Page last updated at 14:16 GMT, Thursday, 12 March 2009

KFC statue to end Japan 'curse'?

A statue of Colonel Sanders recovered from a river in Japan
KFC is considering donating the statue to the Hanshin Tigers

A statue of Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Colonel Sanders that was thrown into a Japanese river 24 years ago has been found by construction workers.

The plastic figure was tossed into the Dotonbori River in Osaka by Hanshin Tigers baseball fans after their first national championship win in 21 years.

But a subsequent losing streak has been jokingly attributed to the lost statue.

The frustrated fans hope the statue's "resurrection" will lift the long "curse of Colonel Sanders".

Hanshin Tigers fans often jump into the river to celebrate the team's successes.

The statue was taken from a KFC restaurant and submerged in 1985 by ecstatic fans in honour of colonel look-a-like American Randy Bass, the team's home-run king.

Its upper body was found on Tuesday, about 300m from where it was thrown into the water, during a clean-up of the river bottom.

The legs and right hand were found nearby, city officials said, but the feet, the other hand and the Colonel's glasses are still missing.

"[The statue] has generated so much interest that it should be brought to Koshien Stadium," the Hanshin Tigers' manager, Akinobu Mayumi, was quoted by Kyodo News as saying, referring to the team's home stadium.

The colonel is in police custody, but KFC is reported to be considering donating him to the Tigers in time for the start of the baseball season next month.

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