This Week in Wasen Model Making – October 15, 2022

Last weekend, I had a number of models on display at the Good Sam Showcase of Miniatures, which consisted mostly of my wasen models. This was the first time I’d had any of my Japanese watercraft models on display since January, and it seems to have spurred me to get back to work on some wasen model projects. While I have the two Woody Joe kits to finish up, those being the Kitamaebune and Atakebune kits, I also have two scratch models I stated long ago, the whaleboat-style Senzanmaru, and the small Nitaribune based on the late Fujiwara-san’s boat Kawasemi.

Small Nitaribune, or cargo boat, based on the boat built by the late Fujiwara-san for Wasen Tomo no Kai.

The Senzanmaru, a whaleboat-type boat use by the Awa clan.

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Drawing Wasen Tomo no Kai’s “Kawasemi”

Just a few days ago, I mention in a blog post that I’d managed to acquire drawings of an Edo Nitaribune, a cargo boat used on the canals and rivers of old Edo. I also mentioned that it turns out that these drawings are a perfect match for a boat built by the late Mr. Kazuyoshi Fujiwara, a Japanese boatbuilder with whom Douglas Brooks studied under in his third apprenticeship.

Mr. Fujiwara built at least a couple boats that are now used by a group called Wasen Tomo no Kai, or Friends of the Traditional Japanese Boat. This is a group of volunteers that operate and maintain several wasen, giving rides to visitors in Tōkyō’s Kōtō ward.

Today, I spent some time working with the drawings to create an illustration to help me work out the details of my Nitaribune model. Now, I’m using the term Nitaribune and the name “Kawasemi” pretty interchangeably. But, just bear in mind that Kawasemi is just the name given to the boat used by Wasen Tomo no Kai. The name is just Japanese for  Kingfisher. The group pretty much names all their boats after birds.

Anyway, using the drawings I have, plus some photos I dug up on the Japanese pages of Wasen Tomo no Kai’s website (the English language pages don’t have as much info), I was able to do a pretty fair reconstruction of Kawasemi.

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