Fascinating Japanese Inventions

picture of humorous banks

The Japanese seem to have a talent for making many rather interesting things. One of those is the pakapakan banku, shown above. These are forms of chokinbako, or piggy banks.

Notice right off that one of them has lips on them; that's the female can and the other is the male can. The first is the ojo-kan, or "spoiled, rich-girl" can while the other is the akudai-kan, or "evil magistrate" can. (Such magistrates collected takes and other tribute from people during the Tokugawa shogunate.)

Right off you have something rather different from the "average" piggy bank!

But it doesn't stop there! The banks are equipped with sensors for detecting movement nearby. When you pass near the bank the lid starts slipping up and down and then the banks speak!

The female can starts off with saying something like "Please, oh please, oh please, give me some money." If you put some money in the bank then she will say that she is happy. If you don't put any money in, though, she says that you are mean!

The male bank says to the passerby something like "Hey, hey, hey! You there! What about your tribute?" If you drop some money in it replies something about "you're bad, too", probably being a play on the fact that some of the magistrates were somewhat less than totally honest when it came to money and wanted to get all they could, implying that you are also into "getting" (saving) money. If you refuse to put money in, though, he calls you a fool!

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