Making Progress on Kujirabune (鯨船) Research

I recently had some very good new regarding my research of Japanese whaleboats, or Kujirabune. After finding the Taiji museum website and seeing a post of some whaleboats from Muroto, which is in Kōchi prefecture on the south eastern corner of Shikoku, I had mentioned these things to my ship modeling friend in Japan, Mr. Masami Sekiguchi, and also to Douglas Brooks. As it turned out, Douglas Brooks knew the curator of the Taiji museum and put me in touch with him.

Shortly after, my friend Sekiguchi-san had called the museum and spoke with the curator, Mr. Hayato Sakurai. It was nice to hear from Sekiguchi-san that the website I told him about, http://taiji.town, and the many colorful illustrations of whaleboats was something he wasn’t aware of, and he really appreciated my finding them. I think he enjoyed his conversation with the curator, and as it turned out, the Taiji museum building was designed by a friend of his, who has since passed away. So, I was happy to be able help him make some connections too.

Modern fiberglass-hulled kujirabune replicas racing.

Mr. Sekiguchi sent me this photo he took a couple years ago of some toy kujirabune.

So, now I have been in touch with Mr. Sakurai, who has agreed to send me a copy of the museum’s exhibition catalog, as well as a copy of a technical drawing of one of the types of boats used by the old whalers, specifically, a Sekobune, which was a chaser-type boat, and the sleekest looking of the whaleboats used. There were apparently several types of boats used in whaling, but I don’t yet know enough to be able to identify any of them except for the sekobune and the amibune, which was a net-carrying boat.

It’ll probably be a bit before the items arrive from Taiji, as Mr. Sakurai was actually just about to head to Muroto, when we exchanged emails last week. But, good fortune is still at hand, as Douglas Brooks sent me his copy of the Muroto museum’s exhibit book, and also went and made of copy of a whaleboat drawing he obtained when he was in Muroto and sent them to me. We’ll see when the items that Mr. Sakurai me arrive, but I suspect that the drawings will be the same.

Muroto kujirabune replica. Photo courtesy of Douglas Brooks.

 

 

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