A Strange Object Emerged from the Anus

The caption of this beautiful 1850 Japanese print reads: “The man ate salmon. After a time, a strange object emerged from the anus and was pulled out. It turned out to be 2–3 meters long.”

I love parasitic worms. Writing about them and their mischievous ways was one of the great pleasures of putting together my book, The Story of Sushi. They also gave me a chance to bond with fellow science writer Mary Roach (author of Stiff, Spook, and Bonk), who told me about a 24-foot long tapeworm she saw while visiting Tokyo’s charming Parasitological Museum. That worm, of course, made it into my book as well.

You’re intrigued, I hope.

P.S. This is why you want your salmon sushi to have been deep frozen before you eat it, another topic I cover in the book.

(Print is from Shinsen Yamaino Soushi, by Daizennosuke Koan [1850], printed in “Diphyllobothriasis Associated with Eating Raw Pacific Salmon” in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, June 2009.)

Thanks to Mark Kramer for passing this along. As it were.