zashiki guest room


zashiki 座敷 guest room, drawing room, sitting room

. Interior Design - The Japanese Home .
- Introduction -

- quote
A generic term for a room covered with straw mats *tatami 畳.

In the Heian period when aristocratic dwellings *shinden-zukuri 寝殿造, were floored with wooden planks, woven straw or rush mats, some with bound edging, and thick mats agedatami 上畳 that raised the person a little above floor level were used for seating.
Eventually, from the late 12c, the word zashiki applied to rooms completely covered with straw mats and was used for guests. Thus, it became a reception room or guest room. This custom was later emulated in the folk dwellings *minka 民家 of lower ranking people in the Edo period.

Nagatomi 永富 house (Hyogo)

Both sukiya 数寄屋 and *shoin 書院, later came to use not only tatami but also incorporated alcoves (both *tokonoma 床の間 and *wakidana 脇棚) in the zashiki.

. sukiya 数寄屋 room for the tea ceremony .

- - - - - okuzashiki 奥座敷

A general term for the final or innermost room of a *shoin 書院 style reception suite.

In vernacular houses *minka 民家 of the Edo period in parts of Touhoku 東北 and the Kantou 関東, Toyama, Ishikawa, and Kagawa prefectures, and Kyoto district, the room furthest from the earthfloored area *doma 土間 in the rear part of a *hirairi 平入, house. It was a formal reception room equipped with a decorative alcove *tokonoma 床の間. Alternatively called *oku 奥, oku-no-ma 奥の間, oku-no-dei 奥の出居.

In vernacular townhouses *machiya 町家 of the Edo period in Kyoto and Nara, a room at the rear of the house overlooking the garden. Equipped with a tokonoma, it served as a formal reception room and often as a sleeping room shinshitsu 寝室 for elderly dependents. Also called *oku 奥.

A formal reception room to the rear of the shop, *mise 店 in machiya in the vincinity of Kanazawa 金沢 in Ishikawa prefecture..

- - - - - kura zashiki 蔵座敷 living room in a storehouse
Also *zashikigura 座敷蔵.
A fireproof structure *dozou-zukuri 土蔵造 used as a reception suite *zashiki 座敷. The roof is tiled *kawarabuki 瓦葺, or boarded *itabuki 板葺.
Where the kurazashiki is attached to or incorporated into the core area of a house, it is called uchigura zashiki 内蔵座敷. Usually two storeys high, the lower floor is always used as a reception room, whilst the upper floor is either a storeroom or a second reception room.

The most luxurious kurazashiki reception rooms were fitted with a decorative alcove *tokonoma 床の間, staggered shelves *chigaidana 違い棚, and a built-in table tsukeshoin 付書院, and other decorative features. The kurazashiki was used for important ceremonies such as weddings, as well as to accommodate guests. First seen in town houses in the Kansai 関西 region, the kurazashiki spread to Edo.
Today, the largest numbers of surviving examples can be seen in Yamagata and Fukushima prefectures. Also used as high-class guest house accommodation.
- source : JAANUS


. Zashiki Hakkei 座敷八景 Eight Parlor Views .
by Suzuki Harunobu 鈴木春信
more about the Hakkei 八景 Eight Views of Edo

under construction

karakuri ningyō (からくり人形)  mechanized puppets

zashiki karakuri (座敷からくり, tatami room karakuri) were small and used in homes.

They influenced the Noh, Kabuki and Bunraku theatre.

zashiki karakuri

The most common example today of a zashiki karakuri mechanism is a tea-serving robot, which starts moving forward when a cup of tea is placed on the plate in its hands. It was used in a situation when a host wanted to treat a guest in a recreational way at a tea ceremony. It moves in a straight line for a set distance, moving its feet as if walking, and then bows its head.
This signals that the tea is for drinking, and the doll stops when the cup is removed.
When it is replaced, the robot raises its head, turns around and returns to where it came from. It is typically powered by a wound spring made of whalebone, and the actions are controlled by a set of cams and levers.
source : Wikipedia


zashiki warashi 座敷童子 / ざしきわらし girl spooks
in Iwate, Tono, Tohoku / 岩手県に伝えられる精霊的な存在

CLICK for more photos !

- quote
Translated from Mizuki Shigeru’s Tono Monogatari

Zashiki warashi are a yokai from the Tohoku region of Japan. They live in the rafters of ceilings or in old storehouses. One of the mysteries of zashiki warashi is that they always take the appearance of small children, and never of adults.

In Iwate prefecture, zashiki warashi are said to appear in many of the local Elementary schools, and play with the children. At nine o’ clock, dressed in a white kimono, the zashiki warashi slip through cracks in the door and play around between the desks and chairs, having a great time. Of course, only the children can see the zashiki warashi as they romp around the classroom.

Also, about a hundred years ago in Tokyo, zashiki warashi were said to live in the storehouse of a man named Umehara Sotoku. Whenever any human went into the storehouse they would suddenly be overcome by the need to urinate and would have to flee running from the storehouse. It was said that this was due to the presence of the zashiki warashi. Also, sometimes at night the sound of something striking a metal pole could be heard.

One year, there was a fire near that house and the flames rapidly spread. The family was busy bringing the furniture out of the house when a child that no one knew was seen running out of the storehouse and helped carry the furniture into the cellar for safekeeping. Even though they tried, no one got a good look at his face. When all of the goods and people were safely in the cellar, the door was shut tight but the small boy was no were to be seen.

That old storehouse was nothing special, the kind that could be found anywhere. But high up on the shelf that was used to store charcoal there was a box about 15 by 16 centimeters that no one ever touched. Most likely that was the home of the zashiki warashi.

The old storehouse did eventually burn down in a fire in the middle of the Meiji period, and from then on the zashiki warashi was never seen or heard from again. I wonder where it went?

There is what is called the Three Great Stories of Tono. Of these, the legend of the zashiki-warashi is by far the most famous. Let’s touch on these legends a bit.

Zashiki-warashi (“zashiki” meaning the tatami room of traditional Japanese houses, and “warashi” meaning a kid or small child) are often seen as a kind of omen in the houses of once-great families on the verge of decline. The disappearance of the zashiki-warashi from the house was a sign that the family’s fortunes had waned. Looking into this, you can find many families who have used zashiki-warashi to account for the withering away of their wealth and status. The disappearance of zashiki-warashi was also an easy way to explain away a neighbor’s misfortunes to children who were too young to understand. Many a parent has relied on this convenient excuse to circumvent uncomfortable questions.

But there are other thoughts on the zashiki-warashi. In the 42nd year of Meiji, Yanagita wrote in his diary that on the journey from Hanamaki to Tono he saw only three places that showed any sign of human habitation. On these rough plateaus between the surrounding mountains it was said there were a hardscrabble people making their living off the land called Yamabito. These people of the mountains were said to be of substantial build and were described as having eyes differently colored from normal Japanese. The villages of the Tono area were terrified of Yamabito, who were said to sometimes raid the villages and either ravage or kidnap the local women. Due to this fear of outsiders, as well as due to the special geographical features of the mountain basin in which they lived, the people of Tono were solitary and exclusionary. Their houses held many secrets.

Old families of rank and reputation sometimes found their daughters ravaged and impregnated by these Yamabito attacks, and any child born of such a union was hidden away in the depths of the family mansion and never allowed to see the daylight. Other families of lesser fortunes sometimes gave birth to more children than they could afford, so it was said that some children were culled, their bodies buried under the dirt floors or under the kitchen instead of a proper grave. An eyewitness to both of these ancient customs sites these practices as the origin of the zashiki-warashi legends.

There are of course other origins that have nothing to do with bad parents hiding or killing their own children. Some say that zashiki-warashi are merely spirits of the house, no different than any other kami.

Regardless of their origins, they are a vivid and ancient legend. One official account, published in 1910 (the 43rd year of Meiji), tells of an elementary school in Tsuchibuchi where a first grade student claimed to see a zashiki-warashi right in front of him, although his teachers and classmates were unable to see the spirit
- source : hyakumonogatari.com

. Tōno monogatari 遠野物語 Tono Monogatari .
Legends of Tono

. makuragaeshi 枕返し pillow flipper and Zashiki Warashi legends .


- - - - - H A I K U and S E N R Y U - - - - -

. WKD - kigo for all summer .

sitting room in summer, parlor in summer
natsu zashiki 夏座敷

Click for more photos of a ZASHIKI !

Zashiki 座敷, a room covered with tatami straw mats and a decoration alcove (tokonoma 床の間), used to entertain visitors, a kind of reception room.
Ths SUMMER sitting room is the same room as used in winter when entertaining visitors during the day. But with the summer decoration of bamboo blinds and light seating mats, the summer preparations would make you feel cool in summer. The doors could be kept open to let the fresh air from the garden into the room.
This is of course talking about the Edo period, without air conditioning or electric fans to bring some refreshment.
A wind chime hung in the eves would also enhance the feeling of coolness.
elegant blinds for the living room, ozashiki sudare 御座敷すだれ


. WKD - kigo for all winter .

sitting room in winter, fuyu zashiki 冬座敷


- - - - - oku zashiki, okuzashiki 奥座敷
oku no ma, okunoma 奥の間 "room in the back"

hatsu yuki ya isha ni sake dasu okuzashiki

first snow !
we serve sake to the doctor
in the innermost room

. Tan Taigi 炭太祇 .
(1709 -1771 or ?1738-1791)

- - - and there it is ! a sake 酒 rice wine called Okuzashiki

- source : sakesakesakesakesake.blogspot.jp


sazanka ya aozora miyuru okuzashiki

winter camellia -
from the reception room in the back
I look at the blue sky

Oomine Akira 大峯あきら Omine Akira

. sasanka 山茶花 Camellia Sasanqua .
- - kigo for Winter - -


- - - - - kura zashiki, kurazashiki 蔵座敷 living room in a storehouse

source : www.jin.ne.jp/araebisu

kurazashiki goshakudikei no oto suzushi

our storehouse living room -
the sound of the large clock
is so cool

Hakutaku Yoshiko 白澤よし子

go shaku 五尺 is about 150 cm.

. tokei 時計 clock .


source : www.tif.ne.jp/jp/ati

Kitakata ya tabi no asane no kurazashiki

Kitakata -
sleeping late on a trip
in a storehouse guest room

Hasegawa Teruko 長谷川耿子

Kitakata is a town in Fukushima, famous for its many kura.
. kura 蔵 storehouse, warehouse .

also famous for its good ramen soup.
. Kitakata Ramen 喜多方ラーメン .


shishimai ni to o akehanatsu kurazashiki

opening the door
of the storehouse living room
for the Lion Dancers

Yoshida Futaba 吉田二葉

- source and more photos : 得さんのページ

. shishimai,  獅子舞 lion dance .
- - kigo for the New Year - -


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. Japanese Architecture - Interior Design - The Japanese Home .

. senryu, senryū 川柳 Senryu poems in Edo .




Gabi Greve said...

岩手県 Iwate 九戸郡 Kunohe district 軽米町 Karumi

zashiki warashi 座敷わらし child spook

They live in the 曲がり家 Magaria farm houses and wear robes with blue Ikat patterns. Some are boys, some are girls.
They bring good luck to the family that lives there, but they are never really seen. If people try to take a peek, the child disappears.
They are also called ザシキボッコ Zankibokko.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Kagawa 香川県
Toshigami San 年神さん
In the hamlet of 真鈴 Marin when people wake up on gantan 元旦 the first day of the New Year, they have to open the door of the zashiki 座敷 living room to let Toshigami San inside.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Iwate, 遠野市 Tono
. zashiki warashi 座敷童子 / ざしきわらし girl spooks .
The zashiki warashi 座敷童子 girl spook at the home of 助十 Sukeju can make a noise like itoguruma 糸車 a spinning wheel turning. Nobody has ever seen this girl, but the sound can be heard day and night. Sometimes there is also the sound of someone walking in the room.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Miyagi 宮城県 本吉町 Tomoyoshi town
zashiki oboko 座敷おぼこ / 座敷わらし girl spooks
This spook apears often in old, lonely houses. It does not show on bright days, but when the weather is bad.
One home owner claims to have peeked at it. It is rather small and looks like 三番叟 a Sanbaso dancer making a sound stepping on the floor.