About Zabuton (座布団)
Zabuton is Japanese cushion used when sitting on tatami and floor.
Zabuton was indispensable item for Japanese people who lived sitting directly on the floor without the culture of using chairs indoors.
In particular, Japanese people consider Seiza the most polite way of sitting.
Therefore, it is often used in Washitsu (Japanese-style room) where courtesy is required to reduce leg numbness which cannot be avoided when Seiza sitting.
example of Seiza
The beginning of Zabuton
In ancient times in Japan, mattings such as goza made of grass were all called “tatami”.
In the Heian period, when the current prototype of tatami(畳) mats was born, both the bedding(寝具) and the sitting(座具) on the tatami mats were called Shitone.
On the other hand, futons were used in temples. When futons came to be used as names for bedding(寝具), the Shitone to sit down changed the name to Zabuton (Japanese cushion).
At that time, Shitone was valuable item and was only available to noble people, but after the mid-Edo period, when cotton cultivation became popular, Zabuton (japanese cushion) containing cotton appeared and later spread to the people in general.
Zabuton (japanese cushion) is not square.
There are variety of sizes, such as the “Hattanban (59 x 63 cm)”, but the reason why the depth is longer than the width is because it is good for Seiza postion.
And the front side of Zabuton is a seamless side. The correct placement is that the front side of Zabuton is in front of your knees.
The current use of Zabuton
At present, when relaxing in a room with tatami mats and there is formal event, we use Zabuton. Zabuton is a must-have item especially in the Japanese countryside.
Zabuton also has the meaning of honoring the other person, so there may be cases where we prepared Zabuton for visitors in advance.
When you come to Japan, please try using Zabuton.