Many Americans would not have a clue what you mean if you were to ask them what they know about shoji screens and doors. On they other hand, just about everyone would have an “AHA!” moment if you were to show them an example of one. The fact is if you ever ever seen a movie or television program depicting an authentic Japanese home, you have probably seen plenty shoji screen room dividers, doors, and windows.
The word “shoji” is a Japanese architectural term for door, window, or divider. Basically, shoji doors, windows, and dividers are constructed from translucent paper that is placed over a wooden frame to create shoji panels. Traditionally, the frames used to make Japanese room dividers are bamboo, and the specific type of paper used is called “washi.”
Washi paper originated in Japan and is fabricated from fibers made from either gampi tree bark, paper mulberry, or the mitsumata shrub. But some Japanese artisans have been known to use rice, wheat, hemp, and bamboo to make washi paper, as well.
During ancient times, shoji Japanese room screens were served primarily as room dividers, but were also used as during elaborate ceremonies. While shoji screens remain common household items in Japan, modern interior designers all around the world have adapted them for their purposes. Since shoji Japanese room screens can add an exotic look to homes and apartments in other parts of the world.
In addition to the exotic feel and ambiance that shoji panels can add to a home or apartment, they are also very eco-friendly. This is primarily due to the fact that bamboo is the most sustainable wood on earth. Wash paper can be made from highly sustainable materials, as well.
It is also important to note that Japanese room dividers also help to reduce the need for excess lighting. This is because their translucent qualities allows one bright light to be conducted between different sections of a room. This makes shoji screens ideal for large studio or loft apartments where sections of a room must be divided for purposes of privacy.