YOKOHAMA >> Japan’s culture of cute makes no exceptions for poop. It gets a pop twist at the Unko Museum in Yokohama near Tokyo.
Here, the poop is artificial — really nothing like the real thing — and comes in twisty ice cream and cupcake shapes, in all colors and sizes.
“The poops are colorful and come out nicely in photos,” said Haruka Okubo, a student visiting part of the museum devoted to all-important selfies. “The shape is so round and cute.”
In Japan, little poop-shaped erasers with faces and similar items have long been popular, collected by children, and sometimes older folks.
As elsewhere, scatological jokes are popular and bodily functions discussed openly: A recent morning variety show by public broadcaster NHK featured tips on how to deal with farts.
Each visitor to the museum gets a short video introduction and then is asked to sit on one of seven colorful, nonfunctional toilets lined up against the wall.
Music plays as a user pretends to poop, then a brightly colored souvenir “poop” can be collected from inside the toilet bowl, to be taken home after the tour. A ceiling-high poop sculpture in the main hall erupts every 30 minutes, spitting out little foam poops.
The “Unstagenic” area of Instagram-worthy installations includes pastel-hued flying poops and a neon sign with the word “poop” written in different languages.
In another room, players use a projection- mapping game similar to “whack-a-mole” to squash as many poops they can. In another game, participants compete to make the biggest “poop” by shouting the word in Japanese, “Unko!,” as loudly as possible. A soccer game uses a controller to “kick” a poop into a goal.
Toshifumi Okuya, a system engineer, was amused to see adults having fun. “It’s funny because there are adults running around screaming ‘poop, poop,’” he said.
At the end of the tour, visitors get a bag to carry home their souvenir poop. If they want still more, the museum’s gift shop abounds with more poop-themed souvenirs.
The museum attracted more than 100,000 visitors in its first month after opening in March. It will remain open until September. Visit ale-box.com/unko museum.
Associated Press writer Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed to this report.