Monday, June 18, 2007

Japanese Super Toilets

The Toto Washlet s400.

Our next stop will be Japan, where we will investigate the language of cleanliness. The Japanese have a fascination with cleanliness – separating their living spaces into “clean” and “unclean” areas – and this naturally results in a culture obsessed with toilets. (Seeing that my most popular posts have dealt with man marble injuries and truck nuts, I thought that the subject of toilets may satisfy you need for “potty humor”).

Wikipedia describes the culture of cleanliness in Japan quite well:

In Japan, being clean is very important, and some Japanese words for 'clean' can be used to describe beauty. The word kirei (奇麗, きれい) can be defined as "pretty, beautiful; clean; pure; orderly."

Perhaps this explains the popularity of the Japan-based company Toto, the world’s largest manufacturer of toilets. Toto not only produces the largest number of toilets worldwide, they’re also responsible for the world’s most advanced toilets, known as Washlets (ウォシュレット) in Japan.

For example, the Toto s400, pictured above, includes cleansing water jets with adjustable water temperature, adjustable temperature air blowers, air purifiers (for the benefit of bystanders), an auto open and close heated seat, and a remote control panel that looks like the cockpit of the space shuttle. Some even play the first few tunes of Op. 62 Nr. 6 Frühlingslied by Felix Mendelssohn to relax your…mind.

A Washlet control panel.

Now, I agree that cleanliness is next to Godliness. But Holy Crap! Ahem…seems like holy crap is something you would want to flush down one of those things. And I’d be afraid I would push the wrong button and blast my nubblies off into outer space. In fact, in Britain, an advanced “Super Toilet” did recently blow itself to pieces due to an electrical malfunction. Talk about explosive diarrhea…

Seriously, it looks like you can order pizza and withdraw money from that control panel. Japanese people will soon be able to live their entire life from a sitting position. I mean it’s pretty neat and all that an entire Culture of Crappers has emerged in Japan, but I just don’t get the Japanese language of cleanliness.

Can you help me translate?

Update: Greg Laden has a great story about the symbols used on Super Toilets.


Rick said...

Bet is gets rid of those pesky "Klingons while protecting Uranus"....(sorry, couldnt resisit)......ok..ok..I will go back down a few posts and look for those penguins we never found....
Keep up the great work on this blog!

Translator said...

HA! Good one, Rick. Thanks for your kind words, and I'm glad you like to visit! Hope to see you back soon!

Howard said...

Three letters:

O. C. D.

paisley said...

i saw these on a post somewhere... evidently google headquarters has these toilets... here in california!!!!!wow...i am intimidated by it,,, but i would be willing to give it a shot!!!!!

Jaya said...

I'm sure you'll also be interested in the European Robo-Toilet. Not my idea of a good toilet experience, but maybe you'd translate it differently:

Translator said...

Wow. That looks very interesting, Jaya! Thanks for the info!

D said...


The top buttons are:

Flush (#1/#2?) / close / lift lid / lift seat

The big front buttons are:

Stop / Rear cleaning / Rear-cleaning Soft / front cleaning / dryer

You're on your own for the rest.