Illuminated by the sun during the day and by lights during the night, Shoji will lighten a room up.
Have you seen a traditional Japanese house in a movie or a TV drama?
Or have you stayed at a ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn) when you visited Japan?
Haven’t you seen shoji there, perhaps? It is the latticed screen that is located on the inside of windows or at room partitions.
You can’t leave out shoji when mentioning Japanese style rooms, however they don’t just serve as a divider; they are also traditional furniture, filled with the culture and wisdom of the Japanese people.
Shoji are made by pasting translucent Japanese washi paper onto one side of a wooden frame. They have the effect of blocking views into the room from the outside while still letting in a reasonable amount of sunlight that brightly engulfs the room. Also, shoji turn into a section of wall at night, reflecting room lights and enhancing their illumination effect.
Washi is also absorptive and has a ventilation capability. This is ideal in Japan, with its very humid climate. It also has insulating properties, which increases the effect of air-conditioning and heating when used in combination with glass doors and windows.
You may have seen a kind of shoji where the bottom half has been made to slide upwards in places such as ryokan. These are known as yukimi-shoji, and have been designed so that you may enjoy the view of the garden even with the Shoji closed.
Because shoji are made using paper, they tear easily if bumped into. Yet because of this, they can also be quickly repaired.
Even so, you must not break the shoji at a ryokan!