History of Igusa and Tatami

い草と畳の歴史

 
Jomon Period - Yayoi Period


During the Jomon and Yayoi periods, excavations of archaeological sites have revealed traces of rice straw being spread on houses.
It is likely that rice straw was familiar to the ancestors of the Japanese people who were agriculturalists. 
 

い草と畳の歴史
  
Nara period (710-794 CE)

The oldest surviving tatami is from the Nara period (710-794), placed on a wooden stand called goshotatami.
 
  
い草と畳の歴史
 
 Heian period (794-1185)


In this era, tatami was a form of power.
The tatami was not laid out as we see today.
Tatami was placed only where it was needed.
When aristocrats' houses were built as bedrooms, tatami were placed in the rooms instead of cushions, and tatami were used as bedding throughout the house.

  
   
い草と畳の歴史
  
Kamakura period (1185-1333 CE)


When the construction method was changed to the Shoin style
Tatami mats, which had been placed only where they were needed, came to cover the entire room and floor.
Tatami mats, which had previously been placed only where necessary, were now laid across the entire room and floor.
 
  
い草と畳の歴史
  
Muromachi period (1333-1573 CE)

Tatami mats began to be spread throughout the room.
Around this time, people began to sit on tatami mats, which is unique to Japan.
Seiza was also a way of sitting that was born when tatami mats were laid out in the rooms.
 
 
  
い草と畳の歴史
 
Azuchi-Momoyama period (approx. 1558-1600 CE)

The tea ceremony developed from the Azuchi-Momoyama period to the Edo period, and the way tatami mats were laid out changed according to the position of the furnace.
Around this time, tatami gradually began to be used in the homes of townspeople.
  
 
い草と畳の歴史
 Edo period (1603-1868 CE)

In the Edo period (1603-1867), the position of "O-mat magistrate" was created, and it was valued by samurai families and became important to shoguns and feudal lords.
Tatami became important to the shogun and daimyo.
It was after the middle of the Edo period that tatami became popular among the townspeople.
In the latter half of the Edo period, the profession of tatami craftsmen, "tatami artisans" or "Tatamiya," who made tatami for a living, was established.
Tatami came to be used in the homes of ordinary people.
   
  
い草と畳の歴史
 Meiji period (1868-1912)

Until then, there were restrictions on tatami patterns.
However, after the Meiji Restoration, these restrictions were lifted and tatami was widely introduced to the general public.
Tatami was widely introduced to general society after the Meiji Restoration.
Tatami mats with tokonoma (alcove) and tatami mats with zashiki (tatami room) began to become common in the layout of ordinary houses.
 
  
い草と畳の歴史
 Taisho Period (1912-1926)&Showa period (1926-1989 CE)

With the rapid economic growth, people's lifestyles became more westernized, and people began to change from sitting in Japanese-style rooms to sitting on chairs and sofas.
Carpets became popular, however, the tatami room was still the basis of the house.
From the middle of the Showa era (1926-1989) onward, housing complexes and new towns appeared.
With the emergence of housing complexes and new towns, the rush of housing construction, and the arrival of the era of mid- and high-rise condominiums
The demand for tatami became higher and higher. 
   
  
い草と畳の歴史
  Heisei period (1989-2019)


With the widespread use of wood flooring, building a Japanese-style room when building a house
In order to reduce the cost of building a house, it is becoming more and more common not to have a Japanese-style room.
On the other hand, there are disadvantages such as the room being cold, noisy, and uncomfortable, so tatami is being reevaluated.
Tatami mats and Ryukyu tatami mats, which can be placed on the flooring, are gradually becoming popular.
and Ryukyu tatami, which can be placed on top of flooring, are gradually gaining popularity.