Do you know the plant “Igusa”, the raw material of tatami?
The surface of Tatami is covered with carpet of woven “Igusa” plant.
Though there are new tatami made with new materials that is adapted to modern housing, in old times, tatami was always made with Igusa.
Have you ever seen Igusa closely?
Actually, you can find plants close to Igusa in Europe and North America.
In Japan, large part of Igusa is cultivated in Kumamoto prefecture in west-south part of Japan which holds 80 to 90% share of Japan-made tatami coverings.
Igusa is fresh green color with glaze on its surface and is smooth to touch.
And they have particular odor of young weed. Glaze, smoothness to the touch and the smell like we are lying on a field.
These characteristics continue even after they are made into tatami covering so we can enjoy it fully in the room with tatami.
The characteristics of Igusa might have played a role in Japanese people regarding tatami room as “space of calmness” from the long time age.