Does anyone else think this is a shame? When I've been to Asia and seen "swastikas" everywhere I've found it in a way joyful. The hate symbol has no power here, I thought; it's a positive thing. Why should one culture change their own iconography just because it was perverted in a different culture? It seems like a mild example of self-inflicted cultural imperialism.
Maybe I'm just being very philosophically naïve.
My roommate for the first two years of college was raised as a Jain, and a swastika with four dots is an important symbol for them. He liked to sketch, anything and everything, but also this swastika.
As his art was all over our walls, the expressions people had when they entered our dorm room for the first time were priceless. Sometimes it took some real explaining to convince them that I'm not a Nazi, and it was my Indian roommate who was drawing them and not me. ;-)
Beautiful artwork though.
The symbol is also used in almost any important life event in Hindu culture.
I grew up in a conservative, Muslim-majority country and in my 18 years there, I did not meet a single person with multiple wives. I heard of one person though - a man from a village who worked in the city had one wife in each location. I never met this man, but a distant relative knew of him. That's it. Every other person I met was monogamous. I'm not trying to justify something you think is wrong, just giving you a bit of perspective that I hope you'll consider.
So far true for Christianity as well according to my reading and what I have been told. The worship part however I can't relate to.
Even if you restrict yourself to Protestantism in the US, you will have trouble generalizing too much; the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is probably the only other universal there.
With regards to sexuality, there is very broad agreement that extramarital sex is sinful, but not much more agreement beyond that. Most protestants are accepting of contraception within marriage; Roman Catholic doctrine is opposed to any use of contraception (to the point of the official stance being that HIV positive married persons should never have sex rather than use a condom), however somewhere between "more than half" and 90% of western Catholics disagree with this.
James Dobson (A well known Evangelical Protestant psychologist) gets plenty of angry letters any time his stance that masturbation is a normal and healthy part of developing sexuality comes up.
(based on my experience in the US; may not be true of Europe)
To be honest I'm happy just figuring out my own beliefs.
It's just like the word "hacker" that meant scary things in the 1990s and "cool and hip" in the last 5-10 years.
Also see: Pepe the Frog. Some people tried to brand it as a hate symbol because a very small group of bad people were using it, but it's just a cartoon frog.
Please do not self-censor, Japan!
In fact, one could even argue that the symbol on the maps might have an interesting secondary effect on many unaware foreigners, shocking them when seeing it the first time (What are all these Nazi symbols doing here? Ah, it must be because they were Axis allies?).
Only for them then to realise that in fact, a symbol at its core, is just that: lines in a certain constellation. Meaning is ascribed by the observer.
What can stand for pure evil one place, might be synonymous with sacred temples of peace in another.
So, with all that said why should their status in that war affect it at all?
You inherit everything, good and bad, from those who came before you. It's your choice of what to keep and what to drop.
Possibly, more culturally naive than philosophically so.
World War 2 and the Holocaust had a profound impact on Western culture, and Westerners have identified that symbol with the Nazis for almost a century. The impact of Buddhist or Hindu symbology in the West, in comparison and response, has been practically nil.
For Westerners, who may never have been to an Asian country prior to Japan's Olympics, to see a manji and mistake it for a Nazi symbol is perfectly reasonable, if that is the only context in which the symbol exists for them.
The change in icons makes sense, if you (you being some hypothetical Japan) want to communicate specifically to those tourists and encourage their engagement with local businesses and culture. Why use a symbol on maps specifically for foreigners to use which would probably confuse them?
You could just keep it there and say "those ignorant foreigners just need to learn what it actually means" ... but that would show hostility towards to your guests, be bad for business and an impractical way to design a map.
Edit: Apparently they decided not to change the iconography for the maps. It will be interesting to find out what impact if any that appears to have on engagement during the Olympics.
I'm all for acknowledging and sympathizing with people who mistakenly identify this symbol as a swastika. I'm certainly not in favor of looking down on them. By all means, gently explain to them the difference. Turn it into a positive thing.
But it seems thoroughly wrong to me to actually change the symbol based on these feelings. When I was studying Arabic I quickly came across the verb to be, which, when conjugated for the first person perfect is Kuntu (MSA pronunciation) and Kunt (colloquial pronunciation). This is quite close to one of the only words left in English that still carries taboo. Still, we got on with it. This is far from a perfect analogy, but the point is that these kinds of situations are quite common, and it's irrational to try to avoid them.
If everywhere is the same, why travel? Local color like this makes destinations more interesting, not less. Hiding culture and heritage makes the value proposition weaker.
/German living in Seoul
Well then it seems like the obvious answer is to expose oneself to all the contexts in which the swastika has been used throughout history. We do have the world wide web after all. It's the duty of the ignorant to reduce their ignorance not that of others to cater to it.
>Maybe you add an explanation to the map rather than changing the symbol.
That's a fair compromise, but now you have to explain it in every possible language that a foreigner might use. Which is probably why you considered changing the symbol in the first place, because well designed icons theoretically speak to everyone.
You don't have to wonder, Japan has hosted the Olympics many times before this.
In other words, what is the bounds where a tainted symbol can or can't be used? Geopolitical border?
it's a traitors flag. They committed treason to try to protect their institution of slavery.
The south has been using it to celebrate their treason and slavery for a while. Only recently have people started to say "maybe don't use that".
Also, to be truthful, a lot of foreigners wouldn't know what the svatiskas on maps point to.
Exactly. This is the main reason for the change. The changes were based on surveys where they asked foreigners "if you saw this symbol on a map, what do you think it would mean?". Not "is this offensive?" You can find a PDF of the survey results online, it also included stuff like hotel symbols which foreigners thought meant hospital or helipad.
In the UK that word means ... well you can look it up.
Google has it pinned as being primarily a UK search term so there must still be people using it, unless this is just an echo caused by a special offer on boxed sets of The Sweeney.
Wikipedia says it's in the OED: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonce_(slang)
Then there is Thailand as how simple ignorance leads to the symbol being used as a representation of the nazi but without quite understanding what they are/were ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_imagery_in_Thailand ). It got so bad their government is now moving hard to push nazi/holocaust into their education programe to solve that, after a seemingly continuous serie of events like this:
> In 2011, during a sports day parade, students of a Catholic school in Thailand dressed and marched in SS uniforms. The school later apologized after international outrage."
A more recent example : Just Say No. All these 40-somethings who never did drugs, never will, just hate them and can't really explain why.
Yes, 60 million dead is powerful propaganda.
But it's Hitler that we remember. It's Hitler that gets cited by right-thinking fellows on the internet. It's Hitler's logo that gets banned from the tshirt stores. Why?
Hitler's crew had strong propaganda, that's why.
Propaganda is what rolls around in the media, and the public mind, for centuries. Not reality.
I guess "marketing" is the more common term.
Marketing can turn black into white and day into night. It is powerful.
In their countries.
> and Hitler killed 17 million.
You have to include the WW2 deaths.
It's unlikely anyone ever complained about the symbol but someone probably brought it up a meeting and the slightest chance that a foreigner would be offended was enough to push it through.
Special treatment for foreigners is not new.  Recently they rent-a-car agencies have started putting a "foreigner driving" sticker on cars rented by non-Japanese people. Interestingly the sticker says "Foreigner driving" in Japanese but "I love driving in Japan" or "Friendly driving" in English, with no mention of the 'foreigner' part.
The changes were based on surveys that showed that many tourists had no idea what the symbol represented.
There are over 20 individual controls on that unit (which is, FWIW, common and reasonably expensive). If you do not read Japanese, good luck at finding flush... and finding it will not help you finding it on the next machine you use.
Having said that, the "bidet" label on the "ladies" button is highly misleading ;-)
That said, this is not a rare, exotic toilet in Japan; it's something which would be unremarkable in an office building or a restaurant that you could reasonably use for date night.
Still waiting for someone to explain the difference between "bidet" and "behind"...neither one seems to function in the advertised manner.
It.... takes some experience... But definitely worth it in my experience :-)
Besides all that, is there some targeting system going on down there? Machine vision? Lidar?
God please no. Don't give people ideas, lest we want to have a cloud-connected startup doing just that...
A cloud toilet that examines your feces and urine probably isn't far off (and is probably already in the works).
Obviously you have more experience than my one holiday, but it seems surprising that I wouldn't have encountered this problem if it's widespread?
Unless they were shared toilets and some asshole had cranked the seat heat all the way up, hot enough that it felt scalding.
If eco wasn't there I can see how it would be confusing though.
sym for big is up, sym for small (urine only) is down - I see them right away on your image at the top, usually the flusher is not on the seat controls itself either.
What does the button with the orange square do? What does the button with the 9 dots do?
流す is just as much as an arbitrary pictogram as anything else. And it didn't even need a standardization process.
Also Japanese writing has gone through multiple standardizations.
Please stop blaming the user for UX issues.
If you are a lady not much can go wrong; for us blokes… well you might get your ball-sack rinsed, but that, while surprising and slightly awkward, is fairly harmless on the whole.
What's the fun in being a tourist if you understood everything around you.
 - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007HIKPQC
UX is just a fancy term to invent new jobs, or to sell more products to dumb people.
Here's two SFW videos on how to use https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDcS0IAkRIw https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBAY1GWjjaQ
Worth it. Heated seat alone... so good.
Or for a more humorous account: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgHVO-RZ8c4
In short: They're not flushable, regardless of what the packaging says. Soluble dry paper or water works. Japan's got it right.
B) DON'T flush them.
C) I really don't feel as clean from a jet spray. And I don't like it. Especially if the toilet is not mine.
D) You can bring your wipes everywhere. They will work in a desert, the forest, or ISS...
I buy baby wipes for the purpose... They are awsome.
It's $60 for the deluxe version, cheaper if you don't want hot water (and you actually don't need the hot water). It's a subtle-but-massive improvement in quality of life.
I mean it's nice to know that we can standardize to:
- a pair of line wobblers
- two tornadoes of different intensity
- two different fountain rides with different camera angles and zooms
- getting mauled by a three-toed sloth, and
- the all important black box
but maybe for people with less inductive skill some words would help too.
> The icons in the image above mean (from left to right) raise the lid, raise the seat, large flush, small flush, rear spray, bidet, dry, and stop.
So many questions...
Contrary to what he writes, I've seen them in a couple of places in the UK. I rarely use the accessible toilet though, typically only in small but modern offices where the only toilet is accessible, or on trains.
Because the latter is what you get in Japan, see what patio11 posted above.
Probably not, it's basically in front of your face, I've mostly seen it in business hotels where the entire bathroom is an integrated unit.
I don't see the intrigue in this story, though. Can someone explain it to me? Is it the iconography design? The "wow Japanese toilets are complicated!" reaction? People just upvoting anything that has to do with Japan?
Public utilities standardize their iconography because many people use them. That's why every sign directing you to a restroom, or an exit, or a drinking fountain looks largely the same.
Japanese bidets are alien to most foreigners, Japanese tourism is growing rapidly and will have a big spike in 2020, and since bidet toilets have basically become public utilities, the industry came together and created a standard.
It just seems like a logical conclusion without any intrigue to me. Even sticking with the Tokyo Olympic theme, the stories about the hotel shortage, the mess with Tsukiji, and the conflicts about what to do with Golden Gai are far more interesting.
Cars have standardized their dashboard iconography
Dunno. Most buttons I've seen on a toilet was 1. Flush. The really fancy ones have a split button for "small flush" and "big flush".
The thought that toilets are complex enough to even consider talking about standardization is, I think, completely alien to anyone outside Japan/Asia.
EDIT: Nevermind, figured it out. The 2020 Summer Olympics are in Tokyo.
It would be a wonderful conversation starter.
source: on vacation in japan right now, pressed the bidet button first, wrong angle.
And the USB port actually has been standardized with USB-C. Problem with USB-C nowadays is that the connector is not tied to the functionality. Sometimes you get high throughput, thunderbolt, or a high charging port, sometimes you don't.
Or just look at the USB-C cables sold by Apple.
There should be standardized icons on the cable denoting what the cable is capable of doing.
It's going to happen for peripherals, but it's an ecosystem with two sides; you'll have laptops adding more and more USB-C ports as more support arrives, but it'll take time.
WRT charging, see e.g. this  year-old article - the implementations are going to take a while to get uniform enough for it to be a truly "standard" charger. But a wide variety of vendors are experimenting with it, and the future is bright.
In this case, the incentive was pressure from the Government to make life easier for tourists coming for the Olympics.
Anecdotally (and probably relatedly), my mini-usb plugs always wiggled in the socket, while micro-usb does not. They also seemed to require less force to unplug, and so popped out accidentally more often.
It's a bigger, bulkier connector than microUSB, with a much thicker and more robust metal shield. I really don't see how wiggling would be more of a problem on miniUSB than microUSB because of this factor.
As for force, again my experience is exactly the opposite: the miniUSB connectors require a lot of force to both engage and disengage. Not as much as full-size USB of course, but a lot more than the wimpy little microUSB connectors.
USB was a great improvement for attaching many peripherals to computers but it really wasn't a golden age.
So the answer to your question is: GREED
You use a lot less toilet paper, and while the heated seat may seem decadent, it is actually very relaxing in the colder seasons — ostensibly a good thing when voiding your bowels. The best thing though is when you are ill and have diarrhoea. On a Western toilet the toilet paper feels like 80-grit sandpaper after the fourth time you go. With a washlet you've still got diarrhoea, but at least you leave the bathroom feeling clean with your skin not nearly as irritated.
They are presumably cheap to buy, but they need a proper water supply, and plumbers in Denmark are expensive...
The base model Washlet is about $400 in the US. You must have a 120V GFCI-equipped outlet within 3 feet of the unit.
The popup is coming from "justuno.com". They're in San Francisco. They have a CEO with a beard, as if they were cool.
Add to block list.
Edit: List of USA models, the most expensive being $3,300: https://washlet.totousa.com/view-all-products