Even in immaculate Japan, public toilets are not exactly famous. Doing a small or large errand in a potentially dirty and unsafe facility makes many Japanese shudders.
The capital, Tokyo, has launched two transparent public toilets to combat toilet phobia. Users can thus determine for themselves that everything is clean, once stepped inside, the glass becomes frosted, and nobody can look inside.
The transparent toilet with smart glass technology is an invention of architect Shigeru Ban. He is one of seventeen architects who were commissioned to renovate the public restrooms in some parks in Tokyo’s Shibuya district to encourage their use.
According to the organizing NGO Nippon Foundation, the architect has succeeded very well. “Users can check the cleanliness themselves. When the walls become dull, everyone understands that the toilet is ‘occupied’. At night, the facilities illuminate the parks like a beautiful lantern,” it says.
Clear public toilets have also been used in Japan before. The city of Oita was first in 2014. Motion sensors made the walls opaque, but it was still somewhat risky. Users who did not move for 35 seconds noticed that the walls became transparent again. Despite that, if the power goes out during the day, you are good to go.