For those who are unfamiliar with it, a 炬燵 こたつ kotatsu is a low, wooden table frame, covered by a heavy blanket or quilted futon, and an electric heating unit under the tabletop. In traditional Japanese homes without central heating, the kotatsu is usually the place where people spend time relaxing, watching TV or playing games while eating mandarin oranges or other snacks or having tea. The warm cozy area under the kotatsu blanket is also a favorite hangout for cats.

As a result, for many of those who call Japan home, the image of the kotatsu is associated with relaxation and, more often that not, pleasurable things such as comfort, leisure, and peace of mind.

こたつ (kotatsu), Marieve 瑞香 Inoue, CC by 2.0, ©

"Kotatsu Keycap"

Now imagine what it would be like to have a tiny kotatsu on your keyboard!

Japanese planner and designer Michiru ミチル (@hmitiruxxx) is known for his inventive and playful designs for everyday objects, stationery and sweets. For example, some of our readers may recall his negi (green onion) candy and his okonomiyaki pencil sharpener which we introduced before.

On February 19th, 2022, Michiru released his latest design concept: a keyboard keycap in the shape of a kotatsu!

Reproduced with permission from Michiru ミチル (@hmitiruxxx)

"I made a kotatsu keycap. You can turn your keyboard keys into kotatsus!"

A kotatsu sits on your keyboard, warming your heart every time you look at it.

If you had one, you may even begin wondering: "If I gently lift up the blanket, will a tiny cat come out?"

The idea was well received and the post has garnered over 123,000 likes and 23,000 retweets at the time of writing, eliciting comments such as:

  • "It's a wonderful idea. Every time I'd type on my keyboard, I'd feel relaxed."
  • "Interesting! I wonder if it means escaping to a kotatsu..."
  • "I want it so badly. It makes me want to put a miniature mikan on the tabletop."

Incidentally, in a follow-up comment, Michiru said: "I installed it on the escape button because I want to escape to the kotatsu."

With cold temperatures still continuing in many parts of the world, escaping to the warmth and comfort of a kotatsu is a tempting proposition, even if it's only in your imagination.

By - Ben K.