[VIDEO] How Japan’s Toilet Obsession Produced Some of the World’s Best BathroomsPosted: December 15, 2015
Toto, the beloved Japanese toilet maker, has opened a $60 million museum to celebrate its 100th anniversary. And it’s a hit.
KITA-KYUSHU, JAPAN — Anna Fifield reports: If there’s one thing Japan is passionate about, it’s toilets. Potties, loos, restrooms, john, powder room, however you say it, Japan has put a lot of thought into the smallest room of the house.
Japan loves its toilets so much they opened a museum for them
Japan is famous for its high-tech, derriere-washing, tushie-warming toilets. These are now such a valued part of Japanese culture that Toto, the beloved Japanese brand, has just built a $60 million museum devoted to its renowned product, at its home base in Kita-Kyushu, on the southern-most of Japan’s four main islands.
Toto even makes extra-wide, extra load-bearing toilets for sumo wrestling stadiums.
Here are four things you might not know about Japan’s obsession with lavatories.
There’s an app for that
Don’t take your chances going to a restroom without a little seat in the stall for your baby, or a fold-down platform for standing on while you get changed so you don’t have to put your feet on the bathroom floor.
There are a bunch of apps in Japan that can help you find the nearest public bathroom, or one with a special facility, like large stalls with facilities for people with ostomates (a relatively common issue in rapidly aging Japan).
Lion, a manufacturer of diarrhea medicine Stoppa (and various toiletries and detergents), provides an app @Toilet for people who need to take care of their business urgently away from the home or office. Click on the “emergency” button and it locates the closest restroom.
NPO Check operates a free app called Check a Toilet, listing over 53,000 restrooms in major cities. It shows restrooms nearby with information including whether they’re wheelchair accessible and/or have ostomate-friendly functions. Users can contribute by submitting information on the restrooms they’ve visited.
And for those ladies who, we now know, need clean bathrooms if they’re ever to leave the house, the well-known map publishing company Zenrin offers an app for women called Koisuru Map — A Map in Love — with information about nail salons, cafes and clean restrooms. This app includes information such as whether there’s a powder space for fixing your makeup, electrical outlets and diaper changing facilities. Zenrin’s (female) staff visits and reviews each bathroom before adding it to their list.
There’s a god of the toilet. Really.
You know how Japan’s washrooms got to be so clean and full of advanced technology? Maybe because they’re being watched over by a toilet god.
Here’s a video about a shrine to the toilet god in Tokyo.
According to the myth, Kawaya-no-kami, the Japanese toilet god, was, appropriately enough, born from the excrement of Izanami, the Japanese goddess of the Earth and darkness. In a time long before Washlets, the contents from outhouses were used as fertilizer, so Kawaya-no-kami was said to both provide a good harvest and also protect people from falling into the toilet pit. In 2010, the song “Toire no Kamisama” (“The Toilet God”) was a hit.
Japanese loos, almost always a separate room in the house, often feature flowers to keep the toilet god happy.
This also helps uphold another Japanese maxim, Kaori Shoji wrote in the Japan Times: “The restroom is the face of the household.”
There are toilet rituals
Different parts of Japan sometimes have customs associated with toilets….(read more)
Source: The Washington Post
Yuki Oda in Tokyo contributed to this report.