Washlets are the Japanese version of the bidet. They spray a jet of water that can be adjusted in pressure, angle, temperature. The fancy ones have motion sensors to open the seat and flush automatically. Some create a smell curtain with air jets and filters, others have remote controls, seat heaters, etc. They range in price from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. You really have to try one to understand the appeal, but having a focused warm jet of water is much different than a bidet. During a panel discussion the other day, professor Takeuchi explained that washlets have now reached a 50% market penetration in Japanese households. This is amazing really. So the question was, with all of the talk about culture being Japan's next big export, will washlets be the next big Japanese export? Toto, the Japanese toilet company has an English language page for their very simple washlet. Watch the video, it's great. Thanks for the link Boris!

14 Comments

I feel significantly fresher just thinking about it. I hope this does become a trend in North America.

One of the things I loved about Japan !! :) .. our office toilets even had the basic version !
Pretty rare to find here in Sydney.

I had a high-end version of one of these in my apartment in Japan a few years back. The heated seat would have helped back in Michigan. Mine even came with a remote control to allow adjustment of all the spray functions at a distance(temperature, intensity, direction, swirl, etc).. I never quite figured out why you'd need a remote control for this toilet, since the full control panel was right there next to you. But it certainly made for some fun from my living room when friends from the US visited (^o^)

The heater is the best feature, especially in the winter as most Japanese houses/buildings have no central heating. Ooooooohhhh......nice and warm. :-)

Once I saw a TV on a behind-scene development story of the earliest washlet model. It indicates how Japanese come up with ideas with usefulness and practicality in mind, but with a lot of tiresome efforts such as a developement lead guy actually asked the entire group at the company to mark down everyone's genitals' + axx hxle positions (in private) when they sit on the toilet seat in order to get the statistics of the measurements to obtain the practical ranges of spray angle - as there are no such data is available anywhere.

First time i came across one of these was in India - in about 1996, controlled by a simple tap next to the seat. Being slightly suspicious, I stood to one side and turned the tap on just a small amount. A high-pressure squirt of cold water jetted over the stall door, to unpleasantly surprise the next in line!

Personally, I prefer Tucks (or rather the cheap generic copies), a flushable, punctureproof moist pad. Washlet toilets are okay, but the process of using them is too fussy: (1) shoot water up your ass, (2) shove wad of toilet paper up your ass to soak up water, (3) make low pressure, tentative wipe with toilet paper to begin cleaning and soak up remaining water while trying to keep your fingers from punching through wet, dissolving toilet paper and getting crap under your fingernails, and (4) finally doing a final, full-pressure wipe.

If I recall, some models even have a warm to hot air dryer, to finish off - very hygienic ! :)

No Toto Washlets in Europe :-(

The first try of a Washlet is an unforgatable experience ;-)

The phrase "achieved 50% penetration" is alarming when skimming the page quickly and lacking context. ;-)

Traditional Japanese toilets are large porcelin tiles with a hole in the middle and foot spaces on either side. While it seems crude and primitive to be squatting over a hole in the ground, it's actually the most natural position for this activity.

I am a sucker for gadgets though!

Hmmm..now a google search for Washlet Penetration returns this site as #1. Sounds painful.

Well the idea is so impressive and refreshing that me and my Japanese partner Yoko Uchida, are going to market the TOTO Washlet to Canadians.

You can't go wrong with a heated seat up here in Calgary, Alberta!

These products will come to America as people learn how much more comfortable and hygenic they are. We have a Brondell Swash and absolutely love it! San Francisco company with great products and prices...

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tja, Joi Ito beschreibt in seinem Blogartikel, da゚ die sog. "Washlets" in Japan ca. 50% des WC Marktes erobert haben. Wenn man sich die Teile n臧er anschaut, dann erinnern mich die an Cpt. Kirks Chefstuhl mit diesen vielen Bedienkn 〓chen an... Read More

tja, Joi Ito beschreibt in seinem Blogartikel, da゚ die sog. "Washlets" in Japan ca. 50% des WC Marktes erobert haben. Wenn man sich die Teile n臧er anschaut, dann erinnern mich die an Cpt. Kirks Chefstuhl mit diesen vielen Bedienkn 〓chen an... Read More

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