Japanese Toilet Control Panel [83/365]

Today I am going to write about the buttons on this control panel for a Japanese toilet. The buttons are labelled in Japanese and English but actually at least one of the English labels is confusing so let’s break them down rigorously and learn some useful words along the way.

Here is the full picture (the image in the header to this post is just an excerpt):

lol japanese toilet

“nagasu dai”
flush (strong)

“nagasu ko”
flush (small)


buttocks, rear, backside

bidet [a French loanword describing a basin-like device for cleaning one’s nether regions]

(おん), (おと)
“on”, “oto”
sound, noise

Note: regular commenter locksleyu points out “音 is usually read おと by itself and おん in compounds”.

water force (pressure)

[sound] volume

ノズル きれい
“nozuru kirei”
nozzle clean [presumably this button self-cleans the pipe from which the water fires]

I did my best with these but I wasn’t sure about some of the finer points, in particular my pronunciative interpretation of 大, 小, and 止 in this context. It is also worth noting the use of “bidet” as a loanword here to describe a front area spray – you often find this in Japanese that a word is taken from another language and the meaning is altered to be something slightly different.

What do you think? Feel free to correct me or expand on this topic in the comments!

Electronic Japanese toilets are really cool and I miss them from my time in Japan. One day I might buy one for my home in the UK.

Image credit: I don’t actually know! This image just turned up on my desktop some time last week and I labelled it “write about this”. I probably downloaded it from somewhere in my social media feeds 🤔


  1. Absolutely fascinating! There is surely a well elaborated anthropology of toilet (sorry, lavatory) ritual, from which ‘cultural’ conclusions may be drawn, but I won’t go there. I will merely suggest that if the characters in question literally mean ‘backside’ and ‘bidet’, surely there is a problem when they are labelled on the control panel ‘rear’ and ‘front’ as these are likely to be thought by the English to refer to parts of the machine rather than one’s body? I would suggest a more effective labelling would be ‘fore’ and ‘aft’; but presumably the less robust ‘rear’ and ‘front’ are really examples of exquisite Japanese delicacy of language?

    Liked by 2 people

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