“Incredible. This is so, so cool!”

“I never knew Tatami could be such a work of art…! Impressive.”

“This is so beautiful I wouldn’t be able to sit or step on them.”

These are some of the comments left for the photos of a very uniquely designed tatami (mats used as flooring in traditional Japanese-style rooms) that have been wowing many on Twitter.

The tatami that went viral was installed in Honryou temple located in Kamo city, Niigata prefecture.

So, what’s so special about this Tatami that it impressed so many people…? Take a look at these photos.

Source: @japanese_floor

Source: @japanese_floor

Source: @japanese_floor

The beautiful pattern on tatami was an epically designed dragon with a powerful facial expression.

The creator of this tatami is Kenze Yamada (@japanese_floor) who crafts artistic tatami.

There’s also an interesting optical illusion to this tatami design, too. The front view shows a dragon with white teeth, but from the other side of it, the teeth turn gold.

The whole process of making this tatami was done carefully by Kenze Yamada alone by hand.

We interviewed him for the background story of making this amazing tatami.

Was the dragon tatami a made-to-order request?

I received an order request from Honryouji, a temple in Niigata prefecture, for a “dragon and cloud themed Tatami”.

Because the request came from a Buddhist temple, I created the face of the dragon with 108 parts (煩悩-Bonnou; inner-struggles and conflicts all humans are said to have in Buddhism), and the surrounding part was made with 49 parts (四十九日-49-day cycle for a deceased person’s soul to be processed and judged before the destination of the soul to be sent is determined in the after-life).

In total, it consists of 157 pieces.

How long did it take to make?

It took me 4 dedicated months to finish this piece. I did it all by myself.

“Truly amazing tatami” take an extremely long time to create, not to mention the toll on my body from the workload. My neck, shoulders and back get very sore while I work on them.

“Sugoi (Amazing) Tatami” is a name for the artistic Tatami work of Kenze Yamada. These incredible pieces made from his innovative creativity are captivating to many people.

Source: @japanese_floor

What made you start the current project?

A tatami shop was our family business, but because it was a dying industry, I was working in a different field before. One day, I made a tatami piece with a playful design just for fun. It was then that I felt this potential in tatami, and started making them whenever I had time on the side.

My tatami was never practical, but I was so intrigued by my own work I continued to create new pieces.

It was through simple playfulness that Kenze realized how intriguing and captivating the world of tatami can be.

It is perhaps because Kenze truly enjoys his own work, that he can create pieces that are also exciting to the audience, too!

By - Mugi.