The Global Bidet Craze: From Japan to the World

In recent years, Japan has seen a significant increase in the number of tourists visiting the country. However, one of the lesser-known attractions that Japan has to offer is its high-tech toilets. These bidet toilets, equipped with warm seats and precision spray technology, have become a staple in luxury bathrooms around the world. According to a government survey, over 80 percent of households in Japan have a bidet toilet. The popularity of these toilets is not limited to Japan, as sales are now surging globally, especially in the United States. Celebrities like Drake, the Kardashians, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have all endorsed bidet toilets, contributing to their rise in popularity.

The global pandemic played a significant role in boosting the sales of bidet toilets worldwide. As consumers became more germ-conscious and faced toilet paper shortages due to panic-buying, there was a growing demand for alternative hygiene solutions. This led to a surge in home renovations and an increased interest in bidet toilets. Companies like TOTO, a pioneer in electric bidets, saw their overseas revenue double from 100 billion yen in 2012. TOTO’s success in the international market has been attributed to word-of-mouth recommendations, as users attest to the comfort and hygiene benefits of bidet toilets.

While Japanese companies like TOTO have dominated the bidet toilet market for years, they are facing increased competition from US brands like Kohler. At tech fairs in Las Vegas, brands like Kohler showcased advanced models like the Numi 2.0, which boasts features like voice command controls via Amazon Alexa, automatic deodorizers, and motion-activated lids. These high-end toilets offer a level of luxury and convenience that comes at a premium price, ranging from $8,500 to $10,000. Despite the steep cost, American consumers who have experienced bidet toilets during their travels to Japan are increasingly investing in these high-tech bathroom fixtures.

The cultural stigma surrounding bidet toilets is slowly fading away, thanks to the internet era and social media influencers. Celebrities like Drake and public figures like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have openly endorsed bidet toilets, normalizing their use and sparking curiosity among consumers. In the past, TOTO faced challenges when trying to expand abroad due to prudish attitudes and a lack of awareness about bidet toilets. However, as more people share their positive experiences online, the perception of bidet toilets is gradually shifting.

The history of bidet toilets dates back to the early 20th century, when TOTO was founded with the mission of introducing Western-style toilets to Japan. Initially imported from the United States, bidet toilets faced criticism for their unstable water stream. Over the years, TOTO worked on refining and innovating its bidet toilet technology, leading to the development of the Washlet. Today, TOTO has sold over 60 million Washlets worldwide, making them a popular choice for households seeking a more hygienic and luxurious bathroom experience.

The bidet craze that originated in Japan is now spreading globally, with consumers embracing the comfort, cleanliness, and convenience that bidet toilets offer. As more people experience the benefits of bidet toilets firsthand, the demand for these high-tech bathroom fixtures is expected to continue growing. Whether it’s the allure of smart features or the promise of a squeaky clean bum, bidet toilets are carving out a prominent place in luxury bathrooms worldwide.


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