Earlier this year, South Korea opened the world’s first Toilet Theme Park, in Suwon. The theme park honors the former mayor, Sim Jae Duck, a.k.a. Mr. Toilet, and his devotion to the culture of toilets. The museum used to be a house built by Mr. Toilet, which is built—you guessed it!—to be the only toilet-shaped house in the world!
Sim Jae Duck was born in his grandmother’s toilet. He was so embarrassed by South Korea’s backward public conveniences, that his obsession was turned into a campaign for public sanitation improvements in the 1980s. He founded the World Toilet Association, and his efforts were so successful that the city holds a monthly Cleanest Public Restroom Contest to showcase local businesses.
The museum has bronze figures in various positions, all of them wearing expressions one might make when getting business done in the toilet. It also features a bowl-shaped exhibition hall, poop-shaped souvenirs, art work related to toilets, and washroom signs from around the world! Now the city attracts toilet-related artworks and holds the annual Golden Poop Art Festival as well as lists 16 of Suwon’s public toilets as tourist sites on the City Council Website.
The theme park carries messages of health, sanitation and water conservation. As one Suwon citizen put it: ”We just focus on eating every day, we sometimes overlook the importance of the toilet.”
Would you visit Suwon’s Toilet Theme Park? I would love to see the collection of washroom signs from around the world!