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Encyclopedia > Sento
Entrance to the sentō at the Edo Tokyo Open Air Museum
Entrance to the sentō at the Edo Tokyo Open Air Museum

Sentō (銭湯, せんとう) is a type of Japanese communal bath house where customers pay for entrance. Traditionally these bath houses have been quite utilitarian, with one large room separating the sexes by a tall barrier, and on both sides, usually a minimum of lined up faucets and a single large bath for the already washed bathers to sit in among others. Since the second half of the 20th century, these communal bath houses have been decreasing in numbers as more and more Japanese residences come with private bathing rooms. Some Japanese find social importance in going to public baths, which is termed skinship in Japanese. Another type of Japanese public bath is onsen, which uses hot water from a natural hot spring. Download high resolution version (800x654, 77 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Download high resolution version (800x654, 77 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... A bath house is a place where people bathe. ... Skinship (スキンシップ) is a wasei-eigo, or a Japanese word coined using English root origins, initially to describe the closeness between a mother and her child due to the physical contact of their naked skin. ... Outdoor pool, Naruko Outdoor Onsen on Nakanoshima island in Nachikatsuura, Wakayama Prefecture Old onsen in Hakone An private outdoor rotenburo in Gorakadan Guidebook to Hakone from 1811 An onsen (温泉; often indicated on signs and maps by 湯 or ゆ, for hot water, or with the symbol ♨) is a Japanese hot spring. ...

Contents


Sentō layout and architectural features

General Layout of a Sentō
General Layout of a Sentō

Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ...

Entrance area

There are many different looks for a Japanese sentō, or public bath. Most traditional sentō, however, are very similar to the layout shown on the right. The entrance from the outside looks somewhat similar to a temple, with a Japanese curtain (暖簾, noren) across the entrance. The curtain is usually blue and shows the kanji 湯 (yu, lit. hot water) or the corresponding hiragana ゆ. After the entrance there is an area with shoe lockers, followed by two long curtains or door, one on each side. These lead to the datsuijo (脱衣場, changing room), also known as datsuiba for the men and women respectively. The men's and the women's side are very similar and differ only slightly. Japanese writing Kanji 漢字 Kana 仮名 Hiragana 平仮名 Katakana 片仮名 Uses Furigana 振り仮名 Okurigana 送り仮名 Rōmaji ローマ字 Category Kanji ( â–¶(?), literally Han characters) is the name of Chinese characters in the Japanese language. ... Japanese writing Kanji 漢字 Kana 仮名 Hiragana 平仮名 Katakana 片仮名 Uses Furigana 振り仮名 Okurigana 送り仮名 Rōmaji ローマ字 Category Hiragana ) are a Japanese syllabary, one of the three main Japanese writing systems, along with katakana and kanji. ...


Changing room

Bandai in the Edo Tokyo Open Air Museum
Bandai in the Edo Tokyo Open Air Museum

Inside, between the entrances is the bandai (番台), where the attendant sits. The bandai is a rectangular or horseshoe-shaped platform with a railing, usually around 1.5 to 1.8 m high. Above the bandai is usually a large clock. Immediately in front of the bandai is usually a utility door, to be used by the attendants only. The dressing room is approximately 10 m by 10 m square, covered with tatami mats and contains the lockers for the clothes. Often, there is also a large shelf storing the equipment for regular customers. Download high resolution version (800x675, 85 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Download high resolution version (800x675, 85 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Tatami mats (畳) (originally meant folded and piled) are a traditional Japanese flooring. ...


The ceiling is very high, at 3 to 4 m. The separating wall between the men's and the women's side is about 2 m high. The dressing room also often has access to a very small Japanese garden with a pond, and a Japanese-style toilet. There are a number of tables and chairs, including some coin-operated massage chairs. Often there is also a freezer with ice cream and a drink vending machine. Usually there is also a scale to measure the body weight, and sometimes the height. In some very old sentō, this scale may use the traditional Japanese measure monme (匁, 1 monme = 3.75 g) and kan (1 kan = 1000 monme = 3.75 kg). Similarly, in old sentō the height scale may go only to 180 cm. Local business often advertises in the sentō. The women's side usually has some baby beds, and may have more mirrors. The decoration and the advertising is often gender-specific on the different sides. // Headline text Insert non-formatted text here--82. ... Missing image Ice cream is often served on a stick Boxes of ice cream are often found in stores in a display freezer. ... Generally speaking, advertising is the promotion of goods, services, companies and ideas, usually by an identified sponsor. ...


Bathing area

Baths in the Sentō at the Edo Tokyo Open Air Museum
Baths in the Sentō at the Edo Tokyo Open Air Museum

The bathing area is separated from the changing area by a sliding door to keep the heat in the bath. An exception are baths in the Okinawa region, as the weather there is usually already very hot, and there is no need to keep the hot air in the bath. Therefore sentō in Okinawa usually have no separation between the changing room and the bathing area, or only a small wall with an opening to pass through. The bathing area is usually tiled. Near the entrance area is a supply of small stools and buckets. There are a number of washing stations at the wall and sometimes in the middle of the room, each with usually two faucets (karan, カラン, after the Dutch word kraan for faucet), one for hot water and one for cold water, and a shower head. At the end of the room are the bathtubs, usually at least two or three with different water temperatures, and maybe also an electric bath. In the Osaka and Kansai area the bathtubs are more often found in the center of the room, whereas in Tokyo they are usually at the end of the room. The separating wall between the men and the women side is also about 2 m high, whereas the ceiling may be 4 m high, with large windows in the top. On rare occasions the separating wall also has a small hole. This was used in old times to pass the soap between family members, but nowadays most people can afford a soap per family member. At the wall on the far end of the room is usually a large picture for decoration. Most often this is Mt. Fuji as seen in the picture to the right, but it may be a general Japanese landscape, a (faux) European landscape, a river or ocean scene. On rarer occasions it may also show a group of warriors or a female nude on the male side or playing children or a female beauty on the women side. Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Okinawa Prefecture (Japanese 沖縄県; Okinawan Uchinā) is Japans southernmost prefecture, and consists of hundreds of islands known as The RyÅ«kyÅ« Islands or RyÅ«kyÅ«s, in an island chain over 1,000 km long, which extends southwest from KyÅ«shÅ« (the southwesternmost of Japans main four islands) to... Dutch ( â–¶ (help· info)), sometimes referred to as Netherlandic in English, is a Low Germanic language spoken by around 24 million people, mainly in the Netherlands and Belgium. ... A bathtub A bathtub (in the UK simply bath) is a plumbing fixture used for bathing. ... Osaka Castle (ÅŒsaka-jō) Location in Japan Osaka Aquarium (Kaiyukan) Osaka railway station The Osaka Tower (TsÅ«tenkaku) Osaka City   listen? (大阪市; ÅŒsaka-shi) is the third-largest city in Japan, with a population of 2. ... The Kansai (Japanese: 関西) region of Japan, also known as the Kinki region (近畿地方, Kinki-chihō), lies in the middle of Japans main island, Honshu. ... Mount Fuji (富士山 Fuji-san, IPA: [ɸuʝisaɴ]) is the highest mountain on the island of Honshu and indeed in all of Japan. ...


Boiler room

Behind the bathing area is the boiler room (釜場, kamaba), where the water is heated. This may use oil or electricity, or any other type of fuel such as, for example, wood chippings. After the war Tokyo often had power outages when all bath house owners turned on the electric water heating at the same time.


Sentō etiquette

This section describes the basic procedure to use a sentō. While the Japanese are usually very understanding if foreigners make cultural mistakes, the public bath is one area where the uninitiated can seriously offend the regular customers.


Equipment

Taking a bath at a public sentō requires at a bare minimum a small towel and some soap/shampoo. Both can also be purchased at the attendant. Often, many people bring two towels, a larger soft towel for drying and a smaller scrub towel (usually nylon) for washing. Other body hygiene products may include a pumice stone, toothbrush, toothpaste, shaving equipment, combs, shower caps, pomade, make up products, powder, creams, etc. Some customers also bring their own bucket. You may also bring some drink, or a small toy for your children. A towel is a piece of absorbent fabric or paper used for drying or wiping. ... SOAP is a protocol for exchanging XML-based messages over a computer network, normally using HTTP. SOAP forms the foundation layer of the web services stack, providing a basic messaging framework that more abstract layers can build on. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Specimen of highly porous pumice from Teide volcano on Tenerife, Canary Islands. ... Closeup of a womans eye while wearing makeup Cosmetics or makeup are substances to enhance the beauty of the human body, apart from simple cleaning. ...


Entering and undressing

In Japan it is customary to take off one's shoes when one enters a private home. Similarly in the sentō inside the entrance one stores their shoes in a shoe locker and switches to slippers provided by the bath house. The locker is usually available for free. Afterwards one goes through one of the two doors depending on his or her gender. The men's door usually has a bluish color and the kanji for men (男, otoko), whereas the women's door usually has a reddish color and the kanji for woman (女, onna). In case of doubt one should wait for the next customer. After entering, one will find the attendant on the bandai (stand) between the two doors. Here one can pay the fee, which is usually between 300 and 600 yen. The attendant usually provides at extra cost a variety of bath products including towel, soap, shampoo, razor, and comb. Here one can also pay for ice cream from the freezer. If the bandai is not particularly high, one should keep his or her eyes on his or her side. Japanese writing Kanji 漢字 Kana 仮名 Hiragana 平仮名 Katakana 片仮名 Uses Furigana 振り仮名 Okurigana 送り仮名 Rōmaji ローマ字 Category Kanji ( â–¶(?), literally Han characters) is the name of Chinese characters in the Japanese language. ... Japanese 10 yen coin (obverse) showing Phoenix Hall of Byodoin Yen is the currency used in Japan. ...


After paying, one will select an empty locker for clothes and undress. One will take his or her small towel, soap, shampoo, and perhaps more bathing products, and head to the bathing area.


Bathing area

After entering the bathing area, one should pick up one bucket and one stool and select a free set of faucets. Before sitting one may quickly rinse the stool. Some customers also use the bucket to get some water out of the bathtub to quickly rinse their genitals. Afterwards one should proceed to wash himself or herself at the faucet. One should use the towel to scrub your back, and use soap and shampoo liberally. One should try not to splash too much water on his or her neighbors. It is essential that one is clean before entering the bathtub, as in Japan people wash themselves outside of the bathtub and use the bathtub only for relaxation. When one is clean, he or she should store his or her equipment in his or her bucket and head towards the bathtub. A sex organ, or primary sexual characteristic, narrowly defined, is any of those parts of the body (which are not always bodily organs according to the strict definition) which are involved in sexual reproduction and constitute the reproductive system in a complex organism; namely: Male: penis (notably the glans penis...


Important: One should make sure he or she is clean and does not have any soap or shampoo on himself or herself before entering the public bathtub. Keeping the water clean is the one fundamental rule for Japanese bathing. Getting soap in the bathtub will seriously offend all other customers, as will entering the bathtub before washing oneself. In this case, the owner of the bath house has to drain the bath, rinse it, and fill it again, losing time, money and customers. For the same reason one should keep his or her towel out of the water, although some Japanese ignore this rule.


While it is essential to keep the water clean, there are occasionally even Japanese people who enter the bathtub without washing previously. This may be for example at an onsen, where the person has washed already at a recent previous bath, or it may be a Japanese displaying bad etiquette. Also, like everywhere else, Japanese are more likely to break the rules if nobody is looking, as for example the less frequented and smaller semi-public bath in a dormitory.


For proper behavior one should clean himself or herself before entering the bath. One should select a bath of his or her choice, depending on the temperature and the special features that the bath has. For instance, one can choose an electric bath. In the bath one should sit and relax as long as he or she likes. As the baths are usually quite hot, this may not be very long. Some onsen are so hot that even experienced customers can stand only three to five minutes in the water. Hot baths often have a ladle to stir the water. Please also note that staying in hot water too long sometimes makes people faint. If one wants to, he or she can go out, cool down a bit with the colder water from the faucet, and reenter the bath. One should repeat as often as desired and then prepare to leave.


In an onsen the water contains minerals, and many people do not rinse off the water from the skin, to increase exposure to the minerals. In a regular sentō one may rinse himself or herself off at the faucets. Afterwards he or she dries himself or herself with his or her small towel while still in the bathing area. One should wring the towel out occasionally.


Getting dressed and leaving

In the changing room one may purchase a drink or some ice cream, have a cigarette (if smoking is allowed), relax by sitting near the garden, and slowly get dressed. One may also use a coin-operated massage chair. When one gets ready to leave he or she may get dressed. Women may opt to put on makeup. After getting dressed one should make sure he or she did not forget anything, go to put on your shoes, and leave. Missing image Ice cream is often served on a stick Boxes of ice cream are often found in stores in a display freezer. ... A cigarette will burn to ash on one end. ...


Social and cultural aspects

Communication

The public bath is a very special area for communication and interaction. In normal life, most people define themselves with their clothes or makeup, which from the psychological aspects is a layer of defense, giving a person a status, or conveying a message or a statement. In the public bath, however, everybody is naked, and clothes and makeup cannot be used to distinguish rank or social group. This "skinship" lowers the communication barriers between usually different social groups, and creates a lively atmosphere of communication. Psychology (ancient Greek: psyche = soul or mind, logos/-ology = study of) is an academic and applied field involving the study of mind and behavior. ...


In some cases, people are embarrassed to be naked even in front of other naked members of the same sex. This may reduce the level of communication. However, usually a person can see that other people very rarely have a perfect body, making them feel more confident about one's own imperfect body.


Small children before puberty may join their parent of the opposite sex, just like many locker rooms at swimming pools and gyms in the West. Many, but a tiny minority, in Japan may see this as having some significance in the social education of a child if any. Public bathing experience is increasingly rare. Puberty refers to the process of physical changes by which a childs body becomes an adult body capable of reproduction. ...


Voyeurism and related problems

Whenever there are naked people, there is a risk of voyeurism. However, most customers at a public bath are regular customers, and anything out of the ordinary gets noticed immediately. Furthermore, the bath house owners do their utmost to prohibit voyeurism to protect their business, and subsequently there are rarely problems. Voyeurism is a practice in which the individual derives sexual pleasure from observing other people. ...


The attendant sitting on top of the bandai has a good view of both the men and the women side, which is necessary to supervise the business. Yet attendants usually watch TV or read a book and do not look at their customers, again to protect their business and to make their customers feel at ease. Most of the time the attendant is female, and very few male customers have any problems with a female attendant. Male attendants are less frequent, but may embarrass some female customers by their mere presence. Not all sentō have bandai.


True cases of voyeurism are rare. Reported cases usually have a male voyeur and a female victim. For example in 2001, a tall non-Japanese was able to see over the separating wall between the men and the women side. Even though the women splashed water on him he did not stop watching. He was subsequently arrested by the police. Not all sentō share the same architecture that allow this. In another unusual case in 2003, a Japanese male was dressing up as a woman, including make up, and entering the women's side of the bath. While naked he was holding his towel in front of his pubic area so he was able to pass as a woman. However, after pulling this stunt for a few times a woman noticed that he was walking oddly, and he subsequently was arrested. Nowadays there is also an increased risk from video surveillance equipment. But as public baths are privately owned and operated, it would be difficult for a perpetrator to install a camera. The risk is higher at a larger business or an open air bath. Pubic hair is hair in the frontal genital area, the crotch, and sometimes at the top of the inside of the legs; these areas form the pubic region. ... Principle of a pinhole camera. ...


Some children, depending on their age and the prefecture's age limit, can join their parent of the opposite sex. In Tokyo, this age limit is 10. However, some female customers, and occasionally male customers, feel that some children may take too much interest in the anatomy of the members of the other sex. View of Tokyos Shibuya district Long a symbol of Tokyo, the Nijubashi Bridge at the Kokyo Imperial Palace. ... Anatomical drawing of the human muscles from the Encyclopédie. ...


Tension between social groups

Occasionally there are some tensions between different social groups in a sentō. Usually these apply only if a person can be grouped to a social group despite being naked; i.e. having no clothes to demonstrate his status. The two main groups that are easy to distinguish from the mainstream Japanese are yakuza and foreigners. To meet Wikipedias quality standards and make it easier to understand, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


In a sentō, members of the yakuza (the Japanese mafia) are usually easy to distinguish from mainstream Japanese due to their full body tattoo, which are usually hidden by clothes. Due to their association with crime, their presence makes mainstream Japanese often feel uncomfortable. Consequently, many sentō and onsen have a no tattoo rule to keep yakuza out of their baths, often under the pretense of hygienic reasons. However, this rule is usually not applied to small non-yakuza tattoos--as for example, a small ankle tattoo, but applies only to the yakuza specific full body tattoo (from the upper legs to the upper arms; i.e. the area covered by short pants and a short shirt). A tattoo is an indelible design or marking made by the insertion of a pigment into punctures or cuts in the skin. ...


The second group which might be discriminated against are foreigners, which are also usually easy to distinguish from Japanese in a sentō environment. As mentioned above, the Japanese public bath is one area where the uninitiated can seriously offend the regular customers by not following the rules, in particular by polluting the water in the bathtub. This often causes increased nervousness with the attendants upon seeing an unknown non-Japanese customer. Often the attendant has a poster with the description of the bathing procedure in English for international customers.

"Japanese only" sign at Yunohana Onsen
"Japanese only" sign at Yunohana Onsen

In some cases a bath house does not allow foreign customers at all. For example, some ports in Hokkaido are frequently used by the Russian fishing fleet. Some sentō there claim to have regular problems with drunk Russian soldiers misbehaving in the bath. One in particular, the Yunohana Onsen, subsequently prohibited anyone who did not look racially Japanese from entering. This case gained a lot of publicity throughout Japan when three Caucasian men, Arudou Debito, Olaf Karthaus and Ken Sutherland, tried to use the baths. They were refused entry on three separate occasions, despite the fact that Arudou Debito is a naturalised Japanese citizen and presented proof of such to the onsen. As a result they brought a racial discrimination lawsuit against the sentō and the city of Otaru, Sapporo. The three men won the lawsuit and the sentō was ordered to pay 1,000,000 yen to each of them and to stop refusing entry to customers on the grounds that they do not look Japanese. On the other hand, it was also ruled that although the city of Otaru is as "duty-bound" as the national government of Japan to bring racial discrimination to an end, it "is under no clear and absolute obligation to prohibit or bring to an end concrete examples of racial discrimination by establishing local laws." (see also Ethnic issues in Japan, Arudou Debito) From debito. ... From debito. ... Hokkaido   listen? (北海道 Hokkaidō, literal meaning: North Sea Route, Ainu: Mosir), formerly known as Ezo, is the second largest island of Japan. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... Arudou Debito Arudou Debito (有道 出人), a naturalized Japanese citizen born in the United States, is a teacher, author and controversal activist who is known for his questionable methods for fighting for human rights and the rights of foreigners in Japan. ... Olaf Karthaus (born 1963 in Koblenz). ... A foreign-born Japanese is a person who was originally born outside Japan and later acquired Japanese citizenship. ... An African-American drinks out of a water fountain marked for colored in 1939 at a street car terminal in Oklahoma City. ... This article deals with the characteristic ethnic issues in Japan that affect Ainu people, Ryukyuan people, Uilta, Nivkhs and immigrant workers (particularly workers from Korea, China, and other Asian countries) and are caused by the socio-cultural history of the country. ... Arudou Debito Arudou Debito (有道 出人), a naturalized Japanese citizen born in the United States, is a teacher, author and controversal activist who is known for his questionable methods for fighting for human rights and the rights of foreigners in Japan. ...


While for various personal beliefs, some Japanese may feel offended by sharing the same bathtub with a foreigner, such racist situations are very rare, and usually the offended party has no choice but to keep his/her anger to him/herself or leave the bath.


History of the sentō

Historical Sento Drawing, 1867
Enlarge
Historical Sento Drawing, 1867

The origins of the Japanese sentō and the Japanese bathing culture in general can be traced to the Buddhist temples in India, from where it spread to China, and finally to Japan during the Nara period (710 to 784). Download high resolution version (949x591, 64 KB)This image is from the Gutenberg Project. ... Download high resolution version (949x591, 64 KB)This image is from the Gutenberg Project. ... A replica of an ancient statue of Gautama Buddha, found from Sarnath, near Varanasi Buddhism, a religion and philosophy from ancient India, is based on the teachings of the Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama, of the Shakyas. ... The Nara period (Japanese: 奈良時代, Nara-jidai) of the History of Japan covers the years from about AD 710 to 794. ... Events End of the Asuka period, the second and last part of the Yamato period and beginning of the Nara period in Japan. ... Events August 31 - Paul IV abdicates as Patriarch of Constantinople December 25 - Tarasius elected Patriarch of Constantinople The Japanese capital moved away from Nara. ...


Religious bathing from the Nara period to Kamakura period

Initially, due to its religious background, baths in Japan were usually found in a temple. These baths were called yūya (湯屋, lit. hot water shop), or later when they increased in size ōyuya (大湯屋, lit. big hot water shop). These baths were most often steam baths (蒸し風呂, mushiburo, lit. steam bath). While initially these baths were only used by priests, sick people gradually also gained access, until in the Kamakura period (1185 to 1333) sick people were routinely allowed access to the bath house. Wealthy merchants and members of the upper class soon also included baths in their residences. The Kamakura period (Japanese: 鎌倉時代, Kamakura-jidai; 1185–1333) is a period of Japanese history that marks the governance of the Kamakura Shogunate; officially established in 1192 by the first Kamakura shogun Minamoto no Yoritomo. ... Events April 25 - Genpei War - Naval battle of Dan-no-ura leads to Minamoto victory in Japan Templars settle in London and begin the building of New Temple Church End of the Heian Period and beginning of the Kamakura period in Japan. ... Events End of the Kamakura period and beginning of the Kemmu restoration in Japan. ...


The start of the commercial baths during the Kamakura period

The first mentioning of a commercial bath house is in 1266 in the Nichiren Goshoroku (日蓮御書録). These mixed-sex bath houses were only vaguely similar to modern bath houses. After entering the bath, there was a changing room called datsuijo (脱衣場). There the customer also received his/her ration of hot water, since there were no faucets in the actual bath. The entrance to the steam bath was only a very small opening with a height of about 80 cm, so that the heat did not escape. Due to the small opening, the lack of windows, and the thick steam, these baths were usually very dark, and customers often cleared their throats to signal their position to others. It can safely be assumed that on occasions an amorous couple used the dark room for more than mere bathing, and also amorous singles may have less-than-accidentally bumped into members of the other sex. Nevertheless, or maybe even especially because the very casual atmosphere, the bath was considered a great place to just hang out and chat. Most baths also had a salon on the second floor for resting. For broader historical context, see 1260s and 13th century. ...


Bathing in the Edo period

At the beginning of the Edo period (1603 to 1867), there were two types of baths common in different regions. In Tokyo (then called Edo), the normal bath was a regular bath with a pool called yuya (湯屋, lit. hot water shop), whereas in Osaka a bath was a steam bath with only a shallow pool and was called mushiburo (蒸し風呂, lit. steam bath), or just furo (風呂). The Edo period (Japanese: 江戸時代, Edo-jidai), also called Tokugawa period, is a division of Japanese history running from 1600 to 1867. ... King James I of England/VII of Scotland, the first monarch to rule the Kingdoms of England and Scotland at the same time Events March - Samuel de Champlain, French explorer, sails to Canada March 24 - Elizabeth I of England dies and is succeeded by her cousin King James I of... 1867 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ...


At the end of the Edo period, the Tokugawa shogunate (1603 to 1868) at different times required baths to segregate by sex to preserve public morals. However, many bath house owners simply added a small board to separate the bath, with little effect for the preservation of morals. Other baths had men and women bathe at different times or different days, and some baths limited themselves entirely to female or male clientele. The laws about mixed-sex bathing were soon relaxed again. The Tokugawa shogunate or Tokugawa bakufu (徳川幕府) (also known as the Edo bakufu) was a feudal military dictatorship of Japan established in 1603 by Tokugawa Ieyasu and ruled by the shoguns of the Tokugawa family until 1868. ... King James I of England/VII of Scotland, the first monarch to rule the Kingdoms of England and Scotland at the same time Events March - Samuel de Champlain, French explorer, sails to Canada March 24 - Elizabeth I of England dies and is succeeded by her cousin King James I of... 1868 (MDCCCLXVIII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a leap year starting on Friday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar. ...


One reason for the popularity of the baths were the female bathing attendants yuna (湯女, lit. hot water woman). These attendants helped the customers by scrubbing their backs. However, after the bath officially closed, many of these women sold sex to male customers. Even nowadays, some brothels in Japan specialize on having young women clean their male customers in a private bath. These establishments are called sōpu rando (ソープランド, lit. soap land). Subsequently, the Tokugawa shogunate limited the number of Yuna to three per bath house, to preserve the public morals. However, this rule was widely ignored, and shortly thereafter in 1841 the Tokugawa shogunate prohibited any Yuna to serve in a bath house, and furthermore prohibited mixed-sex bathing again. Large numbers of unemployed Yuna thereafter moved to the official red-light districts to continue their services. Up to 1970 there were also male washing assistants called sansuke (三助, lit. three helps) for washing and massaging both male and female customers. These male workers, however, usually did not participate in prostitution. The prohibition of mixed-sex bathing again did not last long, and when Commodore Perry visited Japan in 1853 and 1854, he was displeased about the lack of morals due to mixed sex bathing. Subsequently, the Tokugawa shogunate prohibited mixed sex bathing again. A woman who exercises prostitution in Germany Prostitution is the sale of sexual services, such as oral sex or sexual intercourse, for money. ... take you to calendar). ... 1970 (MCMLXX) was a common year starting on Thursday. ... Photograph of Perry Matthew Calbraith Perry (April 10, 1794 – March 4, 1858) was the Commodore of the U.S. Navy who forced the opening of Japan to the West with the Convention of Kanagawa in 1854, under the threat of military force. ... 1853 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... 1854 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ...


The beginning of the modern bath house in the Meiji period

Bathing in an Agricultural School in Japan around 1920
Bathing in an Agricultural School in Japan around 1920

During the Meiji period (1867-1912) the design of Japanese baths changed considerably. The narrow entrance to the bathing area was widened considerably to a regular-sized sliding door, the bathtubs were sunk partially in the floor so that they can be entered easier, and the height of the ceiling of the bath house was nothing less than doubled. Since the bath now focused on hot water instead of steam, windows could be added, and the bathing area became much brighter. The only difference of these baths to the modern bath was the use of wood for the bathing area and the lack of faucets. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (854x596, 78 KB) Photo from The Foundations of Japan: Notes Made During Journeys Of 6,000 Miles In The Rural Districts As A Basis For A Sounder Knowledge Of The Japanese People, by J.W. Robertson Scott, published 1922 Source: Project... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (854x596, 78 KB) Photo from The Foundations of Japan: Notes Made During Journeys Of 6,000 Miles In The Rural Districts As A Basis For A Sounder Knowledge Of The Japanese People, by J.W. Robertson Scott, published 1922 Source: Project... History of Japan Paleolithic Jomon Yayoi Yamato period ---Kofun period ---Asuka period Nara period Heian period Kamakura period Muromachi period Azuchi-Momoyama period ---Nanban period Edo period Meiji period Taisho period Showa period ---Japanese expansionism ---Occupied Japan ---Post-Occupation Japan Heisei The Meiji period (Japanese: Meiji Jidai 明治時代 ) (1868–1912... 1867 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... 1912 (MCMXII) was a leap year starting on Monday in the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Tuesday in the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ...


Furthermore, another law for segregated bathing was passed in 1890, allowing only children below the age of 8 to join a parent of the opposite sex. 1890 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ...


Rebuilding the baths after the great Kantō earthquake

At the beginning of the Taisho period (1912 to 1926), tiles gradually replaced wooden floors and walls in new bath houses. On September 1, 1923 the great Kantō earthquake devastated Tokyo. The earthquake and the subsequent fire destroyed most baths in the Tokyo area. This accelerated the change from wooden baths to tiled baths, as almost all new bath houses were now built in the new style using tiled bathing areas. At the end of the Taisho period, faucets also became more common, and this type of faucet can still be seen today. These faucets were called karan (カラン, after the Dutch word kraan for faucet). There were two faucets, one for hot water and one for cold water, and the customer mixed the water in his bucket according to his personal taste. History of Japan Paleolithic Jomon Yayoi Yamato period ---Kofun period ---Asuka period Nara period Heian period Kamakura period Muromachi period Azuchi-Momoyama period ---Nanban period Edo period Meiji period Taisho period Showa period ---Japanese expansionism ---Occupied Japan ---Post-Occupation Japan Heisei The Taisho period (大正 Taishō, lit. ... 1912 (MCMXII) was a leap year starting on Monday in the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Tuesday in the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... 1926 (MCMXXVI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... September 1 is the 244th day of the year (245th in leap years). ... 1923 (MCMXXIII) was a common year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... Great Kanto Earthquake The Great Kanto Earthquake (関東大震災 Kantō daishinsai) struck the Kanto plain on the Japanese main island of Honshu at 11:58 on the morning of September 1, 1923. ... View of Tokyos Shibuya district Long a symbol of Tokyo, the Nijubashi Bridge at the Kokyo Imperial Palace. ... Dutch ( â–¶ (help· info)), sometimes referred to as Netherlandic in English, is a Low Germanic language spoken by around 24 million people, mainly in the Netherlands and Belgium. ...


Rebuilding the baths again after World War II: the golden era of the sentō

Entrance of a typical sentō in Tokyo
Entrance of a typical sentō in Tokyo

During World War II (for Japan 1941 to 1945), many Japanese cities were razed by firebombing, and Hiroshima and Nagasaki were attacked with atomic weapons. Subsequently, most bath houses were destroyed along with the cities. The lack of baths caused the reappearance of communal bathing, and temporary baths were constructed with the available material, often lacking a roof. Furthermore, as most houses were damaged or destroyed, few people had access to a private bath, resulting in a great increase in customers for the bath houses. New buildings in the post war period also often lacked baths or showers, leading to a strong increase in the number of public baths. In 1965 many baths also added showerheads to the faucets in the baths. The number of public baths in Japan peaked around 1970. Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Combatants Allied Powers Axis Powers Commanders {{{commander1}}} {{{commander2}}} Strength {{{strength1}}} {{{strength2}}} Casualties 17 million military deaths 7 million military deaths World War II, also known as the Second World War (sometimes WW2 or WWII), was a mid-20th century conflict that engulfed much of the globe and is accepted as... For the movie, see 1941 (film) 1941 (MCMXLI) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... Firebombing is a bombing technique designed to create a firestorm in the target city. ... Main keep of Hiroshima Castle The city of Hiroshima (広島市; -shi) is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture, and the largest city in the Chugoku region of western Honshu, the largest of Japans islands. ... Megane-bashi (Spectacles Bridge) Nagasaki ▶ (help· info) (長崎市; -shi, literally long peninsula) is the capital and the largest city of Nagasaki Prefecture. ... The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, 1945, rose some 18 km (11 mi) above the hypocenter. ... 1965 (MCMLXV) was a common year starting on Friday (link goes to calendar). ... 1970 (MCMLXX) was a common year starting on Thursday. ...


The decline of the sentō in the modern times

While immediately after World War II, resources were scarce, and few homeowners had access to a private bath, private baths became more common again around 1970, and most new buildings included a bath and shower unit for every apartment. The availability and easy access of private baths lead to a decline of customers for public bath houses, and subsequently the number of bath houses is decreasing. Furthermore, many young people are embarrassed to be naked even in front of members of the same sex, and do not go to public baths. Some Japanese are concerned that without the "skinship" of mutual nakedness, children will not be properly socialized. 1970 (MCMLXX) was a common year starting on Thursday. ... Embarrassment is an unpleasant emotional state experienced upon having a socially unacceptable act or condition witnessed by or revealed to others. ...


The future of the sentō

While the traditional sentō is in decline, many bath house operators have adjusted to the new taste of the public and are offering a wide variety of services. Some bath houses emphasize their tradition, and run traditionally-designed bath houses to appeal to clientele seeking the lost Japan. These bath houses are also often located at scenic spots in nature and may include an open-air bath. Some also try drilling in order to gain access to a hot spring, turning a regular bath house into a more prestigious onsen. Outdoor pool, Naruko Outdoor Onsen on Nakanoshima island in Nachikatsuura, Wakayama Prefecture Old onsen in Hakone An private outdoor rotenburo in Gorakadan Guidebook to Hakone from 1811 An onsen (温泉; often indicated on signs and maps by 湯 or ゆ, for hot water, or with the symbol ♨) is a Japanese hot spring. ...


Other bath houses with less pristine buildings or settings change into so called super sentō and try to offer a wider variety of services beyond the standard two or three bathtubs. They may include a variety of saunas, reintroduce steam baths, include jacuzzis, and may even have a water slide. They may also offer services beyond mere cleansing, and turn into a spa, offering medical baths, massages, fango baths, fitness centers, etc., as for example the Spa La Qua near the Tokyo Dome. There are also entire bath house theme parks, including restaurants, karaoke, and other entertainment, as for example the ōedo onsen monogatari (大江戸温泉物語, Big Edo Hot Spring Story) in Odaiba, Tokyo. Some of these modern facilities may require the use of swimsuits and are more similar with a western style water amusement park than a sentō. A sauna on Lake Vättern, in Karlsborg Municipality. ... See also spa SPA can refer to: Saudi Press Agency School of Planning and architecture is Indias premier Architecture and city-planning institutions. ... Tokyo Dome (東京ドーム Tōkyō Dōmu, (TYO: 9681)) is a 55,000-seat stadium located in Bunkyo Ward of Tokyo, Japan. ... A Karaoke machine Karaoke (Japanese: カラオケ, from 空 kara, empty, and オーケストラ ōkesutora, orchestra) is a form of entertainment in which an amateur singer or singers sing along with recorded music on microphone. ... View of Odaiba in the distance from the Rainbow Bridge, with the Fuji TV studio in the background Odaiba (お台場) is a large artificial island in Tokyo Bay, Japan. ... Male model in swimsuit, 2003 A swimsuit (also swimmers), bathing suit (also bathers) or swimming costume (sometimes shortened to cozzie) is an item of clothing designed to be worn for swimming. ...


See also

Outdoor pool, Naruko Outdoor Onsen on Nakanoshima island in Nachikatsuura, Wakayama Prefecture Old onsen in Hakone An private outdoor rotenburo in Gorakadan Guidebook to Hakone from 1811 An onsen (温泉; often indicated on signs and maps by 湯 or ゆ, for hot water, or with the symbol ♨) is a Japanese hot spring. ... This is the current Anime Collaboration of the Week. ... Green Dragon Spring at Norris Geyser A hot spring is a place where warm or hot groundwater issues from the ground on a regular basis for at least a predictable part of the year, and is significantly above the ambient ground temperature (which is usually around 55~57 F or...

External links

  • Yunohana bath house and Otaru City racial discrimination lawsuit homepage

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