Contrary to popular belief, this design wasn’t made for coats, hats, or doorstoppers.

Travelling to a foreign country can always be a fun adventure, especially when little everyday discoveries prove that things can be done differently to the way things are done back home. Sometimes the differences can be huge, especially when it comes to communication styles, but other times it might be a small twist on a familiar object that makes you see things in a new light, and today we’re taking a look at the double hooks seen on the inside of Japanese public toilet doors.

You may have seen these types of hooks outside of Japan, but here they’re an ubiquitous part of public toilet life, appearing in pretty much every public toilet stall. And while they’re not usually something that would draw attention for being strange or unusual, the spotlight is being firmly shone on them right now, after a tweet appeared on Twitter, explaining how they should be used and the reason for their existence.

At first glance, the reason for the two hooks seems obvious: the long one for a coat, the short one for a bag, and a doorstopper included in the package. However, that wasn’t its intended design, according to the above tweet, which reads:

“There appears to be an increasing number of people who don’t know why this metal fitting for the toilet came to have two hooks for hanging things.
In the old days, there used to only be one hook, but the two hooks became popular in the late Showa era [1926-1989] as a way to prevent thieves from reaching their hands over and stealing people’s bags.”

The tweet caused a stir online, with people leaving comments like:

“So that’s why they were made. I always assumed they designed it for bags and coats.”
“I thought the long one was for people with lots of bags.”
“I figured they were both for bags, and you could just pick the one you wanted to use, according to your height.”
“Thieves must’ve made a killing stealing bags from toilet doors before they invented this. You can’t chase after a perpetrator while you’re pooping!”
“Adding a piece of metal to cover the hook for your bag is such a simple solution to prevent crime.”

With bag-stealing from toilet doors far less prevalent nowadays than it used to be, it’s easy to forget the efficacy of the two-hook design. And while there are hooks specifically advertised as anti-theft on the market, the one-hook styles are a little more difficult to use compared to the two-hook design.

Hisao Nagayama, who posted the original tweet under his Twitter handle, @ h_nagayama, is a company president and Chamber of Commerce member who works in the ryokan (Japanese inn) industry. In follow-up replies to commenters on his tweet, Nagayama said that the short-hook-for-bag-long-hook-for-coats design theory is a common misconception, and also mentioned that door stoppers were separate to the two-hook design when it first came into existence.

So although the two-hook design now acts as a multi-purpose gadget to hold bags, coats and cushion the impact of opening doors today, this wasn’t the original impetus for creating the new design. It just goes to show how gadgets can be born from the need to solve a problem and evolve to make lives easier, and no matter where you’re from, that’s an invention we can all be thankful for.

Source: My Game News Flash
Featured image: Twitter/@/h_nagayama

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