120-year-old condom found in Ishikawa Prefecture

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Osaka-based company Morishita Jintan has been around for a long time. Founded way back in the Meiji period, next month will mark the pharmaceutical and medical device maker’s 130th year in business.

Obviously, advances in medical science mean that Morishita Jintan’s product lineup is now very different compared to the wares it offered in its early days. So it was a discovery of historical significance recently when someone in rural Japan found one of Morishita Jintan’s very first products: a condom that’s approximately 120 years old.

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The condom was found by the owner of a kominka, or classical Japanese folk house, in the town of Shikamachi, Ishikawa Prefecture. The house has now been converted into an inn for travelers, and the owner found the condom in the adjacent storehouse, which makes one wonder if the storehouse was used for amorous rendezvous by its original owners.

Specifically, it was a Yamato Kinu-model condom that was found. One of the first mass-marketed condoms in Japan, the Yamato Kinu earned its popularity by being billed as a line of protection against infections of syphilis, which saw major outbreaks around the turn of the 20th century in Japan, where it’s known as baidoku (literally “plum poison”). This is believed to be the only Yamato Kinu condom still in existence, and while its exact age hasn’t been determined, newspaper ads for the product from 1896 have survived, so it’s estimated that the condom was sold sometime around then.

Although Yamato Kinu translates as “Japanese clothing” or “Japanese silk,” the condom was actually made in France and imported to Japan by Morishita Jintan, as manufacturing technology at the time in Japan was insufficient to make them domestically. Nevertheless, the Yamato Kinu had a significant impact on life and love in Japan, and Morishita Jintan is considering putting the historical condom on display at its head office since the inn owner who discovered it, having no personal need for such an aged prophylactic, has agreed to donate it to the company.

SourceLivedoor News/Kyodo via OtakomuChunichi Shimbun

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

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© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Is it the reusable type?

12 ( +12 / -0 )

So I hear a UNESCO listing?

37 ( +38 / -1 )

So I hear a UNESCO listing?

I would NOT be surprised.....

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Hope it was empty.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I hope they do a genetic study on it as we are much more advanced now then back in the day.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

By the way, what size was it?

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Imagine who might not be here today if it had been used.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

That's good PR for the company, since this one was made to last (apparently so).

5 ( +5 / -0 )

...the inn owner who discovered it, having no personal need for such an aged prophylactic...

which would qualify as a hilarious poker-faced Japanese understatement for a leaky French Letter, addressee unknown.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Look at the state of the condom. It was obviously a badly conceived idea.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

So I hear a UNESCO listing?

Lol..comment of the day!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

No, no, just no!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

they should conduct some DNA testing on it to find the remaining relatives of the user xD

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Oh my life, the mind boggles.

Antiques roadshow, condom antiquities, 120 year old, where would you hang or display it, and why?

Maybe something medical?

2 ( +2 / -0 )


they should conduct some DNA testing on it to find the remaining relatives of the user xD

There aren't any. He used a condom.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Judging by the photo, how did it work?

3 ( +3 / -0 )


Is it the reusable type?

I think this happened awhile ago and was picked up by Monday Late Show: Getsuyou kara Yofukashi. If I remember correctly.. yes, yes it was intended to reusuable. In fact, it was meant to be shared.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What was it made out of?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Wonder how much something like that cost back in the day

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Someone didn't get any because they lost their Johnny raincoat 120 years ago.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Phew for a minute I thought they might've found it under a mattress.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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