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Where do babies sleep in Japan?


Japan has a unique culture that is distinct from other countries. In Japan, there are specific customs and traditions related to child-rearing, including where babies sleep. As a result, it is essential to understand where babies sleep in Japan to gain insight into Japanese culture and how it differs from other cultures.

The Role of Japanese Culture in Baby Sleeping Arrangements

Japanese culture is often viewed as collectivistic and communal, with an emphasis on family harmony and cooperation. This cultural value extends to child-rearing practices, including where babies sleep. In Japan, parents prioritize keeping their infants close to them at all times, even during sleep.

Japanese Snack Box

The Traditional Japanese Sleeping Arrangement for Infants

The traditional Japanese sleeping arrangement for infants involves co-sleeping with parents or grandparents. Parents typically place their infants in a small crib-like bed called a “shokibed” or “akachan bed” that is placed directly beside the parents’ futon. This sleeping arrangement allows parents to be close to their infant while still maintaining their own separate sleeping spaces.

Modern Alternatives to the Traditional Sleeping Arrangement

While traditional sleeping arrangements are still popular in Japan, modern alternatives have emerged in recent years. Many families now opt for cribs or bassinets that can be placed in the same room as the parents’ bed. Additionally, some families choose to use baby monitors or video cameras to keep a close eye on their infants while they sleep in a separate room.

The Benefits of Co-Sleeping

Japanese parents who practice co-sleeping believe that it promotes bonding between parent and child and helps infants feel more secure. Additionally, co-sleeping can make nighttime feedings and diaper changes easier for parents since they do not have to get out of bed or walk to another room.

The Risks of Co-Sleeping

While co-sleeping has its benefits, it also comes with risks. Infants can suffocate if they become trapped between the mattress and bedding or if an adult accidentally rolls over on them. Additionally, co-sleeping may increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

How Japanese Parents Address the Risks of Co-Sleeping

To address the risks associated with co-sleeping, Japanese parents take several precautions. These include using firm mattresses, avoiding soft bedding such as pillows and blankets, and not allowing infants to sleep between two adults.

The Importance of Safe Sleeping Practices

Regardless of where babies sleep, it is crucial to follow safe sleeping practices to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related accidents. These practices include placing infants on their backs to sleep, using firm mattresses without any soft bedding or toys, and avoiding overheating.

Cultural Differences in Baby Sleeping Arrangements

Baby sleeping arrangements vary widely across cultures. In Western cultures, it is common for infants to sleep alone in cribs or bassinets, while in many Asian cultures, including Japan, co-sleeping is the norm.

Challenges Faced by Foreign Parents in Japan

Foreign parents living in Japan may find the traditional co-sleeping arrangement challenging due to cultural differences and language barriers. However, many foreign parents choose to adapt to local customs and traditions out of respect for Japanese culture.

The Debate Over Co-Sleeping

Co-sleeping remains a controversial topic among experts and parents alike. While some studies suggest that co-sleeping can promote bonding and improve infant sleep patterns, others caution against the potential risks.


In conclusion, understanding where babies sleep in Japan provides valuable insights into Japanese culture and parenting practices. While traditional co-sleeping arrangements remain popular in Japan, modern alternatives have also emerged in recent years. Regardless of where babies sleep, following safe sleeping practices is essential for reducing the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related accidents.

Do babies Cosleep in Japan?

In Japan, it is a traditional practice for mothers and infants to sleep together in the same bed, with the baby facing the mother, dating back to ancient times.

Do babies in Japan sleep on the floor?

Traditionally, many Japanese children sleep on a futon placed on the floor, although some do have raised beds or bunk beds. Aiko and Shin’s bedroom features tatami mat flooring, which is made from rice straw woven together using specialized machines.

Why does Japan have low SIDS?

Japan has a very low incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) due to several factors. These include the use of the Boshi Kenko Techo (maternal-child health handbook) by all expecting mothers and universal access to healthcare. Additionally, most births happen to women in the age group of 25–29 years, and there are comparatively few unmarried mothers.

Do Japanese sleep with their children?

In Japanese families, it is typical for parents to practice soine, where they share their sleeping space with their children until they reach around ten years old. This is a common custom in Japan.

Do Japanese use baby cribs?

In Japan, it is common for parents to sleep close to their baby on bamboo or straw mats, or on futons. Other parents choose to keep their baby in a crib or bassinet within arm’s reach. In cultures that often practice co-sleeping, there are very few cases of SIDS.

What happens if an American has a baby in Japan?

If a non-Japanese person gives birth in Japan without being married to a Japanese person, their child will not be granted Japanese citizenship. However, if the non-Japanese mother reports the birth to her country’s government office in Japan, the child may be able to obtain the mother’s citizenship.

Furthermore, cultural differences in baby sleeping arrangements highlight the importance of understanding and respecting different cultures. It is crucial to recognize that what may be considered normal or acceptable in one culture may not be the same in another. Foreign parents living in Japan may face challenges in adapting to local customs, but it is essential to approach these differences with an open mind and willingness to learn.

It is also worth noting that co-sleeping is not a one-size-fits-all solution for all families. Every family has unique circumstances, and what works for one may not work for another. Parents should consider their individual situations and consult with their pediatricians to make informed decisions about where their babies sleep.

Ultimately, the debate over co-sleeping highlights the need for more research on the benefits and risks associated with this practice. As experts continue to study this topic, parents should stay informed about safe sleeping practices and make decisions that are best for their families.

In conclusion, understanding where babies sleep in Japan sheds light on cultural values and parenting practices. While traditional co-sleeping arrangements remain popular, modern alternatives have emerged as well. Regardless of where babies sleep, following safe sleeping practices is essential for reducing the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related accidents. It is also important to respect cultural differences and approach them with an open mind.

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