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Traditional (and even not-so-traditional) Japanese rooms have wooden panels running along the walls, about 1m from the ceiling.

They are mainly used to affix hooks, to which clothes hangers, paintings etc. can be hung (they also make for a convenient way to conceal cables around the room, but I doubt that was their original purpose).

There must be a specific (Japanese) name for it. What is it?

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I believe they're called [長押]{なげし}.

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Thanks to your answer, I was also able to find some illustration that might be better at explaining what I meant: bluestone.co.jp/meiboku/zousakuzai/nageshi.htm –  Dave Jan 25 '13 at 8:08
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Note for those that have furigana turned off on the site, that here 長押 is read なげし. However, in this age of technology, it has also come to be read as ながおし, meaning "long press" or "hold", esp. of buttons, touchscreens, etc. Though this reading may also have the accompanying okurigana as 長押し. –  istrasci Jan 25 '13 at 15:32
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My family and I always called it [鴨居]{かもい}! And now I know we were all wrong! lol –  Choko Jan 26 '13 at 14:08
    
@Chocolate: didn't know 鴨居 either... Thanks for mentioning it! –  Dave Jan 27 '13 at 12:41

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