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A zabuton (座布団, Japanese pronunciation: [d͡za̠bɯ̟ᵝtõ̞ɴ]) is a Japanese cushion for sitting. The zabuton is generally used when sitting on the floor and may also be used when sitting on a chair. In a more casual setting, the zabuton can be used in conjunction with a zaisu, a type of Japanese legless chair, with or without an accompanying kyōsoku (脇息), a Japanese-style armrest. Ordinarily, any place in Japan where seating is on the floor will be provided with zabuton for sitting comfort. A typical zabuton measures 50–70 cm (20–30 inches) square and is several centimetres thick when new.
Zabuton are found throughout Japan and enter many aspects of the culture.
- In Zen meditation, practitioners sit on zafu, which is typically placed on top of a zabuton. The zabuton cushions the knees and ankles.
- In sumo, members of the audience throw zabuton toward the ring after the upset of a yokozuna by a lower-ranked wrestler, despite the dangers.
- In rakugo, performers are not allowed to rise from their zabuton for the duration of their skit.
- In yose, notably on the long-running television show Shōten, comedians receive zabuton as a form of scoring.
- In jidaigeki, according to a stereotype, the boss prisoner in a jail cell receives all the zabuton from his or her cell mates.
- Ryall, Julian (20 October 2008). "Japan bans cushion throwing at sumo tournament". The Telegraph. Tokyo.
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