Many experts of interdisciplinary fields are participating in the Japan Toilet Association (JTA). This time in order to widely disseminate their knowledge, information and diagnosis, a series of seminars “Let us know more about our toilet story” is to be held once at a month. The first seminar is titled “Toilets in Japan-1, General Remarks.”
The first seminar was presented by Prof. Shiohiko Takahashi, Honorary Chairman of Japan Toilet Association, a well-known architect, an urban designer and Prof. Emeritus of Kanagawa University.
At the beginning he compared Japanese and Western toilet characteristics;
– Introduction of toilet culture based on his broad, deep and wide theory.
– Background and reasons about the toilet environmental development in Japan.
– Various factors with the safety, cleanliness, dignity and philanthropy which are the basic concepts when building the toilets.
Prof. Takahashi has been often asked by the overseas people that “What is the reason why Japanese toilets are such developed?” Then he always replies that the reasons are;
(1) Friendly Japanese characteristics; we like cleanliness and care about social reputation, compassion, hospitality, good relationships with others and take care of elderly people, group and the family. The physical concerning is about the hemorrhoids disease. It is difficult to recognize to find the social hierarchy in these days. We spiritually feel and even recognize an enshrine god existence in the toilet.
(2) The urban infrastructures modernizing such as the water and sewage.
(3) The improvement of the wastewater process by flushing and technological development for the public housing project by the Japan Housing Corporation in 1950’s and with many manufacturer efforts and contributions.
Since the Edo era (1603-1868) in Japan, we built a recycling-oriented society system by integrating urban and rural areas with the excrement as a fertilizer. On the other hand, it was treated as merely polluting in Europe cities. Some years ago, it was called “Benjo” in despised Japanese old expression and then changed to “Toilet” following foreign word, and we became to feel less hesitation to talk about it. This may also have triggered to evoke our interest in it.
The Japan Toilet Association (JTA) was established in 1985. At the start of JTA we can openly discuss various toilet issues along with Japanese social flexibility for the toilets. The governmental policy, design, production, construction and maintenance have been cooperated together to improve toilets for the citizen life. Today those outcomes become the basis of Japanese toilets.
Prof. Takahashi told that Japanese culture can be called “Intermingle Creation Style.” When we find something good points in the world, we try to improve and modify it by adapting with Japanese culture. One good example is “Shower Toilet.” Thereafter Japan becomes a global leading position by applying our accumulated knowledge and experience for toilets.