Japan's terrifying techno-toilets will be made foreigner friendly, vow makers

Hallelujah for the planned ISO symbol standard!

Toilet with smiling loo paper
Ahhhh, that's better.

Japan’s electronic toilet-makers have vowed to clean up the baffling symbols on their techno-khazis so anyone can crimp one off in the Land of the Rising Sun “with peace of mind”.

Kitamura Yen of the Japan Rest Room Industry Association said, in a statement on that august organisation’s website, that the industry had decided to “standardise pictograms on the toilet control panel.”

“We plan to adopt these pictograms sequentially from [goods of] new manufacture [by] nine domestic major manufacturers,” said Mr Kitamura, who added that Japan will be seeking an ISO standard for electric toilet control symbols.

The movement was driven by concern in Japan that foreign tourists were confused by the bewildering array of symbols used to depict what the terrifying electrobogs do to one’s nether regions. The JRRIA said that in surveys of public toilet users in Japan, the most common reported problem was that people did not understand how to operate the advanced functions.

“Until now, manufacturers have adopted pictograms that seem to be optimal, respectively, but on the other hand it is pointed out that foreign tourists are unlikely to understand the operation buttons when using public toilets such as hotels and tourist facilities,” said the association.

The proposed new symbols will, the JRRIA hopes, present tourists with something that embodies “intuitive comprehensibility”.

Proposed standardised Japanese tech toilet symbols

L-R: "lid opening and closing", "toilet seat opening and closing", "toilet flushing (large)", "toilet flushing (small)" "Cleaning","Bidet washing","Drying"and "Stopping".

Last year your correspondent had the pleasure of attempting to use a Panasonic electronic bog in a Tokyo hotel. The resulting experience could fairly be described as not one that invoked “peace of mind”.

The horrors which occurred on that occasion were chiefly because the pictograms (pictured at the link) were very confusing to this Westerner, who felt even more aggrieved upon discovering that autocrappers in other rooms at the same hotel had clear English translations on their control consoles. ®


Reg commentard Silae deserves a VC, or at least the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, for providing this translation of the Japanese characters on your correspondent’s porcelain throne. Once armed with the requisite knowledge, I found the Japanese tech toilet was actually very pleasant to use.

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