Kujirabune, also know as Isanabune, were fast boats designed for hunting whales. These boats often had brightly painted sides, decorated with symbols, crests, chrysanthemums, and other themes.
One such boat that I’ve mentioned specifically here is the Senzanmaru, a boat used by the Hachizuka to deliver dispatches and to tow large gozabune, highly decorated yachts used by the clan.
Today, I was admiring a Facebook post by a gentleman I’ve recently been in contact with who has an interest in wasen and took some photos of a group of whaleboats that were on shore in Kumano city, on the Southeastern tip of Shikoku island. I looked up the city on the Internet and one thing led to another. Next thing I know, I ran across an english language web page for the town of Taiji (yes, it’s the same town that has become somewhat infamous for its annual dolphin slaughter), which illustrates a large number of whaleboats of different types and their colorful painted hull patterns.
There are more than 40 boats and patterns viewable on the web page: http://taiji.town/kujirabune/
But, the whole website is actually very interesting and informative. It appears that it was purposely designed to be a politically neutral, informative site on Taiji an its history in Japanese and English. Visit http://taiji.town
One thing I’m intrigued about is from the whale boats page when you click the About button. There is a detailed plan on the page. It’s too small to use, but I will be asking some friends if they can find out if these plans might be available from the museum. If so, you’re sure to hear about it here.