An example of an SDF-made bath

An example of an SDF-made bath (Source: Jieitai! - 06/10/11)

This month’s issue of Jieitai! has many pages detailing the Self Defense Force’s work in Tohoku. One of the first things they set to work on was providing bathing facilities to the evacuees, even while they forewent bathing themselves. This is a typically Japanese response from an organization whose Maritime service has sento-style baths installed on its warships.

The setup is known as the Field Bathing Set: a noren curtain hangs over the doorway of a long tent that can provide spacious bathing facilities for around 30 people at a time. Fitted with one or two baths, they are godsend for those trapped in cramped evacuation centers surrounded by the smell of the disaster zone.

With everything needed for a proper Japanese bath, along with many different types of water (mimicking the country’s most natural springs), the SDF have a formula for temporary communal bathing facilities that cannot be beaten.

The thought that went into it is simply astounding, as is some of the equipment – a 2m x 3m bathtub made only from a tarp and piping? Rubber inflatable water tanks? It is the mark of an organization that has given this issue some thought. What’s more, these facilities are provided for the evacuees while the service members themselves go without.

So in pictures found around the web, JSW presents a pictorial guide to the SDF’s bathing support operations in the Tohoku Earthquake disaster zone.


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Data on the Field Bathing Set (Mk. 2) – via Gallery Rightwing
Includes: Trailer (with built-in boiler, water pump and power generator) 

Field bathtub, shower stand, utility tent, 10,000-liter water storage tank, accessories (drainboard, seat, clothes baskets, shelves)

Bathtub Dimensions Length: 1,960 mm 

Width: 2,960mm

Total water delivery 5.4 tonnes/hour
Water boiling time 45 minutes
Controllable temperature range: 13-78
Capacity 1,200 people/day (approx.)
Manufacturer Shinsei Corp., Komura Industry


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Media reused in spirit of fair use. All images and materials are owned by their creators (as attributed in each case).

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A former contributor to World Intelligence (Japan Military Review), James Simpson joined Japan Security Watch in 2011, migrating with his blog Defending Japan. He has a Masters in Security Studies from Aberystwyth University and is currently living in Kawasaki, Japan. His primary interests include the so-called 'normalization' of Japanese security (i.e. militarization), and the political impact of the abduction issue with North Korea.
James Simpson has 254 post(s) on Japan Security Watch