tue.)

9:30-17:30 (Open till 20:00 on Fridays)

Special summer holiday opening hours : 9:00-18:00 from August 11 (Thurs.) – August 17 (Wed.)

(Open till 20:00 on August 12)

Starting from September 3rd (Sat.), the Exhibition will be open until 20:00 on Saturdays.

Last entry 30 minutes before closing


National Museum of Nature and Science

7-20 Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo 110-8718


General Inquries 03-5777-8600 (Hello Dial)
Organizers National Museum of Nature and Science, Nikkei Inc., BS Japan Corporation
Supported by Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
Special Corporation

Okinawa Churashima Foundation, Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Natural History,

Kitakyushu Museum of Natural History & Human History, Kindai University, Ibaraki Nature Museum

Cooperated by

National Institute of Polar Research, Saitama Museum of Natural History,

Tokyo Sea Life Park, Mie Prefectural Museum, Nikkei Science Inc., Nikkei National Geographic Inc.

Sponsored by Ricoh Company,Ltd.
Equipment Cooperated by Daiko Electric Co.,Ltd.


Adults/University Students : ¥1,600 (¥1,400*)

Students of elementary / junior high / high school : ¥600 (¥500*)

* Prices in brackets for tickets bought by group of 20 or more visitors

・Tickets include admission to the permanent exhibition.

Special Pair Ticket for Two on Friday Evenings : ¥2,000

・Pair tickets are only sold on the day

・Holders must enter together / Pairs may be the same or different sex

・Valid from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. (Last admission 7:30 p.m.)


This exhibition focuses on the predatory behavior of marine vertebrates. Zeroing in on the evolution of the jaws and teeth, we introduce hunters (predators) in many different forms and sizes. A total of 162 specimens of fish, reptiles, mammals, and birds are on display.

The exhibition is made up of four chapters. In Chapter 1, “Predators of the Prehistoric Seas,” we explore the origins of jaws and teeth, and show how ancient marine hunters grew to enormous sizes. In Chapter 2, “Hunters of the Open Seas,” we reveal the lives of predators in each of four habitats: the “Deep Sea,” the “Polar Region,” the “Open Ocean,” and the “Shallow Seas.” In Chapter 3, “Hunters of the Ocean: Their Strategies and Techniques,” we probe the fascinating lives of predators – some have developed peculiarly shaped teeth and jaws, while others practice mimicry as they lie in wait for their prey. In Chapter 4, “Humans are also Hunters of the Ocean,” we look at human activity and fish farming of bluefin tuna to explore the future possibilities for our coexistence with the ocean.

Chapter 1Predators of the Prehistoric Seas

Of the vertebrates living today, 99% are said to have jaws. The evolutionary acquisition of jaws enabled vertebrates to eat larger prey. In Chapter 1, we trace the evolution of marine hunters, from jawless to jawed vertebrates, then to the monstrous predators of the Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic oceans. Come see these giant prehistoric organisms appear one after another before your very eyes.

Main specimens on display

  • Shonisaurus (replica)

    Shonisaurus (replica)
    Owned by : Kitakyushu Museum of Natural History & Human History

  • At each other’s prehistoric throats!

    At each other’s prehistoric throats!
    Fossils of large fish biting at each other
    Owned by : Kitakyushu Museum of Natural History & Human History

Chapter 2Hunters of the Seas

This is the main area of the exhibition, where the predators at the top of the ocean food chain are shown in each of four habitats: the “Deep Sea,” the “Polar Regions,” the “Open Ocean,” and the “Shallow Seas.” The “Great Dissection Lab” analyzes the characteristics of cartilaginous fish, bony fish, mammals, birds, and other groups. In the “Shark Lab,” every order of shark is represented in an impressive assembly of these quintessential ocean hunters.

And the highlight of the exhibition: The Great White Shark. This is the first immersed specimen of a grown shark exhibited in Japan. Immersing the specimen in liquid allows the 3.2-meter-long Great White Shark to be exhibited as is, and visitors can observe this most famous shark from close up.

Main specimens on display

  • Frilled shark

    Frilled shark
    Owned by : Ibaraki Nature Museum

  • Gulper Eel

    Gulper Eel
    Owned by : Kochi University

  • Killer Whale

    Killer Whale
    Owned by :
    National Museum of Nature and Science

  • Southern Elephant Seal

    Southern Elephant Seal
    Owned by :
    National Museum of Nature and Science

  • Shortfin Mako

    Shortfin Mako
    Owned by : Ibaraki Nature Museum

  • Indo-Pacific Sailfish

    Indo-Pacific Sailfish
    Owned by :
    Kitakyushu Museum of Natural History & Human History

  • Grey Nurse Shark

    Grey Nurse Shark
    Owned by :
    Kitakyushu Museum of Natural History & Human History

  • Smooth Hammerhead

    Smooth Hammerhead
    Owned by : Ibaraki Nature Museum

  • Great Barracuda

    Great Barracuda
    Owned by : Ibaraki Nature Museum

Chapter 3Hunters of the Ocean:
Their Strategies and Techniques

Predators use different strategies and techniques. Some have specially formed jaws and teeth, or body parts that have evolved into tools for hunting. Others conceal themselves in their environment while they lie in wait for prey, while still others hunt in packs. On the other hand, animales have developed unique methods to protect themselves from being eaten. The battle to “hunt or be hunted,” which plays out in the ocean, is at times dynamic, at times mysterious.

Main specimens on display

  • Cookie-Cutter Shark

    Cookie-Cutter Shark
    Owned by : Ibaraki Nature Museum

  • Bigeye Thresher

    Bigeye Thresher
    Owned by : Kitakyushu Museum of Natural History & Human History

Chapter 4Humans also Hunt in the Ocean

Humans are now the most powerful hunters of the ocean, and we have a responsibility to consider the future of the ocean. Obviously, we must not repeat our history of causing great damage to ocean-dwelling creatures, and we must conduct considerably more basic research on marine life forms. How can we best utilize the bounty of the seas in a sustainable way? One example might be found at the forefront of fish farming.

  • Pacific Bluefin Tuna

    Pacific Bluefin Tuna
    Owned by : Kindai University