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OMG They open the first Restaurant of Human Meat in the World? Actually No they did not.

While doing some trend research for my next topic to write about, I came across the term “human meat japan” as one of the trending terms. Oh my, that certainly peaked my interests. It seems there is an article floating around stating that a restaurant opened legally in Japan where they served human flesh.

Living in Japan for 3 years now, if such a restaurant do open, there would definitely be an uproar in the media. I mean, the biggest news these days was a coverage of a sumo punching another sumo out of the ring. Certainly no hint of a rise in popularity in cannibalism.

So let’s look at the article and then pick out various clues of the obvious hoax.

The restaurant

A scary restaurant nicknamed “The Resoto ototo no shoku ryohin”, which means in English “Edible Brother”, opened its doors to the Japanese public and from all over the world, where it offers its customers a varied menu where prices vary from 100 up to 1000 euros, that is to say the dish with human flesh, more expensive would be 1193 US dollars.

“The Resoto ototo no shoku ryohin” I assumed is a broken romanization of レスト弟の食料品, which actually just translates to Restaurant Brother’s Food and not “Edible Brother” as they have said. A search on Google and Japan’s business directory for even part of the name yields zero results. This place clearly fictional.

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“Legal”

In Japan since 2014 a law was approved that allows the consumption of human flesh, obviously conserving conditions such as the sanitary level of this and the origin.

Technically, there isn’t any law that allows or disallows consumption of human flesh. But, as pointed out by this article, in Japan, a human being who dies in an accident or disease, large living parts such as limbs or aborted fetus 12 weeks or above is treated as a human being and are to be subjects or cremation. Other tissue pieces are treated as medical waste and incinerated as described above. In that sense, there is no legal way to obtain human parts for consumption or any other use apart from medical research or organ donation.

The image

carne.jpg

That image of that huge slab of meat is view bait heaven. I hope most readers are savvy enough to know that that isn’t an actual photo of a huge slab of human meat being sliced. A simple image search brought up this article which the same image is used when talking about beef being a luxury in 2050 or this one about beef inspections in Colombia.

That is the sad state of irresponsible media allowing or spreading fake news. Be sure to exercise your own judgment before blindly following or sharing the news.

Most of us are familiar with the Hannibal Lecter franchise, where an eccentric forensic psychiatrist is also a cannibalistic serial killer, but what happens when we eat people IRL?

Learn about Cannibalism

In AsapSCIENCE’s latest video, “What If You Only Ate Human Flesh?” Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown explain cannibalism is not a far-fetched idea — when it comes to insects, snails, fish, or amphibians. For example, crab spider mothers lay unfertilized nurse eggs for her spiderlings to feast on, and once the eggs are consumed, she offers herself to be eaten entirely in the process called Matriphagy. But, when it comes to mammals, cannibalism is rarer and is typically triggered by environmental stressors, such as when rabbits eat their young under stressful situations.

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French paleontologists have found human examples of cannibalism from 100,000-year-old Neanderthal bones. They showed signs of breaking as a way to extract marrow and eat brains, while tool cut marks show the tongue and thigh were also consumed. Meanwhile, in 20th century Europe, medicinal cannibalism took place, where human blood was prescribed as a remedy. However, without proper care and preparation, people ran the risk of contracting any blood-borne disease like Hepatitis or Ebola from the infected person.

So, can eating humans be nutritious for our health? Not exactly.

Our entire body is approximately 81,000 calories: the thigh is about 10,000 calories, and the heart is 700 calories. Close to half of these calories come from adipose or fat tissue, which makes us the less healthy option for dieters. Anecdotal accounts suggest we taste somewhere between pork and veal, while a culinary robot has identified us as bacon.

Eating human meat becomes risky due to the presence of prions — versions of the normal protein that had their shape altered, losing their function, and becoming infectious. These distorted proteins can influence other similar healthy proteins, and change them, causing a chain reaction, and creating disease. Specifically, prion disease creates holes in the brain, giving it a spongiform appearance, and ultimately causes death.

Unlike viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasitic infections, which contain DNA or RNA, prions don’t, which means they can’t be eradicated with radiation or heat. They could be present in any nervous tissue, including our organs and muscles. However, they are most common in the brain and spinal nerve tissues.

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As a means of survival, eating people is probably the best option. Pedro Algorta, a man who was stranded in the Andes mountains for 71 days after a plane crash in 1972, ate anything he could find to nourish his body for two months, including the hands, thigh, meat, and arms of people. In his book, Into the Mountains, Algorta explained his decision and his group’s decision to eat the frozen dead came from a place of cold, distant logic; it was a survival tactic.

Eating human flesh isn’t always bad for us, especially if it lacks prions, but doing so carries an exceptionally high risk that’s not worth sinking your teeth into as well as fake news.

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