In Japan rice straw tatami mats have largely fallen out of use. This is due to changes in the home environment. Until 50 years ago, Japanese homes tended to be constructed of wood, and using rice straw tatami mats in these buildings was not a problem. Nowadays however homes are built to be airtight.
Given the high humidity of Japan’s climate (in the rainy season etc.), rice straw tatami mats in airtight homes are subject to mite and mold infestation. As a result, there are now very few homes with this kind of mat.
At present, the material used for tatami mat cores is insulation fiber board. Over 90% of Japanese-style rooms in Japan use fiber board tatami mats.
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Click here for samples of tatami mat surfaces.