kamite 上手
KEY WORD : architecture / general terms
Lit. upper hand. Upper end or high end. The position or seat of higher rank, or the superior position in a hierarchy. In traditional Japanese theater, kamite is the equivalent of stage left (though it should be noted that since the Japanese, unlike Westerners, specified stage positions from the point of view of the audience, they would say it was on the right). In the context of an architectural layout, the kamite is the most exalted space in a suite of connected spaces, and usually the space most remote from the entrance. Thus, in a *shoin 書院 style reception hall, the ultimate kamite space, with the raised-floor room *joudan 上段, decorative alcove *tokonoma 床の間 and associated features is the final room of the suite, furthest from the entrance hall *genkan 玄関. In traditional vernacular houses *minka 民家 of the Edo period, kamite are rooms used on highly formal occasions at the end of the house furthest removed from the earth-floored area *doma 土間. Houses with the kamite at the left hand end of the building, as one faces it, are the most numerous. One space is often described as being kamite (in a hierarchically superior position) with respect to another, and this is used as a convenient way of describing the relative positions of rooms within a building or buildings within a complex. The complementary opposite of kamite is *shimote 下手 (lower hand). In minka the progression from i to kamite usually runs parallel to the ridge of the roof, except in the rare cases in which earth-floored and raised-floor living rooms divide along a line parallel to the ridge, as in the gable entry *tsumairi 妻入 nosegata 能勢型 houses of Osaka and Kyoto regions.


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