Have you ever been in a bookstore when all of the sudden, you have the sudden urge to poop? You are not the only one.
Have You Ever Walked Into a Bookstore and Immediately Needed to Poop? This Is Why!
It actually has an official name: Mariko Aoki phenomenon, and it all began in February of a 1985 issue of Japan’s Hon no Zasshi, which translates to Book Magazine.
The magazine printed a short letter from a woman named Mariko Aoki, who had realized that wandering inside a bookstore triggered this urge to relieve herself.
And after its publication, the magazine received several reports from readers who regularly experienced the same. Their next issue had a 14-page feature article on this unsolved mystery.
One main theory is our sense of smell. Reportedly, in Japanese media, a few experiments have been carried on like on the television show The Real Side of Un’nan and by philosopher Kenji Tsuchiya.
Another theory? Ivan Pavlov. The Russian physiologist trained hungry dogs to salivate at the sound of a buzzer or metronome. He helped show that a response can become predictable in a certain environment by using reinforcement. So maybe, reading on the toilet will strengthen the association between defecation and reading.
A lesser-known theory to consider is that of stress and relaxation. Many believe that because life is stressful, walking into a bookstore—a quiet, peaceful place —acts as a release.
Dr. Sameer Islam, MD, a Texas-based gastroenterologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, has yet another working theory.
“It’s a purely psychological problem,” Dr. Sameer Islam believes.
“Now, the people who experience this aren’t crazy or nuts. There’s a real connection between the gut and the brain—it’s called the gut-brain axis. What we feel mentally will affect our bowels. That’s why when you’re nervous, like taking a test or giving a public speech, you have butterflies in your stomach. It’s the nervousness you feel that corresponds to the butterfly feeling in your gut. For others, that nervousness will cause diarrhea and bowel issues to occur. It’s a common manifestation of conditions like irritable bowel syndrome.“
And so, the hypotheses go on. And to this day, there is no definitive answer. What poop theories do you have?
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
Mamas Uncut is THE online place for moms. We cover the latest about motherhood, parenting, and entertainment as well – all with a mom-focused twist. So if you're looking for parenting advice from real parents, we have plenty of it, all for moms from moms, and also experts. Because, at the end of the day, our mission is focused solely on empowering moms and moms-to-be with the knowledge and answers they’re looking for in one safe space.