Real japanese futon

What is a Futon?

In Japan

Japanese futons are flat, with a thickness of 5 to 12 cm and made of cotton. They are often sold in a set including a mattress (敷き布団, shiki-buton), duvet (掛け布団, kake-buton) and sometimes a pillow (枕, makura). The pillows are traditionally filled with beans or plastic beads. . You can use two shikibuton for comfort, or kakebuton or blanket (毛布, Mofu) extra to warm over.

Futons are designed to be placed on a tatami floor in a Washitsu and are traditionally placed in cupboard called oshiire (押し入れ, oshiire) during the day to allow the tatami to air and allow easy management of small spaces. Direct exposure to sunlight is recommended especially in Japan where the climate is very humid.

In the West

The Western « futons » are different from Japanese on several points and many abusive label are regularly used in the West. The Western « futon » are usually filled with a combination of foam and padding, and are often much thicker and taller than their Japanese homologous, resembling a Western mattress in size. Their mechanical, physiological and biological characteristics have nothing to do with the real Japanese futon.
Most Japanese do not recognize, moreover, Western « futon » as a true futon.

Futon is genuine …

  • the genuine futon is 100% cotton

Cotton has many specific mechanical and biological qualities that no other material can replace. Soft, supple and comfortable, it is an ideal coating to accommodate your body. Hypoallergenic and having high air permeability, futon does not induce any skin irritation, will not keep perspiration and will not give rise to allergic dermatological and/or respoiatory reactions (there are no mites in cotton).
Moreover, cotton is a passive material (without spring effect) hosting the body without forcing it, with nothing to oppose it.
The body can then be placed on a stable surface (not rided on spring) and then the body can actually lie-down.

  • the genuine futon has rounded border

By its constitution, made of many layers of cotton positioned differently on the surface of the sleeping, the border of the futon is necessarily rounding. This feature also allows you to append two futons one beside the other (to make a bed for 2 persons) without feeling trough in the junction of futons.

  • the genuine futon is handmade by a craftsman

No machine intervenes in the production of genuine Futon. To keep its mechanical properties, the cotton must be handcrafted and the different layers must be positioned differently relative to each other (no machine can do it) to avoid any distortion of the futon in the futur.

Traditionally in Japan, the art of making futons was transmitted from generation to generation, and in all families, there was one person who made the futon for the whole family.

  • New, a futon is not thicker than 10/12cm

If cotton sheet are placed correctly relatively for each other, 10-12 cm thick are largely sufficient to obtain a comfortable bed.  A thicker futon is likely to decrease very quickly and become uncomfortable.

  • The genuine futon has only one place (you need 2 futon for a 2 places bed)

Traditionally, the futons were stored every day to allow the possibility of using the room in the day. Japan is very humid, it is necessary to expose to the sun regularly.  To facilitate the handling of futons by only one person, it’s easy to understand that a futon can with difficulty be wider than 90/100cm.
Moreover, the rounded border of futons facilitate the assembly of two to form a futon bed 2 seater, with no inconvenience at the junction of two futons.

This is not an genuine Futon if …

  • …Latex (even natural) and/or coconut fibers are used

The presence of a material other than cotton cancels the benefits of mechanical and physiological characteristics of cotton.  Cotton is a passive material (without spring effect) hosting the body without forcing it, with nothing to oppose it.

  • …wool (even organic) enters in its composition

Although high quality, wool can not enter into the composition of a genuine futon. Just remember that our grandparent’s wool mattress had to be carded regularly to maintain their comfort. This is not the case with cotton futons that will blow up with sunshine …

  • …the outline is quilted like a modern mattress

A quilted border, as in Western mattresses, is incompatible with a handmade futons.

  • … It has 2 seats

For the reasons that we developed above, a genuine futon is never wider than 90 cm. It is therefore not possible to have a futon for 2. A sleeping for 2 persons is realized without difficulty with 2 futons.

  • … it is industrially produced

Authentic futon must be handmade.

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