Japan

New survey shows tourists love Japan’s toilets

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Japan is famous abroad for many reasons. According to a new survey, you can add one more reason to that list: heated, bidet toilet seats across the country. Surveys show that tourists would like to see more Japanese toilets in public places, as well as in their own countries.

(literally) warm reception

Japanese toilets with warm-water bidets have won wide recognition among international audiences. This sentiment is reflected in the results of a survey conducted by TOTO, one of the leading manufacturers of residential equipment, including toilets.

A whopping 88% of 1,000 foreign tourists from the UK, US, Australia, China and India surveyed said they would like to see warm bidet seats in public toilets. This is a significant increase from 55% in 2018. When asked why they appreciate Japanese washlets, 46.3% cited cleanliness, while 39.7% pointed to the comfortable warmth of the seats and water. In addition, 35.8% of people were satisfied with the lack of odor.

This suggests that recognition of Japanese toilet culture may be on the rise. 80% of respondents would like to implement a similar system in their own country. What is their main motivation? Toilet seat to escape the cold. However, they also associate Japanese washlets with higher hygiene standards.

Lifestyle essentials

As early as 1964, Japan obtained the first toilet prototype equipped with a bidet from the United States. It’s called a “clean air seat” and was originally designed for use in medical facilities to maintain hygiene. However, it stayed in hospitals for many years and struggled to find success elsewhere, largely due to its slow heating mechanism.

Japanese toilets underwent a considerable transformation after the 1970 Osaka Expo, when washlets became popular. However, the Japanese remained skeptical, mainly because of the cold seats. This has led to trends such as using socks as covers or uniquely designed Japanese toilet seats.

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In 1978, TOTO seized the opportunity and created a toilet specifically targeting the needs of Japanese people, especially their desire for warm seats. In June 1980, the company’s efforts paid off with the launch of the first washlet.

Nearly 44 years later, TOTO’s products have made an unparalleled impact. By March 2022, more than 80% of Japanese households will own a TOTO washlet. Global shipments in 2022 will exceed 60 million units.

These washlets are now a staple in Japanese homes and daily life, and will soon become standard in public spaces as well.

out on a limb

There’s no denying that bidets have become a common sight across Japan, and their sales and market penetration speak for themselves. But beyond the numbers, what do the Japanese people really think? To reveal the true importance of this device in Japanese lifestyle, let’s take a closer look at the results of a 2022 survey.

The survey showed that an overwhelming 97% of respondents planned to continue using heated bidet toilets in the future. What’s their reason? 82% praised their effective dirt removal and precise cleaning, while 48% raved about the comfort and refreshing experience they provide.

reasons

What’s truly striking is that 84% of respondents couldn’t imagine life without a heated bidet. For 44%, this is unthinkable, while 40% find it completely unpleasant.

The sentiment isn’t limited to their home, either. 71% of respondents admitted that they would use these toilets outside their own four walls if available. In addition, 72% of people expressed the hope that the product will spread overseas and are eager to enjoy its comfort when traveling. They may not have to wait too long.

go back to life without

Go overseas

Washlet began to enter the international market in 1986, focusing on the booming US market. However, as Ryo Suzuki, TOTO executive director and former U.S. sales and market research representative, recalled in 1994, the first contact with American audiences did not go as planned.

It’s hard to sell them the idea of ​​an appliance in the toilet. No matter how we explain its benefits, they just don’t see the benefits. ” Suzuki Ryo recalled in his book “The Best Toilet in the World: The Story of the Washlet.”

Their biggest obstacle is a general reluctance to embrace the idea of ​​electricity in water-centric products. Concerns about potential accidents such as electrocution keep companies on their toes. So the strategy turned to convincing retail stores to install Washlet in their showrooms. This way, visitors can experience the benefits first-hand, thereby increasing acceptance.

For a time, Washlet experienced fluctuations in foreign markets, with successes and struggles. Subsequently, the COVID-19 outbreak sparked international interest in the product, with people looking for ways to improve hygiene standards. In the U.S., with limited outings and toilet paper shortages in supermarkets, Washlet has emerged as a viable alternative during this time.

Sales have surged in recent years, increasing 2.6 times in 2022 compared to 2018. Emerging trends indicate growing demand in China and Europe, particularly in luxury hotels, where washlets are becoming increasingly popular. Impressively, among about 200 five-star hotels in London and Paris, more than 40% have TOTO seat-heating toilets. And that number is only expected to climb further.

future vision

Once viewed as a strange and potentially dangerous hybrid of water and electricity, washlets are now receiving increasing attention around the world. Their convenience revolutionized Japanese toilet culture back in the 1960s, and they are poised to bring about a similar shift in international practice.

Currently, TOTO has established bases in 18 countries and regions around the world, tailoring designs and functions to meet the unique preferences of each region. They have formulated ambitious expansion plans, aiming to increase overseas sales from the current 25% to more than 50% by 2030. Judging from the enthusiastic response from foreign audiences to the heated seats and water sprinklers, this goal seems within reach.

source

Public restrooms across Japan: About 90% of foreign tourists visiting Japan require toilet seats with warm water bidets NewSphere

The results are announced. About 88% of people who have been to Japan expressed their wish for toilets to be equipped with “warm water flushing toilet seats” TOTO

Butt-washing culture In the past half century, the cumulative domestic shipments of warm water toilet seats have reached 100 million units

[World Toilet Day]Behind-the-scenes story of “Washlet” R&D – Meeting global needs and realizing a clean and comfortable life – PR Newswire

“Incorporating changes in overseas hygiene awareness and increasing sales” TOTO President Noriaki Kiyota (Challenge 2022) Yomiuri Shimbun

Washlet sales in the United States grew 2.6 times. Strategies adopted by TOTO executives Nikkei

The “secret strategy” that makes TOTO washlets popular in luxury hotels around the world Nikkei Business

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