A week ago, TOTO announced to build a plant in Gujarat for sanitary ware by 2014. TOTO, the top sanitary ware manufacturer in Japan, has an ambitious mid-term plan (like Kokuyo does) to expand its overseas sales threefold by 2017, when the company will celebrate its 100 year anniversary (again, like Kokuyo.) India is one of their focus markets, along with Brazil and Russia.
Although their products seem boring white, TOTO is a quite interesting company. Here are some facts about them:
A couple of months ago, exciting news circulated on the Internet regarding a great invention – toilet bike. The three-wheel motorcycle, named “Toilet Bike Neo,” runs on green energy and set on a tour around Japan. Its truly creative design made people think that the bike would run on the most primitive natural fuel – human poop. The truce was not as everyone had hoped, but it surely helped the company’s brand image (in a sense) and also confirmed Japan’s reputation as the country of (crazy) invention, vividly introduced in the book “Unuseless Japanese Inventions.”
Elegance of Noritake China
For the readers who has a little more elegant taste, I will talk about Noritake china, the premium brand for high-quality tableware, well known world wide and in India as well. I saw an old India couple with handful of Noritake shopping bags at the airport of Sri Lanka, where their mothership factory has been in operation for 40 years. The manufacture, Noritake Company, Limited, was founded in 1904, with one core product line – tableware – and one research center for sanitary ware, which by then was not produced (nor even much used) in Japan. In 1917, Noritake span off its sanitary ware division as a separate corporation currently know as TOTO. Therefore, TOTO’s toilet bowl has the same elegance with the beautiful soup bowl you (or your friend or that Indian couple) have for dinner.
One of the greatest innovation that TOTO has brought to us is Washlet. It is a high-tech toilet seat, which cleanse your anus with water. After your business, with a touch of the button on the control panel, a nozzle will come out beneath you to spray warm water for cleaning. Another button will blow hot air to dry you. No need for toilet paper – very green and clean. Like other high-tech gadget made in Japan, the latest Washlet has a lot more features like automatic flushing, automatic rid open/close, and deodorizing. An automatic status sync to your social network accounts has not been introduced yet, though.
Oh, by the way, do you know there is another country where people use water instead of paper? Yes, India! Success of TOTO in India, with its high-tech Washlet, seems almost guaranteed.
With TOTO, your toilet experience in India will become more thrilling, elegant, and high-tech.