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5 Oct. 2018

畳から見えてくる日本文化・歴史 その2/ Japanese culture in a world of diversity : Tatami mat part.2

Tatami mat

こんにちは、戦略プランナーの岸本です。自国文化を改めて見つめてみることが多様性理解のヒントになるのでは?と考え、9/14に『畳から見えてくる日本文化・歴史 その1』という記事をお送りしました。


Hello, this is Kishimoto, strategic planner. Although the world is rich with diverse cultures, taking a look back at your own culture may help to better understand others. In this series, I am taking a closer look at Tatami, more than just a staple of Japanese furniture used for centuries, a key and symbolic part of Japanese culture.

Article 1 was focused more on the relationship between our lives, history and Tatami, but this time let’s take a closer look at the makeup of the physical Tatami itself.






Life with Tatami – Life with merits.

One of the reasons Tatami has been a long-loved product is the efficacy.

For example, it has air purification and humidity adjustment function qualities, which allows it to be called a “natural air purifier without electricity,” and it is said to also absorb formaldehyde and carbon dioxide.

In addition, it has excellent elasticity and cushioning properties, and has benefits in terms of living and health, such as reducing the burden on legs and knees, etc. of infants and elderly people.

Furthermore, some research shows that children who have studied on tatami were able to improve their concentration and receiving higher grades in school.

We can see that Tatami is designed “inclusively” which allows anyone to use it, regardless of age, sex, or physical condition.




出典:5日で5000枚の約束。プロジェクト実行委員会 会報紙  (Source:“5,000 pieces in five days” Project Newsletter )


畳業界には、「5日で5000枚の約束。」という、被災地の避難所や仮設住宅に必要な枚数の畳を届けるという 協定があります。協定に入っている地域が被災し、畳を必要としている場合、どんなに離れた場所であっても、全国各地の畳屋から5日以内に、最低でも5000枚の畳の寄付を受けることができるネットワークです。畳屋は、地域密着型の職業です。浸水や地震で被災した際に、畳が必要となる場合が多いですが、畳屋も同様に被災し、在庫がすべて使い物にならなくなる可能性があります。そんなとき、畳を必要とする地域の避難所に、必要な枚数を、全国の畳屋が協力して寄付します。


To bring a peaceful moment – a promise of “5000 thousand Tatami mats within 5 days”

When Japan experiences natural disasters, Tatami mats are often used for floors in evacuation shelters or temporary housing

There is a promise of “5000 thousand Tatami mats within 5 days” in the Tatami industry. This is kind of an “agreement” between Tatami stores that no matter how far away the area affected by disaster may be, Tatami stores across Japan will work together to donate and deliver a minimum of 5000 Tatami mats within 5 days.

Tatami stores are at the heart of a community. Tatami’s demand increases when earthquakes and floods occur, however local Tatami stores will not be able to supply Tatami due to damaged stock.

At such times, Tatami stores from all over Japan will gather and supply the necessary amount of Tatami mats to the affected areas.

Thanks to Tatami’s good cushioning, Tatami meets the needs for various situations in daily life such as lying down and sitting. It also provides a defined personal space for individuals, but can be used in many other capacities as well, allowing us to make the most of a limited space.

Tatami stores are quick to participate in this agreement as it is their wish to let people relax as if they were at home, even under imperfect conditions.





指でつまんでいる範囲が1目 (the grain weave of a tatami mat)



A wish put in Tatami

Tatami mats are made with over 60 grain weaves per mat.

This is because Japan was made up of more than 60 states at that time (now 47), and the wish that “Tatami will spread to all over Japan” was put into Tatami.

The wish of that time was fulfilled and Tatami spread all over Japan. By continuing to use spaces with Tatami in various places in today’s world, I wish Tatami to not only help in diversifying our lives, but also to provide us a peaceful space where we can relax and spend time together regardless of age, sex, or nationality.





Importance of re-examining your own culture in a diverse society

In a world of diversity, looking beyond your society to better understand others is paramount, but you can deepen your understanding of your country and yourself by giving your own culture another look.

The ability to fully understand your country, yourself, and to be able to express it to the outside is an important element required to participate in this diverse world.

Reporting and Statement: kitumoto