Unko: Exploring Japan's Poop Culture

Did you know that the Japanese have a certain obsession with bathrooms? Yes, we can see anime with shit, god of the bathroom, golden shit standing out in a Tokyo building and much more. In this article, we'll get to know the shit culture in Japan [unko].

Shit, poop or feces in Japanese is called unko [うんこ], which can also be used to refer to some shit, crap, or garbage. A literal word for solid feces, which appears unthinkable somewhere in Japanese culture.

Unko - Feces in Japan

Japanese shit got the name of unko, why Odaiba it's the sound of force when pooping. already the ok [子] is used as a diminutive. Another word used for feces is daiben [大便] which also means excrement and shit.

In English we have the habit of talking shit and shit to talk about something bad, in Japan we use words like kuzo [糞] but rarely does this word literally refer to dung, feces or excrement. The word defecate is kusomaru [糞放る]

The feces in Japan are represented in the form of a spiral, since it is very common to find motorcycle style toilets (the ones with a hole in the floor that you crouch in), so kind of the expected shape of Japanese stools is actually a spiral.

There is a company called UNCO that makes quality clothes, but after a while it started making poop-related products. We can find items such as t-shirts, socks, sneakers with poop marks and crap characters.

What do you think of shit emoji plushies? Or rather, what do you think about eating? curry on a plate that looks like a toilet? These are some of the unusual things that we only find in Japan.

Unko - poop culture in Japan
How about eating in a toilet or hugging a poop?

Kin no Unko - Good luck shit

In Japan there is the "good luck" poop known as kin no unko [金のうんこ]. This golden poop has become a local icon simply because of its sound 'Odaiba' at the beginning of the word unko matches the sound 'Odaiba' from the Japanese word for good luck [運].

This golden turd has become so popular that in 2006 an estimated 2.7 million cell phone keychains similar to golden poop were sold. One of the main companies behind the gold turd is Kyoto's Ryukodo.

Koji Fujii, president of the company, came up with the idea to manufacture turds in late 1999. Due to Japan's economic recession and depressed national climate. Koji wanted to offer an inexpensive product that would make people smile. So he got the idea from the toilet.

Some of the kin no unko are made from real porcelain and plated with 24-karat gold. A mini poop keychain can start at 105 yen, while a giant poop on a silky red cloth costs at least 2,100 yen.

The products went viral in 200 when high school girls on school trips started buying them as souvenirs. The kids started a successful product boom, with news coverage from across the country.

In the game The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild we can find a item known as Hestu's Gift, which resembles a Kin no unko. It's not known if it's a joke, since to win this gift you have to get all the korok seeds.

Some argue, with fairly believable reasoning, that this is where the ubiquitous and enigmatic smiling poop emoji [?] came from in 2014, constantly used and affectionately called unchi by the Japanese.

Unko - poop culture in Japan
Is there a Kin no Uko?

Asahi Beer Hall - The poop building

In Sumida, Tokyo has a prominent building called the Asahi Beer Hall, but also called Golden poop because of its resemblance to a poop. Construction is also sometimes called unko-biru which means poop building.

Of course, that wasn't the building's original purpose, as Asahi is one of the Japan's most popular beer. The project was made by a French designer named Philipphe Starck and was completed in 1989.

The building's shape is that of a beer glass, designed to complement the neighboring golden beer mug-shaped building that houses the Asahi Breweries offices. It is considered one of the most recognizable modern structures in Tokyo.

The golden structure on top of the Asahi building represents the burning heart of Asahi beer, and a frothy head. The golden flame weighs 360 tons and was built using ships and underwater construction techniques.

Unko - poop culture in Japan

The artigo is still half finished, but we recommend opening it to read the following later:

the god of privates

There are more gods in the Shinto religion than it is possible to count, and they reside almost everywhere. The feces weren't left out either. There are a few japanese gods which has strong connections with the bathroom.

Until recently, it was common to worship deities known collectively as benjo-gami (private gods), placing religious figures in or under the toilet. Others buried divine figures under the bathroom.

In more traditional times, Japanese farms used to collect human waste to use as fertilizer. From this daily occurrence, arose the local belief in the god of the bathroom, also known as kawaya kami.

Because of its agricultural properties, the kawaya kami also played a big role in promoting fertilization. Every new year, rituals were performed, asking the kawaya kami for help in producing a good harvest for the coming year.

In the ritual, rice was eaten, which symbolized something big that the god had left behind (is it faeces?). Often a bathroom was decorated and kept as clean as possible. Maybe this god is why Japanese toilets are so clean.

There are also bathroom ghosts like Hanako-san and Aka-Manto. Stories similar to the bathroom blonde where we need to do a ritual repeating words 3 times. When will the weirdness stop?

Unko - poop culture in Japan
Akamanto and Hanako-san

Unko for kids

Learning kanji is difficult for anyone, especially young children. To try to alleviate the monotony of studying over 1,000 kanji characters, Japan created the best child-friendly teacher, Professor Unko.

This spotted moustache, using emoji-style poop, was such a hit that his books have sold over 1.83 million copies so far. Who knew a crap book is getting kids to learn Japanese?

To make matters worse, there is an anime called Unko San released in 2009. The anime tells the story of a fairy who can bring luck. Only this fairy is poop, all the characters are poop, even the island is shaped like shit.

Unko - poop culture in Japan
Unko san

Shit Museums in Japan

We're not talking about bad things, but literally shit. There is a Japanese Museum about feces inside the Himeji Literature Museum. Among other exhibits, we find “Excretory Literature”, books on poop and related subjects.

Or rather, there is permanently and literally the shit museum in Tokyo and Yokohama. The museum was a temporary idea, but ended up becoming a permanent attraction of Odaiba. A colorful place full of feces that receives 100,000 visitors a month.

In this Museum, everything is shaped like shit or a toilet. Balloons, food, toilets with poop inside and lots of colorful and fun things for you to visit. Don't miss the chance to visit the shit museum in Japan!

Unko - poop culture in Japan

Those were some fecal highlights from Japan. I hope you enjoyed the article... Thanks for the comments and shares! Finally, watch a video of the shit museum:

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