Japanese toilets undergo overhaul to avoid further upsetting tourists

With the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo approaching, Japan is working on ways to make itself more tourist-friendly

Aatif Sulleyman
Wednesday 18 January 2017 18:21
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From left to right, the symbols mean: raise the lid, raise the seat, big flush, small flush, rear bidet, front bidet, dry and stop
From left to right, the symbols mean: raise the lid, raise the seat, big flush, small flush, rear bidet, front bidet, dry and stop

Japanese toilet manufacturers have agreed to standardise the iconography used on toilet controls, in an attempt to make them more tourist-friendly.

Japan’s high-tech loos have long been a source of fascination for westerners, thanks to their mind-boggling range of features.

However, the tendency for manufacturers to use completely different symbols for the same functions has proved a sticking point for non-Japanese speakers, who are only ever an uninformed button push away from assaulting their delicate parts with a powerful jet of fluid.

The Japan Sanitary Equipment Industry Association has therefore agreed on the eight symbols pictured above. From left to right, they mean: raise the lid, raise the seat, big flush, small flush, rear bidet, front bidet, dry and stop.

The new iconography will be used on all toilets sold from April onwards, and the association wants the symbols to become an international standard.

With the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo approaching, Japan is working on ways to make itself more tourist-friendly.

Last year, the government reportedly considered dropping the manji symbol, which is used to represent a temple, from foreign-language maps, due to its resemblance to a swastika.

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