Japans own mat: The Tatami (畳).
Don’t most people have it spread out in there room?
In this article, the history of how the tatami came to be will be introduced.
Lets look through the world of tatami together!
The oldest tatami mat to ever exist, the Gosho-no-tatami (御床畳), is stored in the Nara-todaiji’s Shoso-in.
The Gosho-no-tatami uses the inside if 6 tatamis, wrapped in makomo plants, to make a tatami flooring. It is said to be used a bed.
The tatami served to be a sign of authority by its size, thickness, and how green it was.
Furthermore, it is said that unlike now, how tatami are now spread everywhere, they were only put in spots that were necessary before.
As it was spread across wooden flooring before, it served as what is now called a zabuton (座布団).
As the Shoin construction method became popular, rooms with tatami all throughout them also followed suit.
This is how, through tatamis being spread out in the entire room, the Seiza (正座) sitting method was born.
This periods tatami became a normal alongside tea ceremonies.
Andzuchi Momoyama Period
It is said that tatami at that time became normal enough that town houses and farm houses would have them but, as they were still rare, they only went that far.
The samurai and emperor houses saw a great importance in tatamis, and as such, the tatami-bugyo (畳奉行) had become a job.
There were many restrictions by status for tatamis, but in the mid-Edo period, it became popular among towns folk and in the late Edo period, tatami workers had become a stable job.
In this era the tatami were used with care and the wisdom to keep them for long had been born.
Meiji to Showa Period
After the Meiji Restoration did the restrictions on tatamis lift, becoming a popular on an economic scale.
As the high economic growth period came, the Japanese living style changed to a more western style with more people sitting on sofas and chairs.
Carpets also became popular, but even then, it was the standard to have a room that had tatami in it.
When wooden flooring became popular, the costs for things like paper sliding doors in Japanese style rooms were becoming expensive. For that reason, Japanese style rooms were not being made anymore.
However, because of problems such as sounds reverberating easily and it getting cold easily, the attention shifted back to tatamis.
Now, with the designs of tatami growing and focusing more on fashion, a stronger wave of the Japanese atmosphere can be felt.
The Continuously Evolving Tatami
The Yamagata Shinkansen that started running in July, 2014, the “Toreiyu Tsubasa”, is a tourist train where you can experience Japanese culture, with it having things like the tatami in it.
Furthermore, it can be seen that tatami are used in things other than house flooring, such as the flooring for judo.