lifestyle

After thousands of years in homes, traditional Japanese flooring goes modern

11 Comments
By Fairuz Emran

Tatami is the flooring used in traditional Japanese architecture as far back as the Heian period (794–1185). It’s made from rice straw, compressed wood or, more recently, even synthetic materials. It’s durable, practically fireproof and grants excellent insulation. It also feels pretty great on your feet. 

Once considered an item of luxury for Japanese aristocrats, it’s since become a symbol of Japanese aesthetics. Most homes in Japan have at least one tatami room. It’s so ubiquitous in Japanese houses that it’s the country’s de facto method of measuring a room’s size. For example, information on an apartment to rent might say that the living room is “big enough for six tatami mats.”

Sadly, tatami is fading from Japanese interior design. Constructing it takes a skilled hand. It’s a slow and meticulous process that results in a firm and springy texture and a unique sweet and earthy aroma that permeates the room. But it doesn’t come cheap. Moreover, mats need to be replaced every decade. Thus, tatami is not exactly something for everyone.

Enter Sekisui Seikei, experts in the plastic industry, who have essentially ushered the tatami mat into the modern age using a specially developed plastic called Migusa.

Migusa is a new type of tatami that delivers modern-day functionality while retaining the authentic texture and feel of an all-natural mat made from rush. While the material provides the genuine look and feel of tatami matting, the plastic component plays a vital role in enhancing durability, improving product safety and allowing more design and color schemes at more affordable prices. 

Whether you live in Japan or not, Migusa-made tatami is perfect for modern urbanites keen on adding an exclusive touch of traditional culture or simply an elegant bit of Japanese influence to their homes.

Click here to read more.

© GaijinPot

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

11 Comments
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Looks very nice.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Great! More plastic.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

We have three rooms with tatami mats. They are hard work not to damage, must be cleaned in correct ways. Injected with chemicals to kill all the biting mites.

I do like the smell of new tatami mats. But since we are unable to sit on the floor any more I covered them with puzzle mats.

They are also very expensive compared with other types of floor covering. Mold can be a problem and needs careful attention.

The other floors are covered by carpets or plastic floor coverings which work very well.

Great! More plastic.

Plastics are used extensively in our lives. Typing on a plastic keyboard on a computer with many plastic parts. Driving to the store in a car with plastics. The single use plastics are the main problem. Bags, plastic bottles, food boxes which are ending up in the oceans.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Those are not tatami mats, they are tatami-style mats.

A tatami has a thick rice-straw (or these days, wood-chip or polystyrene) base covered with woven rush matting, and rooms are designed to hold a specific number of mats (3, 4.5, 6, 8, etc) wall-to-wall.

These mats, while they look very nice in a modern wood-floored room and would give a fresher, cooler impression than a carpet in summer, are not a replacement for traditional tatami.

If they could be graded up to cover traditional tatami, I would buy them. Our one tatami room is out of bounds to the critters because their claws scratch the surface, and I'm sure the cat thinks they are a wall-to-wall scratching post; the critters not going in means we don't use the room, and it's basically turned into a lumber room, a total waste of what should be a very elegant, comfortable space.

Good-looking tatami with a durable surface would be a godsend.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tatami mats made from organic materials must also have a cover allowing the mat to breath otherwise mold will set in very quickly. They can't be covered with plastics.

Having lived in traditional made houses for more than 25 years, I'm very happy to leave them behind and now live in a modern house. Now I enjoy to look at them from the outside and someone else do all the hard work.

I love the puzzle mats and have them in bright colors like green in my painting studio.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Tatami mats are nice, but the stress of cleaning and maintenance is not worth it for a busy person.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I love tatami mats and wood flooring, it feels natural (pun intended). I really would like to see someone reinvent these natural floorings, not that they need improvement anyway.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Prefer natural wood flooring over tatami for its ease and longevity but these mats do look good.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The single use plastics are the main problem. Bags, plastic bottles, food boxes which are ending up in the oceans.

Correction: The plastic itself is not the problem. These items do not appear in the oceans of their own volition.

Governments that have not supported the development of disposal technologies or directed the makers of single use plastic to provide the infrastructure for its proper disposal are a huge part of the problem. In addition, careless people who routinely fail to dispose of such plastic properly even where facilities exist are at the heart of the problem.

For example, I cannot dispose of any Styrofoam even though it is completely recyclable because where I live there is no way to do so. I have no choice but to send it to the landfill. That's marginally better than throwing it in the ocean, but not much. Wherever possible I avoid choosing single use plastics, but I didn't have much luck with that when I lived in Japan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Correction: The plastic itself is not the problem. These items do not appear in the oceans of their own volition.

There are a wide range of micro plastics used in products like liquid soaps, laundry liquids which contain micro plastics and are ending up in the ocean. Other plastics breaking down and getting into micro plastics and into the oceans.

We all need to be careful how we dispose of our plastics.

For example, I cannot dispose of any Styrofoam even though it is completely recyclable because where I live there is no way to do so.

Many stores have collection bins for styrofoam and others.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I am planning to see these in person. They are not single-use plastics. And, yes, it is more "plastic" -- but... almost everything we see and touch in this modern world has a connection to plastic. Tatami mats are beautiful and they have that unique "fresh summer smell," but mites burrow into them and then bite your flesh, so... no thank you.

This company is looking at reality and preserving the image of what the tatami mat is, and at least from the photo, their product looks awesome.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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