丸子船 – Marukobune Model by Mr. Masami Sekiguchi

When I visited Japan in 2016, I had the pleasure of having dinner with a couple Japanese ship modelers in Tokyo. One of these gentlemen is Mr. Masami Sekiguchi of the Yokohama  Sailing Ship Modelers Club. We’ve been regularly in touch via email as he has helped to answer questions for me on Japanese traditional boats, architecture, and anything else I need help with from Japan.

Mr. Masami Sekiguchi, left, visiting a display of wasen models built by Mr. Yukio Nakayama, right.

It was he and the other gentleman I had dinner with in Tokyo, Mr. Norio Uriu, who went and investigated a collection of models at the regional museum in the Ota ward, that I discovered when researching a spreadsheet I found online regarding wasen model dispositions. They took many dozens of photos documenting the models, which were in storage at the museum.

Mr. Sekiguchi also made calls to the directors of the Urayasu museum and the Taiji whale museum for me, sent me many photos of wasen models and displays in Japan. So, he has been a great help to me.

Most recently, we had exchanged some emails about Marukobune, these are the transports that once plied the waters of Lake Biwa. They are large boats with a characteristic hull planking, using half-logs for the sheer planks. They feature bows that are made up of vertical staves called Heita – a feature of many of the boat types of Lake Biwa.

I’ve been studying the Lake Biwa boats and have been eyeing a few as potential model projects, but I would really feel more comfortable if I had the opportunity to see the replica boats and models (as well as some real boats in storage) at the museum.

In the meantime, Mr. Sekiguchi has been doing some work on a 1/24-scale model of one and has been doing a beautiful job. I’m quite envious of his model and hope I can do something as nice.

Marukobune model by Mr. Masami Sekiguchi.

The model was on display in October 2019 at the Yokohama Port Museum as part of the Yokohama Sailing-Ship Modelers Club annual exhibition of models.

You can see more photos of this model on the club’s website gallery at the following link: http://ysmc-world.la.coocan.jp/exhibition/ex2019/41.html

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