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Futon (布団 – Japanese Bedding)

  • Futon


    Yesterday I bought a futon (布団).

    A futon is a kind of bedding made of cotton or feathers and is very common in Japan.

    Originally, the kanji of futon (布団) was written as “蒲団,” and futon meant a round rug made by weaving leaves of cattails for Zen sitting meditation.

    (“蒲” means leaves of cattails and “団” means circle.)

    In the Edo period, people began to create larger “futons” made of cloth or cotton, and they have come to be used as not only rugs but also bedding.

    Since leaves of cattails were no longer used in that period, the kanji “蒲” was changed to “布,” which means “cloth.”

    Currently, futon (布団) has come to mean usually bedding, whereas rugs for sitting have come to be called zabuton (座布団) by adding za (座 – sitting).

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