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The Korean version of the Bamboo wife

A bamboo wife (夫人; Chinese: zhúfūrén; Korean: 죽부인, jukbuin; Japanese: chikufujin), also known as a Dutch wife or in Tagalog as kawil (literally, fish hook or chain), is a hollow bamboo bolster roughly the size of a human body.

The origin of the English term "Dutch wife" is thought via folk etymology to be from the Dutch colony of Indonesia where Dutch traders would spend long periods away from their wives. A more likely explanation is the link with dutch courage, dutch auction or to go dutch. Here the use of the word dutch was something dodgy or not regular. It arose in the 17th century where there were a series of Anglo-Dutch wars and the Dutch were seen as untrustworthy by the English. This then carried over to American and the colonies and sees this use of Dutch applied in other circumstances such as in the phrase "you can trust me or I am a Dutchman". It has nothing to do with Dutch women as they really are as wives nor otherwise.

Bamboo wives are typically hand-woven from bamboo cane.


In the summer heat, the open bamboo structure is cooler to the touch than fabric pillows or sheets. The Dutch wife is embraced by the user, as one would a sleeping companion—this position exposes the maximum amount of the body to cooling breezes. This and other devices, such as pillows of a similar shape, may also alleviate lower back pain when placed between the legs during sleep periods.


Bamboo wife and their variants in other countries have their origin and use in East Asia and Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, which are regions with hot, humid summers.

They are now less popular to the point of extinction, possibly due to the prevalence of air conditioning. As a replacement for Dutch wives made from bamboo, they can also be made of cotton or other synthetic fiber. Dutch wives made of cotton or other synthetic fiber are still widely used in Indonesia.

In culture[edit]

Because chikufujin are hand-woven from cheap materials, they are an item used to connote the poverty of the manufacturer. In the Japanese film Lady Snowblood, a supporting character (Kobue) pretends to make her living by weaving chikufujin to conceal her profession as a prostitute from her father.

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bamboo_wife — Please support Wikipedia.
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6 news items


Tue, 13 Oct 2015 19:15:00 -0700

Professor Kim Jong-rak of the School of Architecture at Soongsil University said, “A diagrid construction method is similar to the principle of a Jukbuin, or bamboo wife, which is made by crossing and weaving bamboo canes. Just like a bamboo wife ...

Korea Times

Korea Times
Mon, 20 Jul 2015 01:37:30 -0700

A rapper used a "jukbuin" or a bamboo wife -- a traditional Korean house item woven from bamboo cane -- to perform a sexually explicit skit while auditioning for TV rap competition music show "Show Me the Money 4." The bamboo wife, which is larger than ...


Tue, 06 May 2014 09:49:01 -0700

Han's inspiration came from the chikufujin--also known as a bamboo wife. 04 /05. Right now, the only way to prevent bedridden patients from developed bedsores and related skin conditions (more than 2.5 million are afflicted annually in America) is to ...

Coventry Telegraph

Coventry Telegraph
Thu, 27 Feb 2014 03:33:58 -0800

Seven years after packing his bags and leaving Coventry for a new start in Thailand, Steve Williams could not be happier with his new-found life. He has become the co-founder of his very own volunteering and touring business across Asia which he has ...


Wed, 02 Oct 2013 07:24:43 -0700

AND THE WINNER is … Mitoy, sharing the moment with wife Merly. photos courtesy of abs-cbn photo courtesy of abs-cbn. Tony award-winning singer-actress Lea Salonga said she learned a thing or two from “The Voice of the Philippines” grand winner ...


Fri, 12 Feb 2016 03:46:37 -0800

L'autore coreano Hwang Sun-won, con My Tale of the Bamboo Wife, si è soffermato sulle fantasie sessuali scatenate da un'antica bambola; il messicano Álvaro Enrigue, con The Caravaggio Affair, racconta di come può nascere un'ossessione amorosa ...

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