– Tell me about the 17th Century (1600) Japanese pillows I saw in the movie Shogun that look like a block of wood with fabric around them. Is that what they are? How could they be comfortable?

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– Tell me about the 17th Century (1600) Japanese pillows I saw in the movie Shogun that look like a block of wood with fabric around them. Is that what they are? How could they be comfortable?

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4 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

I can’t speak to what style they used in Japan, but a little bit of ergonomically correct neck support is a lot more comfortable than having your head directly flat. If they are scooped into little cups that fit your skull and polished smoothly, I can imagine them being quite comfortable even without much padding. It wouldn’t take much padding to make them surprisingly comfortable if you’re a back sleeper. It’s similar to how a master carpenter can make a wooden chair that’s extremely comfortable just by shaping it and smoothing it correctly.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I’m not an expert, but I’ve read that the hair styles were very difficult to create and maintain. The hair wasn’t frequently washed. to keep the style in good shape, the blocks of wood kept the head up off the mat so the style wouldn’t be crushed

Anonymous 0 Comments

This is about 20 minutes of research condensed:

Soft pillows need to be replaced every 2-4 years, even nowadays, and in less sanitary times would be a nightmare to keep clean. Mold, insects, sweat and dirt discoloration, you name it.

Most Asian and African cultures historically used hard pillows made of wood or stone to support the neck. It was understood how to make a soft pillow but they weren’t very popular for practical reasons. The ancient Chinese believed they were bad for your health.

Soft pillows became popular with wealthy Greeks and Romans in Europe, but died off during the middle ages due to being expensive to upkeep and seen as emasculating. They very slowly came back around the late medieval, but it wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution that your average Joe in Europe would be consistently able to afford a soft pillow in his bed.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Shout-out for the Shogun miniseries! I was just telling my friend to watch that after she finished the book. They did a really great job with minimal late 70s/early 80s cheese. Far better than the Tai Pan miniseries, which was a disaster from start to finish.