Japanese companies that manufacture enhanced toilet seats are hoping their products, extremely popular on the domestic market, will make it on foreign markets as well, despite cultural differences.
The company that has sold over 30 million “high-tech” toilets under the brand Washlet says that global markets remain elusive despite the success in Japan, mainly because of “the cultural taboo over talking about toilets”.
Hiromichi Tabata, head of the international division at Washlet-maker Toto, explains that, for example, “Americans avoid talking about those kinds of things so we can’t expect success from word-of-mouth, even if they recognize our products are excellent.”
The Washlet’s functions include water jets with pressure and temperature controls, hot-air bottom dryers and ambient background music.
With business continuing to go well in the key domestic market – where more than two-thirds of Japanese households use this kind of devices – Toto and other producers like Lixil Group continue to dream of a breakthrough at a global level.
“We expect Europe will eventually get used to the idea of a heated toilet seat with warm water,” Tabata said.
Monday is World Toilet Day, a day which should raise awareness of the many people around the world lacking access to basic sanitation.