The Mystery of the Teien Dodo


The first rule of the dodo is that you do not talk about the dodo. If you do not believe me, try searching for the Teien dodo on the Internet. You will not find any written history about the dodo. Good luck in even finding a photograph. It remains one of the greatest art mysteries of all time. I am taking a big risk telling you about what I know. By telling you in such a public manner and ensuring that others know, I hope that my life will be spared. If you do not see any more blog entries after this, you will know why. I dare to speak about the dodo.

When you go on a tour of the Tokyo Teien art museum, you get access to most of the building and surrounding areas. They seem to share the smallest of details with you. They encourage you  to linger afterwards in a recently renovated room equipped with educational books and videos as well as paper and crayons. Right under your nose, however, lies the greatest secret of all ー the Teien dodo.


Across the hall from the activity room is a window. There is no door, no plaque, no sign indicating anything worthy of viewing.  If you pull back the sheer curtain (further proof that they were trying to hide something), you can see a dodo perched by a manmade pond in the courtyard. All requests to enter the courtyard for a closer look at the dodo were denied by museum staff.

After many persistent enquiries, the museum staff seemed to relent and fabricated a story of it being a statue of a pelican that was installed in the Sixties. A pelican? Look at its beak! Their explanation? The pelican’s beak was broken off.


Here is John Tenniel’s illustration of the infamous dodo from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Look carefully at the curve of its neck and spine as well as its short beak. It captured the hearts of many children around the world and surely was enjoyed by the royal family.

Version 2

Now look at the photograph I took of the mystery bird in the courtyard. Can you see the resemblance?

I do not know what kind of secret the imperial family is trying to hide but it must be of great importance for them to hide this object in plain sight but yet refuse to talk about it. Forgive me. I have broken the rule of the dodo.




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