Japanese House Info
Traditional Japanese homes consist of a roof supported by only pillars and beams along the outside, leaving the sides and interior largely unencumbered. Removable sliding panels are used that serve as walls, windows or entrance doors. These panels are very light and can be easily removed and stored to one side when not in use.
The Japanese house layout is divided into notional rooms by the use of wooden tracks in the floor and ceiling as well as under the edge of the roofline. All "walls", both internal and external, are made up of either shoji or fusuma panels.
Tatami mats are used to insulate the floor and provide a comfortable and hygienic surface, and the room size and measurements are determined by the number of these standardised mats. An 8-tatami room can be seen in the foreground, with at least 2 further rooms behind that. Consequently the shoji, fusuma and ranma sizes are based on the dimensions of the tatami (about 1.8m x 0.9m), as shown.
If light is required inside the room or between rooms, a sliding or fixed shoji panel is used, with its translucent washi paper diffusing available light from outside and maintaining privacy within. If an opaque partition is preferred, a sliding or fixed fusuma panel separates one room from the next. A mixture of both panel types is common, or even shoji within a fusuma panel as seen in the image.
All partitions can be removed to form a larger room for guests. This adaptability and flexibilty uniquely defines the Japanese home.