Shōji

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Japanese room with sliding shōji doors and tatami flooring

In traditional Japanese architecture, a shōji (障子?) is a door, window or room divider consisting of translucent paper over a frame of wood which holds together a lattice of wood or bamboo. While washi is the traditional paper, shōji may be made of paper made by modern manufacturing processes; plastic is also in use.

Function

Shōji doors are often designed to slide open, and thus conserve space that would be required by a swinging door.

They are used in traditional houses as well as Western-style housing, especially in the washitsu (Japanese-style room). In modern construction, the shōji does not form the exterior surface of the building; it sits inside a sliding glass door or window.

Etymology

Formerly the word shōji could apply to both fusuma and shōji although with a formal distinction of "karagami shōji" 唐紙障子(fusuma) and "akari shōji" 明り障子(shōji).

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