Japan’s next bathroom transformation? Phasing out squat toilets for Tokyo 2020

TOKYO (Reuters) – On southwestern Japan’s Miyajima island, a brief walk from among the nation’s most well-known ancient temple websites, there’s a brand name brand-new destination for travelers – a state-of-the art public toilet block almost as huge as a tennis court.

Toilets all set for delivery cover the flooring of a Toto toilet factory in Kitakyushu, Japan February 6,2020 REUTERS/SakuraMurakami

The183 square metre center– produced collectively by the regional town and Toto, Japan’s most significant toilet maker– is simply among hundreds that have actually been beautified throughout the nation ahead of this summer season’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, eliminating old-school squat toilets to invite foreign travelers.

The difficulty is overshadowed by that dealt with by organizers for Tokyo’s previousOlympics Before the 1964 video games, just 20% of the city had a sewage system, pit toilets festooned the city and trucks called ‘honey wagons’ patrolled areas to draw human waste into tanks for disposal in other places.

But the repair program for 2020 plugs into a public principle of innovative tidiness that has actually ended up being ingrained in the Japanese mind considering that the 60 s, Masakazu Toki, teacher emeritus in cultural sociology at Edogawa University states.

“Japan wanted to become a ‘leading country’ in the eyes of its visitors by making the country pristinely clean,” apparent in a project to make the streets cleaner ahead of the 1964 Olympics statedToki

Bullet trains, a strong economy, health– these were all part of the procedure of developing a brand-new identity “as an advanced nation” of which tidiness still stays an important part of the nationwide identity, he included.

This year’s Olympics are no exception.

With a federal government study revealing approximately 40% of Japan’s public toilets hosted squat stalls in 2016, the federal government began a project to assist towns – especially in popular locations like Kyoto – fund conversion to sit-down toilets, expecting Olympics travelers will check out Japan beyondTokyo

Statistics from the Japan Tourism Agency reveal an overall of 332 toilets were reconditioned in between financial 2017 and2019

As well as developing gold-medal health, Japan’s bathroom transformation has actually promoted a toilet culture that has actually developed to accept a popular anime character with butts for a head (‘Butt Detective’) and dayglo ‘poop museums’ using a charming homage to restroom check outs – in addition to toilets loaded with hi-tech gadgetry.

Toto has actually played a leading function in establishing the latter.

Heated seats, covers that open and close instantly, bowls that self-deodorize – these functions have actually ended up being basic in 10s of countless Japanese houses considering that Toto offered its very first buttock-cleansing Washlet toilet seat at the dawn of the 1980 s.

At its base in Kitakyushu in southwestern Japan, a museum files Toto’s development from squat porcelain to its most current design, a style that sprays water out at various speeds with bigger beads to increase tidiness for a handsome 604,000 yen (simply under $5,500).

During a current journey, 82- year-old museum visitor Tsunekazu Orii strongly remembered his very first encounter with the Washlet in the early 1980 s.

“I was taken aback when I first saw it, but there was so much talk about how it would clean you,” he stated. “I knew it was going to be the next big thing.”

($ 1 = 109.8700 yen)

Slideshow(3 Images)

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Miyajima public toilet images and video (page in Japanese)

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Reporting by Sakura Murakami; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

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