Sim Jae-Duck, the one-time mayor of the city of Suwon, was born in a toilet at his grandparents’ house, which may explain his life-long obsession with healthy latrines.
As mayor of Suwon in the 1990s and early 2000s, he led an effort to clean and beautify the city’s public toilets. He later founded the World Toilet Association, dedicated to doing the same for the world. Appropriately, he became known as “Mr. Toilet” by reputation.
In 2007, in honor of the founding of the WTA, he demolished his home and had a new one made, designed by Go Gi-wong to look like a giant toilet. It was Sim’s dream house. He even named it Haewoojae, which translates to “a house to satisfy anxiety,” which is how restrooms are referred to in Korean temples.
After he died, the house was donated to the city and turned into a toilet museum. The house itself is the largest toilet sculpture in Korea, and has two floors of exhibitions about how important toilets are to the health of a society. Toilet-themed art is exhibited inside the museum and around on the grounds, much of which, including a giant golden pile of poop, make for great photo ops. Take in the oversized ‘squatty potty’, the sometimes-pained statues all trying to take care of business, and a model of how the pigs on Jeju-do get to be black.