Japanese-style Room (和室)

A Japanese-style room is a room on whose floor tatami mats are laid in a traditional Japanese house. The method of laying tatami mats depends on the tradition, and, as is well known, the size of a room was measured by counting the number of tatami mats laid.

Tokonoma (alcove in a traditional Japanese room where art or flowers are displayed) is in a room located in the center of a house,


Space is surrounded with shoji (paper sliding doors) or Fusuma (Japanese sliding doors), and shoji especially generate fuzzy and dim effects, giving an impression of ambiguity of whether or not the space is completely partitioned. Thus, a subtle and profound light is brought about.

A Japanese style room offers a multi-purpose space that can be used for purposes from dining, to a family get-together, a study or a bedroom, achieved by taking out and putting in things such as a folding table, zabuton (traditional Japanese cushions used to sit on the floor), and Japanese-style bedding. Furthermore, shoes or slippers are not required in a Japanese-style room. Tatami mats, being made of plants called rushes, offer a sense of togetherness with nature and generate feelings of coolness in summer and warmth in winter, which are features of a Japanese-style room.

Japanese-style room in Taiwan
In Taiwan, there are quite a few houses with Japanese-style rooms which have been passed down from the period of Japanese rule. This is called héìshì/héshìh (pinyin: indicating a pronunciation and tones) in Chinese. However, tatami mats are not suitable for the climate; they are often replaced with wood flooring called héìshì de ban (wood floor in Japanese-style room) in Chinese.

In Taiwan, a Japanese-style room is mainly used for a bedroom. It is also used for a Buddhist hall and for a Shosai (a study or a library).

[Original Japanese]