Kamiza

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A traditional Japanese room with a tokonoma

Kamiza (上座?) is the Japanese language term referring to the "top seat" within a room, meaning the place of honor; the term also applies to the best seats in air-planes, trains, and cars. The antonym, meaning "bottom seat," is shimoza (下座). In a room, the kamiza is the seat or position that is most comfortable, usually furthest from the door -- because this is warmest, and was safest from attack back in the feudal period. In a traditional washitsu room it would often be a zabuton placed so the person sitting there has his back to the tokonoma; the kamiza is the spot closest to the tokonoma or simply farthest from the door in a room lacking a tokonoma. In a Western-style room it would be a comfortable armchair or sofa, or the head of a table. The term is general, and does not only apply to Japanese culture.[dubious ]

Choosing a seat[edit]

When entering a room in Japan on a formal occasion, it is of great importance to assume the correct seating position, and to leave the kamiza free for the most important person present, whether it is a special guest or the person of highest rank. However, if one humbly sits somewhere indicative of lower status and is then encouraged by the host to move to the kamiza, it is acceptable to do so.

The best seats in a car in descending order of rank are: directly behind the driver, behind the front passenger, in the middle of the back seat, front passenger seat, driver.[citation needed] In air-plane or train passenger seating, the "top seat" is the window-side, followed by the aisle seat and then the middle seat.[citation needed]

In dojo[edit]

In the dojo (training halls) of many Japanese martial arts, the kamiza is the location of a small Shinto shrine which is called a kamidana.[clarification needed] [1] [2] [3] [4] The front of the dōjō may also simply be called "front" (正面 shōmen) or the shinza.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ images at 吾が修行時代を振り帰る daitouryu.net
  2. ^ images at 道場 風景 jujutsu.com
  3. ^ image "道場神棚" Shinmeikan kendo dojo
  4. ^ 道場の神棚 日本空手道松濤會 (Japan Karatedo Shotokai)

See also[edit]