Promoting Universal Design



LIXIL UD Concepts and Policies

LIXIL researches and develops products based on UD concepts and policies.

LIXIL universal design (Japanese only, a new page will open) >

LIXIL UD Concepts “Good for One, Good for All, Good for a Lifetime”

LIXIL UD Concepts “Good for One, Good for All, Good for a Lifetime”

LIXIL UD Policies

LIXIL UD Policies

The features of LIXIL universal design

The features of LIXIL universal design

Promoting UD in Housing

The Body Hug Shower to Suit All Lifestyles

In June 2022, LIXIL launched the Body Hug Shower that offers a new sensation of being gently enveloped in hot water and warmed throughout your body. It seeks to offer the perfect full-body bathing comfort and warmth. Indeed, five minutes in this shower will warm your whole body much more effectively than a conventional shower.

As families, workstyles, and lifestyles have diversified in today’s world, the way in which we wash our bodies differs from person to person. Now, more people are opting to just take a shower rather than get in the bathtub, whatever the season. Our survey suggests that people who choose to shower rather than take a bath prioritize easy-use, time-saving bathing, but also seek optimal warmth.

When we developed the Body Hug Shower, we interviewed employees of various ages and genders and employees who use wheelchairs to help create a product that satisfies the needs of those who enjoy the ease of showering but also want to thoroughly warm their bodies. We have sought to provide ultimate comfort for a diverse range of people by carefully positioning the shower’s 10 nozzles and considering the way in which the water ejects from the nozzles, as well as the volume of water released and the range of motion of the shower arm. Using the Body Hug Shower reduces the number of times you use and clean the bathtub, cutting the amount of water used and the energy required to heat the water and reducing CO2 emissions by approximately 36% compared to traditional bathing in a bathtub.*1 It can also help save money on your water and gas bills. Thanks to its space-saving dimensions and design, the shower does not dominate the available space and can be installed into your current bathroom without changing the faucet.*2

We are receiving an increasing number of inquiries about the product from hospitals and nursing care facilities across Japan because it enables care recipients who find it hard to step into the bathtub to enjoy comfortable bathing and reduces the burden on caregivers. LIXIL remains committed to swiftly grasping consumer needs and developing products and services that are easy and comfortable for everyone to use, regardless of their age, gender, level of ability or disability, and other factors, and to helping improve the quality of people’s lives.

*1 [Basis of estimated calculation] Calculated based on the assumption that a family of four (two males and two females) switches from having a bath to using the Body Hug Shower on the 261 weekdays in a year (appropriate minimum water flow rate of 9L/min with an allocation of 5 minutes per person).
[Product used in the comparison] Practical volume of water in the bathtub: 240L (1600mm size) with a calculated drop in temperature of 7°C after four hours in an environment with an ambient temperature of 10°C±2°C (that temperature drop is halved for half of the year).
[Source] Calculated internally
[CO2 emissions factor] Water: 0.49kgCO2/m3, gas: 2.23kgCO2/m3
These figures are meant to serve as a guide and do not represent a guarantee that the described reduction in CO2 emissions will always be achieved.

*2 Depending on the way the fixtures have been installed, it might be necessary to replace the faucet.

Body Hug Shower (Japanese only, a new page will open) >

Art Brut Ecocarat: Tiles featuring artworks by neurodivergent artists

LIXIL has launched a new product line that incorporates art brut artworks, drawn by neurodivergent artists contracted to Heralbony Co., Ltd., into our Ecocarat tile in October 2022. By paying license royalties out of the product sales revenue to the artists, we aim to create new revenue streams for them and an inclusive society in which everyone can play an active role in collaboration with Heralbony Co., Ltd.

* “Corporate Responsibility (CR) Strategy” mentioned in the video refers to our new “Impact Strategy.” (From April 2023, it was replaced by the Impact Strategy.)

Employment opportunities for people with disabilities are increasing thanks to the recent growing application of the statutory employment quota for people with disabilities in Japan. However, in reality, the number of places where they can work is still limited. SDG goal 8, which focuses on “decent work and economic growth,” includes Target 8.5 to “by 2030 achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value.”

Through our collaborative project with Heralbony Co., Ltd., LIXIL aims to solve these kinds of social issues by presenting the artists’ products to the world at large in the form of a social business rather than a type of support or welfare, and by changing the negative image against disabilities in the process. We not only offer sophisticated design and a sense of comfort that the materials bring, but also explore the possibility of creating better homes and a better society by fostering the richness of people’s minds that arises from deepening understanding among diverse individuals through our products.

Art Brut Ecocarat (Japanese only, a new page will open) >

DOAC Front Door Electric Opening System

LIXIL launched the DOAC front door electric opening system in September 2020. DOAC enables people to lock and unlock and open and close their front door without touching it using a remote control. This enables people with disabilities, older people, and others to get in and out of the house easily. The DOAC can also satisfy market needs for an entrance door that can be operated without touch as a form of infectious disease control.

In September 2021, we achieved the world’s first “hands-free operation” of a front door by adding new functions that support voice control as well as tap control using smartphone, Apple Watch* or other devices. The newly developed DOAC app boasts a voice recognition feature that enables people to use their voice to lock and unlock and automatically open and close the door.

DOAC was developed in our Business Incubation Center, a business division tasked with developing entirely new and unique high value-added products and services. Our team adopted an inclusive design approach when developing this product, interviewing various wheelchair users and inviting potential interested users to act as advisors from the early design stage.

DOAC achieved the world’s first “hands-free operation” of a front door

DOAC achieved the world’s first “hands-free operation” of a front door

Won a Social Products Award 2021

Won a Social Products Award 2021

DOAC won a Social Products Award at the 8th Social Products Awards held in 2021 on the theme of products and services that help people with disabilities to live a full life and enjoy their work. DOAC was applauded for broadening the scope of independent activity for people with disabilities and improving the lives of a wide range of people. We were also recognized for our agile development approach, being based on a clear understanding of the needs of potential users gained through talking directly with them during the development stage.

* Apple Watch is an Apple Inc. trademark registered in the US and other countries.

DOAC (Japanese only, a new page will open) >

KINUAMI U: Bathing Assistance Foam Shower

NITTO CERA Corporation, a LIXIL subsidiary, has started selling the KINUAMI U foam shower to hospitals and nursing homes across Japan since December 2021.

Assisting with bathing is one of the heaviest tasks of nursing care work because it includes lathering soap, washing the care recipient’s body, and rinsing with hot water. KINUAMI U can reduce the caregiver’s workload by producing large amounts of soft, warm foam that envelops the care recipient’s whole body to wash them. KINUAMI U also makes care recipients feel comfortable and less reluctant about being seen during bathing since their whole body is wrapped in warm foam.

KINUAMI U reduces the caregiver’s workload

KINUAMI U reduces the caregiver’s workload

LIXIL introduced marketing methods using the Makuake crowdfunding service together with NITTO CERA to work on the development of the KINUAMI U. This generated fundraising income that far exceeded our target, and also helped us understand its high demand in the nursing care sector. Then, we started selling the KINUAMI U to hospitals and nursing care facilities across Japan.

KINUAMI U (Japanese only, a new page will open) >

Other examples of LIXIL’s UD products and services (Japanese only, a new page will open) >

Promoting Inclusive Public Toilets

LIXIL aims to realize a public toilet system that everyone can use comfortably and with peace of mind to help solve one of the biggest barriers to achieving an inclusive society, namely public toilets.

Gender-Neutral Toilets for a Barrier-Free Life with Dementia

LIXIL participates in the Dementia-friendly Supermarket Project, which is led by Maiya Corporation and funded by a subsidy from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry for projects that improve the service industry. As part of this, we have collaborated with Mizuho Research & Technologies, Ltd. to create a gender-neutral toilet designed considering the needs of people with dementia for a Maiya Corporation in Semboku, Iwate.

Japan is becoming the world's first hyper-aged society, and there are efforts being made to create accommodating communities where people with dementia can live barrier free. Yet one challenge is the availability of public toilets, as people with dementia sometimes feel reluctant to leave their home because they have trouble using the toilet.

The toilet at the Maiya Supermarket Semboku Store has been designed to be easy to use for people with dementia, and more convenient for the caregivers who accompany them. Making it a spacious and gender-neutral toilet not only provides room for caregivers to work, but also makes it socially easier to use if they are of a different gender than the person they are caring for. The toilet also has simple operational buttons, a bin for adult diapers, and a changing platform. Outside of the toilet door is a waiting area with a bench, so that caregivers can keep watch while still giving the person with dementia their privacy.

LIXIL was involved from the planning stage, lending our knowledge as a toilet manufacturer, and will continue to use the experience gained from this project to promote public toilet spaces that can be used with peace of mind by everyone, including people with dementia.

Gender-Neutral Toilets for a Barrier-Free Life with Dementia
The Maiya Supermarket Semboku Store gender-neutral public toilet designed for people with dementia

The Maiya Supermarket Semboku Store gender-neutral public toilet designed for people with dementia

Gender-neutral toilets for a barrier-free life with dementia (Japanese only) >

A-SPEC Automated Public Toilet Design Service

LIXIL provides a free, cloud-based automated public toilet design service called A-SPEC. Users access the website and input information about the toilet space (width, depth, etc.) and equipment and fixtures (type of toilet, hand rails, etc.), and the program performs a number of simulations to provide the best plans from tens of thousands of ideas.

Users can view 3D models and compare the positions of fixtures, required space for use, and overall usability to choose the optimal plan, then download the data for free.

A screen from the A-SPEC automated public toilet design service

A screen from the A-SPEC automated public toilet design service

LIXIL aims to help increase the availability of safe and easy-to-use toilets by approaching the many troublesome issues for public toilet designers from the standpoint of users and applying our know-how and planning experience to support the designing of convenient toilet spaces.

In FYE2023, we exhibited A-SPEC at the Combined Exhibition of Advanced TEChnologies (CEATEC) trade show and the TOILET Tokyo exhibition, where it garnered positive feedback.

A-SPEC (Japanese only, a new page will open) >

Toilets Segregated by Function to Meet Diverse Needs

LIXIL strives to develop and propose toilet spaces that enable everyone to select freely which toilet they want to use, irrespective of such categorizations as man, woman, adult, child, able-bodied person, or person with disabilities.

One of those projects is the development of inclusive toilets, which were designed to offer all-gender toilet options that respond to diverse needs and ease the difficulties faced by transgender users who have to choose between public toilets for men or women.

An inclusive toilet facility that enables people to choose their preferred stall

An inclusive toilet facility that enables people to choose their preferred stall

At the gender-neutral toilet facility at our former headquarters, users were presented with the concept “choose a cubicle that best suits you.” It was loosely zoned, with the central corridor serving as a shared gender-neutral area with a men’s area to the left and a women’s area to the right. The gender-neutral area featured a barrier-free toilet with a sink for ostomy pouch users and facilities for babies, as well as two toilet cubicles that included their own sinks. With even private urinal cubicles in the men’s area, the toilet provided a space that made it easy for all users to choose the facilities best for them.

LIXIL built a suite of LIXIL PARK toilets for use by the public from July to September 2021. The toilets, which used our withCUBE portable booths to facilitate the flexible creation of private spaces in any location, were segregated according to function based on the concept of “peace of mind and comfort for all.” LIXIL PARK represented a new kind of public toilet proposal by displaying five types of function-specific unisex toilet cubicles designed to serve the differing needs of wheelchair users, ostomates, and people with accompanying infants. We also prepared two types of private spaces: a nursing space and a calm-down space.*

Toilet cubicles with different functions to meet diverse needs

Toilet cubicles with different functions to meet diverse needs

* Calm-down space: A space to come to block out outside noise and calm your feelings. A place to calm or preempt any sense of panic. We envisage this space could be used by people with developmental or intellectual disabilities, mental health issues, or dementia for example.

withCUBE (Japanese only, a new page will open) >

Stronger Communication of UD Concepts

The UD Website: LIXIL Public Toilet Lab

LIXIL has strengthened digital communication to ensure we provide the right information about our UD concepts and products to customers and business partners. We did this by revising our UD website in December 2020 and launching a public toilet information site in March 2022.

We are making the UD website easier to navigate for a broader range of people including people with disabilities or older people by introducing intuitive design and the alt attribute to specify alternative text for images.

UD website

UD website

The LIXIL Public Toilet Lab website, which specializes in information on public toilets, digs deep into the issue of toilet access from the perspectives of human rights and the SDGs. We use it as a tool for conveying LIXIL’s ideas and proposals relating to public toilets and considering the best options together with specific toilet users.

LIXIL Public Toilet Lab banner image

The website features tips on creating public toilets that fit the needs and solve the problems of users, and in FYE2023 we also added content on toilets in retail stores.

LIXIL universal design (Japanese only, a new page will open) >
LIXIL Public Toilet Lab (Japanese only, a new page will open) >

Revising Public Toilet and Elderly Facility Planning Books

Following revisions made to Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s Architectural Design Standards Taking into Consideration Smooth Use by Elderly People and Persons with Disabilities, in FYE2023, we revised our Public Toilet Planning Book and ELDERLY FACILITY PLANNING BOOK. In the future we will conduct internal and external education based on these revised guidelines, and propose public toilets designed with consideration for wheelchair users and other people with disabilities, and their caregivers.

Subtitles for TV Commercials and Our Online Showroom

The majority of LIXIL TV commercials (excluding those on satellite broadcasts) have included subtitles since 2022.

Commercials with subtitles that can be activated via the TV remote control are considered one of the most effective means of conveying information to people with hearing disabilities, and while over 90% of TV shows are now available subtitled, the majority of companies do not make their commercials subtitle compatible, with just 1.02% estimated to have subtitles in Japan (as of June 2021, according to the Council for the Promotion of Subtitled Commercials).

A LIXIL commercial with subtitles

A LIXIL commercial with subtitles

Long committed to promoting diversity and inclusion, LIXIL was ahead of other companies by several years in offering subtitles. At first, it was not at all easy to achieve this because the systems for broadcasting commercials with subtitles had not yet been fully established at the TV stations and we also had a difficulty in finding out how to produce our closed caption.*1 However, after talking directly with employees with hearing disabilities, we were convinced that the captions were effective and so we found a way to make it a reality. As a result, in the first half of FYE2023, LIXIL subtitled commercials reached 135,000 people with hearing disabilities, part of a wider audience of 2.6 million people including senior citizens with difficulty in hearing.*2

Some employees with hearing disabilities decided to join LIXIL after seeing our subtitled commercials, which is a result of this initiative that drives diversity and inclusion.

In December 2022, we also began providing customer service at the LIXIL Online Showroom using AmiVoice ScribeAssist, a speech-to-text app powered by AI voice recognition. This new service provides subtitles for what the coordinator says, which helps people with hearing disabilities, older people who have difficulty in hearing, and non-native Japanese speakers understand and comfortably use our online customer service.

Our employees with hearing disabilities participated in the trial phase and played an active role in developing the service. By leveraging the knowledge and perspectives of our diverse workforce, we are committed to creating products and services that meet a wide variety of needs.

*1 Subtitles that viewers can choose to display or not display.

*2 Estimated from the actual numbers of LIXIL TV commercial broadcasts from April to September 2022.

Subtitles in our Online Showroom (Japanese only) >

Promoting Broader Understanding of Diversity

UD Training for Employees

LIXIL provides training for sales departments to help employees deepen their understanding of UD-related issues and formulate a response and make proposals that illustrate a more intimate understanding of our customers’ needs. From FYE2022 to FYE2023, we conducted training sessions designed mainly to improve employees’ ability to propose ways to create safe and reliable housing for older people.

UD training sessions for employees
Conducted 30times, participated by6,700+ employees

One example was the 15 online sessions we conducted for coordinators who guide customers around our showrooms to enable them to learn more about the points to consider when designing toilet, bathroom, or kitchen spaces in the home, the products we can offer, and various systems such as the nursing care insurance system. The lectures were given to approximately 6,300 employees.

In addition, in order to improve our ability to make proposals for facilities for older people, a business area that we are striving to strengthen, we created a catalog called ELDERLY FACILITY PLANNING BOOK in FYE2022, and conducted a total of five online training sessions for sales representatives who interact with architectural design companies, general contractors, and facility design companies. Roughly 300 people participated in the sessions. Then in FYE2023, we conducted a total of 10 online training sessions on the revised Architectural Design Standards Taking into Consideration Smooth Use by Elderly People and Persons with Disabilities for our public toilet sales representatives, with around 150 participants.

In April 2022, we also set up a new internal website that offers a wide range of UD-related information and content to provide information and conduct training for our sales departments.

Education for Future Generations

Aiming to create a universally accessible society that enables diverse groups of people to live invigorating lives while respecting those around them, LIXIL offers education programs for elementary school and university students.

At our Universal Run: Sports Prosthetic Limb Experience Class program held at elementary schools throughout Japan, children learn about universal design by experiencing wearing a prosthetic limb designed for sports use and by talking with prosthetic limb users about their lives. The program is run in partnership between schools, community governments and local LIXIL employees, and has been joined by 18,727 children over 665 sessions so far.

We also hold our Universal Design: Good for One, Good for All, Good for a Lifetime program, where LIXIL employees create their own teaching materials and visit elementary schools to conduct lessons on universal design for children.

Students taking part in an outreach class

Students taking part in an outreach class

Universal Run
Conducted665times, participated by18,000+ children

So far, a total of 127 sessions have been held at schools, events, and other venues for 4,302 participants. The program is designed to highlight examples of universal design in nearby streets and individual homes to deepen students’ understanding of diversity in terms of gender, age, nationality, and ability and disability, and encourage them to think what they can do and how they can act on it.

At the LIXIL Showroom, we are also holding UD classes for students in the Department of Occupational Therapy of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Kyorin University. In FYE2023, we held classes for 50 junior students and teaching staff. As part of the study of improving living environments, the classes provided explanations of LIXIL’s UD concepts and policies, and key points of product design and production with a focus on water-related products. We also introduced the products on display at our Tokyo showroom while explaining them from a UD perspective.

A class for students from Kyorin University

A class for students from Kyorin University

Many of the students will go on to become occupational therapists in health, medical, and welfare facilities, so we hope that LIXIL's UD know-how will be utilized in rehabilitation work (the acquisition and recovery of movement for daily living) at their places of employment, and in water-related planning for home renovations as part of municipal support for care recipients.

Universal Run: Sports Prosthetic Limb Experience Class >
LIXIL’s Outreach Classes >

Public Toilets and D&I Seminar

LIXIL conducts external seminars on diversity and inclusion that focus on sexual and gender diversity and public toilets. For companies or local governments, design firms, and general contractors considering installation of toilet facilities, we also offered guided visits to our gender-neutral toilets, and welcomed around 300 participants over a total of 50 visits in FYE2023.

These activities were part of LIXIL’s evaluation when the company was awarded the highest-level Gold award in the Pride Index 2022 for the sixth consecutive year.

Guided visits to gender-neutral toilets

Guided visits to gender-neutral toilets