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Tokyo changes age limit for kids going into opposite sex’s bath at hot springs and sento

72 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Communal bathing has long been a part of traditional Japanese culture. Mixed-gender bathing, though, or konyoku, as it’s called in Japanese, is something that’s been largely phased out at hot springs and sento (public baths), with the vast majority of such facilities now having two separate bathing areas for male and female customers.

An exception is made for young children though, with Japanese society, for the most part, thinking it’s no big deal for a mother to take her young son into the women’s bath with her, or vice-versa for a father and daughter in the men’s bath. The question is what age qualifies as “young,” there’s now a new legal cutoff in Tokyo.

Previously, children as old as nine were allowed into the bath for the opposite sex, provided they were bathing with a parent or guardian, of course. As of January 1, though, the new age limit is six, meaning that once children hit the age of 7, boys are legally allowed only in the men’s bath, and girls the women’s.

The new ordinance comes in the wake of a survey by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare last spring which found 6 and 7 to be the ages at which the largest number of children felt embarrassed by being in the bath for the opposite sex. The ministry then recommended that lawmakers revise their jurisdictions’ regulations accordingly, with Tokyo, and a number of other municipalities, making the change at the start of 2022.

As the new policy went into effect, some parents at a public bath in Tokyo’s Higashikurume district weren’t happy about the stricter rules, as shown in the video below. A father who came with his three children, two sons and an eight-year-old daughter, was disappointed that the group won’t all be able to go into the bath together, as was the girl herself.

Another mother worries about sending her son into the men’s bath on his own when he turns 7, and the concern isn’t just about the child’s safety. In Japanese-style bathing, you’re supposed to thoroughly wash your body at a shower station so that you’re completely clean by the time you dip so much as a toe in the communal tub, in order to keep the shared bathwater clean. The mother wonders if a seven-year-old will be able to meet that standard of cleanliness without a parent present to double-check their self-washing skills. A still grubby kid jumping into the tub could cause discomfort for the other bathers as well as problems for the bathhouse’s staff if so much grime is tracked into the tub that it has to be drained and cleaned before customers can get back in.

However, the vast majority of commenters on the video have no problem with the new law, with some saying it doesn’t go far enough.

“Just gonna have to make sure your kids can properly wash themselves by the time they’re 7. That’s part of raising them right.”

“I’m fine with this. There was a startlingly old girl in the men’s bath one time when I went in, and I’m sure a boy that big in the women’s bath would have made them feel uncomfortable too.”

“I think they should make the age limit for being in the opposite sex’s bath even lower.”

“I think 3 or 4 years old should be the max.”

“It’s kind of a difficult question, since there are many kinds of family situations [such as single parents or families where both parents can’t come to the bathhouse at the same time because of work].”

“If it’s such a problem for parents, then they don’t have to come to the public bath in the first place.”

As alluded to by the last comment, though communal bathing was once more or less an unavoidable necessity of life in Japan, in the modern era it’s pretty much an optional way to get clean. Two or three generations ago, it still wasn’t all that unusual for Japanese homes, especially those of working-class families, to lack bathing facilities, meaning family members had to make regular trips to their neighborhood public bath. Nowadays, though, all but the most spartan of apartments have a bath/shower combo, so going to the sento is more a leisure activity than a cornerstone of anyone’s hygiene routine.

That shift in public bath usage habits is likely part of the reason why the age limit has now been changed, and even prior to the new rule going into effect, it was unusual to see nine-year-olds in the opposite sex’s bath. If going to a sento is a purely discretionary choice, then the question of what makes bathers’ time there comfortable and enjoyable becomes more important, and “That kid seems kind of old to be in this bath to me, but maybe he/she doesn’t have any other options” becomes a less likely conclusion.

Sources: Tele Asa News via Yahoo! Japan News via JinYouTube/ANNnewsCH

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© SoraNews24

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72 Comments
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Learn from the Germans (and other Europeans) where mixed nudity is much more accepted and practical than in Japan. Japan slowly becomes a strange culture and country, under the really bad puritan-USA influence - including this sick and discussing association of nudity with sex and sexuality.

25 ( +51 / -26 )

 Japan slowly becomes a strange culture and country, under the really bad puritan-USA influence - including this sick and discussing association of nudity with sex and sexuality.

THIS 100% Thank the influence of the command during the occupation of Japan, particularly Douglas MacArthur for being worried that the "good ol'" American boys would be bringing home a "souvenir" that their wives and girlfriends wouldn't want!

12 ( +24 / -12 )

I’m uncomfortable taking a bath in front of complete strangers period. I’m not even religious but find the practice so odd. I think I still have ptsd from the first and last time I ever used a public bath haha!

-18 ( +19 / -37 )

Ebisan: you should read the article. It was only recently onsen was separated into gender only. Close to a hundred ago onsen slowly change to gender only. This has nothing to do with being offended by nudity. It was about man not wanting other man bathing with there female partner. Often disagreements turn into arguments so disturbing other users. Today onsen in a place were both female and male can relaxed without being distracted by the opposite sex. Use your common sense about what kind of argument were occurring like why are you look at her you are my husband and vice a verser. Today we have the problem with pedifiles and to avoid any disturbance the age limit of children is being disgust. Today we also have the problem of gays bathing with there partner. To allow this you will be discriminating against heterosexual partner where there female or male partner are not allow to join each other in the same onsen but guy partner are exempted. That is a clear case of discrimination against the heterosexual partners.

2 ( +23 / -21 )

As the new policy went into effect, some parents at a public bath in Tokyo’s Higashikurume district weren’t happy about the stricter rules, as shown in the video below. A father who came with his three children, two sons and an eight-year-old daughter, was disappointed that the group won’t all be able to go into the bath together, as was the girl herself.

Some parents who are opposed to this can just go to public baths outside Tokyo!

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Don't see the big deal with the kids. Did this in Europe in the saunas. Men, women, kids. Just people enjoying the steam and heat. Now, you start having outside cultural influences and then you see this type of change.

But it seems reasonable at the age of 6/7. Some kids are hitting puberty a bit early and can be a bit awkward, however it should be the parent that has the decision in this case and not a government rule.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

The public baths in Japan were all mixed, just one bath for everyone, until MacArthur decided to end the practice and made the baths separate male and female. I was born and raised and live here in Shinjuku, and have been going to the same public bath all my life. My friends also go, and the bath is more of a social get together than for getting clean. When I was in junior high the family of one of my friends installed a bath and he stopped coming. Two months later he started coming again. He said the bath was too narrow, but we all know he missed the social experience with all his friends. We all experienced going to the mom's side when we were kids, so we girl and boy friends could all play together naked. We didn't think it was strange in any way, it was just a normal thing.

37 ( +38 / -1 )

I'm not sure what age limit should be set but there some parents who seem oblivious to the development of their children. A few years back on holiday in Hokkaido, a father brought his daughter of about 10 into the men's section. She knew she shouldn't be there, her embarrassment was obvious. Really creepy.

11 ( +17 / -6 )

Children should not come to public bath or onsen at all. It's a place for relaxation and children are running around noisily.

-28 ( +6 / -34 )

I can’t remember the last time I went to a sento. There used to be a few bathing establishments around my house but they all went out of business.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Today we also have the problem of gays bathing with there partner. To allow this you will be discriminating against heterosexual partner where there female or male partner are not allow to join each other in the same onsen but guy partner are exempted. That is a clear case of discrimination against the heterosexual partners.

Single sex bathing is discrimination now because there are ‘gays’ in there? Maybe there are still some ‘pedifiles’ in there too. How will you know?

5 ( +13 / -8 )

When I go with my family (wife and daughters) to an onsen, we'll book a private bath. We do that for a number of reasons. One of which, being my tattoos, but also so that we can bathe and spend time together as a family.

For a public onsen bath or sento though. I do agree setting an age limit and that it should be set at either 7/8. At that age, your child should already know how to wash themselves and how to behave themselves in a public setting.

By that age they are also more aware and conscious of their own body and how they are different to the opposite gender.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

My girlfriend of 10 was a Onsen manager. This was when i first meet her. I wanted to know more about the Onsen Culture and started to question her about the young girls in the male onsen. I had no concerns about the practice of children bathing with their parents. I was told this has always be permitted so I realised it is cultural. Other elements of the Japanese culture I wondered about concerning children was the easy access they had to alcohol at vending machines. My girlfriend told me that she offen was sent to the vending machine to get a few beer for her father. So I realised quickly that there is a big divide between culture on parenting. Like most Japanese children walk to school compared to the busing system in the west. Seeing these children walking to and from school having fun and snow fight alway brings a smile to my face. It a different culture and onsen are a big part of Japanese culture so I see difficulties with issuing a age limit. Like a comment above I think it is the parent decision not a government try to Aline it culture towards the west.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Learn from the Germans (and other Europeans) where mixed nudity is much more accepted and practical than in Japan

Though nudity might be more accepted, I do not think that bathing nude freely with other people and specially the one from the opposite sex is accepted. It is only accepted in dedicated naturist and nudist zones

4 ( +11 / -7 )

To finish with my comment above, kids nudity until a certain age, 3-4 at least has always been accepted among communities all over the world when it comes to bathing.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

From the article:

In Japanese-style bathing, you’re supposed to thoroughly wash your body at a shower station so that you’re completely clean by the time you dip so much as a toe in the communal tub, in order to keep the shared bathwater clean.

Completely untrue in the men's bath, so mother, don't worry. Can't say I have seen anybody wash themselves before getting in. They think a quick Kakeyu suffices (if at all). He'll be fine.

-9 ( +6 / -15 )

The mother wonders if a seven-year-old will be able to meet that standard of cleanliness without a parent present to double-check their self-washing skills. A still grubby kid jumping into the tub could cause discomfort for the other bathers as well as problems for the bathhouse’s staff if so much grime is tracked into the tub that it has to be drained and cleaned before customers can get back in.

Well, if you teach them before that age like all the mothers I grew up around, the kids will be alright.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Japanese people need rules for everything. They can't do anything without rules.

Haven't you heard? Independent thought and autonomy will lead to the collapse of Japanese society! Taking initiative will cause munity! No, no; all must conform to the whims of one.

Nine is far too old to be going into opposite sex baths in my opinion. I'd have no issue with it if the kid was just with family members but among strangers? No. Especially for little girls - we all know that an unhealthy number of Japanese men have a fetish for the very young. If it were me, the cut-off age would be 5.

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

The real problem is the adults that are sharing these bath houses with kids, has anyone asked them how they feel about it? some are okay, but others are NOT. I would neve take my kids into the opposite sex bath.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

I remember seeing those Mount Fuji Murals in public baths when I was a kid.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Though nudity might be more accepted, I do not think that bathing nude freely with other people and specially the one from the opposite sex is accepted. It is only accepted in dedicated naturist and nudist zones

In Germany and Spain at least, nudity is much more accepted than in Japan, for example many people don't bother using the cabins for changing into or out of their bathing suits and do it in public, in many bathing areas. Some places (seaside, lake or river beaches) would have some kind naturist area and very often they just mix with the "textilist"people without any kind of issue. Then you have saunas and day spas, where everyone except the people working there is naked and mixed. But that is not the point, for me the biggest issue is how USA automatically associates nudity with sex and dirtiness - I wouldn't actually care about USA but unfortunately that side of their culture has totally destroyed Japan's onsen culture as well. Primitive, religious influenced behaviour at its worst.

8 ( +15 / -7 )

Just for fun, here is a Japanese blogger getting shocked in Germany :) . I hope you understand Japanese:

https://youtu.be/9OQlqDgzEus

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Another mother worries about sending her son into the men’s bath on his own when he turns 7

Soooo, he has no father to take him?

-16 ( +1 / -17 )

What a strange discussion. It’s about bathing, cleaning body and mind, sometimes also meeting, communicating, but surely not complaining about or staring angrily or with lust at any other guests’ genders. In doubt the some older children who can made first decisions should be asked every time if they still want to go with the parent into the ‘wrong’ bath or already feel self conscious enough going alone into their ‘right’ one. And in general I have to say, in an extremely aging society the remaining rare children should be welcomed in any of the two possible baths, while there still a few come.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Also note that this is the same at public swimming pools. Boys go to the women's changing room if they are with their mothers, and girls go to the men's changing room if they are with their fathers.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Japanese people need rules for everything. Tgey can't do anything without rules.

Not sure what your point is, it seems pretty obvious this is the sort of thing people need a clear set of rules on, Japanese or not.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Lmfao you posters are bashing and claiming the US introduced the changes and because of this it’s changing the communal bathing culture. I don’t get it. In Japan it’s ok to separate the boys and girls the moment they start school but its ok to let them bath naked together with family members, and friends in communal settings and you call this cultural understanding. If this is the case stop separating the yellow hats from the pink hats and treat each gender equally.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

In Japanese-style bathing, you’re supposed to thoroughly wash your body at a shower station so that you’re completely clean by the time you dip so much as a toe in the communal tub, in order to keep the shared bathwater clean.

Completely untrue in the men's bath, so mother, don't worry. Can't say I have seen anybody wash themselves before getting in.

This is so very true! I see countless Japanese men walk in, drench themselves with a bucket or two of water and then step right into the bath. Japanese love to believe that the rules are followed in all cases, but at some point they need to take off the rose colored glasses.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

If a child needs supervision from a parent/guardian, then I don't think it really matters what bath they enter.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Bob Fosse: in my comment I say nothing against homosexuals using a onsen. I will glad to share onsen which is full of Homosexual. My problem is with People bringing their Partners in the onsen with them if they are homosexuals or heterosexual Those who do should know better because they are discriminating Hetosexual parters. Us With Hetrosexual partner use a gender separated onsen exactly for this reason so we can bath relax and refresh out getting bothered my our partners. I once had the experience of a bloke offering to wash my back. I had heard of his before and agree not to offend person offer. He wash my back I washed his back. He could of been a homosexual or heterosexual. Father son and daughter do the same without any embarrassment. This is way mothers are mostly against the Age limit because if there was a age limit who will wash there young sons backs.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

No it isn't "pretty obvious". Normally people don't want the government to intervene in every small decision they want to make. This is something people should use their own judgment to decide.

Really? So you’d be comfortable going to a public bath with an elementary school aged child of the opposite gender not knowing what the rules, if any, on mixed gender bathing are? I’d feel pretty uncomfortable being left to “use my own judgment” to make that decision in that situation, interesting that you wouldn’t.

But Japanese people want clear rules to tell them everything, including when to start wearing a tie when the weather gets cooler and when to stop wearing it.

The rules on when to change from warm to cold weather clothing on a fixed date regardless of the actual weather are extremely stupid, I totally agree, but that doesn’t mean that every rule in Japanese society only exists because everyone wants rules to tell them what to do (ask most Japanese people and they’ll probably say they think that rule is stupid too). The one in the article sounds completely reasonable to me.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Especially for little girls - we all know that an unhealthy number of Japanese men have a fetish for the very young. If it were me, the cut-off age would be 5.

I am not sure why this is an unpopular comment but it is true. I have never taken my daughter into a public hot spring. I have had this conversation with several Japanese friends and family members that said that they refrain from doing so as well as their daughters get many stares from other male patrons at public baths.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Namorada: mate I seen the same and annoyed me . I told My girl friend. She said more like he has already been in the onsen and wash. After washing first then laying in the onsen some exit to have a beer or a smoke and return and get straight back in the onsen. I see no problem in this case so stop thinking the worst. Japan are known to be crazy clean, they do not wear shoe inside, sock or barefoot in the atami room and rare to see any rubbish in the street when having no council bin around. So do think the worst without doing some research first.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

My judgment tells me that I should never bring a child to a place full of naked stranger adults, regardless if they're the same gender or not.

So what is your problem then? These rules do nothing at all to prevent you from making that decision using that judgment.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

 This was when i first meet her. I wanted to know more about the Onsen Culture and started to question her about the young girls in the male onsen.

Let me guess, you never asked about young boys in the female section.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Previously, children as old as nine were allowed into the bath for the opposite sex, provided they were bathing with a parent or guardian, of course. As of January 1, though, the new age limit is six, meaning that once children hit the age of 7, boys are legally allowed only in the men’s bath, and girls the women’s.

I think 6 is a reasonable age, however as kids get naturally shy at that age, I doubt that many 9 year olds would want to go to the other sex bath. I have never seen anything like that. Seems like a non-issue to me.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

ebisen

Learn from the Germans (and other Europeans) where mixed nudity is much more accepted and practical than in Japan.

Not true. Do you realize that baths in Japan were all mixed sex pre-war? And in the countryside, some still are today.

And I have German friends who are reluctant to go to the sento because they dont want to be nude around strangers. Yes, they have mixed saunas and nude beaches in Germany, but that is a subculture and not the whole population.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

People here support European bathing culture? No wonder there are too many pedos there.

Forget the mixes, there should be just one 'family bathtubs' at such facilities.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

The comment that this change is influenced by prudish America is nonsense.

Compare Japanese and American movies and television. Overall, there’s way more skin and explicit sexual expression in America.

This rule change is a reaction to Japan’s pervert culture. Women are increasingly uncomfortable with any male presence, even a young boy, because some men behave badly.

No rule is ever going to be accommodating and fair for everyone. Families should be able to decide this in their own. Establishments that want to cater to families should be able to set their own rules. As it is, the government is setting a rule that fits the feelings of a few people, but which excludes others. No sensible mother is ever going to send her seven-year-old into the men’s bath alone, which means some families are effectively barred from going.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Zaphod is right about European cultures. Being Chridtians, we are not supposed to expose ourselves.

Then, all commenters with no kid have no clue about what you are faced with when bringing children to onsen or just the swimming pool.

I have 3 kids and guess what, not only you assess your children about being able to undress/dress and clean, but you remain in charge of your kids.

Many children hit age of reason at 7 or 8, but not all same time ! Hence the bringing of children up to 9.

If I would feel uncomfortable with 9 year old girls, I do understand that parent are responsible. And if she behaves wrongly, you can question the parent close to her.

You are not supposed to be aroused by 9 year old girls by the way. And the size of towel is enough to hide the necessary. I do it myself a bit.

Whatever, if you are a parent knowing your responsibilities, you are the one to decide when your kid yet cannot.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Common sense rules. The US liberal leftists are trying to push for communal bathrooms/showers/locker rooms for all ages/genders. That is a recipe for disaster.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

Reckless

I will glad to share onsen which is full of Homosexual.

Wow! You might try Shinjuku 3-chome.

Basically if there are no pubes then no problem.

Small correction: that would be 2-chome. 3-chome is mostly just restaurants.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Jonathan Prin

If I would feel uncomfortable with 9 year old girls, I do understand that parent are responsible. And if she behaves wrongly, you can question the parent close to her.

You are not supposed to be aroused by 9 year old girls by the way. And the size of towel is enough to hide the necessary. I do it myself a bit.

I go to several local sentos regularly, and I regularly see fathers bringing their small girls with them, but 9 years old? No way. Never seen that, and dont expect to see it. Maximum age I have seen I would guess 4, maybe 5. So afaic, this is a non-issue.

And anybody gets "aroused" by that should be ejected from the place pronto presto. Sheesh.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Yubaru: First, why I asked about the young girls in the male onsen. I was new to onsen culture and only seen fathers and son. I wondered if the young girl wondered in from the woman's onsen and worried she lost her mum. Being from the west I assume girl and women onsen and boys and man onsen. But I am glad I asked and got educated more of the onsen culture. Second: Why would I ask about young boys in the woman's onsen when I never been in the women’s onsen and how would concern me? Can you enlighten me please Yubaru.

.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Learn from the Germans (and other Europeans) where mixed nudity is much more accepted and practical than in Japan. Japan slowly becomes a strange culture and country, under the really bad puritan-USA influence - including this sick and discussing association of nudity with sex and sexuality.

Modernization and adaptation, I completely agree with you, but not THAT long ago nudity wasn't all that big of a deal in Japan where it was practiced all the time particularly in Onsens where men, women and children all bathed together, it became more of a deal once the Americans came in and pushed for the country to adopt more modesty laws which to this day are still applied to overall images of nudity, the adult film industry is infamously notorious for using blurred or mosaic to cover up the genitalia and I think these laws in many ways have destroyed something that is frankly quite natural and for the most part normal.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Milkylikesit: sound like you never seen any early 60’s episodes of The great blind masseuse Zatoichi.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The onsen culture itself is too overrated. I just don't get why people are so obsessed with getting naked in front of strangers and sitting in a pool of warm water.

Totally disagree. Love onsen and sento. Wish my home country had them as well.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Sad to see Japan culture being eroded.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

This problem would instantly disappear if children (and adults too, for that matter) were allowed to wear a bathing costume. Why the obsession with getting completely naked???

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

I won't say where, but there are still public baths in the middle of nowhere that have mixed bathing, where everyone is in one bath. Not many, but not none.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"The new ordinance comes in the wake of a survey by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare last spring which found 6 and 7 to be the ages at which the largest number of children felt embarrassed by being in the bath for the opposite sex."

I'd be very interested in seeing the methodology used in this 'survey'. Does one first have to explain to the child what 'embarrassment' is, give examples of 'embarrassment', essentially TEACH the child what 'embarrassment' is if they have never experienced it or have never had previous reason to be crippled by it?

There was a time not long ago in Euro derived cultures (see: Perfidious Albion) when the mere sight of a bare female ANKLE would excite the crippled males of the time. 'Embarrassment' for many is a crippling mental disorder, and we see 'primitive' clothes optional cultures with essentially ZERO rape reports. Is there a 'correlation' between habituation of Human nudity and reduced numbers of damaged sexual identities which seem so ubiquitous in our 'Puritan' derived diseased cultures? But, most importantly, something that has been pointed out before: A person should review their own expectations and ask THEMSELVES from where in their own minds expectations such as these are born...and we Humans do tend to expect from the world what we see in ourselves whether consciously or not...that is, the mind soiled with 'perversity' will be the first to perceive it.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

No way would I let my 8 year old son bath with complete strangers.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Been a weekly Onsen - not sento - user (less in covid times) for years.

Always with my wife and daughters (now adults) and always separated M & F.

I enjoy the soaking and spa & sauna facilities if they have them.

Some comments.

The only time I've ever been "truly stressed" in an Onsen was when a father and his 2 daughters, perhaps 7 - 10 years, came in. They stared at me continuously esp when going from bath to bath and often came close to me. No doubt because I was a foreigner but I had to avoid eye contact the whole time so as not to be accused of staring at them! Over the years other occasions with girls in the mens side saw no real probs, but I often thought that those kids are too old to be in here - and yes men leer.

Sometimes kids think the Onsen is a swimming pool and splash around and play. Often the parent/guardian is present but they don't say anything. Many other users are troubled by this but no-one speaks out.

I rarely see men thoroughly wash themselves before going into the baths. A quick shower (10 secs) or a few bowls of water poured over is the norm at my local Onsen. After their 1st soak they then proceed to scrub up.

At my local, women staff freely come into the mens side to clean or put things in order. I doubt it would be acceptable for a male to venture to the womens side.

The general hygeine of an Onsen can vary enormously. Some are scrupulously clean while others may have less staff to clean during the day, Some even have serious mold issues.

And back to the article - sadly in the digital voyeuristic world in which we now live, real-time situations like nude co-bathing will / have become part of the past imo.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Saw this coming from 10 years ago, times change and attitudes about nudity as well, maybe in the future things will go back and sexuality and nudity will not be automatically assumed as equal.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Tora

Completely untrue in the men's bath, so mother, don't worry. Can't say I have seen anybody wash themselves before getting in. They think a quick Kakeyu suffices (if at all).

Err, what? Would be curious what sento or onsen you have been to. I must have been to hundreds over time, an I always see people wash themselves, with the exception of the occasional ojisan who takes a quick dip in the bath before going back and soaping up.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Bill Adams

This problem would instantly disappear if children (and adults too, for that matter) 

Then you have a yacuzzi, not an onsen. And pls tell us how you want to wash yourself with your swimsuit on, and how you want to take a sauna (which most onsen have today) with that. And also, why would trust the cleanliness of those textiles you bring into the bath?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think that most people in most parts of the world who use swimming baths have the same sort of idea, that 6-7 year olds can get then self changed and washed, so a 6-7 year old bor or girl is quite capable of going into the retrospective changing room, i dont think that children younger than that should be unaccompanied for several reasons, one would be the ability to get changed, washed, dried. i think 6-7 is a nice cut off age, as for should it be law? may be a "strong recommendation" or guideline this gives the system a bit of flexibility, may be a child has a learning difficulty, or is disabled.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

John San

Today we also have the problem of gays bathing with there partner. To allow this you will be discriminating against heterosexual partner where there female or male partner are not allow to join each other in the same onsen but guy partner are exempted. That is a clear case of discrimination against the heterosexual partners.

I have no idea what you are trying to say here. The baths are separated according to biological gender; sexual preference has nothing to do with that. Nobody is asking about it, and nobody cares. Where is the "discrimination"?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@ Zaphod:

Then you have a yacuzzi, not an onsen.

A "yacuzzi"? Is that a jacuzzi run by the yakuza? :-)

And pls tell us how you want to wash yourself with your swimsuit on,

Nowadays (as the article makes clear) nobody goes to the onsen to get clean. They do that at home. And this is why all that people do before entering the onsen is douse themselves with water. In any case, I am not saying that people shouldn't get naked, if they want, merely that they should not have to do so if they don't want to.

and how you want to take a sauna (which most onsen have today) with that.

Many people take a sauna in a bathing costume. This is perfectly normal. And again, if you prefer to get naked, that's fine by me, but don't make this compulsory. I am for freedom of choice. You are not. I am a democrat. You are not.

And also, why would trust the cleanliness of those textiles you bring into the bath?

Why wouldn't you trust the cleanliness of "those textiles"? The overwhelming likelihood is that the bathing costume will have have been laundered before use, and it is only put on in the onsen anyway. It is not underwear!

The arguments against bathing costumes in an onsen are very silly and based on unthinking prejudice rather than logic or freedom of choice.

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TBF I always feel a bit uncomfortable when I see young girls in the bath with their dad. I understand that it's really me and my western upbringing that is making feel this way, but I'm uncomfortable all the same. I have also been in a bath when a girl I thought was way too old was in the male bath.....she didn't seem uncomfortable and neither did her family but she seemed to be far too old to be in the male bath.

A child who is 7 shouldn't be able to enter unless accompanied by an adult....which means if the sex of child and adult is not the same, then sorry but you can't go to the onsen.

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I could never see the point of naked bathing with strangers. Last thing I want to see is other middle aged dudes with their junk hanging down hopping into the tub with me. Now a couples onsen, that is another thing entirely!

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Last thing I want to see is other middle aged dudes with their junk hanging down hopping into the tub with me

You don't have to look at them. Look up at the mural, look to the side or whatever. Why are you staring at them?

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