Tokyobling's Blog

Tokyo Parasitological Museum

Posted in Places by tokyobling on December 6, 2010

Here’s one weird museum I stumbled upon last week while taking a walk through Tokyo’s Meguro district: The Tokyo Parasitological Museum. Their rather fantastic slogan is: “Try to think about parasites without a feeling of fear, and take the time to learn about the wonderful world of Parasites.” Actually, you’re excused from having any clue what it is about since it is apparently the only museum dealing with parasitical life forms in the world! I didn’t know much about parasites before visiting this museum, and I still don’t claim to know much about the subject after it, but I have certainly gained a newborn respect for the brave scientists of the world dedicating their lives to this, extremely unpleasant phenomena! The museum has a good collection of parasites and their anguished hosts preserved in chemicals, like most good museums of natural history. They also have explanatory signs and models showcasing life cycles, infestation vectors and such, as well as some extremely unpleasant photos of people and animal unlucky enough to play host to these critters. Naturally, I took tons of photos but after getting home and reviewing them, I decided that there was no way on Earth that I was going to be able to post those photos on this blog, just looking at them myself made my stomach turn, so instead I show you the mildest ones I took.

The museum has an interesting exhibit on the history of parasitological research in Japan, in particular the hand written research books by a Dr. Yamaguchi in the 19th century. Aren’t they gorgeous? There’s also some interesting ephemera, like this pamphlet on snail fever distributed to U.S. troops in 1940. Snail fever, incidentally, is something you never ever want to experience. Trust me.

One of the most interesting things about this museum was the other visitors. Almost all the visitors were young women, and a few couples to round up the numbers. The lab coated clad assistant at the museum shop was also a very pretty young woman, responsible for selling the museums t-shirts and souvenirs. Now, who would ever want a t-shirt showing the infection and life cycle of one of three world famous intestinal parasites, I have no idea.

In case you are ever in Tokyo with a couple of free hours, this is a place you should not miss. Free of charge, it comes with international bragging rights! If you can stomach it. Just make sure not to go right before a meal. You will definitely not be able to keep your appetite after this!




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8 Responses

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  1. Maaikeh said, on December 6, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Haha, I went there last year! I heard that it was popular with young couples for its shockvalue, I don’t know why it would be popular with young women too. It was just a shame most information was in Japanese, which I don’t read, so I didn’t really learn much.

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    • tokyobling said, on December 9, 2010 at 8:43 am

      You did!? I had no idea so many people I knew of already knew that place! I had heard of it but never been there before. Yes, it is a little bit heavy on the shock value side… not in my personal top ten list of potential dating spots…!

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  2. Lisa Eaton said, on December 6, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    Jason and I went there in 2008! I love weird medical stuff. Schistosomiasis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schistosomiasis) is my favorite parasitic disease! It was prevalent in ancient (and modern) Egypt.

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    • tokyobling said, on December 9, 2010 at 8:45 am

      Haha… that figures! (^-^) It’s not too far removed from your every day work place right? Cool! I have read a lot of ancient worlds fiction but never heard about this disease. Let’s lobby to have it mentioned if they ever continue that excellent Rome series! (^-^)

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  3. Julie (JUURI) said, on December 7, 2010 at 1:49 am

    The decals in the first photo look almost cute, if such a thing was possible! I’m amazed such a museum has enough guests to stay open. Maybe it’s only for people who want to brave new and disgusting spectacles!!! I couldn’t handle it!!!

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    • tokyobling said, on December 9, 2010 at 8:46 am

      Haha… yes, fleas can be cute, I guess! If you look at them like alien invaders from some sort of 50’s b-movie it would be even better! I agree, let’s take this one of your list of places to see in January! (^-^;)

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      • Julie (JUURI) said, on December 10, 2010 at 3:51 am

        Nooooo, please!!!! Let’s not go there… (O_o;;;) hehe

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        • tokyobling said, on December 10, 2010 at 8:07 am

          Hm… is someone trying to persuade you to go…? (^-^)

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