Published at Tuesday, January 16th 2018, 12:29:24 PM. Futon. By Johnnie Shannon. A futon is a flexible mattress, which was originally filled with cotton. Futons gained popularity in the US in the 1970s. Derived from the original Japanese futon, the "shikibuton", which was a thin cotton filled mattress which was placed on a Tatami Mat, on the floor. Living quarters were very...