Quest For Japan Logo-Ver7

Washiki : Japanese Squat-type Toilet

Date Published: Last Update:2015/05/08 Traditional Culture , ,

It was the summer of 2006 when I and my classmates at AOTS Training Center went on a study tour as a part of our Japanese training.  We went to Miyajima Island and stayed at one of their traditional Japanese hotels. We were having some fun that night, eating Japanese foods and drinking sake (Japanese wine).

My First Washiki Encounter

In the middle of our merry-making activities, I suddenly felt the urge to go to the toire (toilet). My stomach was aching and I couldn’t hold it any longer. So I excused myself from my friends and rushed to the toire.  As I reached the toire, I was shocked to find out that there was no toilet bowl. Something’s not right about this toilet.  The thing that really bothers me most is what the urinal is doing on the toilet floor. Who in their right mind would place a urinal on the floor? Isn’t it supposed to be attached on the toilet wall? Then I remembered that there are some places in Japan who are still using the traditional Japanese-style toilet, the washiki (Japanese squat-type toilet).  So the thing that I previously thought of as a misplaced urinal was actually the toilet bowl that I was looking for.  Since it was the first time that I have come across a washiki and I really felt my stomach bursting from the inside, I quickly dropped my pants and do what I have come to do, not knowing that there’s a proper way of using it.  After doing my business, I was so curious about the washiki and so I researched about it.

Floor urinal? No, it's not. This is what a washiki (和式) looks like.

Floor urinal? No, it’s not. This is what a washiki looks like.

(Image by: Matt Perreault)

Before the influx of western style toilet bowls in Japan, most, if not all, Japanese toilets are equipped with washiki.  Widespread use of western style toilet bowl only began after World War II because of the influence of the American occupation.  Most of the younger Japanese generation might have not experienced having washiki in their homes. The main difference between the two toilet types is that, in a western style toilet bowl you are seated while in a washiki you are in a squat position.  That may be the reason why some people say that using the washiki is much better for our health since it is just like doing the squat exercise.  Being in a squat position for a longer period of time is straining to the legs.  Unlike the western type toilet where you can do other things while being seated, such as playing with your iPad or reading the newspaper, using the washiki is more time saving since it would be difficult to do things other than pooping.  Some also say that using the washiki is more hygienic since your butt cheek doesn’t come in contact with the toilet bowl, unlike the western style toilet bowl.

How to properly use the washiki

  1. Facing the protruded part of the washiki, place your feet on the opposite sides of the washiki.
  2. Drop your pants.  Just make sure that you keep your pants out of harm’s way.
  3. Assume the squat position.
  4. Do it!
  5. Don’t forget to flush after doing your business.

 

The proper way of using the Japanese squat-type toilet.

The proper way of using the Japanese squat-type toilet.

(Image by: Yuya Tamai)

The topmost illustration of the image above shows the proper way of using the washiki.

Sad to say that the first time I used the washiki, I was doing it wrong.  I was like the one on the lower left of the picture above.

But I’m still happy that I didn’t do it like the one on the lower right of the image.  It is not only gross, it also looks funny.

The following two tabs change content below.

uzumaki

Latest posts by uzumaki (see all)

Sponsored Links

  • Pocket
  • 1 follow us in feedly

Related Article/s:

shichigosan

Shichi-Go-San – Celebrating A Long and Prosperous Life Ahead

Last Saturday, November 15, was Shichi-Go-San in Japan. It is a traditional festival celebrating the growth and well-being of young children particularly girls of seven years old, five-year-old boys, and children of three years old, hence the name of the day, Shichi-go-san (七五三 literally means 7-5-3). Because it is not a national holiday, it is […]

Read Article

Katana blade

Katana : Japanese traditional sword – Part 1-

Katana : Japanese sword (1) At first, I was going to post an article about “Muramasa”, a very famous cursed “katana”, but I thought it might be better to write simple explanations of Japanese traditional swords beforehand.   “Unbreakable, unbending and very sharp” sword A sword has to be hard to be unbending and sharp, […]

Read Article

boom

Pyoon! Nyan! Pachi! – Learning the Japanese Onomatopoeia 2

In our last post about Japanese onomatopoeias, we talked about the first type which is the giseigo or words that mimic human and animal sounds. This time, we will talk about the other two types: giongo and gitaigo. As we mentioned in the last post, the Japanese language is full of onomatopoeias. Some of them […]

Read Article

208757307_bc0c31977d_z

Japanese Summer – A Season of Fireworks and Dance Festivals 2

In our previous post, we featured fireworks as one of the things you usually associate to a Japanese summer. But summer is not only about fireworks, it also means commemorating one’s dead ancestors and summer dance festivals. Obon In Buddhism, they believe that the spirits of their ancestors visit their living relatives yearly and it […]

Read Article

Ninja

We are ninjas: What ninja is and the origin

What is “ninja”? From “Mansenshuukai” a.k.a. “Bansenshuukai” (a famous ninjutsu-sho, a book about ninja’s tricks), an excellent ninja is described as one who makes a great success but; Makes no sound Has no odor Remains nameless Never win a name for himself / herself Makes outstanding achievements just like creating this world About the expression […]

Read Article

45962658_bc8b950e07_m

Shuubun no Hi or Autumnal Equinox Day

Today is Autumnal Equinox Day or 秋分の日 (Shuubun no Hi) in Japan. It is a public holiday which usually occurs on September 22 or 23 or the date of southward equinox in Japanese Standard Time (UTC+09:00). Automnal Equinox Scientifically speaking, the autumnal equinox is the day when the sun crosses the equator from the Northern […]

Read Article

Symphony No.9 in Hiroshima

New Year Holidays in Japan : Symphony No. 9 (Beethoven)

The Symphony No. 9, a.k.a. “Choral”, is probably one of the most famous and beloved classical music in Japan. I played the (probably shortened) 4th movement on accordion as a member of a band when I was an elementary school student. (Other music I remember we played are the school song, and theme from “Space […]

Read Article

Japanese firefly life cycle

Japanese Seasonal Events: Firefly Watching

It’s now rainy season in Japan. Although I’m already excited about rainy season, there’s another thing that made me excited – the fireflies! I live here in Japan for few years already but I have never tried firefly watching before. I didn’t even know there are events being held for this every year. Whenever I hear […]

Read Article

kitsune illust

What Does the Japanese Fox Say – A Look at Foxes in Japanese Folklore and Popular Culture

Popular manga titles Naruto, YuYu Hakusho, and Inuyasha has one thing in common – they have characters depicting a fox or in Japanese, kitsune (キツネ). The fox (esp. the species Vulpes vulpes) is a common topic in Japanese myths and legends. They are intelligent beings and possess magical abilities. The most common of these abilities […]

Read Article

089508

Keirou no Hi or Respect for the Aged Day

Today is a special day for the elderly in Japan. Special in the sense that the government really made a holiday to celebrate and pay homage to them. People across the country travel to their hometown to visit their parents and relatives. But what exactly is “Respect for the Aged Day”? The following two tabs […]

Read Article

Sponsored Links

Leave a Reply

Sponsored Links

  • Google+
    InstagramInstagram
PAGE TOP ↑