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Do Japanese people have longer intestines than Westerners? | Ichimon Japan 02

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Today’s Question

On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Do Japanese people have longer intestines than Westerners?

Topics Discussed

  • Whether Japanese people have longer intestines than Westerners
  • The idea that longer intestines are a result of the Japanese people having a diet centering around rice, grains, and vegetables
  • The inconsistent details surrounding the idea that Japanese people have longer intestines than Westerners
  • Andy Raskin’s quest to determine if Japanese people have longer intestines than Westerners
  • The stealing of corpses in Meiji period Japan
  • The idea that longer intestine length produces more excrement
  • The connection between the length of one’s intestines and the smelliness of one’s poop
  • How much longer the Japanese intestinal tract is said to be than that of Westerners
  • What both Japanese sources and English-language sources have to say on the length of Japanese intestines
  • The importance of skepticism
  • The results of a large scale scientific study that compares the length of the intestines of Japanese people and Westerners
  • The idea that intestine length is connected to the darkness of one’s skin
  • And more!

Note: During the episode some information is attributed to a Reddit thread. This is inaccurate. The information attributed to said Reddit thread was instead found on news.ycominator.com.

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Sources, Links, Videos, Etc.

You can check out the article by Andy Raskin via the link below.

Here is the article published on World Projects Japan. This article is in Japanese

During the episode some information was attributed to a Reddit thread. However, this is wrong. Any information that was attributed to this nonexistent Reddit thread was actually from news.ycombinator.com. You can access this page via the link below.

The information regarding the idea that shortening one’s intestines results in lighter skin also originated from the page above. The text below was posted to this page by someone using the name slyall on August 24, 2015. No other information was found to support this claim.

“I remember reading a story (at least 20 years ago) that some women in Japan were getting their intestine shortened in order to lighten their skin.

No ghits sorry but from memory once the intestine was shortened the skin started to magically lighten.”

The 2013 study titled “Colorectal Length in Japanese and American Asymptomatic Adults Based on CT Colonography” (Japanese: 日本人とアメリカ人の大腸の長さは違うのか? : 大腸3D-CT) can be accessed via the link below. The article is in Japanese. An English translation of the objectives and results of the study can be found here.

If you would like to check out episode 30 of the Japan Station podcast, which focuses on the idea of “otaku” and the history of Akihabara, please check out the link below.

We Want Your Questions

Is there something about Japan that confuses you? Is there something about Japanese culture that you would like to learn more about? Is there something in Japanese history that you would like us to explain? We’re always looking for new questions about Japan to answer, so if you have one, please send it to ichimon@japankyo.com.

Special Thanks

Opening/Closing Theme: Produced by Apol (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Fiverr)

Ichimon Japan cover art: Produced by Erik R.

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