even today in the age when Sony has many times-fold went AND came ‘Back To The Future’, a picture of Winter home in rural Japan envisions flooring blocks of tatami made of rice straw, atop where lays a /sitting/ table – multi-purpose for work-at-home as well as family dining – covered by a warm blanket . long-called Kotatsu, this small table has a bright electric heater underneath to warm your legs AND family . one of the most serene naps can be had under in a quiet Winter day in the Japans . good-for-thought, for aside from the Northern regions of Senda AND Hokkaido, Japan has a mild weather : pretty HOT AND humid in the Summer but of a mild Winter .

Maki Horikita Kotatsu 


[ Origin, Development and Variations of heated Ondol floors in Korea ]

now glide over your map North-West to the Korean Penninsula where the Winter is more harsh commonly going under -10 Celsius with more extremes in North Korea, ditto politically AND the state of military in one of the last dictatorial regime on Planet Earth circa 2010 . here home heating has been the floor with historic remains from 5000 B.C. and shown in murals from 4 A.D. relatively modern ondols of the last thousand years used very efficient means : the furnace right outside the room was used for cooking and when done the top was covered (with metal) to allow heat to pass into a hole connecting into the room floor . though initial burning material were straws and wood, modern times enjoyed cheap coals emitting mighty dangerous carbon monoxide, and the death resulting NOT uncommon . post-war development of the Republic of Korea can be seen on eventually switching the source to relatively expensive-but-safe oil in 1970’s, heating circulating water and from 1990’s more affordable gas .

gas safety inspection occur every other month nation-wide and is considered quite safe today, although tap-water inspection done in Europe is unheard of here . drinking tap water has NEVER been the norm in South Korea .



although still in modern Korean culture a youngling remained in their parent’s home until (arranged) marriage .. then ‘The Miracle of the Han River’ was realized (amid harsh military rule AND demonstrations for democracy where half of the Penninsula was literally covered in tear gas). although this was basically an industrial phenomenon powered by machines AND hard-working labourers, an unbelieveable electronics front was at the horizon : Korean children of the Millennium going off on their own to the Capital of Seoul to participate in twinkling the I.T. Nation bore many, many studio apartments called “one-rooms” throughout the country . developers needed cheap means to heat these tiny apartments in 3~5 story buildings AND needed cheaper means to heat for young (college) students to afford . came the electric ondol panel using midnight electricity (remind you of the term “burn the midnight oil” ?)

smaller, single-residence terms in South Korea (in order of ascending living space):
– MinBak means “staying over in a private house” so you rent a room in a family household . families that do this for a living would have most of their rooms rent out and might even serve meals for their tenant students .

– GoShiTel : ‘GoShi’ means exam. and ‘Tel’ from hotel (or rather motel), thus crammed tiniest single quarters barely enough space for a desk and futon (blanket mattress to sleep on the floor) . where /ideally/ a lone high school graduate would come from the country-side to study HARD for the notoriously strict (entrance is HARD while graduation is lenient) college entrance exam. in South Korea . usually shared bathroom AND/OR shower with others on the same floor, perhaps some with shared kitchen OR meals prepared by the owning family for extra cost . this is usually in a dedicated building 12-stories high but NOT very wide .

– One Room explained here-in WITH individual bathrooom AND shower combined, AND a tiny kitchette : is essentially much smaller than a studio apartment in the States . usually in a 5-story building .

– Two Room NOT necessarily a ‘one-bedroom’ like in the States but may have a separate kitchen or even a bathtub 😉

– Villa is a smaller apartment than those of the modern ‘apartment complex’ hype characteristically 2~3 stories high with only one or a few duplicate complexes facing each other .


this was easy to constuct : simply embed the electric heating panel on the floor of each studio apartment with a temperature controling knop on the wall . however because electric bill is HIGH (on domestic living quarters, while office space gets substancial discounts) the control would NOT work from 8/9 a.m. ~ 11 p.m. or midnight . and come midnight the electric company will start sending low-powered heat until dawn . this will slowly AND gradually start heating the panel or in the latest models : ‘health rocks’ which will remain heated barely onto the next day . thus you cannot suddenly turn OFF the heat but have to make up your mind the day before . monthy bill for a tenant would roughly come up to W15000~35000 for mild warmth settings .



  • 09.11.28 Korean Electric Blanket Mattress Winter 2009 2010 ≫LiNK
  • 14.10.29 2015 ilWol Water Heated Electric Blanket Mat Mattress K200 ≫LiNK


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