Over the past ten or so years, toilet smashing has been becoming a serious problem in Tokyo and The Greater Tokyo Area (for example, Saitama, Kanagawa, etc.). Someone, or perhaps multiple offenders, is entering public restrooms and utterly destroying toilets and urinals. How are they doing it? With a sledgehammer? Really strong martial arts skills? It’s a mystery. However, the government has decided to fight back by installing stronger, virtually unbreakable toilets. Maybe the next time someone karate chops one of these toilets, something will be smashed, but it won’t be the toilet… However, before rolling out said toilets, as an intermediate step, they’re installing nearly indestructible urinals, first. It refers to them as the “strongest urinals.”
The hardest-hit place has been Hikarigaoka Park. A rogue member of society, or perhaps some sort of sinister group, has broken 85 toilets there since March 2014. This has resulted in 10 million yen in damages (US$91,090). Therefore, the metropolitan government has decided to work with the Saitama branch of Itō Tekkō. Itō Tekkō is a major ironworks company well-known around Japan. Previously, they’ve made iron fencing for the Tokyo Park Association). Believing Itō Tekkō to be a “solid” choice, the municipal government has contracted Itō Tekkō to make cast iron urinals (because it’s easier to make a urinal than a sitdown or squat toilet).
Developing such urinals has been a challenge for the ironworks. Stream angles are one issue. Getting splash-back to the minimum has been another problem. It’s complicated by having to create an original bowl design, because recreating the same bowl design as other toilets would result in copyright infringement.
Well, it looks like Itō Tekkō has finally gotten it right, because now, they have a urinal so strong, it can’t be destroyed by any human unless he or she uses power tools. It can have a 7.5-kilogram (16.5-pound) iron ball thrown at it and take it like a champ! Imagine, an Olympic athlete practicing for the shot put event in a public restroom near you! This could actually happen as soon as this summer, too, because the first four urinals have been installed in Komazawa Olympic Park in Setagaya, Tokyo. Others have been installed in Yanaka Cemetery in Taitō-ku, Tokyo.
Even though the new urinals are stronger than the previous porcelain ones, they’re actually lighter and thinner. It’s also easier to change their color; therefore not only white, but blue, etc. will also be possible, making it easier to have great interior design in a restroom. It seems like the only con is that they’re about 150% of the cost of a regular porcelain urinal. This might not make economic sense in some public restrooms, but in Hikarigaoka, unless the toilet-smashing madman starts bringing a blowtorch or C-4, it’ll probably pay off for the municipal government.
The urinal has even won an award. It won the Japan Foundry Engineering Society award for “Casting of the Year.” However, will it win the hearts of Netizens? Reactions have been mixed:
“Bragging about having the strongest toilet in an area full of toilet smashers seems like asking for trouble.”
“I had no idea so many toilets were getting broken.”
“I know people who like to smash toilets won’t agree, but I think these are great toilets.”
“I think we should deal with the underlying issues of toilet smashing first.”
“They don’t look so strong. [There is] no security against guys with wandering eyes.”
“This is Japanese manufacturing!”
“Why break a toilet?”