I moved ahead with the small nitaribune model, a 1/20-scale model of a cargo boat based on drawings by the late Mr. Seichi Fujiwara, who was one of Douglas Brooks’ teachers in Japan.
The boat is about the right length, but somewhat narrow for a traditional nitaribune. This one would be about 5′ wide in real life. But, according to the Funakagami, these boats were about a foot wider and possibly a little shorter, making the actual boats a little less sleek looking as this. I tend to attribute the sleek lines to represent more of a modern evolution of the traditional Japanese boat.
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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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