A popular children’s book in Japan is making the rounds online for teaching children kanji, logographic Chinese characters adopted for Japanese writing, with the help of poop and toilet humor.
“Unko Kanji Doriru”, the book series roughly translated to “Poop Kanji Drills”, is surprisingly the number one educational go-to series that mothers often pick for their children to learn the written form of the Japanese language, which has 1,006 characters, according to Forbes.
More than 2,760,000 copies were reportedly sold by the end of September 2017.
The “Poop Kanji Drills” series covers each grade level in the Japanese education system — from first to sixth grade. Surprisingly enough, every single example sentence in the book contains a reference to poop delivered by the anthropomorphic, glasses-wearing yellow feces instructor, Professor Poop.
By using an unorthodox method, the book helps teach children how to properly write in kanji, as well as show them the right strokes when writing — similar to the way it is taught in schools.
Example phrases found in the series include: “In the future, I want to work at the poop research center in America,” and “I was sleepy but then I pooped and my head started to work.”
As it turns out, the toilet humor method does indeed help children learn the Japanese language.
“Adults would raise their eyebrows, but for children, the word ‘poop’ is magical and makes things fun,” 40-year-old author, Yusaku Furuya, said in an interview in May, Japan Times reported.
In Western culture, scatological humor can come off as repulsive and may even offend some people; Japanese people, however, find the joke to be quite humorous. In fact, the children’s book “Everyone Poops” by author Taro Gomi is considered as a minor classic in the country.
Despite the humorous side of the series, some found the whole thing controversial, which is why the publisher placed a disclaimer at the end that reads: “The examples accompanying the kanji drills in this book are meant to bring some humor into learning, and help increase the desire to learn of the precious children. There are some sentences, that would result in the children causing trouble to others if they were to imitate them in real life, but this book is meant for study. It is not meant to spur or aid inappropriate behavior. We hope that this is understood.”