Summer is the picking season of “Igusa” the material of Tatami
Traditional Tatami material “Igusa”
is a plant that grows in marsh or shallow water.
80 to 90% of Igusa used for Tatami is made in Yashiro, Kumamoto, in south-west of Japan.
Its picking season is in summer. In Kumamoto in July this year, picking of Igusa was done as every year.
Igusa is grown on paddy field like rice.
Igusa grown to 1.5 m of height are picked with special machine. Summer strong sunshine can change the fresh green color so picking is done before dawn and after sunset.
Picked Igusa is cooled with water and then dried covered with clay.
Though it continues in Yashiro, the representative production area of Igusa, the production amount of Igasa is decreasing.
Compared to that of 30 years ago, field area and the number of Igusa farmers have both dropped by one-tenth.
Recently, Japanese paper is getting attention as a material for Tatami.
It has more durability, anti-stain property and has less mites or fungus.
Tatami is changing itself as the time goes by.