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Hmm, what may a Japanese Fart Scroll be? That is the question. Well, I never knew either until I spotted Stephen Fry (King of QI) tweet on this rather elusive subject. Two clicks later I was amazed to find… well, these.

And my education was complete 🙂 I confess, I have seen stranger things, but still the mind boggles. Let me assure you that these fine scrolls are actually geniune. They are called the He Gassen (literally The Fart Battle) and a whole bunch of them were once auctioned at Christie’s for a handsome amount. If interested, you may find the full archive at the Waseda University website and the original post of the blogger who has brought them to light. I’d dearly love to know at least the name of the ancient artist who oh-so elegantly took the time to paint these images. The biggest question that remains is ‘what purpose do they serve?’ Is there a secret meaning to the pictures?

All I’m saying is I wish my blogger friend all the luck in the world during his research into the scrolls (yes, a whole new area of academic study people!) and I hope he gets to the bottom of it (no pun intended). In the meantime all that’s left is to admire the scrolls for their comedic worth and marvel at the creativity of the artist, or rather his specific flavour of toilet humour! My favourite out of the lot is below, and it definitely requires some technique!

Part 1: Farting in a bag makes formidable ‘fart-bomb’…

Part 2: Which you can then use to defeat your opponents!

There is a lot of weird literature out there, but I wanted to put the spotlight on this rare, lesser-known side of Japanese culture. Whatever you are doing this week folks, I hope you will remember the fart scrolls and that it will put a smile on your face.