As one's ability to express one's self in the Japanese language improves, the less a learner applies pronouns. Rather than saying, "I do X," whereby X represents some activity, Japanese can get the same meaning across by saying the equivalent of "X is being done," with no confusion in the listener's mind over who is performing the activity.
The rapid and widespread propagation of TOTO's Washlet bidet-type toilet seats in Japan may owe at least part of its success to this linguistic characteristic, by which people were able to discuss matters pertaining to urination and bowel movements without the need for invoking first person singular -- or any other pronoun.
Yukan Fuji (Oct 10) provided another example of how the topic of elimination can be taken up by the media without fear of embarrassment. The evening tabloid reported on a pronounced trend taking place among Japanese males: To wit, 60.9% now say that they prefer to urinate while in a seated position.
This particular bit of information was gleaned from responses to a survey of 1,500 males ranging in age from their 20s through their 60s, conducted by Lion, a major manufacturer of household products.
The survey found considerable age differentials, with only 2.7 percent of males in their 60s admitting to sitting down while peeing, as opposed to 25.7% of those in their 20s.
The survey results made a distinction between two types of males: 11.9% are termed suwarishon natives (those who have, since childhood, preferred to pee while seated); and another 49.0% belong to the suwarishonha (the sit to pee faction), who formerly urinated while standing but for various reasons, as we shall see, adopted the practice later in life.
What were these reasons? The most common response was, "Splashing of urine tends to soil the commode," so given by 37.3%. This was followed by, "I want to give consideration to the feelings of the person who cleans the commodes," with 27.9% and "A person close to me advised me to pee while seating," with 16.6%.
Another factor driving the increase appears to be that urinating while sitting facilitates the use of smart phones.
Tomoyuki Isokazu, a 53-year-old self-employed resident of Nagakute City, Aichi Prefecture, relates how he had previously performed this function while standing.
But when visiting his son's bachelor apartment, he was requested to urinate while seated, and his thinking began to change. He was further persuaded when the same subject was taken up on a TV program.
"There was also the matter of consideration for my wife, who has to do the cleaning," said Isokazu, who added that he has come to favor the seating position because it's more relaxing."
He also mentioned that he tears off a sheet of toilet paper to catch any residual drips, a common phenomenon among the middle aged and elderly.
From 2015, Tekuteku KK, a wholesaler based in Toyohashi City, Aichi Prefecture, began selling stickers in two languages to be attached to the walls of toilet cubicles. The Japanese reads Danshi mo suwatte tsukatte ne (Men, too, please use [it] while seated) while the English says "Please sit down."
The company says it receives orders not only from businesses and family homes, but also from single males.
"These days members of the younger generation tend to be on good terms with their parents, and are receptive from requests concerning personal hygiene," Yohei Harada, a marketing analyst, tells Yukan Fuji. "The widespread use of smart phones is also a factor. Since it's an item they're unwilling to part with even momentarily, I suppose this has made them realize the advantage of sitting down while they pee."© Japan Today