Japanese children learn about their digestive system

August 12, 2015 • 11:30 am

I got nothing today, and am feeling a bit wonky, so you’ll have to settle for entertainment. Here’s a video associated with a current children’s exhibit on The Great Adventure of the Body in Japan. Object: teach kids interactively about their alimentary canal and other parts of the body. As you’ll see, the makers have no shame:

I found a rather snarky explanatory video in English, along with the notes:

Teaching kids about the human body is important. And so is making learning fun. Which is why Japan has combined both of these elements oh so beautifully at “The Mysterious Great Adventure Of The Body” – an interactive science exhibit for kids that teaches youngsters about the parts of body, including the anus. And poop in general. Did I mention there’s a toilet exhibit? Cause there is.

15 thoughts on “Japanese children learn about their digestive system

  1. Though behavior-wise, Japan is a shame distinct from western guilt culture, there doesn’t seem to be quite the shame of the body itself. At shrines, one often sees giant carvings and totems of what westerners might consider the naughty bits.

    1. I’m familiar with the “shame culture vs guilt culture” trope. While I can’t argue with any impressions you may have (your impressions are your impressions), FWIW, speaking as someone living half my life in the US and half in Japan (where I am now), this is yet another of the silly, polarized “differences” that people exaggerate (or wholly make up) in the interest of exoticism. (Likewise with “The Japanese are very visual” in another comment below; what does that even mean?)

      There’s plenty of “shame” among “Westerners” (ugh, that term…), something easily seen at a time when “Internet shaming” is such a thing. Likewise, I’ve never seen some magical absence of “guilt” among people in Japan. (Well, maybe not much of the specialized Abrahamic religion variety of guilt; those religions have blessedly few followers here!)

      It also seems to me that, all over the world, we can find find honest, earthy willingness to openly address “body stuff” (a natural point of fascination for human kids!) – unless that natural inclination gets short-circuited by socially conservative (often religious) goofiness. And I could be wrong, but my sense is that such delicate sensibilities are fast dying out in the US, where more and more kids’ books and shows and exhibits happily take on gross’n’stinky stuff, to the delight of kids and increasing approval of parents.

      In short, maybe a science exhibit that frankly recognizes the anus wouldn’t have flown in the world of Leave it to Beaver. But as of 2015, would many “Westerners” reading this website have some problem with this exhibit? I think we’re well past the era of the fainting couch. : )

    1. As an anatomist, I have to agree with the approval of this. There’s no shame in natural body structures and functions! The kids look as if they’re having fun.

      Not sure that I’d want a tiny cartoon character swinging on my uvula though.

  2. Yes, leave it to some American to make fun of another country’s educational events verses doing something here to keep the drop outs in school.

    The Japanese are very visual with many things. If you go out and eat much when in Japan, but cannot read Japanese, it is usually no problem because they have excellent pictures in the menus for stupid foreigners. In the windows of many eating places they have actual plates of food, not real but very well done art with plastic. I have not seen this, at least to this level in any other country.

  3. Not actually the weirdest Japanese exposition of digestion.

    That dubious honor would probably have to go to this episode of Meme (an early ’80s educational show), which appears to have been written (along with the subsequent, final, episode about blood circulation) in a haze of alcohol and LSD during the wrap party for the series.

    The robot’s tragic love for a lump of undigested cellulose is probably the least freaky part of it.

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