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A typical washlet in Japan
Control panel of a modern Japanese washlet with bilingual text
Washlet in action in Tokyo
A yet-to-be-installed Washlet, TCF8WW88 model

Washlet (Japanese: ウォシュレット, Hepburn: Woshuretto) is a Japanese line of cleansing toilet seats manufactured and sold by the company Toto. The electronic bidet features a water spray element for genital and anal cleansing.[1][2][3][4] and commonly appears on toilets all over on Japan.[citation needed] Released in June 1980,[5] more than 60 million Washlet units have been sold as of January 2022.[5]


In the 1960s, Japanese plumbing company Toto's goal was to import American "wash air seats" for domestic sales, mainly for sale to hospitals and nursing homes. Toto began domestic production in 1969, but wash air seats were expensive and sometimes caused scalding injuries due to poor regulation of water temperature. [citation needed]

In 1980, Toto began to sell its improved Washlets in Japan after surveying employees to determine appropriate spray positions since there were no biometric statistics available. The term "Washlet" originated in the 1980s by the company Toto, the term spread as Toto grew in popularity in the 1990s. There were two models, the G-series ("Gorgeous"), containing warm water storage, a dryer function, and toilet seat warming, and the S-series ("Standard"), equipped with water heating.[citation needed] The models initially included regular and elongated sizes, but in February 2012, single-size models were introduced with minor exceptions for hotel usage.[citation needed]

In a 1982 commercial featuring then-rising pop singer Jun Togawa, the advertising slogan "Our butt wants to be washed too" accompanied by background music quickly drew public attention to Toto's new product.[citation needed] The commercial, originally airing during the 7–10pm timeslot, known as golden time, received complaints from viewers about the impropriety of advertising toilet seats during mealtime, and the use of the word "butt".[citation needed]

Recognized for its pioneering role in 2012, the original Washlet G model was certified as item 55 of Mechanical Engineering Heritage.[citation needed]


In 1996, Toto also released Washlets designed for Japanese-style squat toilets, but they proved difficult to use due to accuracy issues. Japanese-style toilets were replaced with their Western-style counterparts, and the model was discontinued around 2003.[citation needed]

In October 2005, Toto released other improvements, incorporating sleep mode for energy conservation, a remote control, and a Washlet that could play MP3 audio files. Upon her visit to Japan in 2005, pop singer Madonna commented that she had "missed Japan’s warm toilet seats."[6]

Toto also introduced[when?] a sensor that detects whether the user is seated or not. The company added new functions including automatic toilet lids, toilet cleansing, deodorant, gas absorbent, and air freshener. "NEOREST" and "GG" toilets with complete built-in washlets were introduced[when?] and Toto's product lineup of Washlets designed for public facilities, businesses, and hotels. was strengthened.[citation needed]


The cleansing features include buttons labeled Oshiri ("Rear") and Bidet ("Front" in English-speaking regions). Most current models have a sensor preventing water from spraying while a person is not sitting on the toilet.[citation needed]

For antibacterial and disinfectant purposes, the nozzle is designed at such an angle that the water does not splash back on the inside of the toilet (43º for anuses, 53º for vulvas), and the nozzle itself is washed with warm water when stowed away and before use. Anal and genital cleansing functions operate on different nozzles. Some models feature deodorizers and dryers for the user's convenience.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Toilettes. Le "Washlet" japonais veut faire son trou en Europe". Le Télégramme. 19 November 2012. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
  2. ^ Hasegawa, Kyoko (November 20, 2012). "Toilet maker Toto seeks global lavatory domination with Washlets". Herald Sun. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
  3. ^ "Japan's high-tech toilet maker eyes global throne". Rappler. 20 November 2012. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
  4. ^ Hasegawa, Kyoko (5 December 2012). "Japan's high-tech toilet maker eyes global throne". The Japan Times. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
  5. ^ a b "ウォシュレット累計出荷台数6000万台突破". Toto Ltd. (in Japanese). October 28, 2022. Retrieved January 5, 2024.
  6. ^ "Madonna loves warm toilet seats". News24. 2005-12-08. Retrieved 27 January 2021.

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