Japanese Page

In ancient times, Japanese lived in dugouts which were unfloored. Later, however, Japanese came to make floors and separated their bedrooms from the unfloored area. In a farmhouse, the unfloored part played the role of a working area and separated the interior of the house from the open air. Japanese used to take off their shoes and clean their feet in the unfloored part and then enter the interior. Japan has a rainy climate, and therefore Japanese often end up with muddy shoes and feet. Also, some rooms are floored with tatami (straw mattings) and Japanese feel it is inappropriate to walk on tatami with their shoes on. The work pattern of Japanese has changed in recent times, and the entrance part of their homes is much smaller than it was in the past. However, Japanese still feel they shouldn't dirty the interior and they retain the custom of taking their shoes off when they enter a home.