The Japanese are famous for many things. Sushi, robotics, samurai and ramen are just a few of the claims to fame of Japan’s rich culture. However, some trendy exports of Japanese tech these days relates to an unflashy but necessary household item: the modest toilet.

Not all American consumers put much thought into where they sit down to do their business, but increasingly, cultures around the world are becoming more interested in making their bowel movements comfortable and luxurious. It’s a goal that the Japanese have long acknowledged, and as a result, they’ve created some of the best toilet techs on the market today.

The history of why Japanese culture lent itself to high-tech toilets, that would go far beyond simple porcelain and plumbing, is hotly debated. Some claim that the popularity of toilets that use sprayed water to help toilet-goers stay clean after using them is linked with Japan’s long history of ceremonial water cleaning.

Certainly, washlets, toilets made from one of Japan’s leading toilet manufacturers Toto, always incorporate the ability for the user to clean up with water after flushing. Whether this economic reality is related to Japan’s long cultural tradition of Temizuya, water purification and cleansing ceremony are unclear but certainly plausible. Indeed, many spectators chalk up Japan’s long history of emphasizing cleanliness as the reason why washlets are so popular today.

The plot only thickens when we acknowledge that the washlet was, in fact, a Western invention. Originally invented in the US, it was originally marketed to nursing homes and hospitals but failed to gain a mass-market appeal. Ironically, many speculate that the washlet would likely make more sense in the US today than it did then, for many different reasons, as reported by Forbes.

Some look to Japan’s political history for an explanation. With the dawn of the Meiji in the 1860s, Japan’s government began to open itself to Western ideas and values. This ushered in a long period of Westernization in Japan in which the culture began to embrace ideas like an educated middle class, salaried jobs, and Western consumerism.

Many think that it was during this cultural shift that the Japanese saw the washlet as a Western product that also jived with their cultural roots, and determined it to be a perfect import. The role of Japan’s government and people opening itself to Western products and ideas is likely to have played some role in the popularization of the washlet considering it was an American invention, originally called the wash air seat.

Moreover, it’s quite possible that the Japanese curiosity with Western products and its history of water cleansing ceremonies had a synchronistic effect that catapulted the washlet into mainstream society.

Others point to Japan’s many wildly successful advertising campaigns for making the washlet such a common household item. An extremely famous actress and model by the name of Jun Togawa became the face of Toto washlets in the 1980s and her embodiment of the modern Japanese woman had a dramatic effect on the popularity of the brand. Representing the merging of the Western and traditional Japanese mentalities with her fun-loving yet coy personality, she was a natural fit to turn a Western product into an Eastern product.

Advertising campaigns featuring Jun Togawa skyrocketed Toto’s brand image in Japan, and it’s safe to assume that advertising played a big part in Japan’s sophisticated toilet culture. After all, the Japanese didn’t become the best in toilets by accident.

Toilets are such a cultural artifact in Japan as a result of this history, that even Western business managers are thinking about how office toilets can reflect company culture, as reported by Inc Magazine.

As a result of these many factors, Japanese toilets have a variety of features not commonly found in a typical Western toilet. Most have a nozzle that provides a posterior wash functionality. Also known as a cleaning wand, this nozzle is positioned below the toilet to spray water at users’ bottoms.

Almost every Japanese also incorporates a front wash Bidet-style functionality designed specifically for female users. Similar to the fans of the cleaning wand, most users confirm that this feature is much more hygienic than toilet paper alone.

Another key feature of many Japanese toilets is adjustable water temperatures. This allows users to control the temperature of the water used to clean and make sure that it’s comfortable. It’s a functionality that is easy to overlook, but it’s an important part of making the cleaning experience pleasant for users.

Given these kinds of features that cater to users’ comfort, it’s no surprise that Japanese toilets are starting to build a base of Western users, as reported by Wired.

One thing that many skeptics of Japanese toilets often question is the cleanliness of the different nozzles used in the toilet. As some point out, if the nozzle isn’t hygienic, the entire cleaning process could be counterproductive. That’s why most Japanese toilets feature a self-sterilizing functionality, and why the nozzles only make an appearance during the cleaning process and retreat back to a clean, separate compartment at all other times.

Aside from making sure the nozzle and water used for cleaning are hygienic, Japanese toilets regularly ensure that users can adjust the water pressure of water used for cleaning. This just goes further in optimizing form and function. The correct water pressure means that washlet users can experience a deep clean without any discomfort.

Deodorizers are nothing new for Western toilets, but Japanese toilets take this feature to the next level. Many have a powerful electric deodorizer that is specifically designed to keep the toilet smelling great. It’s one of the things that Japanese toilets offer that many Westerners are also likely to love.

A very important feature for Japanese toilet-goers is the heated toilet seat. The reason for this is that Japanese households are often kept on the colder side compared to their Western counterparts. This makes the porcelain on the toilet extremely cold, which makes for an uncomfortable experience, and that’s why heated toilet seats have become essentially commonplace in Japan.

Similar to the heated toilet seat, many incorporate padded toilet seats to make users more comfortable.

An unexpected feature of many Japanese toilets is actually a noise-making machine. This machine emits a neutral white noise while the toilet is cleaning the user in order to guarantee sound privacy.
With all of the features that their toilets offer, and the manifold cultural and historic reasons for their development, it’s hard to doubt that the Japanese are the best of toilets. Though the washlet was originally an American invention, we still have a lot to learn about present-day Japanese toilet culture.

Also, know about customizing your potting table the right way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *