Golden Poo: Feces of Financial Fortune

The Japan Times (the major English daily in Japan) has an amusing article this week....

     Gold poop While browsing through the souvenir shops on a recent layover at
     Narita Airport, I came across a very curious Japanese good-luck charm. It
     featured -- I kid you not -- a gold poop which, by the way, looked
     disturbingly like soft ice cream! Why poop? Why gold poop? Personally, I
     can not see anything felicitous in feces. Please tell me what the heck I am
     missing. What you are missing is a pleasing piece of word play. 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 been sold
     in the last seven years.

The full article at the Japan-Times website goes on to explain in detail.

The article is by Alice Gordenker, whose writings I always enjoy, especially her “What the heck is that?” column. She can dive quite deeply into the most obscure little things, and you come away from one of her articles really feeling you have the complete poop on whatever subject is at hand.

In this case, she talks about a good luck charm, 金のうんこ, which can be translated in any number of amusing ways, although I'll stick with “golden poo.” I've seen these around, and as with so many things that I instinctively know that I just “don't get,” I rolled my eyes and didn't really give it a second though. So it's surprising to find out that they're just a play on words, with no deep cultural background behind them, and that they started only in 1999, and not hundreds or thousands of years ago.

They're made of porcelain and coated with 24-karat gold, but are relatively cheap. To quote the article, they retail for “just 105 yen for the mini poo to 2,100 yen for the big dump, which sits proudly on a silky red cushion” (that's a bit less than a dollar for the petite poop, and about $18 for the tremendous turd).

Golden-Poo Stickers

Of course, by now there are many copycat caca around, and with a quick web search I found ones made of clear glass with embedded gold sprinkles, little poops nested in baseball mits, and tiny turd cell-phone charms.

Then there's the golden poop that doubles as a rubber stamp (stamping “good fortune”), and sheets of golden-poo stickers complete with little smiley faces. Now really, who couldn't love these cheery cute little craps?

The stickers with the non-anthropomorphic piles have labels that indicate good fortune in general, and good fortune with finances, the latter being the common phrase that “golden poo” is a wordplay from (which means that “Feces of Financial Fortune” is probably a more accurate translation of the true spirit of the Golden Poo).

Gee, now that I think about it, I should have gotten one for Anthony when he made is first poop in the toilet.

One comment so far...

I want to know how to order the gold poo stickers! Your link isn’t working. Ideas?

I found another place selling them, and updated the link. —Jeffrey

— comment by Stina on March 7th, 2012 at 8:45am JST (11 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink
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