okami 御上
KEY WORD : architecture / folk dwellings
1 A room that abutted the earth-floored area *doma 土間, at its high end *kamite 上手, in farmhouses nouka 農家, in Iwate, Miyagi, Yamagata and Fukushima prefectures. It was usually in the rear of the house between the roof ridge and the back of the building. The okami functioned as an everyday living room and as a room for entertaining guests of equivalent or lesser status than the owner. It usually had a raised timber floor with an open hearth *irori 囲炉裏, around which meals were eaten and some cooking was done. It often had an open ceiling, revealing the roof structure above. Outside the strictly architectural context, okami was used to refer respectfully to one of high rank or status:the emperor, a government official, a lord, one's master to the wife of another person, or to the proprietress of an inn or eating house. As a term of respect for women, it paralleled that of *oue 御上, which was likewise used as a room name. See also *joui 上居, *daidokoro 台所, *chanoma 茶の間, *ima 居間.

2 In urban merchant houses *machiya 町家, in parts of Iwate prefecture, which had the entrance in the gable end *tsumairi 妻入り, facing the street, the third living room back from the shop *mise 店, at the front. The okami, was adjacent to the earth-floored, and was equipped with an irori and functioned as an everyday living room.

3 In traditional farmhouses nouka 農家, in parts of Yamagata prefecture, a term for the principal *shoin 書院 style reception room kamizashiki 上座敷, of an L-plan kagi zashiki 鍵座敷 suite at the high end *kamite 上手, of the farmhouse. It also had the usual shoin appurtenances such as the decolation alcove *tokonoma 床の間.


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