Why Americans Don’t Use the Japanese Toilet Seat (Even Though They Definitely Should)
Think of technology for a second, and then think of a few places where refusing to use the newest technology doesn’t make sense.
Lawn mowers are one example that comes to mind right off the bat. You’ve got seven acres, and that’s great, but now you need to mow it. Instead of using an automatic push mower or a riding mower, though, you think to yourself, “Nah, I’m going to stay in the Stone Age on this one,” and then you go retrieve your push mower from the shed. Eighteen hours later you’re sweaty and exhausted, but darnit you stuck to your guns!
The same goes for airline travel. Why fly when you could walk? Sure, a flight to Seattle will only take you three hours, but walking a few thousand miles is great for the constitution. Who cares that most of the people you love will be elderly by the time you get there?
See the point we’re making? There are some places in life where using modern technology just makes sense. The bathroom is one of those places.
Despite this truth, however, it’s also one place many Americans lack technology that could keep them both clean and happy.
Enter the Japanese Toilet Seat, and the ongoing question of why most Americans don’t use them, even though they definitely should.
Let’s dive in.
What is a Japanese Toilet Seat?
A Japanese toilet seat also called a Japanese bidet or, just a bidet toilet seat, is a magical invention.
Popular throughout Asia, including in Japan and China, the Japanese toilet seat looks and acts mostly like any standard toilet seat in your house. You pull the lid up to sit on it and do your business, you flush, and then you shut the lid.
Aside from those standard functions, though, the Japanese toilet seat is a very different animal. While your junky toilet seat at home might give you something to sit on while you ride the porcelain bus, that’s about all it does. A Japanese toilet seat, on the other hand, has enough features to make your head spin.
Designed to keep you clean, help you relax, and turn your everyday bathroom visits into luxury spa escapes, the Japanese toilet seat offers a whole host of extras, including but not limited to the following:
- Heated seats
- Bidet functions, commonly with anterior and posterior nozzles
- Adjustable spray pressure and temperature
- Slow-close lids and seats
- Air dryers
- LED nightlights
- Bluetooth speakers
Now, unless your toilet at home has a Bluetooth speaker, we don’t want to hear anything else about how you probably don’t need one of these things.
With all that in mind, though, one puzzling question remains - why aren’t people using these things?
Sure - the market saturation of bidet toilet seats has soared in recent years, and they’re popping up rapidly in homes across the country, but why aren’t they as widespread as they are in Japan or someplace similar?
Here’s the scoop.
5 Reasons Americans Don’t Get Bidets
Bidets are elegant, they’re classy, and they beat the heck out of using your hand and a wad of scratchy paper to get yourself clean, so why don’t people use them? Here are the top five reasons:
Americans are Unfamiliar With the Sensation of Water on Their Butts
Not to be blunt here, but this is the main issue. Since bidets aren’t super widespread in the states, the only way to experience one is to travel abroad, and we all fear what we don’t know.
That said, most Americans have never used a bidet, and they don’t get how life-changing, sanitary, or healthful they can be.
They Think Japanese Bidets are, like, SUPER Expensive
This might surprise you, but lots of Americans seem to think they’ll pay $10K for a Japanese Bidet. This is because full blown "smart toilets" can (and do) run that high or more. Luckily, there is a way to upgrade your existing toilet and still get all the features at a fraction of the cost. Bidet toilet seats are cheaper than your cell phone--good Japanese toilet seat can be had for a few hundred dollars.
As if this weren’t enough to make you jump on one right now, they’re also easy to install, and won’t require you to rip out your existing plumbing.
They Don’t Even Know They Exist
Lots of Americans aren’t necessarily choosing not to use a Japanese bidet. The problem is, they don’t even know Japanese bidets exist. When it comes to toilet seats, they see their options as being round, elongated, white, or off-white.
They’re missing out on the world of bidet toilet seats entirely!
While bidets have gotten a lot of press in recent years, they have yet to saturate the market as much as they should or likely will. Because of that, it’s imperative for people who have some familiarity with the miracle of bidet toilet seats to tell their friends. Why not share the love - and the cleaner bum?
Here's your existing toilet, upgraded with a new Toto toilet seat. Ooo la la!
People Used To Think They Were Immoral
Not that fast - there’s nothing immoral about a really clean bum.
Around the dawn of the bidet, though, the only place Americans saw them was in European brothels, during the war. As such, the soldiers who came back and reported on these amazing bum-cleaning devices also reported that they were dirty and unfit for use in any respectable home.
Fortunately, that’s not the case. After all, there’s nothing dirty about a warm air dryer or charcoal filter deodorizer. In fact, bidets have been shown to have massive and far-reaching health benefits.
Not only do they keep you and your hands cleaner (bidets reduce urine and fecal bacteria counts on your bum dramatically), but they can also cut down on the rate of infections, irritations, and hemorrhoids.
Most American Bathrooms Aren’t Big Enough
A few years ago, having a bidet meant having a traditional (i.e. french style) standalone bidet that you would get off of the toilet to use. Unfortunately, many American bathrooms simply weren’t big enough to house an additional piece of equipment, so nobody invested in a bidet.
The Japanese toilet seat has changed that, though. Today, bidets are built right into a toilet seat, which means you don’t have to compromise floor space or alter your plumbing. Adding a bidet is a quick process that only requires a bit of elbow grease.
How to use the Japanese Bidet
If you’ve never used a Japanese bidet before, it can be a bit of a startling experience. And this makes sense - the idea of remote-control water shooting into a sensitive area is scary enough for most. Luckily, this is an overblown idea of what a bidet actually is, or what you can expect from the experience of using one.
If you’ve recently invested in a Japanese bidet, or you’re considering investing in one now, here’s what you’ll want to know about using the neat new addition:
How to Start Using a Japanese Bidet
There are two potential situations in which you’ll use a Japanese bidet. The first is that you’re actually in Japan, at which point a chart deciphering Japanese symbols will come in handy. Here’s what you can expect to see on a true Japanese washlet, as provided by TheTrueJapan.com:
The second possible place you’ll come into contact with a Japanese bidet is in the U.S., where you’ve presumably purchased a Japanese-style bidet that, thankfully, has English instructions. In this case, you won’t need a detailed diagram, but some step-by-step instructions could be helpful.
Your First Experience with the Japanese Bidet
If you’re a first-time Japanese bidet user, let this be said: experimentation is encouraged.
This is especially true if you’ve recently purchased one of these nifty devices. Most modern bidet toilet seats allow you to save user presets. This is convenient once you’ve decided what you like and what you want.
Once you take a seat on the throne, you’ll have the chance to experiment with lots of different functions, including the seat warmer and spray settings. The first thing you’ll likely want to adjust is the seat warmer.
Adjust it to your liking using the armrest controls, or the included remote. Once you’ve done your business, you’ll also be able to adjust the spray, pressure, and temperature. Don’t be afraid to experiment a bit here to find out what feels best for you. You should be comfortable and clean when you walk away from the bidet - not stressed-out and frantic.
If you need help managing the settings on your bidet, consult the user manual. It’ll have all sorts of information on how to make sure your Japanese bidet experience is as pleasurable as it can be. Once you’ve found a setting you like, save it to your bidet’s system. This will allow the bidet to revert to it automatically every time you sit down.
The Japanese Toilet Seat: Making Bathrooms Classy one Bum at a Time
Japanese toilet seats are currently used by 77% of the households in Japan, so why not here? When you combine factors like ignorance, perceived cost, and unfamiliarity, the answer is obvious.
Luckily, the tides are changing, and Americans are warming up to the idea of warm water on their bums. And why not? Bidets improve health and wellbeing and make your bathroom a more enjoyable place to be.
Find your perfect Japanese bidet or shop our selection of attachments and toilet seat add-ons today at BidetGenius.