How often have we seen or experienced something that seems so uniquely Japanese and thought, “Only in Japan?” Everything from the Kin no Unko (The Golden Poo) craze to the now bizarre exhibit at The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation seems so uniquely Japanese for those of us who grew up overseas, yet there is some strange fascination that draws us to these things.
It appears that the Japanese are a lot less embarrassed about their bodies than the average American and poop (unchi) is viewed as cute and funny. Which brings me to the Toilet!? Human Waste & Earth’s Future exhibit currently being featured at The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (simply known as the Miraikan) from July 2- October 5, 2014. Located at 2-3-6 Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo (Odaiba District)135-0064, the Miraikan is a museum created by Japan’s Science and Technology Agency. The museum features real-time displays of data from a huge array of seismometers across Japan, Asimo the famous Hondo robot and a model maglev train. The Toilet!? display seems a bit out of place but considering the exhibit’s mission is to raise consciousness that around 2.5 million people have no toilet access and how this problem can pose a threat in the future, makes one think that this exhibit is ideally suited for a museum whose name literally translates to “future museum.”
The exhibit is divided into eight areas:
State of the art Japanese toilets are featured here, including ones where the lids open and close automatically!
This section is devoted to the concept that “If Toilets Could Talk, what would they say?”
Your relationship with feces will be explored here through displays of feces from various different animals and discussion of gut flora, which determines the condition of your health.
Here the concept that the toilet isn’t just a place for excretion is introduced. There are toilets where you can enjoy playing games or chatting. What kind of toilet would you like to have? Ideas on taking advantage of the bathroom space are presented here.
Put on a special hat and go on a journey through the sewer system to find out what happens after a toilet is flushed! Here eager kids slide down a big toilet slide and experience the world beyond the toilet, including the process that purifies sewage and technology for recovering useful resources from waste.
Here, the concept of space toilets are discussed using conceptual models that aspire to cope with both substance circulation and comfort.
What is your ideal toilet? Excretion is intertwined with human dignity and survival, and a person’s ideal toilet changes depending on their age and circumstances. Here displays explaining the many problems involving toilets will help visitors think about what kind of toilet would be suited for everyone.
The Toilet Is Song! Having learned about how toilets work, their future, and the problems they face, you will no doubt sympathize with the anger and frustration of toilets. In this final area, a toilet will sing about its feelings and the topics that were covered up to this point.
Let’s face it, traditional museums with their dusty dinosaur bones and yawn-inducing artwork, often bore the heck out of kids. Here at the Toilet!? exhibit you can literally flush them down the toilet and allow them to construct imitation poop out of clay in the arts and crafts area! Access to toilets is something many of us take for granted and this display draws attention to the fact that without toilets, clean drinking water and indoor plumbing, our lives would likely be much shorter!
Web page: https://www.miraikan.jst.go.jp/en/