The Japanese Toilet Seat Guide: A British Perspective
We ask why Japanese Bidets are ubiquitous in Japan, but not worldwide.Japanese toilets have a reputation for being the most technologically -advanced toilets in the world. British visitors return home from Japan with anecdotes of their experience with the 'toilets of the future'. But why are Japanese toilets so much more advanced than UK toilets? Are they fundamentally 'better' than the standard, non-electric WC?
"...whereas [toilets] haven’t changed a jot here in the last decade, in Japan they have gone through several cycles of development, evolving as fast as mobile phones." - Alex James
One of the largest Japanese toilet brands was focused on importing American-made "wash air seats" during the 1960s. Japan, one of the most high-tech regions of the world, has attained this reputation through innovating the product and proliferating it through Japan and other countries.
Brits Care About Toilet Paper - What About Bidets?
In the UK we're very keen on toilet roll, using almost 2.5 times the European average. In addition, we're also "fussy" about the toilet paper we use - not just the brands themselves, though no doubt that does play a part, but the actual quality or experience of the toilet paper.
A 2015 study revealed the attributes that British people care about in toilet paper:
- Softness (57%)
- Strength (45%)
- Thickness (36%)
There's an attribute that unites toilet paper users above all others - the environmental impact. 81% of the market said that they “would consider buying recycled toilet tissue if it were comparable in quality to standard paper".
So we care about the environment, and we're quite particular about our toilet paper experience. Surely that means Japanese-style toilet bidets should be in every home in the UK?
It's not just the experience, or the environment, that influences how toilet paper affects our day-to-day life. It represents a shocking £1.12 billion of the market in the UK (2015). That means Brits spend around £41 (per household) per year on toilet paper. Whilst £41 per year may seem like a sensible amount for many, considering this is a cost which will continually occur for the rest of our lives, there are huge savings to be had with an investment in a bidet, or bidet toilet seat.
What Are The Biggest Japanese Bidet Toilet Brands?
Two of the most well-known brands in Japan are Toto, manufacturers of 'Washlets' and INAX. 'Washlet' is a registered trademark of Toto Ltd, but has become the common name for bidet toilets, and Japanese or electronic toilets in general within Japan (and around the world to some extent).
For example vacuum cleaners in the UK are often referred to as a 'Hoover' even though this is a brand name. 'Washlet' takes a similar position in place of a bidet toilet in Japan.
A range of Smart Features
Japanese bidet toilets have a variety of functionalities. Here are some of the smart features:
Most electronic bidets have a shower jet that can clean your bottom either electronically operated via a panel attached to the toilet, with a remote control or in some cases with an app on your smartphone. This function often has the option for a rear wash or female wash. The temperature can be adjusted to suit the users preference and saved for the next toilet visit.
After the shower jet has finished, the warm air dryer function begins. Similar to the wash function, the temperature can be adjusted to suit your personal preference and saved for next time.
After each toilet use the deodorizer automatically sprays to ensure your bathroom space is always smelling fresh.
No more cold bottoms, smart toilets often feature a heated seat option.
Automated cleaning technology
Overnight the smart toilet automatically cleans itself. It does this by washing the jets and flushing the toilet to clean the bowl. In advanced smart toilets a UV light is installed to kill germs.
The stop operation button can be used at any time to stop the washing and air-drying functions. Some smart toilets have a sensor which stops the jets and dryers once the person stands up.
Struggling to find the toilet during the night and the main light is too bright? Smart toilets often feature a night light function to guide you to the toilet in the middle of night. This adjusts its light levels according to the environment.
Some smart toilets have an automatic seat feature that lifts as you approach the toilet and closes as you leave.
To save any embarrassments the smart toilet automatically flushes once the user stands up. This reduces the spread of germs.
The smart toilet can be placed on standby to save some pennies and the environment.
Some Japanese bidets also have the option to play music to help the user relax or to act as a masking sound to spare blushes.
Japanese-style toilets often appear in popular culture; they have featured in episodes of The Simpsons (episode 226, "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo", first aired May 16, 1999) and Futurama (episode 91, "Attack of the Killer App", first aired 1 July, 2010). In both series they were referred to as a "Japanese Toilet".
What is the Average Price of a Japanese Toilet Bidet in the UK?
The cost of a Japanese toilet bidet is dependent on the style and features. These smart toilets can range anywhere between £300 - £6500.
Where Can You Buy Japanese Toilet Bidets In The UK?
Washloo is the only domestic Bidet Toilet Seat Brand in the UK. We have a range of 'Japanese-style' bidet toilet seats on sale, many including some of the smart features mentioned above. Our modern range of luxury bidets offer the best smart toilet technology for British bathrooms.
Article sources include:
Image via Jeremy Thompson (Nara) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:%E4%B8%8D%E5%8B%95%E5%A0%82_2011_(5899175683).jpg via Wikimedia Commons