Two Thirds of Japanese Men Pee Sitting Down, New Data Shows

The number of Japanese men who admit to sitting on the toilet seat while peeing has been growing steadily since the late 90s, and today over 60 percent of men reportedly urinate sitting down.

Japan is home to the world’s most advanced toilet systems, with several manufacturers competing to deliver all sorts of outrageous features such as built-in wireless internet, or the capacity to remotely collect and analyze urine samples, and then send the results to a pre-selected hospital. To find out what people want and thus remain competitive, toilet seat manufacturers like Toto or Matsushita Electric Works routinely carry out surveys that reveal some weird, albeit interesting information. For example, the results of one survey recently revealed that most Japanese men urinate seating on the toilet seat.

Photo: Giorgio Trovato/Unsplash

The trend of peeing while seated has become so prevalent among Japanese men that there is even a term for its adopters – “suwari-shon”,  a play on the Japanese words ” suwari ” which means ‘to sit’, and ” shonben ” which means ‘urine’. The trend was first reported in the late 1990s, but it has gradually increased in popularity since then.

By 2007, surveys showed that about 40 percent of Japanese men admitted to being suwari-shon, and research published in 2009 revealed that the trend was more popular among young men aged 25 to 35, from urban centers like Tokyo. Last month, a recent survey carried out by Japanese toiletries manufacturer Lion Corp showed that 60.9% of men preferred to pee sitting down.

Of the 1,500 respondents aged 20 to 60, 49 percent said they had switched from standing to sitting at some point in their lives, while 11.9 percent of the total said they were “native” sitters, meaning they had been peeing sitting down for as long as they could remember.

Ever since data on this unusual trend started coming out, the main reason cited by suwari-shon has been the mess made by urine splashback when peeing standing up. Consideration for those having to clean up that mess ranks highest among those who prefer to sit, but the comfort of resting on the toilet seat, and the ability to check their phone while urinating are also cited by some respondents.

Tomoyuki Isowa, a 53-year-old business owner in Nagakute, in central Japan’s Aichi Prefecture, said that he was first asked by his son to pee sitting down while visiting his home, and was later convinced by TV programs about men’s “bad” urination habits.

Some surveys suggest that mothers and wives encourage the men in their families to sit down so as to avoid unnecessary spraying, and there are actually companies that make stickers encouraging men to pee sitting down, with some of the more inventive examples proclaiming that suwari-shon more are popular with women.

Even though advocates of “tachi-shon” (peeing standing up) claim that sitting down restricts urine flow, the majority of Japanese men don’t really seem to care. And with young people being able to use their phones even going to tinkle, the number of suwari-shon practitioners is only expected to rise.

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