The Sannomiya Butt Statue Phenomenon

by mo on 07/25/2009

So here goes my Japan Blog Matsuri virginity… (where jbloggers all over make a post around a particular theme each month… July = WEIRD Japan).

The best weird thing about Kobe, Japan, is, without question, the butt statue, and its associated interaction phenomenon.

Located right beside Sannomiya station in the heart of Kobe, the butt statue is a popular meeting place for Kobe kids, or place to hang out and chat on your keitai.


Several questions come to mind.

Why the torsos and butts?
Why in front of the Häagen-Dazs?
Why the giant Meg Ryan advertisement? (At least, it was there for the whole year I lived there. I don’t know what’s there now. Anyone care to update me?)

And, the Phenomenon:
To a Kobe native, the butt statue is *invisible*. You can always spot an outsider as someone who walks by the butt statue and notices its existence (and usually stares inquisitively for quite a while). I will never forget telling my host mom I was to meet someone at the butt statue, and she hadn’t realized it existed until I pointed it out.

The butts are invisible…

There are 8 comments in this article:

  1. 25/07/2009reesan says:

    wow, that certainly is weird and fits in well with the theme of this months matsuri.

    some may say that that location is the arse end of town [boom tish] :-)

  2. 27/07/2009Declan says:

    Reesan, must it be the butt of all your jokes?

    [boom tish] :-)

  3. 27/07/2009Spam From Japan says:

    Wow, love this. I guess it must be invisible, because I’ve never heard it mentioned as one of the top tourist spots in Kobe. Great local perspective.

    (Here from the Blog Matsuri, but you knew that. :P)

  4. 27/07/2009David says:

    I don’t think Meg’s still there with her creepy lips, but I’ve gotten use to seeing her gaze down upon me as I pull in on the Hankyu line so I might not be noticing. The first time I pulled into Sannomiya I felt the same way. Meg Ryan looking super ugly and blown up really big… bleh.

    I could go on for hours about good and bad public art in the US and Japan, but to make it short Kobe has some of the WORST public art ever. What do you expect from Kobe, they also built one of the most pointless airports ever.

    I also totally ignore that statue, seriously I walk by it quite often and I couldn’t tell where that statue was from the shot that’s on Gakuranman’s post. Only after I clicked the link to this page did I realize that it’s the statue in “Tits Park”.

    Did you call that area “Tits Park” when you lived here?

  5. 27/07/2009mo says:

    Thanks for the great butt jokes everyone!

    @David: I think Meg actually got replaced by some other ad right when I was going to leave Japan, so it’s probably been a couple years since she’s been there, but having that giant ad just completed that little hiroba for me (complete with the Meg Ryan staredown!). I assume you’re talking about all the statues on the way to Harborland from Sannomiya = “Tits Park”? (I mean, there are a lot of naked statues). But this one is a bit removed from most of the other statues as it’s north of the stations.

  6. 3/08/2009StJohn Rylance says:

    That statue is actually in Oppai Koen (Breast Park) at Sannomiya. In fact the statue is standing on one of the breasts! My wife is from Kobe and it’s a great city despite the dodgy sculptures.

  7. 10/01/2010daigakudeki » Sannomiya Asobi says:

    [...] instructed them to meet me by the butt statue (and just like all other Kobe natives, they seemed slightly unsure of what I was talking about [...]

  8. 17/02/2010Weird things about Japan – Gakuranman says:

    [...] Mokudekiru makes a fascinating discovery in Kobe – the Invisible Butt Statue! [...]

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