These eight pictograms will be used from April to make functions easier to understand for toilet users.

In the lead-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the rush to standardise symbols to assist foreign visitors has seen proposals to modify some of the country’s most used icons, including the swastika-like Buddhist temple mark and the onsen hot springs bathing sign.

Another commonly used set of symbols can be seen on the nation’s collection of spray toilets, and given that makers have been using different pictograms for the various functions on their units, the Japan Sanitary Equipment Industry Association decided to unify their symbols, creating a set of standardised images that will feature on all new spray toilets sold from April this year.

▼ The new symbols include (left to right): Toilet lid – open/close; toilet seat – open/close; large flush; small flush.


▼ Backside wash; bidet wash; dryer; stop


Madoka Kitamura, head of the Japan Sanitary Equipment Industry Association, appeared with representatives from the association’s nine member companies to unveil the new standardised symbols at an event in Tokyo on Tuesday.

▼ Kitamura (below, centre) says one of the aims of the association is for the new symbols to be adopted as international standards.


The decision to create these standardised pictograms came about after a 2014 survey found that a quarter of 600 foreign respondents said they were unable to understand the images that appeared on buttons for spray toilets.

Kitamura, who is also the president of Toto Ltd., a leading Japanese toilet manufacturer and one of the nine member firms, said he hopes the standardised icons will help foreign tourists enjoy the comfort of Japanese spray toilet seats and increase their popularity around the world.

Source: Japan Sanitary Equipment Industry Association
Featured Image: Japan Sanitary Equipment Industry Association
Insert images: Japan Sanitary Equipment Industry Association (1, 2)