Minazou, Japan's only male Elephant Seal in captivity, died recently at the young (for an elephant seal) age of 11. He was the inspiration for Merzbow's 2002 album Merzbeat, the flagship album in the on-going Merz-Series on Important. He was also the album's cover star and the subject of numerous photographs, paintings and postcards made by Masami Akita.  It's certainly a sad time for Masami and Jenny Akita as they were obviously quite charmed by Minazo and made frequent trips to the aquarium to visit Minazo.  Photos and links to a couple of great photo sites of this tremendous animal on Important's news page.