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Fusuma vs Shoji

 , updated on August 30, 2016
Fusuma are traditional Japanese room separators constructed with paper or cloth in a wooden frame. They are typically solid and don't allow light through. In palaces and temples they may be decorated with artwork such as paintings. In homes, hotels and restaurants they are typically a solid color, usually white.
Shoji are traditional Japanese room dividers and windows that consist of translucent paper in a wooden latticework frame.

Fusuma vs Shoji

Fusuma and Shoji are similar architectural elements that are both designed to slide on a wooden track. They conserve space as compared with western doors that swing into a room. In many cases, both shoji and fusuma allow rooms to be dynamically reconfigured.
The primary difference between fusuma and shoji is that fusuma are opaque. Although fusuma may be constructed from paper it is typically a thick course grained paper that isn't translucent. Shoji on the other hand are made from a thin waxed paper that lets light through.

Windows

Shoji may be exterior facing where they act as a window, door and wall. In this case, there is usually an outer layer of wooden storm shutters known as amado that are shut in the evenings or in bad weather. Amado are often thick undecorated wooden planks on wooden tracks that have a secure feel.

Interior Light

Shoji give an interior an intimate feel as shadows are cast from one room to the next. They allow natural light to travel through a structure to reach deep into an interior.
Fusuma may also allow for light to reach interiors as they are commonly left open during the day creating large open rooms.
Fusuma vs Shoji
Fusuma
Shoji
Function
Interior door
Interior partition
Interior door
Interior partition
Window
Exterior wall
Exterior door
Construction
Wood frame
Paper or cloth
Mounted on wooden track
Wood
Waxed paper
Mounted on wooden track
Light Properties
Opaque
Translucent
Frame
Rectangular
Latticework

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