UPDATE: Children’s Discovery Museum ERROR

A reader sent this story to a friend who knows Chinese and asked for an opinion.  Here is the response he received:

The Oriental writings are all correct Chinese writings; but NOT translation of the English.


By:  Diane Benjamin

The pic below was taken at the Children’s Discovery Museum in Normal.

The exhibit is named “Hello from Japan”.


Anybody see a problem?

The exhibit is scheduled to close in September, it should close today.


Figured out what’s wrong yet?

waiting . . .

waiting . . .

Pagoda, Fish, Lantern, and Sushi are obviously in English.

The characters above them AREN’T Japanese!



They are Chinese!


From their website:

About Us

The mission of the Children’s Discovery Museum is to inspire the love of learning through the power of play. Our mission is accomplished by providing hands-on exhibits, classes, and programs that actively engage the visitor in experiences that stimulate imagination, curiosity, and wonder.

Every kid who saw this exhibit has been misled.  I wonder how many practiced the symbols believing they learned Japanese?


Here’s the Foundation Board for the Museum.  The President is the Regional Superintendent of Schools!  (Still have your kids in public school?)



Government education!

If they bought these signs, they need to demand a refund!

The Museum also needs to issue an apology to local residents who know Japanese.

I know some extremely offended people!  Words like “racists stupidity”  have been uttered.

I’ve even heard the Chinese isn’t correct – just gibberish.





  1. That mistake is very common. My Caucasian son studied Japanese for several years and he gets really offended when he sees this mistake. I can only imagine what someone with Japanese heritage must feel. But, B/N is the best place to live because it has life-long learning for all. I’m just really disappointed that more care wasn’t taken with this exhibit.


    • Imagine how offended people from Japan are!


      • My point exactly. There is another issue here. Historically, the Chinese and Japanese have been mortal enemies centuries.


      • Remind you of Hillary taking the reset button to Russia?


      • What this Discovery Museum incident reminds me of is ignorance of cultural differences, carelessness and a lack of the study of history. if the Discovery Museum wanted to do a good job with teaching something about Japanese culture, there are excellent resources at ISU in the form of faculty. Consultation with an expert would have alleviated the embarrassing mistake.


    • “B/N is the best place to live because it has life-long learning for all. ” Yeah, right…if your definition of “life-long learning” is Marxist indoctrination, Leftist oppression and support for all measure of deviancy. Think I’ll pass.


  2. Are we 100% confident that’s not correct? The Japanese written language uses an adopted form of an earlier Chinese alphabet from the Han period. The Japanese call it Kanji and you can look it up online.

    It does look long (generally I’d expect 1-2 characters for a simple word), and Google Translate didn’t like my attempts to translate it from either Chinese or Japanese.

    Mostly, though, I’d be curious what failure led to this, assuming it’s incorrect. Did they purchase defective materials or did someone click the first Google link for “Japanese word for Sushi”? I don’t know that I would expect a Children’s Museum employee to know the difference between Chinese and Japanese scripts if they were purchased online.

    Has anyone here contacted the Children’s Museum to let them know of the error? I would expect this to be corrected. It’s not expensive to replace some paper signs, and I know of at least one Japanese foreign language professor locally who probably be happy to create some for display!


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