Why do many Japanese houses have frosted windows? 2nd attempt

In my first attempt I seem to remember writing about the similarities to traditional shoji paper windows and in both cases the aim being, in typical Japanese style, as much to stop you inconveniencing others by looking into their gardens and houses as to stop them looking into your living room (especially if you live in an apaato which your neighbours built in their garden to get some extra cash). With this attempt I want to go a bit deeper, and as is often the case the insight (if it is that!) was prompted by asking the opposite question- Why do we only put frosted windows in our bathrooms?

My own reaction to completed closed shoji or frosted windows is an extreme version of a typical Western one, to feel trapped and claustrophobic, as I’d imagine a prisoner lusting after being able to see a centimetre of sky from their window must feel. Claustrophobia, however, is very much not a Japanese concept. In fact, I often think that the Japanese family and family home are supposed to promote an atmosphere that is inward-looking and shutting out the outside world, the most extreme version being the hikikomori who seal off their windows and doors. I humbly offer the theory that shoji and frosted windows are a part of that, along with less tangible things like dropping all keigo and other standards of polite behaviour at home, especially for small kids.

Hmmmm, that seemed like a logically coherent concept when it popped into my head this morning, but certainly doesn’t look that way now on the screen. Maybe I’ve been reading too many Japanese and Korean newspaper editorials?? Still pretty sure there is something there though…


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