Japanese

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Kanji in this term

Grade: 5
(ateji)
とん
Grade: 5
goon tōon
Alternative spellings
布團 (kyūjitai)
蒲団
 
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布団 (futon): traditional Japanese futon bedding, with the 敷布団 (shiki-buton) on the bottom, and the 掛け布団 (kake-buton) on top.

Etymology

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Borrowed from written Chinese, possibly early Mandarin 蒲團蒲团 (pútuán), likely as part of the importation of Zen Buddhism, for which practice these were originally used. First cited in Japanese to a text from the early-mid 1200s with the "meditation cushion" sense.[1]

Originally referred literally to a (, “bulrush, cattail”) (tuán, “ball”), from the way these were round cushions made from woven bulrush leaves.[1][2]

After the term was borrowed, the usage and construction of these cushions changed and the connection with bulrushes was weakened, leading to the simpler character (fu, cloth) being used as a replacement for (fu, bulrush, cattail).

Pronunciation

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  • (Tokyo) とん [fùtóń] (Heiban – [0])[3]
  • IPA(key): [ɸɯ̟̊ᵝtõ̞ɴ]
  • Audio:(file)

Noun

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()(とん) (futon

  1. [from early-mid 1200s] (Buddhism, specifically Zen) a round cushion made of woven bulrush leaves, used for zazen seated Zen meditation
  2. [from 1592] short for 座布団 (zabuton, “seat / sitting cushion”)
  3. [from 1638] (most common sense in modern usage) traditional Japanese-style bedding, more specifically the 敷布団 (shiki-buton, mattress, literally spreading / laying-down futon) or 掛け布団 (kake-buton, duvet or quilt, literally covering futon), or a set of both, spread directly on a tatami floor
    布団(ふとん)()
    futon o shiku
    to lay out the futon → to make the bed
    布団(ふとん)をあげる
    futon o ageru
    to raise the futon → to put away the bedding

Usage notes

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  • 布団 may refer to just the mattress, just the comforter, or the entire bed consisting of both.
  • Note that the Japanese term has no "furniture" sense, unlike the borrowed English term futon, which can refer to a specific kind of sofa-bed.

Derived terms

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Descendants

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References

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  1. 1.0 1.1 蒲団・布団”, in 日本国語大辞典 [Nihon Kokugo Daijiten]‎[1] (in Japanese), concise edition, Tokyo: Shogakukan, 2000
  2. ^ 布団”, in デジタル大辞泉 [Digital Daijisen]‎[2] (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan, updated roughly every four months
  3. ^ NHK Broadcasting Culture Research Institute, editor (1998), NHK日本語発音アクセント辞典 [NHK Japanese Pronunciation Accent Dictionary] (in Japanese), Tokyo: NHK Publishing, Inc., →ISBN
  • 2000, Jonathan Bunt, Gillian Hall, The Oxford Starter Japanese Dictionary, First Edition, New York: Oxford University Press, →ISBN