653 Japanese electric toilet symbols go global

Speech Materals

Japan’s Kyodo News Service says that the six illustrations have been accepted by ISO, the International Organization for Standardization, to show users which buttons to press when operating high-tech Japanese toilets and bidets.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry says it’s aimed at making life less daunting for tourists visiting the country, especially given the rush of visitors expected for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

The Japan Sanitary Equipment Industry Association devised the symbols last year after manufacturers agreed to use the same images on all of their products, and they’ve now declared that “anyone can use an electric toilet with confidence”.

They also hope that the standard symbols will help sales of the high-tech toilets, complete with their hot-water flushes and self-closing lids, around the world.

I – Word Understanding
Daunting – difficult

II – Have Your Say
1. Please explain the different functions of Japanese electric toilets as shown above.
2. How is the Japanese toilet different from other countries’ toilets? What are the features that you think would surprise first time users (foreigners)?
3. Please explain what is Otohime and what is it for?
4. In what way does the Japanese toilet represent Japanese culture? (e.g. hospitality, mottainai, being considerate, etc).

653 Japanese electric toilet symbols go global

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