Discover the Japanese Museum Dedicated to Collecting Rocks That Look Like Human Faces

It says something about the human brain that we so often see the shape of human faces in inanimate things — and that we feel such amusement and even delight about it when we do. If you don’t believe it, just ask the 618,000 followers of the Twitter account Faces in Things, which posts images of nothing else. Or go to Chichibu, Japan, two hours northwest of Tokyo, where you’ll find the Chinsekikan, a small museum that has collected over 1,700 “curious rocks,” all 100 percent organically formed, about a thousand of which resemble human faces, sometimes even famous ones.

“The museum’s founder, who passed away in 2010, collected rocks for over fifty years,” writes Kotaku’s Brian Ashcraft. “Initially, he was drawn to rare rocks, but that evolved into collecting, well, strange rocks — especially unaltered rocks that naturally resemble celebrities, religious figures, movie characters, and more.

These days, the founder’s daughter keeps the museum running, and it has been featured on popular, nationwide Japanese TV programs.” It has also, more recently, become a subject of CNN’s internet video series Great Big Story, which highlights interesting people and places all around the world.

The Chinsekikan stands in walking distance of a local river rich with rocks, where we see the museum’s proprietor Yoshiko Hayama performing one of her routine searches for wee faces staring back at her. “To find rocks, we walk step-by-step,” she says. “If we walk too fast, we won’t find them.” She explains that a proper jinmenseki, or face-shaped stone, needs at least eyes and a mouth, reasonably well-aligned, with a nose being a rare bonus. Only decades of adherence to these standards, and hunting with such deliberateness, can yield such prize specimens as a rock that looks like Elvis Presley, a rock that looks (vaguely) like Johnny Depp, and a rock that looks like Donald Trump — though that one does benefit from what looks like a pile of thread on top, of a color best described as not found in nature.

Related Content:

The Philosophical Appreciation of Rocks in China & Japan: A Short Introduction to an Ancient Tradition

Wabi-Sabi: A Short Film on the Beauty of Traditional Japan

How to Draw the Human Face & Head: A Free 3-Hour Tutorial

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

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  • R.M. de Jonge says:

    Chichibu, Saitama, Japan, is located at 36 degrees N and 109 degrees E of the River Nile, Egypt. The Site appears to be founded as a monument for the Comet Catastrophe, or Flood, of c.2344 BC. Its latitude, at 36 degrees N, refers to the circumference of the Earth of 360 degrees. It shows it was a worldwide Disaster. It is located 36-30= 6 degrees above the island of Zhoushan, China, as well as the Nile Delta (at 30 degrees N), encoding the Sixth Dynasty, when it occurred. It is located 360+251= c.610 degrees W of the Nile, encoding the 1st king Teti of the Sixth Dynasty, when it happened (600+10= 610). – – – Zhoushan, China, at 30 degrees N, encodes the 30 days of the month. The meridian of the Site leaves the NW Coast of Japan, 38-36= 2 above the Site, which shows it was a two-stage-event. Each stage lasted for 2 months. The nearest main latitude at 40 degrees N, 40-36= 4 degrees above the Site, shows it lasted for 2+2= 4 months. – – – At this level the West Coast of North America is located 208-109= c.100 degrees of longitude to the East. The remaining angle of 360-100= 260 degrees encodes the 2.6 million casualties. The meridian of the Site leaves the North Coast of Russia at c.70 degrees N, which illustrates the 7 figures of the number. The South Cape of the Island of Okinawa, at 26 degrees N, confirms the 2.6 million victims. It is located 33-26= 7 degrees below the island of Cheju, South Korea, confirming the 7 figures of the number. The meridian leaves the North Coast of West Russia near the Sea of Ochotsk, at the complementary latitude of 90-36= 54 degrees N, encoding the percentage of victims, 54%. In antiquity the use of complementary latitudes was very common. – – – The South Cape of the Island of Taiwan is located at 22 degrees N, confirming the 2.2 million survivors, most of them seriously wounded. The South Cape of the Island of Sachalin, Russia, at 46 degrees N, confirms the percentage of survivors, 100-54= 46%. – – – The meridian leaves the NW Coast of Japan, 38-30= 8 degrees above Zhoushan, China, encoding the precipitation during the Flood of 80 micromoiras= 80×0.11= c.9.0 meters of Water (1 moira= 1 degree= 111 km). – – – Chichibu, Japan, is located c.110 degrees E of the River Nile, encoding a probable date of the Site in the Eleventh Dynasty, Middle Kingdom, c.2100 BC. The Island of Okinawa is located 109-98= 11 degrees west of the Site, confirming it. [Worldwide Flood Story© R.M. de Jonge, Netherlands]

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