Poop: an unlikely savior for kids learning kanji

From 1st grade to 6th grade, Japanese elementary schoolers must learn over 1000 kanji characters and commit them to memory. The strenuous task – one that all children in Japan face – is typically accomplished only by rote memorization: writing the characters over and over and over again. But an unlikely savior has recently emerged in bookstores across Japan: poop.

In March of this year, book publisher Bunkyosha released 6 series of kanji learning books titled “Unko Kanji Drill.” Unko is the Japanese word for poop. It comes out of your butt and it stinks. If there’s one thing that all kids can agree on, it’s that poop is funny. So by incorporating potty humor into learning, the creators set out to make kanji learning fun and hilarious, instead of boring and tedious.

How exactly do they incorporate poop? For starters, the weirdly likable mascot Unko Sensei guides you through all the exercises. In each, you practice the kanji first and then there are 3 example sentences that incorporate both the kanji and poop. That’s right: the publishers came up with a total of 3018 example sentences all about poop. And they really are quite hilarious.

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