Shoji > Tatami
Tatami in Japan
"Tatami" is a Japanese word meaning "woven rush
mat" Although in many rooms in Japanese houses the furnishings
have taken on a western air with the use of sofas and chairs for
example, the tatami remains a fundamentally important aspect of
Japanese culture as expressed in interior decoration.
Tatami Rooms in Japanese Houses
The tatami mat is most often used in the "zashiki"
either used as a drawing room or guest room in Japanese homes.
In imperial Japanese times the zashiki was a room primarily for
formal meetings of samurai and usually a large room of 18
tatami mats however in modern homes a zashiki of 8
tatami is more common. Even the most modern houses today are still
likely to have a zashiki.
Largely because tatami can be scratched easily other items of
furniture in japanes zashiki are not commonly found. There is
likely to be only low tables, zabuton cushions, and futons for
nightime. Additionally there may be a tansu chest of drawers or
a wooden sideboard. Dating back to ancient times there is also
to be found Buddhist altars and a "tokonoma" in the
zashiki. A tokonoma is a space used for hanging a scroll (kakejiku)
and displaying decorations or flowers (ikebana).
Japanese rooms are traditionally separated by
shoji room screens which are sliding doors and screens
made of a wooden frame with rice paper stretched over it. Some
room screens have come to be known as
tatami screens although this is strictly speaking not