Yes, you read that correctly: the hot way to learn those pesky kanji characters now involves poop. Luckily, we're not talking about actual smelly droppings, but rather an exercise book called 'Unko Kanji Drills'. Released in March this year, the series teaches elementary-school kids their essential kanji by giving them exercises based on the word for poop, unko.
These crap-tastic drills consist of sentences with words or combinations that incorporate the sound 'unko' in them, while the bit that you need to fill in is always perfectly turd-shaped. Toilet humour may not appeal to everyone, but we guarantee you'll remember your characters properly this way.
The series now includes six volumes, starting at first-grade level and increasing in difficulty with every successive book. Created in order to bring the fun back into kanji studies, 'Unko' has been wildly successful – it's sold over three million copies to date – and become one of this year’s hit products in Japan. We'd argue that no matter what your kanji level is, these books will prove useful – and not as toilet paper, mind you.
We're fans and think the rest of the world should be too, which is why we've shortlisted Unko Kanji Drills for our 2017 Love Tokyo Awards. Check out the other nominees here.