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Japanese Chairs

When seated at a table, the Japanese traditionally kneel. Japanese tables are typically very low to the ground in order to accommodate this type of sitting. However, kneeling in this manner tended to become very painful, so chairs called “zaisu” were developed. Zaisu, very common in modern-day Japanese homes, do not have legs but include a cushion, a backrest, and sometimes an armrest for relaxed sitting.

Despite the fact that modern-day Japan still retains the traditional floor seating, Western-style chairs with legs were adopted after World War II. These raised seats were called “koshikake” and were reserved mostly for aristocracy. Still, in preference of tatami mats and garden stools, raised koshikake chairs are not very common in Japan and are mostly made for Western export and trade.


Quick Facts

  • Zaisu was not only used for sitting at a dining table, but could also be used for comfort while meditating or simply lounging
  • ”Koshikake” literally translates to “a place to hang one’s hips” and not only refers to Western-style chairs, but also to raised benches and waiting areas of tea ceremonies
  • Western-style chairs had been introduced to Japan on three separate occasions, each time rejected until after the Second World War

Recommended Items at Auction

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A Japanese ladderback oak carver chair, mid 19th century, 57cm across the arms
Nov 06, 10:00 AM AEDT
A Japanese ladderback oak carver chair, mid 19th century, 57cm across the arms
by Leski Auctions Pty Ltd
Est: AUD100- AUD200
AUD800 Bids

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Leski Auctions Pty Ltd

Leski Auctions Pty Ltd