During my recent research trip to Japan, I spent some time in Tokushima City (the capital of Tokushima Prefecture) and, specifically, in Tokushima Castle Park.
The park is home to a number of temporary and permanent art installations, as well as the ruins of Tokushima Castle (tune in Monday to see the castle ruins). It’s also home to a rather unusual and entertaining statue…of a boy taking unusually ironic revenge on a group of pigeons:
When the statue is turned on, a stream of water emerges from the boy, making him pee on the birds.
The statue stands in the middle of a lovely garden, among raised beds filled with seasonal flowers. It’s near the center of the park, at a place where several walking paths converge, and it stands atop a pillar of stone – so it’s clearly meant to be seen.
I tried to find someone who could tell me a little more about the statue, both because it reminded me of Brussels’ famous Mannekin Pis (a statue which also lends its name to a famous waffle chain in Japan) and because the ten year-old in me finds it hilarious that a major park in a major Japanese city has a central fountain involving a child peeing on a pigeon.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any English-language explanations about the statue or its history, and the people I know in Tokushima didn’t know any more than I did.
Although its origin and history remain a mystery to me, it’s one of the most entertaining statues I’ve seen in my travels.
What’s the most unusual statue you’ve ever seen?