The Toilet A Celebration
The Japan Toilet Assn is an organization formed to improve the world's toilets and create a 21st century 'toilet culture.' An excerpt from a promotional brochure is presented.
From an invitation to the lnternational Toilet Symposium, a three-day conference held in June in Kobe, Japan, sponsored by the Japan Toilet Association. Promodonal literature for the conference explains that it was organized to address "the improvement of the world's rest-room conditions and the creation of a Toilet Culture for the twenty-first century."
Life on this planet is maintained by the two fundamental processes of consumption and excretion. Although humankind has developed a highly refined culture celebrating the process of consumption, the vital subsequent process of excretion has been entirely hidden away, repressed as something filthy and despicable. As a result, we have tended to neglect the toilet in the development of our cities and our homes. It is time for humankind to turn a more attentive eye toward the improvement of our rest-room environments, thus bringing greater comfort and a new sense of culture into our daily lives.
The Japan Toilet Association, established in 1985, was the first organization of its kind in the world. It is a voluntary network of researchers, architects, governmment officials, toilet manufacturers, sanitation and transportation experts, and citizens dedicated entirely to the toilet. JTA aims at the creation of a "Toilet Culture," a whole new sphere of human activity and information committed to the celebration and improvement of our world's toilets. Since its founding, JTA has established a national Toilet Day, coordinated seven Toilet Symposia, held a number of International Toilet Forums (including the 1992 Franco-Japan Toilet Forum, held in Paris), and annually awarded the Nishioka Prize for unique rest-room designs around the world.
In 1991, JTA's sister organization, the France Toilet Association, was established; the Hong Kong Urban Council recently consulted with JTA on a project to improve public rest rooms in Hong Kong. In addition, there has been an increasing number of requests by developing countries for assistance on toilet-facility improvement. It is clear that the idea of Toilet Culture has come to be widely recognized throughout the world. At last, the long-neglected issue of the toilet has become the target of worldwide efforts to improve our living environment as we head into the twenty-first century.
Despite these progressive trends, however, a number of barriers still remain, including the lack of an appropriate forum for the discussion of issues concerning the toilet, the inadequate exchange of toilet technology, and, perhaps most important of all, the simple lack of awareness of the present conditions of the toilet and the critical need for change.
On the occasion of this International Toilet Symposium, the international city of Kobe joins the Japan Toilet Association in extending a hearty welcome to all those interested in the condition of the world's toilets.