The Japanese Bidet: How Was It Invented And How It Became Popular In Japan?

Toilets are somewhat a taboo subject since no one really wanted to talk about this private amenity. The funny thing is, if most parts of the world do not care mostly about their toilet, other places such as Japan have other things in mind. The invention of the Japanese bidet became such a huge hit that even the US is now slowly popularizing the innovation. But, how Japan started using bidets and how it was invented is still an uncommon knowledge to many.

How was the Japanese bidet invented?

  • Kazuchika Okura invented the Japanese bidet in 1903. He was a Japanese inventor who was inspired by the gleaming white toilets bowls in Europe and America. Bedazzled by this, he came home determined to create his invention that will modernize Japanese toilets. Back home, people still used old-school squat toilets which has no sewerage system.
  • He successfully created his own version of the first Japanese flush toilet by 1914 inspired by the toilets he saw in Europe.
  • Three years later, he founded his company – the Toyo Toki Company. For decades, his company became a household name. However, the company didn’t really start innovating until the end of the 20th century.
  • In 1970, they changed the company name to TOTO.
  • By the year 1980, TOTO made and sold the Washlet for about $660 or 149,000 Yen. The idea was to consolidate the European bidet’s function which was to wash the backside after doing your dirty business. TOTO incorporated the idea and created what is now the electric toilet seat. TOTO’s clients can purchase the electric bidet seat and attach this to their toilets. The company aimed to improve the concept until they were able to revolutionize the modern Japanese Bidet.

TOTO engineers worked earnestly to create the perfect temperature for their bidets to splash just the right water temperature. They worked on finding the ideal angle to spray the water from the wand of the bidet next. After some TOTO employees tested the new bidets, they concluded that 43 degrees are the best angle to deliver optimum comfort and sanitation.

Good read: The bottom line: why it’s time the bidet made a comeback

How did Japan start using bidets?

TOTO knew what they were doing and knew exactly how to sell their new-found creation. They targeted the elite and businesspeople who were already hooked on luxurious innovations. They first sold the Washlet in Golf Courses, knowing this is a place where the rich would come to unwind and talk about business.

It was a huge hit and soon installed Washlets in their homes. They even demanded to have electric bidet accommodations during their business trips, thus encouraging hotels to buy Washlets. During that time, hotels would list rooms as with or without bidet accommodations. Before 1998 ended, a total of TOTO sold about 10 Million Washlets.

By the year 2000, TOTO successfully made their way into business establishments to have Washlets installed and entice their clients. Customers, especially the ladies would pick places with TOTO toilets.

And in 2015, a total of 40 Million Washlets are out and sold in the global market. They estimate TOTO’s global success in 2017 as $311 Million. By 2017, five-star hotels and other establishments with big names already have TOTO Washlets installed worldwide, proving that the invention was definitely more than a success. For more information about the bidet, visit