Japan Toilet Association (JTA) Seminar Series, “Let us know more about our toilet story”

Title: Toilets in Japan-2, Survey & Observation

Date: 20 May 2021 (Thu) 18:00-20:00 JST

Presenter: Prof. Shiohiko Takahashi,

Honorary Chairman of Japan Toilet Association

Prof. Emeritus of Kanagawa University.

Chairperson: Prof. Dr. Yoshihiko Kawauchi,

Director of Japan Toilet Association

Prof. Emeritus of Toyo University.


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.

This seminar is titled “Toilets in Japan-2, Survey & Observation.” Following to the first session, this was presented again by Prof. Shiohiko Takahashi, Honorary Chairman of Japan Toilet Association, a well-known architect, an urban designer and Prof. Emeritus of Kanagawa University.


【Toilet history】

We can imagine ancient people’s way of lives through the remains of the toilets. One of the denominations of Buddhism applied the excretion manner for the propagation. The droppings were used even as a weapon for the battle. It was also introduced the common people shared to use it in medieval age (Edo period) as well as the state of the soldier (Samurai) toilet.

Prof. Takahashi introduced these topics based on his wide and deep knowledge through his fine narrative. The toilets were developed after the turbulent civilization late 19th century, the current toilets have progressed by means of the modern sewerage systems. Modern toilet bowl types are generally divided into two; Crouching type and Sitting type. It was interesting that there was a “Half crouching type bowl” without a toilet seat.


【The urban and the toilet】

At first regarding to the relationship between the city and the toilet, Prof. Takahashi talked about “A city without barriers.” To achieve this, he emphasized the importance of universal design and the elimination of physical and psychological barriers. There are many types of urban toilets, for example the public toilets, situated in large commercial facilities, in convenience stores and in hotels, etc. Those facilities can confer “Let feel easy that toilets are always there.” Consequently he proposed a concept; “Toilet for Everyone” with safety, cleanliness and comfort in the urban society. “Toilet for Everyone” includes “Public toilet” for everybody, “Open use toilet” like in the department store and “Service toilet” like in the convenience store. Hence it is necessary to build an inclusive society applying adapted design with well maintenance.

Furthermore Prof. Takahashi proposed an arrangement the toilets in the urban space based on the distance that people can walk comfortably. This is from his deep experience as the famous urban designer and it is pointed out that a toilet keeps an important role to contribute the future society.


【Toilet at Disaster】

In Japan, we often experience disasters like earthquakes and Tsunami. There is an activity group about toilets at disaster in Japan Toilet Association (JTA). Disaster Toilet Special Study Group was established in 2015 and continues Disaster & Temporary Toilet Study Group from 2019.

It is obvious that a serious shortage of toilet facilities must be occurred at the event of a disaster when there are not enough reserved disposable portable plastic toilets and temporary toilets. However the stockpiling rate is not improved still now and a survey result shows that only 6.4% of people keep the stockpiled for 3 days endurances.


【Toilet Fundamentals】

The fundamentals of toilets must be based on its safety, cleanliness, dignity, philanthropy, and gratitude. Those will develop the safety society for everyone including inclusive and equality respecting to the human rights.

He proposed “Toilet Doctrine” referring to a word by “Rikyu Sen” who was a founder of Tea Ceremony in Japan and said that “侘数寄常住に候、茶の湯肝要に候” which means “We must always care to keep safety and cleanliness of toilet and must keep mind about toilet for everyone”



Finally, Prof. Takahashi proposed JTA will establish a spectacular goal of “International Toilet Network” along with respecting the cultures of all nations, promoting innovations, exchanging the information and contributing SDGs to solve the global environmental issues.