Why are washlet toilets so popular in Japan? Third Attempt

According to Makoto Shiina in Shukan Kinyobi (July 4), water to wash your smelly bits and the sound of water to cover your natural noises might both be explainable by people getting used to the profusion of rivers through Japanese villages.

Not convinced by that one, but all theories are welcome at JapanExplained…



  1. Serena said,

    July 31, 2008 at 11:36 am

    The Japanese are a very clean people, almost to the point of obsession, and they are also very concerned about comfort on the toilet (i.e. warmed toilet seats) so a toilet that helps clean your smelly bits just seems like a logical progression. I’m not sure about the water noise, I think it’s supposed to mask the sound of your smelly things hitting water, possibly to avoid embarrassment?

  2. alexcase said,

    July 31, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    It’s such a myth that the Japanese are obsessed with cleanliness. Have you ever been in a Japanese kindergarten? I come out of almost all of them covered in dust or worse. And they traditionally bathe once a day, in the evening, and share the water with others. I know you wash before you get in, but if you’ve never seen a piece of dead skin or a pube floating on the water of an onsen you’ve had your eyes closed the whole time.

    I’m still most convinced by the argument that it was a coincidence that the Japanese switched to Western toilets just as they were also in full gadget mode.

  3. Pocki said,

    July 31, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    Neat blog–you can also find out some simple Japanese cultural tid bits at this other blog dedicated to Japan:http://www.thoughts.com/Pocki/blog

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