YOKOHAMA -- An exhibition featuring some 30 "creepy" species is ongoing in this Japanese port city south of Tokyo.
"There are reasons for being creepy." That's the core lesson driving the "Kimoi-ten" ("creepy exhibition"), being held at the Mark Is Minatomirai commercial complex in Yokohama's Nishi Ward. In other words, it attempts to shift visitor's away from focusing on the animals' sometimes alarming appearances and inspire them to think about why the creatures are how they are. On display are creatures from around the world, including reptiles, insects and arthropods with unique adaptions to protect themselves from external enemies.
Featured "creepy" species include the Asian forest scorpion, which glows blue under UV light, the yellow-banded poison dart frog, whose yellow and black skin signals that it is poisonous, and what are referred to in Japan as "the world's three major peculiar bug species": the whip scorpion, the wind scorpion and the tailless whip scorpion.
There is also a projection map display of numerous mealworms, which are used as fishing bait and food for small animals. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, adventurous visitors can also pay a visit to the exhibit's petting zoo corner.
Visitor Misato Shimizu, 22, a graduate school student in Tokyo, commented, "Humans labeled them 'creepy.' I felt that these attributes are important for those creatures."
Zookeeper Shota Kasugai, 21, said, "I'll be glad if people use coming (to the exhibition) as an opportunity to learn about animals."
The exhibition is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will continue until Oct. 30. Admission is 800 yen (about $5.60) for junior high school students and older, 600 yen (approx. $4.20) for elementary school students and preschoolers aged 3 or above. For inquiries, contact the organizer by phone at 0120-132-762 (in Japanese).
(Japanese original by Daisuke Makino, Yokohama Bureau)