Slipper Spirit in Japan - Why do we take off our shoes in the house?

Slipper Spirit in Japan - Why do we take off our shoes in the house?

In Japan, the word "slipper" means all indoor footwear. Since ancient times, it has been a deep rooted cultural tradition in Japan to take off one's shoes in the house.

The reasons for this are due to lifestyles in Japan, with its "tatami" culture, as well as its climate and topography.
In a humid and rainy country like Japan, entering the house with one's shoes on would damage the tatami mats and wooden floors.
Also, in the traditional "tatami" custom of sleeping on the floor, one needs to avoid tracking dirt into the house on their shoes.
However, the manners of "take your shoes off before entering the house" mean more than just this.
There is also the matter of respect for one's landlord, along with the meaning of dividing rooms with distinction and judgment.
This kind of restriction on shoes is a custom in Japan, but as with the reasons Japanese style slippers were created, it can cause friction with people from other cultural backgrounds.

Because of this, slippers in Japan bear an important role aside from their physical function, as a spiritual mediator between oneself and people from "outside the house".

In the Japan we live in, there are many households that prepare special slippers for visitors to use.

"Slippers" remind us of the enjoyment of inviting valued guests into our homes.

 

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