Kokenawa Inc., a startup based in Nagoya, Japan, produces the Pocketoilet, the world’s smallest portable toilet and a real life-saver when nature calls.
When you gotta go, you gotta go, but what if there’s nowhere to go? We hardly ever give the humble toilet a second thought in our day-to-day lives, but most of us could hardly imagine our lives without it. In war-torn regions and areas affected by natural disasters toilets are among the most sought-after amenities, but apart from insufficient portable toilets and unhygienic latrines, there aren’t too many options. Actually, there is also the Pocketoilet, a packet measuring 7 centimeters tall and 6.5 cm wide that can fit in virtually any pocket or purse.
30-year-old Yoshinori Kokenawa, the founder of Kokenawa Inc., came up with the idea for the Pocketoilet in 2019, while volunteering in the city of Nagano which had been devasted by Typhoon Hagibis. One of the first things he noticed was the long lines of people waiting in front of conventional portable toilets.
"Even though people were working as fast as they could to get the area back on its feet, they had to line up 30 minutes or more every time they used the bathroom,” Kokenawa recalled. “I wanted to do something about this.”
In December of 2020, Kokenawa’s company launched the Pocketoilet, a tiny portable toilet that can be used virtually anywhere. It consists of a bag made of special, durable fibers and a packet of coagulant. The bag can be affixed to a toilet seat or even a trash can, and tests by the company have found that almost no odor emanates from one of the bags when left indoors with feces inside it for a week.
"They can fit even in a woman’s makeup bag, so we hope people will carry them with ease,” Kokenawa said, adding that his company has so far sold about 50,000 Pocketoilets.