Second Life Project A – Genkan

So I searched for a place at a good price. There are a few good places I suppose, but I settled on Little Yoshiwara because there are actually people there every day and the pricing is reasonable, so I don’t feel like I am blowing all my money experimenting. Unfortunately, no houses were available and only an apartment was available, but it is still a washitsu (和室) apartment, which means a Japanese-style room.

Second Life Yoshiwara Bare Apartment_001

The SL apartment is completely bare except for walls and flooring. Because the flooring is tatami…I wonder if I can lay down flooring for a genkan…which leads me to today’s topic:

When you first enter a Japanese home, you enter through the genkan (玄関). Even small modern apartments have a genkan, although they may look quite different. When you enter the genkan of the home, this is where you remove your shoes, store them, and put on house slippers before entering the rest of the home. Some genkan are lower than the floor of the rest of the home, but in apartments for example, sometimes the genkan floor is level with the rest of the floor. On JapaneseStyle (Twitter) , it is described as ” somewhat connect(ing) the outside world to the inside of the house.” I found these simple words beautiful as it reminds me of the function of torii which connect the heavenly/spiritual world and the earthly world. In fact, I found my hunch was right and that genkan started in zen temples. I actually had no clue about this, but I marveled at the parallels in the symbolism. Then, in the 17th century, samurai began using genkan in their homes, and it soon became the fashion.

( 照正組イベント)

When I have seen genkan, there is some painting, some pictures, some flowers, or some other decoration. In fact, when you think of it, when people enter your home, the genkan is their first impression of you, so you want it to look marvelous. The lowered part of the genkan is called doma. In my old apartment in Osaka, the floor was just linoleum or something, but in old traditional homes such as in Kyoto, you can see stone floors and other beautiful natural floors. My apartment genkan was slightly lower than the apartment floor, but I have been places where it is a step or two lower. There is also somewhere to store your shoes. Traditionally, this is the getabako (geta are the traditional shoes and bako/hako means box). The getabako looks like shelves, lockers or cabinets and vary in size.


I am not going to spend much time explaining genkan etiquette. Although it is important, I don’t think I can express it in Second Life, so it’s difficult to make it a part of this project. For now at least, this is mostly a visual project.


Sorry, this is NOT so formal, I will list my references’ direct links but not in APA style or anything simply because I am tired from school (><) If I remember later on, I will come back and polish this list up


“30 Minutes traditional japanese design Tutorial”

“Traditional Japanese Entryway with a Genkan and Getabako”

Asako, F. (2002, March 15). “The Vestibule Tells You
Something about the Home” (Nipponia No. 20)

Preetha. (2015, June 26). “Traditional Japanese Houses, Everything You Need To Know And More!”


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