Do you often feel oppressed by your home? If the answer is yes and you don’t know what to do about it, you are in the right place. Ka-So is the answer to mental disorder, and is based on a principle that perfectly matches those of the Kaizen method: getting rid of objects that no longer give us joy, tidying up, making room, returning to essentiality. Ka-So is a type of Japanese philosophy very similar to Chinese Feng Shui which aims to read and interpret the landscape, shapes, external and internal spaces, making the most out of the positive influences that these can instill in the inhabitants.
Japanese houses are furnished with the bare minimum, being also the void, intended as a container, also and not only of time, part of the furniture. Empty, in physics, indicates the space not occupied by matter, but the terms interlude and interval, its synonyms, reveal another aspect of its being. Having space is fundamental, but not only in daily life, also among the things we have welcomed into our home.
The essence of the ship is the emptiness inside it.Lao Tzu
The Ka-So: origins and principles
The Ka-So comes from notions imported to Japan by an itinerant Buddhist monk in the last decades of the sixth century. From that moment on, even the planning of cities began to follow pre-established schemes and real departments for the supervision of architectural projects were established. Kyoto itself (the capital of Japan until 1868) was designed according to the principles of Ka-So.
The fundamental rule is to get rid of everything that has no use, to give away all unnecessary things and keep order in all environments. By removing these objects, we get rid of negative energies and give the positive ones the possibility to circulate more easily. All of this has its roots in geomancy: the balance of spaces, the harmony that lies in the objects and the beauty of the forms are fundamental.
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Each room has its own philosophy:
This room should be located as far as possible from the entrance to the house or the street. The ideal would be that it overlooked a natural landscape. The principles of Ka-So advise against putting mirrors in this room and placing the bed so that the head is facing east, never towards the entrance, as well as the feet. A curiosity: it is recommended to place the adult’s room to the west, and the children’s room to the east. As for the walls, the best colors are blue and green, while for the furniture you should prefer furnishing elements with rounded edges.
The real star of this room is the bed. The ideal is the Tatami Bed: with the tatamis resting directly on the floor. Unlike the beds equipped with slats, this model allows you to walk barefoot on the tatami. The bed frame is 5 cm thick on each side and is joined with a herringbone joint entirely in wood. You can buy it here for € 643.
The living room:
An ideal living room should be square-shaped. The sofa should preferably be placed against the wall, in order to keep the shoulders of those sitting on it covered. It would be better to abound with candles and not use too strong artificial lights. As for the sofa and armchairs, the choice should be minimalist and functional. An example is the Futon Armchair, a multifunctional armchair upholstered in Woolmix and Foam Core with a very original but functional design, as it can be transformed into a guest bed (you always have to optimize!).
Just detach the 4 velcro straps on the backrest and it quickly becomes a crescent futon, suitable for a nap, meditation or simple relaxation. You can buy it here: 199€.
In this case there are no particularly stringent rules; the important thing is that it is not near the kitchen. The Japanese bathroom (furoba), however, differs a lot from the Western one in that it is really reduced to the bone in terms of furnishings. What interests us most about this room, however, is the bathtub, smaller and deeper than the ones we are used to seeing in our homes.
This type of tub is perfect for to practice the Ofuro: a Japanese ritual of purification of the body and spirit from daily stress consisting in immersing oneself, after having washed, in a wooden bathtub filled with hot water.
Although it looks like a wine barrel, this Ofuro bathtub is an essential and incredibly revolutionary piece of furniture. In addition to being perfect for rituals, it is also an excellent retreat to cool off after a sauna. You can find it here at the price of 800€.
This room must be quiet and should be furnished in order to ensure the concentration of those who are preparing food. The door must not be behind the cook and the stove must not be near the window. Fundamental: keep the work plan tidy.
In this case, if you are brave enough, you could try with a Kotatsu and some Zaisu chairs. The coffee table is woven in the Japanese tradition, however it had to adapt to the needs of metropolitan life, rising a few centimeters. However the more functional alternatives are no less suitable.
In this case, Kenji Fujimori’s design studio comes to our aid, with a table in natural oak grain €1,125.36 and matching chairs lined with green fabric. You can buy them here.
Obviously, it is not always possible to revolutionize your home to follow the rules of Ka-So…
So there are also more general rules, related to colors, lighting and furniture shapes that are easier to follow and less expensive. The most important principles are:
- Being able to keep an eye on the front door while sitting at your desk, cooking or lying on the bed – This is essential for relaxing and letting go, living the home with serenity. Furthermore, an excessive number of doors should be avoided.
- Colors have their own meaning; based on their meaning they can be distributed in various environments. Green is the color of nature and symbolizes growth and study; red is linked to animal life, learning and is a good omen. Yellow symbolizes life, earth and longevity. White symbolizes money and brings good luck, while black refers to reflection and rest.
- Water is a fundamental element, as it is always propitious. The ideal would be to build the house near a watercourse, especially if it flows from east to west. We know this is quite utopian, so let’s just stick to some fountains.