Japanese culture has always been a little off, as we’ve talked about in the past, but we never realized how far back it went.
The above slides all come from one old Japanese scroll, titled “He-Gassen,” which translates to “The Fart Battle.” (We like to call it one of the Japanese Fart Scrolls.) And what a perfect title that is, as this Japanese fart scroll depicts, in no uncertain detail, farting contests. The people are shown farting at each other, farting at horses, farting at buildings — just farting at whatever’s around to fart at.
Apparently, this scroll and similar drawings, of which there are many, were used to ridicule westerners, often depicting them blown away by the powerful farts of the Japanese. These are from Japan’s late Edo period, which ran from 1603 to 1868.
There isn’t too much more information on why these scrolls exist, or how they play into Japanese culture, as there are surprisingly few academic essays discussing the cultural influences of farting in Japan.
We do know that a collection of farting scrolls once sold for upwards of $1500 in the ’90s at the famous Christie Auction House. Meanwhile, this scroll is held at the database for Japanese and Chinese classics at Waseda University Library.
Scroll through the slideshow above to see the photos because, hey, no matter what age or half of the world you’re living in, farts are just plain funny.