What actually is

Tatami about?

たたみってなあに?

 
Wan-kun said “Washitsu:Japanese style rooms make me feel comfortable.I feel like the room is giving off a subtle scent.That’s my favorite.” and asked me”So,what is Tatami actually??”
“Tatami is a mat made of rice straw by rush weaving.Rush is called Igusa in Japanese.It is said that Igusa has many relaxing effects.” Although,Nyapan tried to answer from my vague knowledge, I quickly checked out what Tatami actually is!
I told Wan-kun,Tatami is a type of mat used as flooring in traditional Japanese style rooms.This is one of the unique parts of Japanese culture,which is unlike any other in the world.The origin of Tatami dates back to ancient times.People used to use thin rush mats(Mushiro) or straw mats(Goza)and they folded up when not in use.The action of folding is translated as “tatamu” in Japanese.This word “tatamu” changed into ”Tatami” and it has become a generic name for Japanese mats,which are made of rush and straw.That’s impressive!
畳とは、和室にひかれているマットのことである。これは正解でした(笑)。しかも、世界に類がない日本固有の文化というすごい存在。畳の原点を辿ると古代にまで遡ります。藁やイグサで編んだ薄い敷物の「むしろ」や「ござ」といったものの総称で、使わない時はくるくると畳んで部屋の隅に置いていたから、その「畳む」行為から「畳み」の語源になったのです。いやー、知らなかった!
今の畳の形状は、平安時代から使われ始めました。厚みを持ち、座るところや寝るところに敷いて使用していたんです。要はクッションのような使われ方。徐々に部屋全体に敷きつめれるようになっていき、より厚みを増し、茶道の広がりと共に普及していきました。
畳の長い方の縁は布でつつまれるようになり、これがいわゆる畳縁(たたみべり)ですが、その布の色や文様は階級に応じて決まっていたのです。たとえば、身分の最高位の天皇や法皇は繧繝縁(うんげんべり)。超言いにくい響きですが、百人一首で姫が座っているカラフルなヤツです。いかにも高級そう。江戸時代に入ると、畳そのものが重要な建築物の要素と考えられるようなり、お城やお屋敷の改修工事に「畳奉行」という畳管理をしきる役職まであったんですと!
和室のマナーとして、「畳のヘリを踏んではいけない」「畳のへりを踏むとバチが当たる」と言われていますが、その理由は家紋が入っているから、そこを踏むのは無礼なことだったと聞くと腑に落ちます。そもそも昔は畳が最高級品だったので、そこをすりすりと歩いて傷めないためにも、なるべく畳の縁は踏まないようにするのが作法だったという説もあります。畳って奥深いんです。どんなに生活が洋風化した今でも、畳にゴロゴロするのは至福。懐かしさを感じるのは、日本人の遺伝子的に組み込まれているかも!?いや、ワン君も喜んでいるし、タタミと布団を愛するという外国の方々の声も多数。人類的に普遍的な魅力を秘めているのかもしれません。
ちなみに畳のサイズは平均的には縦180cm×横90cmですが、地域や敷かれる場所によってサイズはさまざま。おおむね関西では少し大きめ、関東は小さめです。ワン君に今度、ちゃんと説明しなきゃ。
The current type of Tatami started being used in the Heian period(794~1185) among the noble people.Tatami became thick and was only placed for seating or sleeping like a kind of cushion and Tatami gradually were laid wall-to-wall.Tatami mats got thicker and became widespread together with Sado:tea ceremony culture.The edge of the longer side of the rectangular Tatami became wrapped by a green cloth.This is called”Tatami beri(hem cloth)”.The colors and patterns of the cloth had restriction,depending on social status.For instance,the Emperor and Empress who are the highest in status, used the Tatami mat with ungenberi-rim which was the colorful one,as you could see a prince and princess in Kimono sitting on it.This hem cloth exactly looks like first-class quality!During the Edo period(1603–1867),Tatami was highly regarded.People thought that Tatami itself was the essential element for architecture and there were people even in official positions called “Tatami bugyo
(magistrate)”  who managed Tatami in the cases of repairing works for castles or samurai residences.
There still is a convention not to step on the hem(border) of Tatami.Japanese are often taught that “Stepping on the hem of Tatami could give a judgment on you.”
Although there are some theories, one of the them is that many families have used hem clothes containing their own family crests.So,it’s said that stepping on it seemed to be rude behavior.It makes sense.Another more practical theory is that it was a rule to protect this part so as not to damage by your feet.Because Tatami used to be very expensive.The world of Tatami is deep.No matter how Japanese life style has become westernized nowadays, lying around on a Tatami mat is a blissful moment and has feelings of nostalgia …it might be incorporated into Japanese genes?! But Wan-kun also really enjoys it and I see many people from overseas loving Tatami and Futon.I think Tatami may have universal appeal.
The standard size of Tatami measures180cm length by 90cm width, but it depends on regions or places.Generally in Kansai:Western area has a little bigger than Kanto:Eastern area. I’ll have explain about it for Wan-kun next time!
 
「和室って落ち着つくよね。何とも言えない香りが気に入っている」とワン君。「ところで、畳ってなんなの?」と無邪気に質問してきました。ニャパンは「畳は、藁をイグサで縛ったマットレスだよ~。で、イグサの香りにはリラックス効果がある成分が満載なんだって」と曖昧かつ聞きかじった知識で答えて誤魔化したものの、慌てて少し調べてみました。

© 2023 by Sasha Blake. Proudly created with Wix.com