When we were little, our stuffed animals served as fluffy confidantes.
They sat with us at our tea parties, they stayed close at night to fend off bad dreams, and they comforted us when we were sick. What they didn't typically do, however, is teach us important lessons that would ultimately stick with us for a lifetime.
But one Japanese organization aims to change all that. Second Life Toys allows parents to send their kids' damaged stuffed animals in for "transplants" to teach them about the beauty of organ donation.
While thousands of people are registered organ donors in the States, the issue gets little attention in Japan.
There are quite a few reasons why Japanese people have mixed feelings about organ donation. For one, belief systems in Japan dictate that bodies should be whole upon cremation, which understandably discourages them from registering.
Along with that, the 1968 Juro Wada case, which involved harvesting organs from a braindead patient at a point when the determination of brain-based death was still hotly contested, embedded an association between organ donation and unethical activity deeply into the cultural consciousness.