ima 居間
KEY WORD : architecture / folk dwellings
Lit. living room. A room commonly utilized as the principal space for daily living.

1 The daily living room for the head of the household in upper class houses, sometimes alternatively referred to as zanoma 座の間 or kyoshitsu 居室. Often used for meals, and for informal meetings and discussions. Distinct from rooms of a more private enclosed nature such as the *nando 納戸.

2 In smaller houses the term was widely used in the Edo period for the principal living room, a communal space, where a family spent most of its waking hours, had their meals, and received visitors on an informal basis. At night lesser members of the household might sleep there. In very small houses, the ima might be the only room and therefore functioned not only as a living room, but also as a guest reception room and a sleeping room for the entire family including the master and his wife. The word is a regional term in the Edo period in Nagano and Miyagi prefectures and widely used in Shikoku 四国 as well. In each case it is used to designate the main living room, a spacious room equipped with an *irori 囲炉裏 or hearth sunk into the floor, adjacent to and usually open to the earth-floored area *doma 土間, of a farmhouse.

*oue 御上 , *hiroma 広間 , *chanoma 茶の間

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