Themed pop-up restaurants are opening up all over the world. Pretty much any theme is fair game, from popular TV shows to sustainability. The Ningen (“human”) Restaurant in Japan, however, is taking the themed experience to the next level. Located in Kabukicho, the entertainment and red light district of Shinjuku, the Ningen Restaurant serves the last meals requested by death row inmates prior to their executions.
The morbid restaurant’s menu is derived from the culinary preferences of convicted felons. For example, you could sample the last meal of Judy Buenoano, who murdered her husband and son in 1998 and whose final meal was asparagus, strawberries, broccoli, tomatoes, and hot tea. Or indulge in murderer Gary Mark Gilmore’s final meal of steak, potatoes, milk, and coffee.
The pop-up isn’t permanent and expires on October 28, just two weeks from its opening date. Its closure is non-negotiable. The pop-up dining experience is located inside the Kabukicho Book Center, which is scheduled for demolition this fall. The space will also house artwork by Yasuyuki Nishio and Hermann Nitsch, as well as various events and performances.
Shinjuku Soft, the company that owns the building, is widely known for artistic redevelopment. On the restaurant’s website, the company notes the increased prevalence of designed and themed spaces. “This current trend in investment and entertainment has spread to various cities in Japan including Kabukicho, and slowly infiltrating art culture as well.”
Since the restaurant closes on October 28, there are only a few days left to have someone else’s last meal.