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Jan. 4, Sun.*This program was first broadcast on Jan. 17, 2013

Bathroom Scales

Bathroom scales are a part of everyday life in Japan. Men, women, babies, and children all use them. There are even scales specially designed to weigh your pets. In samurai times, accurate scales were made by artisans who specialized in fine work, like comb-makers and engravers. A relentless quest for ever more accurate weight measurements was behind a shift from analog scales with springs and needles to digital scales. But today's scales measure more than just weight. They can collect information on various aspects of your health. Thanks to dogged data-gathering efforts by researchers, these high-tech scales can quickly measure body fat percentage or basal metabolic rate. Meanwhile, research is now underway into making accurate body weight measurements in space.

On this edition of BEGIN Japanology, our theme is bathroom scales. By looking at bathroom scales in Japan, we'll take the measure of how Japanese lifestyles and ideas about health have changed over the years.