Leave it to the new kid on the block (yours truly) to bring down this venerable site with a blog entry about, well, golden poop. This little tidbit went around the gadget blogs about a couple years ago, but let’s face it — golden poop never gets old. See, the Japanese think these little tiny pieces of golden poop (shaped to look eerily like soft serve ice cream) bring good fortune, and are sold at shrines all over the country. And since the Japanese have a thing for cell phone charms (you know, those dangly things that some people hang on their cell phones), it only made sense that someone somewhere came up with the golden poop cell phone charm. Genius! It has since sold millions of units, and is quite possibly the most popular cell phone strap in Japan. They even have golden poop stamps! Oh, the magic and wonder of the golden poop.
I was a little perplexed at this golden poop worship by the Japanese, and decided to do a little more searching around. According to this Japan Times article:
The product you saw is called Kin no Unko (The Golden Poo), a name that plays on the fact that the Japanese word for poop (unko) starts with the same “oon” sound as a completely unrelated word that means “luck.” Japanese enjoy this kind of pun — traditional storytelling is full of them — which may help explain why more than 2.5 million of the lucky little loads have sold in the last seven years.
And apparently, the golden poop phenomenon only came around in 1999, which isn’t that long ago. But as the article goes on to explain, “there is a long history of poo-related worship in Japan”:
“There are more gods in the Shinto religion than it is possible to count, and they reside just about everywhere, inhabiting natural things like trees, rocks and waterfalls,” he said. “Bodily functions are very important — think what a problem it would be if a person couldn’t defecate or urinate properly — so it’s natural that people worshipped deities linked to these functions.”
Despite myself, I had to laugh. I thought back to my childhood, and remembered a few Chinese cartoons and comic strips that clearly showed drawings of poop, and I wondered if this so-called “poop worship” is an East Asian thing in general. Maybe Asians are more accepting of bodily functions than more Westernized cultures?
Regardless, I have to admit that these tiny little shiny poop charms are kinda cute. Hey, they even have one in a catcher’s mitt! That said, I probably won’t want to have these things hanging from my cell phone. How about you?