Kujirabune (鯨船) – Japanese Whaleboat Plans Arrived!

Yesterday, I received an email from Mr. Hayato Sakurai, who is the curator of the whaling museum in Taiji, Japan. Interestingly, Mr. Sakurai also lists himself as Advisory Curator for the New Bedford Whaling Museum, which I didn’t know, though it only makes sense.

Scene from a 150 year old screen painting of whaling along the Kumano Coast, Kishu region

Previously, he had advised me that there was a delay in sending me model plans of the Sekobune, a chaser-type whaleboat, as he didn’t have a local scanner capable of handling a large enough size. My ship modeler friend in Japan, Mr. Sekiguchi, had actually advised me about this as he had spoken with the Taiji curator over the phone recently.

Well, yesterday, I got an email from Mr. Sakurai with a beautiful, large format scan of the plans. Turns out these are the same plans that I got from Douglas Brooks a couple weeks ago, but these are much sharper. Also, because I have them in digital format, they are ready for me to manipulate as needed and to scale to whatever size I want.

I’ve looked over the plans carefully, which are described as 1/20-scale, though that really only applies to the full-sized printed copy, and there are some features that I don’t understand yet. But, I have various photos of a couple Kujirabune, so I’ll be spending some time studying those and comparing with this boat. Hopefully, I’ll get it figured out soon. Ω

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