Japan floors the world TTN Corporation Inc.

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Category: Japanese Design & Daily goods

Shedding new light on tatami

TTN Corporation has supplied Japanese people with traditional tatami flooring for over 80 years, dominating the market as Japan's No. 1 supplier. CEO Fukuzaburo Tsujino was born into a small family business which he has since transformed into a global force.

Woven rush straw, or igusa, contributes to the calm, therapeutic ambiance Japanese people have known for more than 1,300 years. The tatami room, where shoes are prohibited, is maintained in houses as a clean, serene space of relaxation. Japanese people enjoy a feeling of nostalgia on entering, as well as aroma-therapeutic benefits from the natural material.

Western influences have eroded demand for this historic cultural product. But TTN has been in the business since 1934-and is determined to preserve the tradition. The company is set on opening stores in large malls, and developing modified tatami products to suit modern lifestyles. TTN supplies hotels and restaurants, and has undertaken large-scale projects including installations in a kabuki theater and a collaboration with a major fashion brand. Tsujino believes that the more tatami is visible, the better.

Fukuzaburo Tsujino, CEO of TTN Corporation (The Tatami Factory Since 1934)

"Herb Tiles" come in various shapes, sizes and colors

Tatami in the modern home

TTN has not only identified new market needs but boasts the skill and experience to meet them. The firm's history is key to understanding how to incorporate new elements while maintaining the essence of tatami. Tsujino brings innovation with his affirmation that "there is no concrete concept of what tatami should be." He adds, "Anything is possible if we utilize new material and machines along with our long-established techniques."

With this philosophy, TTN has created unique products such as "Herb Tiles" and "Macaron" seat cushions, both easily incorporated into the modern home. These new products are lighter, thinner, colorful and stylish, while featuring the traditional durability and strength of tatami. The more people come into contact with tatami, the more they'll want.

Spreading tatami to the world

Tsujino quickly achieved his goal of making TTN Japan's No. 1 tatami company. His next challenge is to face a world where most people don't even recognize the product. To that end, he launched "The Tatami Factory Since 1934"-a new brand to introduce tatami to the global market. People around the world can aspire to create an eco-friendly, Zen atmosphere using approachable products like tatami tiles for rugs or carpets, or "Macaron" cushions to be used with Western-style tables and chairs. Some restaurants use tatami products for interior design, even on the walls.

By spreading the word, Tsujino hopes that not only will Japanese people return to their cherished tradition, but that people around the world will find comfort from the natural feeling of tatami.

"Macaron" cushions incorporated into a modern setting