Has the coronavirus pandemic changed men’s urinating habits? In Japan, they won’t stand for it


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The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown social, cultural and corporate norms into chaos around the world – and in Japan, the crisis is even affecting the way men urinate.
A study by Panasonic Corporation has determined that as men have been forced to spend more time working from home, they are increasingly migrating from standing up to pee to assuming a seated position.
Panasonic, which is renowned for its bathroom equipment, including state-of-the-art heated toilet seats, carried out the study on 310 men and women across Japan in August.
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Of the 155 male respondents, 58 per cent confirmed that they already sat down to urinate before the pandemic broke out in the spring. But 11 per cent said they had switched from standing to sitting in the preceding six months.
The nearly 70 per cent of men who now choose to sit down to relieve themselves is up sharply from the 51 per cent reported in a 2015 survey.
The study did not delve into the reasons for the change in men’s lavatory habits, but they appear to have been motivated by two prime considerations – finally realising the extent of mess they can leave in their wake, and a desire to keep their partners happy.
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“I’ve had to work from home a lot more since the pandemic started, so obviously I’m using the toilet at home more frequently,” said Nobuhiro Tomura, 51, who works for a construction company in Yokohama.
“I guess that before, I never realised how often I failed to hit the target. I seem to be particularly bad first thing in the morning, before I’m properly awake, and after having to clean up after myself a few times I realised that sitting down is quite a sensible idea.”
Yoichi Shimada, a university professor from Fukui Prefecture, said he was on the cusp of converting to sitting down to urinate at home, but the increased amount of time he had to spend at home with his wife under the government’s travel restrictions proved to be the tipping point.
“My wife complains when I miss and make a mess,” he admitted. “And because I’m at home a lot more, she has been complaining more often. I think it’s the same for a lot of husbands who are spending more time working from home now – and who have realised how hard our wives work.
“I’ve also realised the pleasures of relaxing on a heated toilet seat even when I only need to urinate, and I find the bidet function very pleasant as well. It’s very refreshing.”
The issue of men sitting down to urinate has been hotly debated in countries such as the United States and Europe, while in Japan, the issue has barely caused a ripple on social media.
A significant number of messages on Twitter from men in their 50s and older were vocally in favour of taking a seat to urinate, even before the Panasonic survey, with the most provocative tweet on the issue declaring that urinals in the workplace are effectively redundant as “they may as well build them individual stalls then”.
This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.
Copyright (c) 2020. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.
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