Oshima Port Festival’s Racing Boat Custom Model – Kaidenma (櫂伝馬)

Kushimoto in Wakayama prefecture has the distinction of being the southernmost point of Japan’s main island of Honshū. The town is also the location of the Oshima Minato Matsuri, a traditional port festival held in early February every year. I don’t really know that much about the festival, except that it includes many Shinto rituals, lion dances (shishimai), and an ocean boat race using oar-powered boats called kaidenma.

The following photos, I took from the Kushimoto town website’s Minato Matsuri page, which you can visit here: https://www.town.kushimoto.wakayama.jp/kanko/event/minatomaturi.html

Due to the impacts of COVID, I don’t know to what the extent this year’s Oshima Minato Festival will be affected. If anything is happening this year, I have a strong suspicion it’s going to be pretty limited.

However, I’ve been seeing some posts recently about a custom kaidenma model by professional model maker Mr. Masaki Tanimura. It’s a beautiful looking model and I really wanted to learn more about it. Tanimura-san was kind enough to send me the photos of his model.

Tanimura-san’s 1/15-scale Kaidenma model. Photos courtesy of Mr. Masaki Tanimura.

If you’ve followed my posts in the past, you might recognize that Tanimura-san runs the model kit manufacturing shop called Thermal Studio. It produces mostly airplane and gliders. But, it also produces a beautiful 1/10-scale model kit of a traditional Japanese fishing boat from the Tosa region of Shikoku (one of the four main islands of Japan), that he simply calls a Tosa wasen. I hadn’t noticed it, but it turns out he built his kaidenma model from a modified Tosa wasen kit.

Those who are familiar with this excellent kit, may note that the hull has the same shape, but for the kaidenma, he replaced the sekidai structure (a widened splash board structure along the top of the hull planks) with a simpler koberi, or rub rail, that’s been pierced for the ropes that serve as oarlocks.

He also modified the decks at the bow and stern and interior details and added the seats. There are various other modifications as well, but I was surprised at how well the model took on a completely different identity from the kit. Now that I look at it, I can see where the plugs where the internal beams were designed to protrude though the hull planks, but that was about the only real giveaway.

You’ll note various other details have been added to match, but the essential kit structure is there. It’s nice to see other possible builds using this excellent kit. I highly recommend the kit, possibly as a second wasen build following Woody Joe’s Hacchoro kit, which you can get from Zootoyz. Depending on where you are shipping to, you might need to wait until the COVID situation has improved, as shipping to some places, like the U.S., is limited to very expensive options.

Tosa wasen kit from Thermal Studio.

The same should be true of the Tosa wasen kit from Thermal Studio. But, if you’re lucky enough to live in a location where good might be shipping normally from Japan, you can find the kit on Thermal Studio’s website, though you’ll have to email them to purchase it. Ω

1 thought on “Oshima Port Festival’s Racing Boat Custom Model – Kaidenma (櫂伝馬)

  1. I am writing to you using your courtesy to the readers.
    I am trying to write an article on traditional Japanese handmade boat building that I am finding scattered information on the web. (Nippon Zaidan…) Among other missing information I regret not having is that of the “Oshiokuri” boat, which appears in Katsushika Hokusai’s “The Great Wave”. Nor can I find a good history of the historical development of Japanese boats.
    I would be grateful for information on these points.
    Thank you very much.
    Lorenzo Sánchez-Seco


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