TNB Night Owl – Japan’s Singing Toilets

Japanese electronic toilet, photo by Peter Van den Bossche

We live in an age where a preponderance of technical developments aren’t associated with the creation of all new devices but rather improvements on existing ones. With that in mind, it seems unsurprising that someone would get around to updating and improving upon the common toilet. Bidets, while comparatively new to general usage in the United States, have been around in one form or another for centuries in Europe; they hardly count. Instead, the Japanese have stepped up to the plate and delivered new design features into an array of high-tech toilets.

These new devices go far beyond a mere automatic flushing system. Many warm the seats when a person sits upon them or even approaches within a certain distance. Some perform muscle massages while a person is excreting. Perfume can be dispensed. Many play music or even sing while a person is seated, so as to drown any unpleasant noises which may result while the toilet is in use.

This Owl is not about them.

Instead, I direct you to the now-defunct Seiryumon restaurant in Shinjuku prefecture, Japan. Its gimmick was that it featured two areas for dining… one “Heaven”, with classy, upscale flavor; and one “Hell”, with flashy, wild and sometimes unsettling decor. Specifically, I direct you to their bathrooms, which were unlike any other restaurant bathrooms in the world.

The men’s lavatory contained a comparatively sedate urinal which happened to be shaped like a mouth. Above the mouth was a statue of a multi-armed man armed with a gold bar and a camera. As the urinal was used, the camera would flash, some arms would move and a recorded voice would comment to the person relieving themselves.

While that is bizarre, I say “comparatively sedate” for a reason. It has to be compared against the toilet in the ladies’ room. There, when the toilet was in use, a giant head situated opposite would begin to sing… and move. It would steadily press forward until it was nuzzled up, kissing the shins and knees of whoever was using the facilities before retreating.

It might not be surprising that the restaurant didn’t last… but the reason seems to be less associated with the theme than it was the location. After
Seiryumon closed in Shinjuku, Seiryumon Ten and Chi (Seiryumon Heaven and Hell) opened in the more prestigious Tokyo, where it has remained popular and continues to provide split dining styles using similar menus.

This time, though, the toilets are far less interactive.

Question of the night: Have you been to any theme restaurants?

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.