Welcome to Wasen Modeler / Wasen Mokei (和船模型)

Read the Latest Posts Here

Wasen is the Japanese word meaning traditional Japanese boat. In Japanese, this is written as: 和船  The first character, or kanji, is read as “wa”, which refers to something that is traditionally Japanese. The second character is read as “sen”, though sometimes, depending on the word, it is read as “fune” or “bune”, all of which mean “boat or ship”.


Hacchoro, a Yaizu boat for bonito fishing.

My name is Clare Hess, and I am Tokyo-born, half-Japanese ship modeler maker living in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ve been studying and building wasen models since 2013, and I created this site to help centralize information in english about modeling traditional Japanese watercraft or wasen.

For the past few years, I’ve been collecting information from books, printed articles, web articles, nearly all in Japanese, in addition to information from knowledgeable individuals, and have been sorting though and presenting here the most useful information I can find.

Higaki Kaisen

Higakikaisen, a type of cargo transport, built for shipping goods between Osaka and Edo (Tokyo).

Himi Tenma, a small coastal boat on the Japan Sea used as a net tender for fishing.

Hozugawa Kudaribune, a downriver boat used on the Hozu river northwest of Kyoto.

Urayasu Bekabune, a seaweed harvesting boat from Tokyo Bay.

To view build logs of individual wasen model projects, just hover over the Wasen Projects menu to find a complete list. To view all news posts, simply click on the All News menu, or select one of the submenus to narrow your search by selected categories.

If you are interested in general ship modeling, please visit my ship modeling blog http://shipmodeler.wordpress.com, or view my own ship modeling work at http://www.marinemodelartist.com.

Model of a Hiratabune at the Edo Tokyo museum. Hiratabune were rivergoing cargo boats.

Model of a nomeri-type fishing boat at the Ōta Ward museum. Photo courtesy of The Rope.

Models in storage at the Ōta Ward museum. Photo courtesy of The Rope.

For more information about me, please visit my “About Me” page on my shipmodeler blog.

This site is still maturing, so there will be changes in layout as well as content over time. If you run across any problems with the site, please feel free to contact me here.

2 thoughts on “Welcome to Wasen Modeler / Wasen Mokei (和船模型)

  1. Clare, I was just at the NRG conference at the New Bedford Whaling Museum the other week.
    I have some photos of Japanese whaling boats that I think you might find interesting.
    What is the best way of forwarding them to you?
    Tim Murphy


    • Hello Tim,

      As a matter of fact, I’ve been looking at modeling a traditional Japanese-style whaleboat and I know that there is some sort of relationship between a Japanese museum and the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Sadly, I couldn’t make the NRG conference this year. I’ll send you an email with my address and we can communicate more directly. Thank you for reaching out to me on this!


      Liked by 1 person

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