No loo-sers as Ja­pan holds con­test for comfy, cheap and safe toi­lets

The China Post - - FEATURE -

Ja­pan is hold­ing its first ever toi­let de­sign con­test, with or­ga­niz­ers look­ing for “most com­fort­able,” “cheap­est for the de­vel­op­ing world” and “safest for women,” of­fi­cials have said.

In a bid to find the na­tion’s loveli­est lava­to­ries, a gov­ern­ment panel is seek­ing ap­pli­ca­tions that prove de­sign­ers are think­ing big about the lit­tlest room.

The ini­tia­tive comes as Tokyo ap­pears to have grasped the soft­power po­ten­tial of the coun­try’s high- tech toi­lets, whose seat warm­ers and pin­point bidet jets amaze for­eign visi­tors.

“I hope ef­forts to make the world’s best re­strooms in Ja­pan will spread broadly,” Haruko Arimura, min­is­ter in charge of women’s em­pow­er­ment — who is over­see­ing the pro­ject — said in a re­cent press con­fer­ence.

“It is part of our ef­forts with hos­pi­tal­ity for the (2020 Tokyo) Olympic and Par­a­lympic Games,” Arimura said.

A 145-page re­port on im­prov­ing qual­ity of life claims the drive to­wards bet­ter bogs will “em­power women” be­cause by “im­prov­ing com­fort, clean­li­ness and safety, the qual­ity of work and leisure can im­prove dra­mat­i­cally.”

The re­port said re­strooms are places where women want to feel se­cure enough to get changed, brush their teeth, do their make up, and change their baby’s di­a­pers.

It also noted that toi­lets are not uni­ver­sally avail­able in some de­vel­op­ing na­tions, and that poorly de­signed fa­cil­i­ties in some places can put users — par­tic­u­larly women — at risk of vi­o­lence or kid­nap­ping.

As well as look­ing for ideas on how to make en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly toi­lets for use in nat­u­ral dis­as­ters, the com­pe­ti­tion is ask­ing for ideas on how to make toi­lets eas­ier for “for­eign­ers and phys­i­cally dis­abled peo­ple.”

A leaflet pro­duced by or­ga­niz­ers sug­gests, for ex­am­ple, that in­clud­ing easy-to-un­der­stand pic­tograms might help non-Ja­panese peo­ple with ex­actly how to use a toi­let.

The flier does not spec­ify which part of us­ing a toi­let for­eign­ers might have trou­ble with.

The com­pe­ti­tion will be judged by a panel of seven, in­clud­ing ar­chi­tects and an of­fi­cial from the Ja­pan Toi­let As­so­ci­a­tion, us­ing five cri­te­ria — clean­li­ness, safety, com­fort­able­ness, nov­elty/cre­ativ­ity, and sus­tain­abil­ity.

Ap­pli­cants have un­til the end of the month to sub­mit their de­signs. Min­is­ter Arimura will an­nounce the win­ners in Septem­ber.

Toi­lets in Ja­pan have been raised to some­thing of an art.

Nearly ev­ery house­hold and most public re­strooms are equipped with a seat that is plugged into the mains elec­tric­ity.

The bog-stan­dard ver­sion sim­ply warms the seat — an un­der­ap­pre­ci­ated lux­ury among the unini­ti­ated — while top-of-the-range mod­els of­fer an ar­ray of op­tions, in­clud­ing warm wa­ter jets, blowdry­ers, de­odor­iz­ers and mask­ing sounds.

Young for­eign visi­tors rave about them, fill­ing so­cial media with pic­tures of the loos they find in Ja­pan, while a bidet seat to take home is among the first items on Chi­nese tourists’ shop­ping lists.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.