Asia food trend: "cannibal banquets" – Bogus?

Vorephiliacs, rejoice! Chop open the humanoid piñata corpse, rip away her skin, then nosh out on what's inside. The wounds you create "bleed" edible blood. Are the genitals jporn mosaicced like that in real life? Link, via Gadling (thanks, paul).

Reader comments and debate over whether this is (a) real and (b) Japanese follow after the jump.

Mark Bellis is among those who think it's too totally awesome to be entirely accurate:

I don't think that's a real restaurant in the "Japanese Corpse" picture – the original post at gives its source as a Chinese BBS – Tom ?? – (the Chinese characters might not come through) at – and the people in the photo look more Chinese than Japanese. Although there are plenty of weird theme restaurants in Japan, this looks more like somebody's apartment or studio, probably some art students celebrating Hallowe'en.
it looks more like someone's writing in the captions themselves.

And A.A. agrees:

Not to split haris, but this is not Japan. None of the sites linked can say for sure where they got the photos from. And I can tell you right now that the Asian folks are not Japanese, the setting (the room, etc) is not Japanese, and eating a confectionary cadaver is certainly not a Japanese thing to do (this is a culture that doesn't even have *swear words*).

My guess is these are probably kids in Taiwan.

Brett W. says,

No offense to [A.A.], but I always find it amusing when people make broad statements about certain languages without any evidence. Saying that Japanese is a "culture with no swear words" fits more into a stereotype than into reality. I'm a student of Japanese (and linguistics) who has lived there for quite a while, and if you listen, you'll hear plenty of foul language. Really, it's impossible to find any language that doesn't have swear words – I'm surprised it isn't ever mentioned as one of the universal features of language.

Trane DeVore of the Osaka University Graduate School of Language and Culture says,

First, it's simply not true that there are no swear words in Japanese.
It is true that it is unusual to use swear words publicly, and there
is not the linguistic practice of saying "Fuck!" and "Shit!" all the
time. However, there are still plenty of swear words to go around.

Here's a link to a debate about swear words in world languages where
you can see the debate about swear words in Japanese being carried on: Link.

Those who claim that there are no swear words in Japanese are simply

Secondly, "and eating a confectionery cadaver is certainly not a
Japanese thing to do (this is a culture that doesn't even have *swear
words*)" seems to suggest that such a practice is somehow too strange,
or weird, or bloody, or vile for Japanese standards. While this might
be true on a general level, just as it would be true probably
anywhere, [A.A.] clearly hasn't been looking at the same cultural
artifacts that I have.

We could start with some of Takeshi Miike's
ultra-violent, ultra-bloody filmic gorefests. And then we could move
on to a whole raft of violently perverse, and incredibly graphic and
gutsy, horror manga (this stuff ends up in the standard 'horror' manga
section of any regular bookstore and is not deeply underground). You
can eat still-living fish sashimi here, and raw organs are quite
popular (beef and chicken liver, especially), though perhaps not
wildly popular. Theme restaurants, fascination with the bodily,
thrill seeking, and a great sense of humor are also quite common in

Put all these things together, and I can imagine a cannibal
banquet restaurant. Not one that would stay in business once the
initial buzz wore off though.

So, while I agree with [A.A.]'s
general statement that this photo was probably not taken in Japan, the
assumption that this kind of thing is somehow outside the realm of
possibility within Japanese culture is something I'll have to take
exception with.

[A.A.] replies,

Trane is right. I do not spend my time looking at the same cultural artifacts he does. And I don't have an advanced degree in Japanese. I just translate for television. I suppose I was irritated by the fact that it was somehow assumed that such a strange practice could only occur in Japan. Still, I would have to insist that Japanese people would find a cannibal banquet or whatever to be creepy – it's not something they would do. While Japanese has plenty of coarse language, the real nasty stuff always invokes death: I will kill you, Die! = F**k you. Death is clearly taboo in Japanese culture.

Paul Adams says,

Just read the entry with the title above and it put me in mind of this film I saw at Dead By Dawn, an Edinburgh horror festival, last year: Link. It's a gloriously twisted Japanese black comedy about a cosmetic surgeon who develops a taste for the flesh he manipulates. Been waiting for a DVD release for ages and it looks like the powers that be have finally granted my wish, it's available for pre-order on Amazon.

Ken Lin says,

You posted [A.A.] who wrote "eating a confectionary cadaver is certainly not a Japanese thing to do (this is a culture that doesn't even have *swear words*). My guess is these are probably kids in Taiwan."

As you know, he is quickly refuted by Mr. Devore who illustrated that Japan do have swear words. I am a Taiwanese born American who is currently vacationing in Taiwan. Looking at the pictures, I would also venture that these are not likely Japanese but they do not look Taiwanese to me either. There certainly have been no mention of this on any of Taiwan's media (internet included). And with a news item this weird in a 24×7 media obsessed country, it is highly unlikely that the source of picture is from Taiwan and yet go unreported.

Please try not to print BS racial guesses and generalization. His reply is even more priceless: "Still, I would have to insist that Japanese people would find a cannibal banquet whatever to be creepy" – as if Americans, Taiwanese, Brazilians, or Danes do not?

Previously on BB:

  • Naked Sushi, part 2, part 3, part 4