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Tatami mats with wooden corridors running between make up the traditional flooring of Japanese houses. The mats are made of straw piled lengthwise and crosswise and stitched with hempen thread; the better the quality of the mat, the more heavily it is stitched. Over the rough base is laid a tightly woven rush surface called goza.
The edges of the mat are bound with silk, Iinen or cotton according to the quality of the mat, either in plain colours or brocade designs.
One mat weighs between 17 and 30kg and is 4.5 to 6cm thick. The size of the mat is measured in shaku (see Weights and Measures) and the standard size varies slightly from district to district; all are about 180cm long by 90cm wide. The size of Japanese rooms is often stated in terms of the number of mats that will cover the floor. Tatami are kept scrupulously clean – aided by the Japanese custom of removing shoes at the door.
These plans were drawn up by the Japan Housing Corporation, a public body providing accommodation at reasonable rent for families unable to afford accommodation in the private sector. The accommodation is not luxurious but it provides modern amenities and is much sought after, particularly in the commuter areas of large cities. 2DK, 3DK and 4K are expressions denoting the number of rooms (2, 3 and 4 respectively) and the status of the kitchen. DK denotes a kitchen serving also as a dining area.
The contents of this site are excerpted from THE OFFICIAL RECORD OF TIME CAPSULE EXPO'70(March 1975). Please note that company and organization names may differ from those of the current ones.
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