Think of your favourite holiday destinations, and chances are high that Japan will feature somewhere on the list. Yes! The Land Of The Rising Sun has long been a popular tourist spot for many around the world. Among the must-visit locales in Japan is undoubtedly Kyushu, thanks to the island's spectacular mountains, volcanoes, and coastlines.
However, do you know that Kyushu is also the birthplace of TOTO, the leading brand behind one of Japan's most innovative inventions - TOTO WASHLET? Yes, specifically in Kitakyushu City! Naturally, you might be curious to learn more about our company, and we are happy to oblige. So join us as we partner with renowned travel blogger, Cheesie (Cheeserland), to delve into our fascinating history and explore what makes our products extraordinary.
Revisiting TOTO's History: TOTO Museum In Kitakyushu City
We would be remiss if we did not begin our tour of TOTO's history with the TOTO Museum in Kitakyushu City, which was established to commemorate the 100th anniversary of our company's founding back in 1917. Our museum is open to the public for free ! So do not hesitate to drop by for a visit if you are in the area. You can even take a virtual tour of our museum online! Please note that you have to schedule an appointment via the TOTO Museum website beforehand.
As you flip the pages of TOTO's history, you are sure to gain valuable insight and a deeper appreciation of the evolution of Japan's toilet system. To set the stage, when TOTO was founded in 1917, the outdoor squat-style washiki toilet was commonplace in Japan, and the nation did not even have a sewer infrastructure. So as you can see, this was a far cry from the modern TOTO toilet bowl designs that we are used to today.
Image source: Cheeserland
This evolution is thanks in no small part to our continuous commitment to innovate for the growth of society, which is the vision of Kazuchika Okura, the first president of TOTO. Marvelled by the cleanliness of pure white ceramic sanitary during a European inspection, Kazuchika Okura was convinced that Japan was destined for a massive revolution. Subsequently, he founded Toyo Toki Company (TOTO), meaning "oriental ceramics".
Fast forward 100 years later, and Kazuchika Okura's lifework has come to fruition, with his brainchild becoming a household name worldwide. His efforts, in part, have also led to Japan's toilet system becoming synonymous with world-class classiness and comfort and changing how we view modern toilets. However, the road to where we are today necessitated hard work and constant innovations.
Naturally, everything began back in 1917, when TOTO was established by Kazuchika Okura to challenge the accepted notions of cleanliness, which is something that we continue to do today! After the Great Kanto earthquake devastated Tokuo in 1923, a sewage system was implemented as part of the rebuilding efforts. That led to rapid growth and demand for our sanitary wares.
After World War II, TOTO began manufacturing metal fittings and faucets alongside ceramics, providing our customers with a broader range of options. Subsequently, innovations in the field of precision machining technology have gone hand-in-hand with developments in the firing and casting of sanitary wares as part of our core business.
In 1964, as part of the construction boom accompanying the Tokyo Olympics, TOTO benefited from being at the forefront of bathroom technology, allowing us to pioneer the prefabrication methods needed for the mass production of our products, saving time and energy on construction.
Image source: Cheeserland
Our propensity to innovate did not stop there, as years of research and development led to the product synonymous with our brand - TOTO WASHLET - in 1980, which subverted the way people use the toilet and brought a clean and comfortable bath experience for consumers around the world. Buoyed by its success, we sought to integrate our advanced technology into our other products, including the high-end modular kitchen, bringing flexibility and adaptability to the kitchen.
Further notable innovations included our NEOREST product line in 1993, which blends TOTO WASHLET and a comprehensive range of innovations into a toilet system that boasts the highest aesthetic and performance quality, and HYDROTECT in 1998 - our patented photocatalytic technology. The latter boasts self-cleaning features, allowing it to break down pollutants in the air and eliminate odours and bacteria, making it ideal for both indoor and outdoor use.
In recent years, as the push for sustainability intensifies, we have also pivoted to do our part for the environment. In addition to the TOTO Water Environment Fund set up in Beijing in 2008 to finance and develop water-saving initiatives and promote environmental awareness, our newer product launches have been geared towards supporting our new environmental vision.
This shift in product strategy is most evident in our NEOREST intelligent automatic toilet, which incorporates AcTiLight technology (an environmentally-friendly cleaning technology) within its inner walls. This feature helps to wash off dirt and bacteria easily, saving cleaning water and keeping the toilet clean for a long time.
As we approach our 106th anniversary, TOTO is still looking to bring our DNA of "reform" to our products, as we continue to seek new ways to bring a clean, healthy, and comfortable washing experience to consumers around the world.
Beyond reading up on this fascinating slice of TOTO's history, visitors can also observe the revolution of Japan's toilet systems, from the Jomon and Yayoi Period's Kawaya and Heian Period's Hibalo to TOTO's modern-day ultra high-tech washlets.
The Pinnacle Of Luxurious Toilet: NEOREST NX
Image source: Cheeserland
That is not all! Visitors can also observe our numerous TOTO products, including line-ups from the high-end NEOREST collection, and how they are adapted to fit the various cultural differences worldwide in the Global Gallery. During the tour, we could not pass up the opportunity to offer Cheesie a glimpse of our NEOREST NX, the pinnacle of integrated toilet design.
Users can not only expect comfort with its advanced technology in cleansing, deodorising, and sanitising effect, as well as from its seamless toilet bowl design. They can also play their part in saving the environment, as the toilet system's eco-friendly features minimise the required amount for flushing, thus saving water!
A Peek Behind The Scenes: TOTO Corporation Kokura Factory No.1
Image source: Cheeserland
Needless to say, you will probably be eager to learn more about our company after visiting the TOTO Museum. You are not alone in this regard, as Cheesie definitely felt the same way. Fortunately, our TOTO Corporation Kokura Factory No.1 is conveniently located next to the museum, allowing one to witness firsthand how our TOTO toilet bowls are manufactured from raw materials.
During the factory tour, visitors can expect to learn more about our manufacturing process, from forming and glazing to inspection and packaging. The information gleaned can shed light on our entire manufacturing process and allow you to appreciate how your sanitary fixtures are produced.
What stands out most to Cheesie from the factory tour is that a significant portion of our manufacturing process still relies on manual labour. We can definitely understand this thinking, as automation has become a larger part of the manufacturing industry as a whole.
Nevertheless, we remain committed to our methods to ensure the quality of our products. Each step in the manufacturing process requires the sharp eyes of our craftsmen. For example, the glazing of the toilet bowl must be partly done by hand to ensure precision. Even our inspection procedures are carried out by trained staff to ensure each toilet bowl meets our stringent standards.
TOTO's Commitment To Customer Satisfaction
As we conclude our journey through the captivating history of TOTO, we are delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with Cheesie to showcase our rich legacy of innovation. However, we do not intend to rest on our laurels. Instead, we aim to stay true to our founder's vision and continue innovating for the growth of society! If you have enjoyed what we shared and wish to learn more about TOTO, do not hesitate to like our Facebook page to get the latest TOTO updates!