Why do Japanese houses take off their shoes?

Japanese people take off their shoes at the entrance and enter the house, and live barefoot or slippers in the house.
In the world, very few countries live without shoes.
Why do Japanese people take off their shoes and go up?

Since Japan is a tatami culture, do Japanese people take off their shoes?

The first thing that many people think of is that “Japan has always been a tatami culture.”
However, if you compare the history of living barefoot in the house with the history of tatami mats, you can see that it is not the correct answer.
It is said that the culture of taking off shoes was born about 2000 years ago.
Although tatami mats existed about 1200 years ago, tatami mats became popular among townspeople about 300 years ago, and even rural areas began to live on tatami mats about 150 years ago.
It is. Moreover, tatami mats before 1300 AD were generally placed on a wooden floor with a few tatami mats, and were not spread in the room.
It feels like a rug.
Therefore, it is strange that footwear is not suitable for walking around on tatami mats and people have come to take off their shoes.

Relationship between Japanese climate and taking off shoes

One of the reasons for taking off shoes is the Japanese environment.
That is the climate of Japan. It is said that the origin of leather shoes was made by the Germanic people to protect their feet from the cold and dust.
The climate of Japan is the opposite of that of the Germanic people.
Wearing shoes in hot and humid conditions with a lot of rain makes the feet of people living in Japan stuffy and uncomfortable.
So it’s clear that people in Japan are better off barefoot.

The high humidity is also reflected in the difference between Japanese and foreign homes.
Japanese houses have a stilt structure with a stilt structure under the rim to prevent moisture from accumulating.
Therefore, the entrance is not flat like in Europe and the United States, but there is a stile.
It is psychologically uncomfortable to step up one step further with your lower legs.
From this, we can see that a house built for the climate of Japan is not a house structure that can be put in with shoes.

Japanese concept and taking off shoes

Another reason is the concept peculiar to Japanese people.
In folklore, there are “inside” and “outside” as Japanese concepts.
The Japanese are a people who clearly distinguish between “inside” and “outside.”
When it comes to a house, the inside of the house is “inside” and the outside of the house is “outside”.
The Japanese sanctify the inside of the house and regard the outside of the house as foreign.
Therefore, when entering from the outside to the inside, do not drop unclean things (injuries) from the outside at the entrance that corresponds to the boundary and do not bring them into the house.
One of the actions of dropping the unclean thing is to take off the shoes. On the contrary, putting on and wearing shoes when going out may also mean protecting yourself from injury.
The inside of the house is a clean place in the barrier, and there is no need to guard, so you can stay barefoot and unprotected.
This may be the reason why you can relax when you take off your shoes.
Since ancient times, it has been said that God dwells in all things in Japan.
From the idea that there is a god in a Japanese house, it may have become a custom to take off shoes as a courtesy to God.


Even if I cThis article explained the custom of taking off Japanese shoes. Let’s take off your shoes when you come to Japan!

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