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Japanese otaku now have special trash box just for merch of their former anime and idol crushes

Dec 20, 2019

“I don’t love my crush anymore, but I want someone else to give them their love,” says message on Kyoto container.

When you spot a trash can in Japan, it’ll usually also have a sign saying what kind of trash it’s for. Some are for plastic bottles or aluminum cans only, while others are for newspapers and magazines.

But in Kyoto, there’s one very special trash container, because it’s specifically a place to throw away the merchandise of the anime character, idol singer, or show biz star you use to love, but don’t anymore.

▼ Sure enough, there are photos, CDs, pins, and even a calendar in the box.

A photo of the wooden trash box was shared by Japanese Twitter user @SATSUXANDROS, who discovered it on Kyoto University of Art & Design’s Sakyo Ward campus. “There’s a new-era mass grave at my university” @SATSUXANDROS tweeted with the pictures, but despite the dark humor, there’s actually a very thoughtful sentiment behind the box.

Remember how we said there are different trash cans for different types of trash in Japan? That’s to make it easier to sort trash for recycling, and the concept of reuse is also the motivation behind the anime/idol crush trash box. The right photo in the tweet has the kanji character for oshi, literally meaning “push” but also referring to a fictional character/celebrity crush, in the middle of the recycling symbol. The black text reads “I don’t love my crush anymore, but I want someone else to give them their love, if they can,” and passersby are invited to take any of the items that strike their fancy home.

Simply throwing away no-longer-wanted oshi merch can have a particularly high mental barrier, because in Japan non-recyclable garbage is generally burned, making it seem like a particularly cruel period to put on the emotional relationship with a crush that warmed the former fan’s lonely heart.

▼ “Umm…bye…”

The paradox of wanting to get rid of items, but being unable to bring oneself to actually do it, aligned with the concept of “shikakeology” that a group of Kyoto University of Art & Design students were studying. Shikakeology comes from the Japanese word shikake, which means to make something happen. In simplified terms, shikakeology seeks to use design to encourage certain actions or understandings, but the oshi trash box’s creators felt that “get rid of stuff you’re holding on to but don’t really want” was a bit too broad of a target, so they narrowed it down to specifically oshi goods, partially inspired by at least one member of the group being an idol otaku himself.

So really, the oshi box isn’t a mass grave. It’s a holding station where objects of affection that have fulfilled that role wait for the next person they can provide happiness to. The box’s written notices even include one that specifically says it’s for “things that you don’t want to be burned.” Its creators have already begun noticing turnover, with good placed in the oshi box one day claimed by someone and gone the next, and the container will remain in place until December 24, the most romantic night of the year for Japanese couples.

Source: Twitter/@SATSUXANDROS, Yahoo! Japan News/J Town Net
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert image: Pakutaso
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s got plenty of old anime merch that he can’t bring himself to throw out.

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