Jul 20, 2016
Museum in Niigata, Japan apologises after giving false information about the definitions of うんち and うんこ in toilet exhibit.
We cover all the heavy topics here at City-Cost News. Like this one, concerning the exact definition of what it is we pass when we do a No. 2! On a personal note, as long as it passes smoothly, I couldn’t care less what you call it! In Japan, err, toiletry solids are referred to as うんち (unchi) or うんこ (unko). Hilariously, if you put the terms into Google Translate, the former comes out as poo, the latter as s**t.
Medical types do care about this sort of thing though.
A curious piece on Sankei News (産経ニュース), dated today (July 20), talks of Niigata Science Museum (新潟県立自然科学館) getting into a spot of bother over an explanatory panel on display at the museum’s special exhibit about toilets. The exhibit entitled, トイレ？行っトイレ！ボクらのうんちと地球のみらい (Museum translation; Toilet!? Human Waste & Earth’s Future), is based around the key question of what would happen to poo if we didn’t have toilets. OK, the prurient amongst us might laugh, but at its core, the exhibit seems to explore a serious issue; according the museum’s introduction, some 2.5 billion people in the world don’t use a toilet. By the year 2100 that figure could rise to 10 billion. So, indeed, what will happen to all that poo?
Where the proverbial ‘s**t hit the fan’ is on one of the exhibit panels, entitled ‘うんちく’ (which we think means extensive knowledge, but kind of sounds like the Japanese words for poo/s**t). Said panel reportedly explained that, according to the Japan Medical Association, うんち refers to proteins passed after the digestion of fish and other meats. うんこ, the panel explains, refers to that which is passed as a result of digesting vegetables and grains.
However, it seems the person responsible for the panel just grabbed this off the Internet (Err, yeah, no comment!) and didn’t do their fact checking. It turns out the Japan Medical Association made no such definition or distinction, and thus the museum was forced to remove the offending article (the panel that is) and offer an apology on their website. You can read that here (if you can read Japanese).
Anyway, according to the Senkei piece, Japanese social media has soiled itself (our words) with excitement over the news.
Are there any Japanese words, similar in pronunciation, that confuse you?
Niigata Science Museum (新潟県立自然科学館)'s トイレ？行っトイレ！ボクらのうんちと地球のみらい exhibit runs until Aug 28
Source: Sankei News / 産経ニュース
Image: Niigata Science Museum
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