That’s Life Anew
WASHLET® and me
A woman is checking the form of a tap

What makes Japanese companies so successful?


People tend to strive for perfection – but this often includes pointing out other people’s inaccuracies and justifying one’s own mistakes.

It’s different in Japan. People see perfection as a process, not a result. This powerful idea is expressed in the concept of “kaizen”.

A man stands in front of some WC ceramics and looks at them closely. He is holding a clipboard with paper and a pen in his hands.

Kaizen – the basis for Japanese business


"Kaizen" is a way of living and working in Japan that involves the constant pursuit of improvement and development. This idea is also part of how people conduct business. This impacts production, design, quality assurance and work processes. In addition to designing the workplace in line with minimalist principles, it’s important to clear up even the smallest misunderstandings. All efforts are focussed on progress and growth.

Leaning over a table, four people discuss various pictures

Key element of the corporate culture


The word “kaizen” is made up of the words “kai” (change) and “zen” (for the better). This key element of Japanese corporate culture is based on the idea that small, incremental improvements over time can lead to significant gains in both efficiency and quality.

Several people talk about the design of WASHLET remote controls and WASHLET.

Kaizen at TOTO


TOTO also follows this philosophy. In 1980, WASHLET® marked the beginning of a major innovation. Several WASHLET® generations have followed since, each featuring important new features – whether technological, functional or design-related. WASHLET® developments were driven by Japan’s enthusiasm for technology as well as another important aspect of kaizen: listening to feedback from customers, not what engineers think is right. TOTO considers what customers want to see in their products and observes the market when developing innovations and optimizing products.


Kaizen and WASHLET®


People in Germany trust “Made in Germany” as the ultimate seal of quality for technological perfection. But truly innovative ideas also come from Japan – especially when it comes to toilets and sanitary ceramics. TOTO made WASHLET® appealing to an overwhelming majority of people. It’s a revolutionary toilet-bidet hybrid, but that’s not all. WASHLET® does more than just offer improved comfort while saving space and materials. It promotes a new lifestyle, ensures better hygiene and improves people’s sense of well-being.


It's impossible to know when someone in Germany would have invented a toilet with integrated bidet. Kaizen resulted in the emergence of a family of WASHLET® and ceramic toilets that lead markets around the world in terms of their technology, aesthetics and functionality.

Kaizen in mind – every step of the way


A man stands in front of a whiteboard and talks about the design of a WASHLET

Design optimization


TOTO is always working on creative design solutions to improve their products. Developing designs that are truly ideal for users is an essential part of their design philosophy. The design isn’t just for looks – the drafts and concepts are always focused on people and their needs.

Two hands check a WC ceramic with a spirit level.

Quality assurance and error prevention


Kaizen aims to continuously improve the quality of manufactured products. TOTO counts on strict quality control to minimise errors and ensure customer satisfaction.

Several people are discussing a WASHLET standing in the middle of their circle.

Employee involvement and teamwork


Kaizen is more than just a top-down approach: Employees also play an active role. TOTO encourages employees to suggest improvements and get involved in implementing kaizen-inspired measures.

A man checks the shape of a toilet lid

Kaizen decisive for industry success in Japan


By applying the principle of kaizen, TOTO has become more competitive, improved product quality, cut costs and continuously adapted to changing market needs and trends. This essential part of Japanese corporate culture plays a major part in the success and strong international reputation of Japan’s industry – and TOTO as well.

An article by

Anja Giersiepen

Senior Manager Marketing