It was not until the Kamakura & Muromachi era in the 16th century where the use of Tatami would develop & evolve to form the foundations for their use in modern times.
It was also this period where rules determining the layouts & etiquette of tatami were developed. The size of the room would also be measured according to the number of Tatami mats it was able to fit, a standard that is still in use in modern Japan today.
Increase in Availability & Evolution of Use
The popularity of Tatami mats gradually grew & in the 17th century, they were finally available to commoners & became an integral part of Japanese homes. Tatami mats were easy to vacuum & comfortable while providing firm support, which made it the perfect choice for Japanese cultural traditions like being barefoot at home as well as sitting & sleeping on the floor. They were also cooling to sleep on during hot & humid Japanese summers.
The natural grassy fragrance of Igusa is also highly valued for its ability to relax the mind & body. This is due to the element called vanillin that is present in the aroma. Some say sleeping or meditating in a Tatami room can be liken to forest bathing that has both physical & mental health benefits.
Today, many Japanese homes still have one Tatami matted room, known as the washitsu or “Japanese-style” room. Some Japanese people still choose to sleep on futons on top of Tatami mats over Westernized beds. Their use is no longer restricted to just flooring, as Tatami is also used as a material to create versatile, space-saving & comfortable furniture like chairs, sofas & beds.
Interested to enhance your space with authentic handcrafted Japanese Tatami from Kyushu? Call us at 6336 6018, or visit us at 235 East Coast Road to find out how we can create a contemporary Tatami setup for you.