Japan's new pop-up poop museum proves a hit

By Lucy Craft

/ CBS News

Pop-up museum in Japan dedicated to poop

Yokahama, Japan — A pop-up museum dedicated to poop is drawing crowds in Japan, with 10,000 visitors in its first week. The subject matter may raise eyebrows, but it is delighting kids. As Lucy Craft reports, the temporary museum is a technicolor funhouse complete with a ball pit, lusciously sculptured cakes and candy-colored toys.

The sculpture may look like a giant mound of soft-serve ice cream, but this is the Unko Museum — the "Museum of poop." It's a hands-on exhibit that takes the lid off a taboo subject.

"It's cute," declares student Akihio Tsuchiya. "Poop is cool."

Potty mouths are not only welcome in this cultural endeavor, they're given a megaphone.

Some boys visiting the Unko Museum told CBS News they "never get to shout 'poop'" at school. "People would think we're weird."

"Yelling it out felt great," they agreed after being encouraged to scream the slang word in such a public setting.

It might seem a bit icky, but the museum creators say poop has untapped potential as a pop culture icon, they just might be on to something.

Japanese kids grow up with manga, the nation's trademark animation, and TV shows that often tackle the finer points of elimination, starting even before they're toilet trained.

Poop-themed children's textbooks have become a publishing staple in recent years, selling 4 million copies.

To teachers, the approach stinks, but parents say the bathroom humor and whimsical dung-shaped characters help kids keep focused.

Manure icons are on a roll, too.

Poop-themed 18-carat gold bling is selling for hundreds of dollars, proving that just about anything that doesn't glitter, can still be gold.

First published on April 1, 2019 / 10:52 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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