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Tokyo likely to reduce age limit on kids in opposite-sex public baths, report says

23 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

In Japan, communal bathing at hot springs (onsen) or neighborhood public baths (sento) is usually a single-sex activity. An exception, though, is made for young children. In much the same way as no one freaks out over a father taking his preschool-age daughter into a public men’s room to use the bathroom, or a mother taking her son of the same age into the ladies’ room, little kids can generally use either the men’s or women’s bath, as long as they’re accompanied by a parent of the corresponding sex.

Of course, at some age that leniency expires, and boys become barred from the women’s bath, and girls from the men’s. Culturally speaking, the cut-off age is sort of a gray area, but in Tokyo the law currently says that children in the opposite sex’s bath area must be no older than 9. However, that’s likely to change soon, as according to news service FNN Prime the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will soon be knocking the age limit down to six years old.

Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare conducted a survey, asking at what age it becomes “embarrassing” for a child to be in the opposite sex’s bath. Whether the responses came from children themselves or adults is unclear, but the results were:

● 5 years old: 16.1 percent

● 6 years old: 27 percent

● 7 years old: 21.2 percent

● 8 years old: 13.4 percent

● 9 years old: 7 percent

● Other: 15.3 percent

A key factor in six years old being the most common answer is likely that that’s also the age at which most Japanese children start elementary school. It’s possible that a six-year-old in a neighborhood sento could theoretically end up having to share a bathtub with an opposite-sex classmate who’s with their respective-sex parent, which could make for an uncomfortable atmosphere in the classroom.

That might make it sound like limiting opposite-sex bath admission to children five or younger would be the more sensible decision, but with most Japanese children celebrating their sixth birthday before finishing preschool, it’s likely the switch to a “six years old or younger” rule is considered the simpler, most easily implemented change.

FNN claims that at the urging of the national government, the new age limit for mixed bathing in Tokyo is likely to be formally approved by the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly in June, and put into effect shortly thereafter.

Source: FNN Prime Online

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Japanese women show overwhelming resistance to unisex bathrooms in survey

-- When is it OK to take a naked hot spring bath with your Japanese girlfriend/boyfriend?

-- Japanese dating site’s picture of ideally attractive woman: young, no sleeves, college education

© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

23 Comments
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why not just allow kids to tell their parent(s) if they're not comfortable with it? or would that be too free-wheeling? gotta have a law right? the Edo-jidai lives..... (⌒▽⌒)

6 ( +9 / -3 )

The original rule was made when public baths were a necessity and many families couldn't bathe at home.

Times have changed and the baths are now a leisure time activity.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

Back in the Edo period (1603-1867) or there before, many public baths in Japan were co-ed and open to any aged while people had to comply by implicit rules or behave themselves by keeping some "social distance" to their neighbors of the opposite sex.

Yet visiting westerners at that time regarded the practice as "cultural backwardness" and requested Japanese officials (under the new Meiji regime) to "rectify the problem so that Japan would become more civil". Pretty ironic, isn't it?

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Oxcycodin..... Good point. And a much more important one than whether a six year old can enter with their parent.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

I would think something like this would be solved mirroring the school system. When do elementary schools / nursery schools start separating changing rooms by sex?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Still promoting transphobia and hatred I see. Not a good look for you.

Yeah, @Oxycodin can promote conservative hate without any repercussions. However, you call out the lies of any of the moderators favorite "working posters", and you get deleted, suspended or banned.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

It isn't a big deal in a bathroom as there are stalls and urinals and one is still fully clothed. Using a bathroom is a necessity and when I see a guy bring a young girl inside, I duck into a stall but I personally don't want to see a young girl with me in an onsen. Luckily, as I never go to sento and go to onsen maybe once every five years at most, it isn't an issue that really affects me.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think 15 is a good cut off age.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

 @jiji Xx the Edo-jidai lives...

On this you are wrong. We would be a hell of a lot better off here IF the "Edo-jidai" was still alive when it comes to rules like this!

You can thank Douglas MacArthur for instituting judeo-christian ideals about sex and morality here in Japan following the war.

Before that there was NOTHING wrong, nor anything "sexual" about men and women bathing together. Japanese were FAR, FAR ahead of the western world when it came to issues like this.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Like many ‘issuesconcerning the welfare of children in Japan, “*Culturally speaking’, the cut-off age is sort of a gray area”. Not necessarily a foos idea to *make the loopholes and possible opportunity for exploitation broader.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Corrected: from 11:00 am -

Like many ‘issues’ concerning the welfare of children in Japan, “*Culturally speaking’, the cut-off age is *sort of a gray area”.

Not necessarily a good idea to ‘make the further ‘loopholes’ and to possibly create more ‘opportunities’ for ANY ‘exploitation of children’.

Sorry, @Yubaru 10:24a. “You can thank instituting Judeo-Christian ideals about sex and morality here in Japan following the war.” - Japan wasn’t ‘conquered’ and you’ve had over 70 years to fix ‘social issues’. There is a ‘sexual predator’ element present that is holding this potentially, great country hostage.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@ Yubaru

I was referring to the massive number of laws governing every aspect of public behaviour, not specifically the baths thing.... true in the Edo jidai, true now.... that's all.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Yubaru

I agree with what you said about the world of 70-80 years ago but times have changed, in a massive way. I doubt that there's any way of proving my point (if you think "common sense" is inadequate), but I think alienation/social dysfunction etc would have been far rarer in Japan in those times. Returning to same-sex bathing now would give women the creeps, and understandably so. Surely I don't have to describe why (hint: chikan, kiddy porn, dudes on bicycles throwing disgusting "items" at women ...the list goes on).

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Here’s a novel idea; why not just make all baths mixed-sex and everyone wears a bathing suit, like in the rest of the civilized world.

Having to look at shrivel-d all night is not exactly my idea of a relaxing time. It’s also not that great if you go out with your partner for a relaxing evening that you then have to spend apart.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Before that there was NOTHING wrong, nor anything "sexual" about men and women bathing together. Japanese were FAR, FAR ahead of the western world when it came to issues like this.

Puh-lease! Sure, most of it had nothing sexual about it (not sure why that's in quotes, but whatevs) but some places were plenty about sex.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I think 15 is a good cut off age.

Might as well just make them all mixed.

I'm in favor of that, by the way.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I go to sentos twice a week. The family urban ones I have no problem with mixed kids and parents splashing around and being noisy.

But when I go to a beautiful onsen in the mountain or beach, I want calm and quietness.

most sento/onsen have multiple baths, so maybe have a family bath as well?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

As I read this new article the first age that popped into my head was 6 year old, and as i read the survey. 6YO was the most common. I would feel uncomfortable with girl older than 6 getting into onsen or baths, but like one poster comment they could ware baithing suits.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@dredlew

There are actually some onsen where you can rent a private bathtub, or a room with one already installed. Good to spend some time with a partner or family.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Probably in 200 years Japan will exit their medieval times, allowing mixed onsens, where people wear casual swimingewear, and also tattoos are no longer banned or seems as a stigma.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I was referring to the massive number of laws governing every aspect of public behaviour, not specifically the baths thing.... true in the Edo jidai, true now.... that's all.

Wow, you expected people to read all of this into your response to the article above here about bathing rules?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I agree with what you said about the world of 70-80 years ago but times have changed, in a massive way. I doubt that there's any way of proving my point (if you think "common sense" is inadequate), but I think alienation/social dysfunction etc would have been far rarer in Japan in those times. Returning to same-sex bathing now would give women the creeps, and understandably so. Surely I don't have to describe why (hint: chikan, kiddy porn, dudes on bicycles throwing disgusting "items" at women ...the list goes on).

Well, sadly we will never know if what you state here would have occurred or not, as the laws changed so much, along with the education, culture and so many other things, that there is no way of knowing if this would have been true or not.

Returning NOW, would be weird and creepy, but imagine if it had stayed as it was?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Returning NOW, would be weird and creepy, but imagine if it had stayed as it was?

Why would it be weird and creepy? Are you planning to go?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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