The Japanese are known for their floor level lifestyle, referred to as "shitsurai". All furniture and furnishings are of course designed to fit in such an environment. Hence Japanese chests (tansu) do not have legs. From early times, the Japanese make use of modular or quick removable furniture / equipment. Architecture is often based on standard sized rooms (windows, doors ). This explains the many types of room dividers such as byobu, noren, fusuma, shoji, tsuitate It also explains why tatami have standard sizes. Another feature resulting from this modular lifestyle is the straight shape of Japanese chests. From an historical point of view, we can state that the Japanese style chest first appeared somewhere during the second part of the 17th century. The need for tansu came from the rich merchant class. Because "maki-e" lacquer art was reserved for the samurai class, the wealthy merchants ordered top quality chests revealing the splendor of natural wood grain. Tansu-art probably reached its golden age during the latter Edo and the early Meiji era. After the Meiji period we see a decline of what is called "kagu" (generic term for Japanese style furniture and furnishings) due to the upcoming western lifestyle furniture and furnishings (seiyo-kagu).