神奈川大学日本常民文化研究所

Research and Study

Core Joint Research Project "Comprehensive History of Everyday Life” The History and Folklore of the Toilet

Research Subject

Toilet Space, Equipment, Treatment of Excrement, and Hygiene in Historical Materials and Excavated Structures in Japan and Overseas

Purpose

This joint study is a comprehensive examination of the history and folklore of toilets and the treatment of excrement in relation to history, folklore, and architecture.
Toilets and the treatment of the excrement of creatures living close to human beings in day-to-day life are governed by different customs and ideas in the diverse life cultures in Japan and around the world. This study examines the toilet spaces and practices of excrement disposal specific to several regions, views on hygiene, and the concept of kegare (dirtiness or impurity) to study one aspect of change in human life.
In this study, we research through following actions (1) the analysis of the collection and organization of relevant historical materials, (2) the survey of the remains of housing in Japan and overseas (field surveys). (3) setting the lectures by experts in the relevant fields of history, folklore, architecture, sociology, and geology were conducted, and the history and folklore of toilets from diverse fields, regions, and eras were studied comprehensively.
In 2019, for the first year of this work, the research base will be developed.
We are also planning a public study group and look forward to participation from experts in various fields.

  • Toilet Ghosts Seen in Books of Edo Period (Konjaku Gazu Zoku Hyakki The Illustrated One Hundred Demons from the Present and the Past, 1779 )
  • Educational Poster Describing the Introduction of Flush Toilets in the Taisho Period “Let’s Get Familiar with Cultural Facilities” (Poster from 1919 <Taisho 8> for the Lifestyle Improvement Exhibition by the Ministry of Education; Source: National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo)
  • Project leader: SUZAKI Fumiyo, (Changes in Japanese Toilets and Modern Hygiene) e-mail fsuzaki@kanagawa-u.ac.jp
  • Division:
    UCHIDA Seizo (Toilets in the History of Modern Housing)
    SENSUI Hidekazu (Intercultural Discord in Perspectives on Hygiene Concerning the Treatment of Bodily Waste)

    Duration: 2019-