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What is the flushing sound called in Japanese?


The sound of flushing a toilet is universal, but did you know that different languages have different names for the sound? In Japanese, the flushing sound has a unique onomatopoeic word that describes it. In this article, we will explore the Japanese word for the flushing sound and its cultural significance.

Origins of Japanese Onomatopoeia

Onomatopoeia is an essential part of the Japanese language, with more than 4,000 words describing sounds. Unlike English, where onomatopoeia is used for comic effect, Japanese onomatopoeia is integral to communication. Japanese people use onomatopoeia to describe not only sounds but also textures, movements, and emotions.

Japanese Snack Box

The Japanese Word for Flushing Sound

The Japanese word for the flushing sound is “ザーザー(zāzā).” The word is derived from the verb “zaru,” which means “to flow” or “to gush.” The sound of water gushing out of a faucet or a showerhead is also described by “zāzā.”

Cultural Significance of “Zāzā”

The use of onomatopoeic words like “zāzā” in daily conversation highlights the importance of sound in Japanese culture. It reflects the Japanese love for nature and appreciation for the harmony between sound and silence. It also shows how language plays a vital role in shaping cultural values.

Japanese Toilets

In Japan, toilets are more advanced than in many other countries. They come with various features like heated seats, bidets, and music players. Some toilets even come with built-in speakers that play music or sounds to mask any unpleasant noises during use.

The Sound of Flushing in Public Restrooms

In Japan, public restrooms often play recorded sounds of waterfalls or birds chirping to provide a more relaxing environment. The sound of flushing in public restrooms is kept at a low volume to avoid disturbing nearby users.

Use of Onomatopoeia in Manga and Anime

Onomatopoeia is commonly used in manga and anime to make reading and watching more engaging. Sound effects like “zāzā” are used to enhance the visual aspect of a scene and help readers or viewers imagine the sounds they are seeing.

Other Japanese Onomatopoeic Words for Water

There are other onomatopoeic words in Japanese that describe different types of water sounds. For example, “pota-pota” describes the sound of raindrops falling, while “gasha-gasha” describes the sound of water dripping.

Onomatopoeia in Language Learning

The use of onomatopoeia in language learning can help learners remember new vocabulary more effectively. By associating new words with sounds, learners can create stronger connections in their brain and improve their language skills.

Cross-Cultural Differences in Onomatopoeia

Onomatopoeic words vary across different languages and cultures. For example, while English uses “woof-woof” to describe a dog’s bark, Japanese uses “wan-wan.” These differences reflect cultural values and attitudes towards sound.

The Future of Onomatopoeia

As technology advances and communication becomes more globalized, onomatopoeic words may become less culturally specific. However, they will continue to play an essential role in language learning and communication.


The flushing sound may seem like a mundane aspect of daily life, but it holds cultural significance in Japan. Through onomatopoeic words like “zāzā,” we can see how language reflects cultural values and shapes our perceptions of the world around us. Onomatopoeia is an integral part of communication and will continue to be so in the future.

What is the Japanese toilet that makes noise?

The Japanese Sound Princess is a technology that produces sounds or music to mask any unpleasant noises in a bathroom stall. It can be activated by either pressing a button or waving a hand over a motion sensor, and the type of sounds or music played may differ.

What makes a toilet sound like it is flushing?

When your toilet makes a flushing sound even when it hasn’t been used, it’s known as phantom flushing or ghost flushing. This occurs when there’s a leak in the tank. This was reported on October 13, 2017.

What is otohime toilet?

The Otohime is a device that can be either attached to the wall of a toilet or included in an existing washlet, and is powered by batteries. It can be activated by either pressing a button or using a motion sensor with a wave of the hand.

Is flush an onomatopoeia?

The sound of a toilet flushing is audible to us, and the sensation of a sudden rush of blood to the face and neck, known as a hot flush in the UK or a hot flash in the USA, is also described using onomatopoeia, even though we cannot hear it.

What is a gurgling toilet?

If your toilet is making gurgling noises, it means that there is a blockage somewhere in the plumbing system. This blockage is causing negative air pressure, which prevents air from flowing through the pipes and creates the gurgling sound. In some cases, you may also notice water bubbling up in the toilet bowl or drain. This is a clear sign that there is a clog in the toilet or drain line.

What is a whistling toilet?

When the gasket or fill valve parts of a toilet become old and worn, they may produce vibrations that are transmitted to the armature and ball, resulting in a high-pitched sound known as a whistling toilet. The vibrations cease only when the aperture is entirely closed.

In addition to onomatopoeia, Japanese culture also places great importance on the concept of ma, or the space between sounds. Ma is the silence or pause between words or sounds, and it is believed to be just as important as the sounds themselves. In music, for example, the rest between notes can be just as important as the notes themselves. This appreciation for silence and space is reflected in Japanese architecture, where empty spaces are often left intentionally to create a sense of harmony and balance.

Another interesting aspect of Japanese onomatopoeia is that some words have multiple meanings depending on context. For example, the word “pika” can describe the sound of something sparkling, like fireworks or lightning, but it can also mean “flash” or “glitter.” This versatility allows Japanese speakers to express a wide range of ideas and emotions with just a few words.

Despite its importance in Japanese language and culture, onomatopoeia can be challenging for non-native speakers to master. For one thing, many onomatopoeic words are not listed in dictionaries, so learners may have to rely on exposure and context to understand their meanings. Additionally, some onomatopoeic words have subtle nuances that are difficult to convey in translation.

Overall, onomatopoeia is an integral part of Japanese language and culture that reflects the country’s appreciation for sound and silence. Whether it’s describing the sound of water flowing or creating a sense of harmony in architecture, onomatopoeia plays a vital role in shaping the way that Japanese people perceive and interact with the world around them.

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