Not all parents are happy with the stricter regulation.

Communal bathing has long been a part of traditional Japanese culture. Mixed-gender bathing, though, or konyoku, as it’s called in Japanese, is something that’s been largely phased out at hot springs and sento (public baths), with the vast majority of such facilities now having two separate bathing areas for male and female customers.

An exception is made for young children though, with Japanese society, for the most part, thinking it’s no big deal for a mother to take her young son into the women’s bath with her, or vice-versa for a father and daughter in the men’s bath. The question is what age qualifies as “young,” there’s now a new legal cutoff in Tokyo.

Previously, children as old as nine were allowed into the bath for the opposite sex, provided they were bathing with a parent or guardian, of course. As of January 1, though, the new age limit is six, meaning that once children hit the age of 7, boys are legally allowed only in the men’s bath, and girls the women’s.

The new ordinance comes in the wake of a survey by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare last spring which found 6 and 7 to be the ages at which the largest number of children felt embarrassed by being in the bath for the opposite sex. The ministry then recommended that lawmakers revise their jurisdictions’ regulations accordingly, with Tokyo, and a number of other municipalities, making the change at the start of 2022.

As the new policy went into effect, some parents at a public bath in Tokyo’s Higashikurume district weren’t happy about the stricter rules, as shown in the video below. A father who came with his three children, two sons and an eight-year-old daughter, was disappointed that the group …continue reading