The Art of the Japanese Toilet

Amazing Japanese Toilets

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1, Environmentally friendly?

2, Toilets in the Edo period

3, Toilets after World war Ⅱ

4, Super toilets!!

5, summary

Japanese toiltes have changed a lot over the years, but the bare essentials of the simplest ideas they began with still remain. In Japan, the new often exists side by side with the old and reliable. And this is also the case with toilets.

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Environmentally friendly?

We can go all the way back to the Nara period to see the advent of the simple squat style toilet. In feudal times, the members of the lower castes would usually be hired to do the work of cleaning the toilets of their lords. Not a pleasant job, I’m sure. The excrement would then get sold to the farmers, which was at least good for the environment.

Toilets in the Edo period

The refinement of the toilet really began during the Edo period. One example of this is keeping animals such as pigs close by so that they had the fun job of ‘disposing’ of the human waste. In large cities such as Edo (modern day Tokyo) many people lived in crowded areas called Nagaya. These were rows of houses that had shared toilet areas. Also, due to the kind of clothing people wore, and because it’s probably better for the act of going to the toilet, people usually squatted very low to the ground.

Toilet in the Edo period ↓

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Nowadays you can still see these toilets in many places.  ↓

photo by : Nippon Utsukushi Toilet

Toilets after World war Ⅱ

In the second half of the twentieth century, after the second world war, there was a marked increase in more western style toilets. In most bathrooms now, it’s very common to see ‘wa shiki’ or Japanese style toilets, and also ‘yo shiki’ which are western style toilets.

But, as with many things, the Japanese have taken the western style toilet and turned it into something very special. These washlette style toilets have many more functions than the average western style toilet. And westerners are often amazed and a little confused at all the different buttons.

Super toilets!!

Some of the things they do include saving water by giving you the option of a large or small flush, and also sending the water the refills the cistern through a pipe at the top so that you can wash your hands. But it also acts as an all in one toilet and bidet. There are settings for warm water sprays. One is harder and more directed than the other, and you can even control just how much force is used. Some washlettes also have an odor remover function, and even an built air freshener!

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But the one thing that most westerners love about Japanese toilets is that they keep the seat nice and warm, a wonderful thing on cold winter mornings!

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