This magazine attempts to explore the appeal of eastern aesthetics by means of examining the proportions, history and structure of the tatami mat. Tatami were originally a sign of aristocracy, but spread to commoner homes during the Tokugawa period. They are commonly made from rice straw covered with woven rush grass. Tatami are always twice as long as they are wide and are still used as a type of measurement for room sizes in Japan. While almost extinct from modern homes, the tatami survives as an icon of Japanese culture and remains an ingenious example of simple design.