Struggling museum sees its fortunes reversed after tweet from famous visitor.

There are a lot of museums in Tokyo, but one that tends to fly under the radar is the Meguro Parasitological Museum, which claims to be the only museum in the world dedicated solely to parasites.

This small two-storey museum is a little way away from the centre of downtown Tokyo and almost a kilometre from the nearest station, so it tends to get overlooked by a lot of international visitors. However, one high-profile international visitor recently made an effort to stop there, and when he did, he shared a photo on Twitter to let his 60.3 million followers know about it.

Bill Gates’ glowing 10/10 review of his visit couldn’t have come at a better time for the museum, which relies on donations to cover costs and has been offering free admission to all visitors since it first opened in 1953. The museum has been in dire straits since the start of the pandemic, sending out requests for donations as visitor numbers plummeted, but following Gates’ visit, there’s been an uptick in donations.

According to the museum, which operates as a nonprofit, charitable organisation with less than ten staff, their target for annual donations since 2020 has been 5 million yen (US$35,221) to cover costs.

▼ The museum houses around 300 displays.

They’ve struggled to achieve this, and up until mid-August they’d only received around 2.1 million yen in the fiscal year (1 April to 31 March). However, following Gates’ visit and tweet on Twitter, the museum’s online site received a surge in views from people around the world, and by 31 August, they’d received just over 2.5 million yen from 503 people.

As of 4 September, the museum had received a total of 5,277,681 yen since 1 April, smashing the target amount for the fiscal year in just five months.

The museum says they were also helped by a tweet from a volunteer asking for donations that also went viral this summer, but the main surge in donations has been credited to Gates’ visit, with a number of people online dubbing it the “Bill Gates effect“.

“Thank you, Mr Gates!”
“The Bill Gates effect is amazing!”
“As expected of Bill Gates!”
“Such an effect on the local economy!”
“We should all support the Meguro Parasitological Museum!”

The museum is always in need of donations, and with a PayPal link on their site, anyone can donate from anywhere in the world. So if you’d like to see these unusual specimens maintained for future generations, be sure to check out their site, and next time you’re in Japan you might want to add the museum to your itinerary so you too can see the world’s longest tapeworm, which came out of a person who got it from eating an infected fish. 10/10 would recommend.

Related: Meguro Parasitological Museum
Source: Twitter/@BillGates via Jin
Photos ©SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!