Yesterday, I finally got two more books from Japan that I found on Yahoo! Japan Auctions. I’ve found most of Japanese language wasen books I have either on the auctions or on Amazon Japan. The searching of these sites has become much simpler with the advent of a website/service called Buyee. This time, I didn’t use the Buyee service to make the actual purchases, I simply located the books through their website, which links into other Japanese retail sites, and asked a friend in Japan for a favor, and he got the books for me and shipped them to me.
Recently, I’ve posted about the Edo period canal diorama, as well as the Oguraikebune, or Ogura pond boat. Last week, for the Edo period canal diorama, I made some sao, or poles, and a couple ro, or sculling oars for my tenma-zukuri chabune, which will be the centerpiece of the diorama. I made extras of both to use with some of my other 1/20 scale models.
I’d been making progress on the Ogura Pond Boat up through the month of March, but I hadn’t posted very much information about it here. Last I posted was back in January. At that time, I had glued up the three boards that make up the shiki, or bottom plate of the boat. Next is to shape the shiki, which is really quite easy the way I’m building these models. It simply requires printing out a portion of the drawings I’m using.
In this drawing, you’ll notice that I’ve marked out the mortises as well. This was something that was not on the original drawings, but I could see some of them in Ogawa-san’s photos. As I mentioned in my last post, what’s special here is that the mortises clearly aren’t perpendicular with the edges of the planks. This is something I’ve never seen this before, except where an occasional mortise has to angled to avoid a knot in the wood or similar reason. Here, however, they seem to be regularly placed so that the nails are driven at a slight angle towards the bow.
I spent some time last weekend trying to figure out how to simulate the stone walls of the canal. I have, of course, the examples from the museum scene reconstructions. The two are quite different, and I really don’t know which may be more correct. Perhaps the only thing that might serve as an example, is the wall at the moat of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. However, I’ve noticed from looking at photos that even this differs from the stone structure surrounding the gate at the palace grounds.
Meanwhile, I didn’t even have any experience in making a wall for a diorama, so I went on the Internet to look at different ways that people having simulated stone walls for dioramas, some very simple, some very complicated.
I considered making a wall from clay, since I was most familiar with using it, but clay is heavy. I also saw how some modelers use hydrocal to cast stone pieces. But, that requires making molds. Finally, I settled on simply carving plastic insulation foam, as I was using the stuff for my diorama anyway.
For this, I simply drew a pattern on the face of the foam, and I used the end of a small steel ruler to score the foam, which gave the wider-looking gaps between the stones.
Just about two years ago, I wrote a post about a special Internet screening of a new film called Aru Sendō no Hanashi (ある船頭の話), or A Boatman’s Story. Since then I have viewed the film and recently discovered that the film is now available for streaming as a purchase or rental from a couple services. If you don’t know anything about this film, you can read my last post on it here: Aru Sendō no Hanashi.
Note that the film title has been changed for western audiences to They Say Nothing Stays the Same. The english title may make more sense as to what the film is about. I went ahead and purchased it, as I had seen it before and I enjoyed the film, though it’s slow paced, confusing, and sad.
With multiple projects going on, my brain gets a little tangled up. So… I begin another project! Actually, this one has been in my head for more than a year – maybe two? The idea is to create some kind of Edo period scene using one of my wasen models – Ideally, one that already exists, so I don’t have to start yet another project.
This diorama I’ve settled on, is a simple scene based around my tenma-zukuri chabune. It will be pulling up to a small landing at edge of one of the many canals in the built-up part of Edo. I laid out the scene so that it will fit one of the small display cases that I have already have.
I won’t go into a lot of detail here, but basically, the main inspirations for this diorama, are scenes depicted at the Fukagawa Edo Museum, and also the Nakagawa Funabansho Museum.
My diorama is too small to be able to incorporate much “on the ground”, which is probably just as well for this project, as I would otherwise have to get good at replicating 18th or early 19th century building construction, and develop a better understanding of the city streets of old Edo.
One day, I hope I’ll be able to build Edo period buildings and streets. But, I don’t think this particular scene will demand too much of that. It will be enough that I will need to understand how moorings and small docks would have been constructed.
As it is, I’m now having to learn more about diorama construction, and have spent time finding ways to represent people in various scales. This includes getting a better sense of how the boatmen, or sendō, were dressed, and how to model that.
I’ll post more about this later, but I wanted to get something written up first, with some photos of my preliminary planning.
The figure, by the way, is a 3D printed, fully articulated figure kit, that I purchased and assembled. I don’t know if I’ll use him, or the sendō figure that I sculpted from polymer clay some time ago. Ω
Recently Douglas Brooks completed the teaching of a Japanese boatbuilding apprenticeship class at Japan House. 18 students participated in the week long class which culminated in the construction and launching of a Honryousen, a long, narrow riverboat found in Niigata prefecture, Japan.
Read more about it in this article posted on the Illinois News Bureau website here: https://news.illinois.edu/view/6367/789104783#image-2
There are few books printed in english on the subject of Japanese traditional boats and their uses, so I was intrigued when a search on the Internet came across this title and just a couple pictures from the book’s interior that showed a rough sketch of a traditional Japanese fishing boat and provided a little basic text description in both english and Japanese.
Back in August (2021), I discovered Japanese boat builder and artist, Mr. Tomohiko Ogawa, who had written several posts on his own blog about his research of a couple wasen in the Kyōto area. One was a type called a Sanjikokku bune (三十石舟), a famous type of river transport for passengers and cargo between Kyōto and Ōsaka. This type was well known to me, so his post on the subject caught my attention.
However, I soon discovered another subject that he wrote about, and that I wasn’t specifically familiar with. And, it soon became clear that this second boat was of a style that I had been very curious about. The boat was a small boat used for fishing and for lotus viewing on the old Ogura pond in Kyōto. It was of a style called a kensakibune (剣先舟) or sword-tipped boat, so named because the hull planks came directly together at the bow, with no stem in between, forming a sharp tip, shaped like the tip of a Japanese Samurai sword. Continue reading
I got somewhat ambitious this week before Christmas, putting together two new slideshow videos on Youtube, the most recent one being posted just yesterday. The videos show the build processes of the Himi Tenmasen and the Hozugawa Ayubune models. Each also connects the model to the full-sized boatbuilding project that it’s based on, which of course are works involving boatbuilder Douglas Brooks, who provided me with his notes on the construction of the boats.