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The traditional style of Japanese bedding consisting of padded mattresses and quilts pliable enough to be folded and stored away during the day, allowing the room to serve for purposes other than as a bedroom. The bedding set referred to as futon in Japan fundamentally consists of a shikibuton (bottom mattress) and a kakebuton (thick quilted bedcover). The word is Sino-Japanese, originally meaning 'round cushions filled with cattail flower spikes'; it is derived from Chinese fu 'cattail' + ton 'round.'

A futon is a flat mattress with a fabric exterior stuffed with cotton, wool, or synthetic batting that makes up a Japanese bed. Futons are sold in Japan at specialty stores called futon'ya as well as at department stores. They are often sold in sets that include the futon mattress (shikibuton), a comforter (kakebuton) or blanket (mōfu), a summer blanket resembling a large towel (taoruketto), and a pillow (makura) generally filled with beans, buckwheat chaff, or plastic beads. Futons are designed to be placed on tatami flooring, and are traditionally folded away and stored in a closet during the day to allow the tatami to breathe and to allow for flexibility in the use of the room. Futons must be aired in sunlight regularly, especially if not put away during the day. In addition, many Japanese beat their futons regularly using a "futon tataki", a special implement, traditionally made from bamboo, resembling a Western carpet beater.

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Last updated: 04/11/11 11:17 PM by jedi1357
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