The manner in the tatami room is “seiza (sitting straight)” But is this history surprisingly short?

2017.02.18

The manner in the tatami room is “seiza (sitting straight)” But is this history surprisingly short?

If we visit the tatami room in Japan, the correct manner is sitting in
“seiza”.

The correct sitting way is aligning knees and stooping, and putting one’s bottom
on own legs folded beneath.

If you stay in “seiza” for a long time, legs will be numb so that
this is a difficult sitting way especially for people from abroad who are not used to “seiza”.
Even Japanese people are numb by seiza.

Is there a manner of “seiza” in the tatami room from old times in Japan?
Actually the history is surprisingly short.

Long time ago, “seiza” is a posture to pray for the God or Budha, and meet with
“Shogun”
who is the highest ranked samurai in Japan.

Daily sitting ways are
“agura (to sit cross-legged)”
or
“tatehiza (to sit with one knee drawn up)”.

When there were tea ceremonies for a long time ago, even the high ranked master of
tea ceremony made a tea in
“agura”.

The tatami was putted at home by only high ranked people before, so the room with wood floor was
standard instead of the tatami.
This is why
“agura” and “tatehiza”
were daily sitting ways.

But about 100 years ago, the samurai period was ended and there were no more status system in Japan,
so any people could put the tatami at their home.
At the same time, the new government in Japan to achieve the modernization disciplined
Japanese people and introduced “seiza” as the correct way to sit for making differentiation
from foreign cultures.

Because of spreading the tatami to standard home and a policy by the new government,
“seiza” became the correct sitting way on the tatami room.

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