I remember his story like it was just yesterday because it was yesterday…
Yasu didn’t want to help his family. He was a young man, full of the kind of boundless energy that makes young men think they can headbutt bullets for breakfast.
Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself, this is Japan. Twenty five year old men tell me they’ve given up blue jeans and invested in khaki pants because they’ve become old.
But, that wasn’t Yasu (real name changed, though not far from the real one because I’m lazy and lack creativity), the weight of familial obligation weighing down upon his very soul. It was because of this obligation that he had his first encounter with a new phenomenon sweeping Japan and threatening to shift beyond underground subculture and into mainstream society.
I remember his first days in my class, a bright student, but reluctantly shy. I could only imagine some deep-seeded darkness at the very root of his soul, causing his constant inward reflection and shunning of my overtures toward conversation.
I’d asked him how his weekend had been. He hesitated at the time, obviously uncomfortable with the acts he’d witnessed and partaken in his previous weekend.
He slowly leaned forward, as if the very mentioned of the words weighed his soul down further. It was an effort for him to get them past his lips.
“Baby shitting…” he mumbled, the exhaustion of his revelation taking a noticeable toll upon him.
It was then that I had my first encounter with this Japanese subculture, this new underground world of baby shitting.
I couldn’t believe my ears. It was as if my whole world had come crashing down around me, my white, upper middle class upbringing suddenly irrevocably shattered by the strange habits of a culture far distant from my own. With a bewildered stare, I asked him to repeat himself, my mind remaining firmly boggled and unwilling to accept this new revelation.
“Baby shitting…” he uttered, this time somewhat louder than the first, as if defiantly trying to cast off the shackles of his transgressions.
I’m tried to maintain my open mind, tried to be an innocent bystander in all this. Whether it be genital mutilation, underwear vending machines, or wild gay sex, I’m but an observer in this rock we call earth. I shouldn’t seek to judge based on my upper middle class, Anglo western values.
But how can I maintain my neutrality, the boy so obviously burdened by his weekends spent ‘baby shitting!’
I had to get to the bottom of his plight. I gulped down my reactive spirit and kept on…
“Where did you go baby shitting?” I asked, pressing forward, not ready and willing to venture forth into this undiscovered new world, but in desperate need of answers.
He still hesitated to give me more. At first I thought it might be because of his lack of English ability, but it had to be more than that, I was sure of it.
He had given me a town name from one of the most conservative areas in Japan. If baby shitting was taking place here, there was no doubt in my mind that it had already moved beyond a subculture.
It had gone national.
It was hard to get much more out of him, and I mean that on two literal levels (the man had shit babies for christsakes), but I had to get to the bottom of it all. I had to talk to others.
I spoke to more students throughout the next day. They’d had their encounters with baby shitting too. At first, I linked it as a possible result of a flailing economy, but as I dug deeper, the ugly truth became more and more apparent.
I met Yuki in a dark corner of a Starbucks. I was sure she’d picked such an out of the way area not because of the more comfortable chairs, or because the other sections of the coffee shop were full, but because she was ready to unleash the details of her dark world upon me.
Yuki told me she’d done it too. She said she’d been baby shitting often lately, to help her mother’s sister. I asked her if perhaps her parents had forced her into it. In horror, she dictated to me how she hadn’t been forced into it by her parents, but felt it was something she’d needed to do to help them out.
When I asked if she’d done it for money, she shook her head. It all related back to her feelings of obligation.
I talked to more students that day and I heard stories from at least half who’d relayed bits and pieces of their encounters with baby shitting to me. From this, it appears that among Japanese people of ages 18-34, at least half of them are currently involved in baby shitting activities. You can take that fact to the bank.
But what is this baby shitting, exactly? Yasu and Yuki were coy with their answers, as were the others. From what I gathered, babies are involved, as well as shitting them. It appears that sometimes children partake in this phenomenon as well, as both of them stated they’d been watching over younger children in their family when they were forced into their dire acts.
It’s not clear where the babies are coming from and how exactly they’re being forced to shit them, but it’s obviously apparent that this is now sweeping Japan and threatening the very fabric of their culture and way of being.
I caution readers not to judge baby shitting enthusiasts so hastily. They’re people like you and I, sucked into this world because of deep-seeded obligations that we often cannot hope to comprehend.
But yes, these are acts of both shock and awe.
It is my hope to shine some light on this rapidly growing phenomenon, so that more may learn of this underground world of baby shitting, perhaps bringing more world attention to the issue and the plight of baby shitters throughout Japan.