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Tokyo transparent toilet’s walls go opaque when door closed

August 29, 2020 GMT
A man walks by the transparent glass toilets at Yoyogi Hukamachi Mini Park in Tokyo on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020. The bathroom with the opaque (purple color) wall, right, indicates it's in use. The walls of two newly installed public toilets in Tokyo's Shibuya neighborhood are see-through before people enter, but turn opaque when the doors are closed and locked from the inside. The so-called transparent toilets, which opened this month, were designed by award-winning Japanese architect Shigeru Ban for a project organized by The Nippon Foundation that redesigned a total of 17 public toilets in the neighborhood. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
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A man walks by the transparent glass toilets at Yoyogi Hukamachi Mini Park in Tokyo on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020. The bathroom with the opaque (purple color) wall, right, indicates it's in use. The walls of two newly installed public toilets in Tokyo's Shibuya neighborhood are see-through before people enter, but turn opaque when the doors are closed and locked from the inside. The so-called transparent toilets, which opened this month, were designed by award-winning Japanese architect Shigeru Ban for a project organized by The Nippon Foundation that redesigned a total of 17 public toilets in the neighborhood. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
1 of 8
A man walks by the transparent glass toilets at Yoyogi Hukamachi Mini Park in Tokyo on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020. The bathroom with the opaque (purple color) wall, right, indicates it's in use. The walls of two newly installed public toilets in Tokyo's Shibuya neighborhood are see-through before people enter, but turn opaque when the doors are closed and locked from the inside. The so-called transparent toilets, which opened this month, were designed by award-winning Japanese architect Shigeru Ban for a project organized by The Nippon Foundation that redesigned a total of 17 public toilets in the neighborhood. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)

TOKYO (AP) — Now you see them, now you don’t.

The walls of two newly installed public toilets in Tokyo’s Shibuya neighborhood are see-through before people enter, but turn opaque when the doors are closed and locked from the inside.

The so-called transparent toilets, which opened this month, were designed by award-winning Japanese architect Shigeru Ban for a project organized by The Nippon Foundation that redesigned a total of 17 public toilets in the neighborhood. The goal was to make them accessible to anyone, regardless of gender, age or disability.

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The see-through walls glow in vibrant colors — green, yellow, orange.

“Maybe I feel a little anxious the first time, like will this work? Is somebody (outside) the glass trying to look inside or something?” Cecilia Lopez, a travel blogger from Argentina, said Thursday. “But I think it’s more for the fun of it.”

The outer walls of the toilets have a layer of glass that remains clear when hooked up to an electric current. When the door is locked, the current is cut and a special film makes the glass opaque and conceals the users, according to Kana Saji of The Nippon Foundation.

The foundation says it aims to achieve a society in which all people help one another.

“It’s really clean, and it sort of looks like art,” said Tomoko Mizutani, a Tokyo resident who was taking a photo of the toilet.