Popular Japanese Zaisu Chairs
Zaisu chairs are very particular style of Japanese chairs. These chairs are most commonly used in traditional Japanese rooms known as washitsu. Not all homes have a washitsu. In those that do, this room may only be used occasionally for special events or guests. Washitsu rooms have straw tatami mats on the floor and may feature other traditional pieces of furniture and decor such as shoji doors and windows. Traditional Japanese meals are served at low tables. The diners will then sit directly on the tatami mats or on cushions, called zabutons, placed around the table. The correct sitting position for these occasions is known as seiza. When sitting in seiza, one kneels with the legs folded directly beneath the body. While sitting in seiza was once very common in Japan, this practice has fallen out of style. This position can be uncomfortable when used for long periods of time. Foreigners, especially, may have difficulty with sitting in seiza through an entire meal.
Zaisu chairs provide a compromise between sitting in seiza on tatami mats or zabutons, and sitting in chairs with legs. The back of the zaisu chair provides the support needed for one to stretch out in a more comfortable position. The legs can be extended in front of the diner rather than tucked beneath him when he is using this type of chair.