Shiki Futon – A Traditional Japanese Futon

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Shiki Futon
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The J-Life Shiki Futon is a traditional Japanese futon.  Reviews are not plentiful but a few exist on Amazon and they are fairly good.  This futon mattress comes in a range of sizes and has a 5-year warranty.  [REF Futon Mattress Reviews 2010]

There are Japanese futons and Western futons.  In Japan the “futon” refers to the bedding set which typically consists of the Japanese mattress (called shikibuton), comforter (kakebuton) and pillow (makura)  The mattress usually has a fabric cover and is filled with cotton batting, but it can also contain wool or a synthetic batting.  These are typically folded and tucked away during the day, freeing up space in the room.  In the West a futon is a mattress that sits atop a wood (or sometimes metal) frame.  This frame can fold into a couch or be flattened out to make a bed.  The mattress is usually a combination of cotton batting and foam and, like their Japanese counterparts, the covers are removable.

The J-Life Shiki Futon is filled with 100% cotton batting surrounded by an unbleached 6.5 ounce cotton duck cover.  It is also 4 inches thick.  These mattresses do not use innersprings or foam and any synthetics. 

J-Life International, Inc. is headquarted in northern New Hampshire and is a privately held company.  They offer American made Japanese futons using authentic Japanese fabrics.  The company states that the average lifespan of a Shiki Futon is about 15 years.

The J-Life Shiki Futon can be purchased in a number of different sizes:

  • Twin - 39" x 75"
  • Full - 54" x 75"
  • Queen - 60" x 80"

Each can also be purchased with or without a custom cover.  The mattress is treated with boric acid treated to meet US flammability standards.  The Shiki Futon can be folded into thirds for easy storage and is shipped vacuum packed (note - it may take up to 2 weeks to fully expand after unpacking).  The Shiki Futon is covered by a 5 years manufacturers warranty.

A reviews of consumer comments related to the Shiki Futon indicates the following pros and cons:

- Durable
- Firm mattress
- Easy to transport
- Easy to store (after folding has small footprint)

- Some consumers feel it is a bit heavy at 25+lbs
- Slight odor when first unpacked (usually recedes over time)
- Cotton compresses over time (actually normal for a traditional futon – it is recommended to air and beat a futon)
- Mattresses may be a bit short for some people

Kakebuton (comforter)
J-Life also sell a number of other Japanese products including the Traditional Japanese Kake Futon (Kakebuton) Comforter.  This is a comforter filled with 100 percent hand-pulled mulberry silk.  These are naturally hypoallergenic and they can also be dry-cleaned.  Reviews are very limited but those that exist indicate that these comforters are quite nice.  They come in a wide range of colors and patterns.  These are not cheap however, starting at about 300USD for a single size. 

Makura (pillow)
It is also often suggested that one use a buckwheat hull pillow with a futon.  These pillows have been used by the Japanese for very many years and are still the main type of pillow used in Japan today.  They also get very good reviews on Amazon – typically in the neighborhood of 4.3 to 4.6 out of a possible 5 stars (depending on which pillow and what size).   They are highly recommended by consumers, but some find them a little firm.




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