hiroma 広間
KEY WORD : architecture / folk dwellings, aristcratic dwellings, tea houses
1 The generic term used for a large room occupying the full cross section of a building in Edo period farmhouses, nouka 農家, of the hiroma type *hiromagata 広間型, especially the widely-distributed three-room hiroma type, hiromagata mimadori 広間型三間取り. It was at the center of the farmhouse, on one side of the earth-floored area *doma 土間, and usually adjacent to a pair of raised- floor rooms, a formal reception room and sleeping room, on the other. It was a multi-purpose space, functioning as a main living room, an entertainment space for guests except on very formal occasions, and as a space for work of a sedentary nature. The rear half of the hiroma together with the rear half of the doma, constituted the main food preparation area. There was often an open hearth *irori 囲炉裏, set in the floor (sometimes two), around which the family gathered for meals and conversation. In primitive examples, the floor was hard packed earth *doza 土座, but in more refined examples there was a raised floor of boarding or bamboo. Straw mats *tatami 畳, were rarely used in this space, except on special occasions, but the boarding might sometime be overlaid with thin straw mats of mushiro 筵, or individual round mats. The hiroma often had no ceiling to mask the roof construction, and there was in many cases a smoke louver *kemuridashi 煙出し, in the roof above the hearth. In some regions, however, it had a ceiling of slatted boards or bamboo which was permeable to smoke. This also functioned as the floor of a storage loft above. The hiroma was generally closed to the back rooms by lengths of wall or sliding doors, but it was not unusual for it to be completely open to the doma, or only minimally divided from it with open bays and slatted windows at the interface. Although the term hiroma is a convenient one for researchers, it has a wide variety of local names, such as *oue 御上, *zashiki 座敷, *ima 居間, *daidokoro 台所, *katte 勝手, itanoma 板の間, and others.

2 A room found to the rear of the store *mise 店, and adjacent to the doma in townhouses *machiya 町家 in Gifu prefecture. It has lofts above it and is not partitioned from the earth-floored area *doma 土間. Its boarded floor is exposed.

3 In *hirairi 平入り farmhouses in the Kantou 関東 region, especially Tokyo, Saitama, Kanagawa, and Ibaraki prefectures, in Hokuriku 北陸, especially Toyama and Ishikawa prefectures, and in farmhouses and townhouses in northern Kyuushuu 九州, especially Ooita and Fukuoka prefectures, the hiroma is a large room at the front of the house, adjacent to the earth-floored area *doma 土間, usually with the kitchen, or a sleeping/store room immediately, behind it. It is used as a living room and in varying degrees for guest reception. The room is often unceiled, or if there is a ceiling, it is generally placed above the main beams, which are thus exposed and become a principal design feature, as with the deliberately oversized nijuu igeta 二重井桁 or double well-cribform beams found in Hokuriku. *Tatami 畳 are sometimes used but the floor of board or bamboo is often exposed, and may be equipped with a hearth. The boundary with the doma may be wholly or partially partitioned, and that with the kitchen area is usually partitioned.

4 Especially in the large houses of the wealthiest village headmen in Chuubu 中部 and Hokuriku 北陸, a room similar in character to that described in 3 above, but not always adjacent to the doma. It often has tatami matting. Believed to have been used for the reception of middle ranking visitors and as a waiting area for retainers.

5 In farmhouses with a single row of rooms, ichiretsugata nouka 一列型農家, in Shikoku 四国, the large room furthest from the doma. Also called *zashiki 座敷 or *omote 表, this room, although often containing an hearth and not truly *shoin 書院 in style, functioned as the formal guest reception room.

6 In vernacular dwellings *minka 民家 in the Kansai and some other districts toward the end of the Edo period, a large formal shoin style *shoin-zukuri 書院造, reception room, equipped with decorative alcove *tokonoma 床の間, staggered shelves *chigaidana 違い棚, and other features. Sometimes called oohiroma 大広間. It may be a separate structure, analogous to hanare zashiki 離れ座敷.

7 Tea ceremony rooms *chashitsu 茶室 larger than 4 1/2 mats *yojouhan 四畳半, to a maximum of about eighteen mats in size. Until the time of Takeno Jouou 武野紹鴎 (1502-55) and Sen Rikyuu 千利休 (1522-91), tea ceremony rooms were usually six to eight mats in size and only a moveable shelf *daisu 台子 was used to hold the utensils. The room contained some basic elements of the *shoin 書院: the alcove with a built-in table, tsukeshoin 付書院; staggered shelves *chigaidana 違い棚; and occasionally a raised floor *joudan 上段. The first hiroma is said to have been created by Murata Jukou 村田珠光 (1422-1502) and Jouou. If a 4 1/2 mat room was adjacent to a larger tea ceremony room, it could be called hiroma. Hiroma were also divided into formal, shin 真, semi-formal, gyou 行 and informal, sou 草, depending on the structure, the materials used and the room finishing. Example: Zangetsutei 残月亭 at Omotesenke 表千家, Kyoto.


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