Wooden Japanese Traditional Boats – The World of Yukio Nakayama

木造和船 中山幸雄の世界

Yes! I managed to stumble across Mr. Yukio Nakayama’s wordpress blog site by pure chance today. I’ve know about this man and his work for about a year now. One of my Japanese ship model contacts even sent me some photos of the man’s work at an exhibition several months ago, but he never put me in contact with him.

I wasn’t too worried because my Japanese language skills are not good and I figured it would just be either frustrating or annoying for Mr. Nakayama if I tried to communicate with him, though I did find someone else who offered to put me in touch with him. Now that I’ve found his blog, I may just have to try.

In the meantime, you can visit his site and poke around and see some of his work on his blog. You’ll find a few drawings, plus photos of several of his models.

All his models are the same scale, 1/70 I believe.

江戸木造和船細工師

Source: 木造和船 中山幸雄の世界

The above link will take you to his blog, but here’s the URL: http://edowasen.wordpress.com

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Hiratabune Model – Edo Tokyo Museum

This is one of those posts where I am really putting my knowledge, or possibly my lack knowledge, out on the Internet. When I visited the Edo Tokyo Museum last September, I found a model that I was extremely happy to find, as it gave me a first-hand look at a boat type that I have been very interested in learning more about.

The boat was labeled a Takasebune, and I first encountered it in the Funakagami, a book published back in 1802, which was used to help identify different river boat types for tax purposes. The Takasebune is a type of riverboat used to carry goods, and specific size and designs varied, but they are generally shallow draft boats with single plank sides that are nearly vertical, and the bow is a flat plank or a pair of planks joined at a slight angle.

The model in the Edo Tokyo Museum was clearly labeled a Takasebune in Japanese and in English, and I was really happy to find it. I took a number of photos to catch all the details I could. But, it was after reviewing the photos of the model and further studying the boat types that I discovered a problem with the model’s identification.

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Japanese Boats Diorama Exhibit in Tokyo, April 29 – May 14

I just learned that there is a special exhibit taking place at the Tokyo Museum of Maritime Science of a diorama of late Edo period Japanese boats. The exhibit will be in the museum lobby from April 29th through May 14th, 2017.

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Wasen Display 6.0

The sixth display of wasen models is now set up at the Japan Center Mall in the window of the Union Bank Community Room inside the East Mall building. The display will be up through the end of March and features the same models as before, but with the addition of my Kamakura Period Sea Boat or Umi-bune. Though the Umi-bune model is not quite complete, I figured it was far enough along for public display as an “in progress” model.

The display then consists of the Hacchoro, Higaki Kaisen, Yakatabune, Tosa wasen, and the Umi-bune. The main change in the display is the use of new folding pedestals I made. This makes transportation easier, as the new pedestals take much less room in my car.

My hope for future displays is to have a model of a Kitamaebune, which is very similar in appearance to the Higaki Kaisen, and to fix up my wasen boat shop diorama with the addition of a new partially planked boat under construction and a number of miniature tools and things.

I also hope to display the completed Umi-bune and finish up my Urayasu bekabune model and perhaps display it with the bekabune model that was given to me by the Urayasu Museum. Probably, the next display won’t be until sometime in the Fall.

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For those interested in building any of the kit models, they are all presently available. The Tosa Wasen kit is only available direct from the manufacturer. You can see their website at thermal-kobo.jp, but you will have to email them to place your order. The HacchoroYakatabune and Higaki Kaisen kits are all available from the Japanese online seller Zootoyz.jp. Their prices are reasonable, service is very good, and you won’t get gouged on shipping fees. Again, instructions for all these kits are in Japanese, but all but the Higaki Kaisen are pretty straight forward.

Absolutely in Awe – My New Wasen Modeler God

Today, I was digging through my usual research websites. In particular the Nippon Foundation’s online library, studying an article on Takasebune, when I ran across this photo, clearly depicting an entire collection of wasen models, all at the same scale. Translating some of the text around this image, I discovered that they appear to all have been built by a Mr. Yukio Nakayama.

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Not knowing anything about this person, I began digging around using his name in Japanese for my searches, 中山幸雄. What I found is a gentleman who has been built more than models of traditional Japanese boats and buildings, all at 1/70 scale.

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I don’t know much more about him, aside from the fact that he was born in 1953 and has been doing this for a long time, but it appears that the information on his work is fairly current. It seems that there are periodically exhibits of his work.

I will do what I can to find out about him and see if I can contact him. Being that my Japanese isn’t very good, I suspect that I won’t be able to do much communicating.

Time to send out some calls for help through my network of contacts!

 

Wasen Display 5.0

Wasen Display 5.0 is now set up at the Japan Center Mall in the window of the Union Bank Community Room inside the East Mall building. At least, I think, it’s display 5.0. I’m starting to lose track.

This time, the display is just slightly smaller than last time as I decided not to include my Urayasu Boatshop model. I actually partially dismantled it in order to make some progress on the boat model that was in the display and bring it to the Nautical Research Guild Conference in San Diego several weeks ago.

Hacchoro, built from a Woody Joe kit. If you've been following my blogs, you might recall I had a chance to see one of the Hacchoro replicas in the port of Yaizu in September.

Hacchoro, built from a Woody Joe kit. If you’ve been following my blogs, you might recall I had a chance to see one of the Hacchoro replicas in the port of Yaizu in September.

So, maybe this is more like Wasen Display 3.5. But, it’s the fifth one I’ve done now. It still features the Higaki Kaisen, Hacchoro and Yakatabune, all built from Woody Joe kits, and the Tosa Wasen from Thermal Studio.

This time, I took part of the roof off of the Yakatabune, so people can see the interior better.

This time, I took part of the roof off of the Yakatabune, so people can see the interior better.

I had hoped to include my own Urayasu Bekabune model as well as one that was given to me when I visited the museum near Tokyo. However, I just haven’t had time to work on my bekabune model or to build more display stands. So, they will have to wait for another time.

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The Tosa Wasen is now a regular feature and is the largest model in terms of length as well as scale (1/10). The inclusion of the boatman silhouettes helps the viewer understand the models’ differing scales.

For those interested in building any of these kits, they are all presently available. The Tosa Wasen kit is only available direct from the manufacturer. You can see their website at thermal-kobo.jp, but you will have to email them to place your order.

The Hacchoro, Yakatabune and Higaki Kaisen kits are all available from the Japanese online seller Zootoyz.jp. Their prices are reasonable, service is very good, and you won’t get gouged on shipping fees.

Instructions for all these kits are in Japanese, but all but the Higaki Kaisen are pretty straight forward.

 

The current Japanese boat models display will run from November 1st through the 31st.

 

Japanese Boats Display in Japantown (v 4.0)

Last week, I spent an entire afternoon in San Francisco setting up my latest display of models of Japanese traditional boats in the Japan Center Mall in San Francisco. This is the largest display I’ve done, which is now up to 5 models. It’s probably about as large as it will get as I can’t imagine that I can possibly cram any more into my car. And, given that I live about an hour’s drive outside the city (or two hours in bad traffic), I’m not likely going to be making two trips to set it up. But, the size is actually pretty good now.

Since I’m doing some fundraising to go to Japan this Fall to do some more first-hand research on Japanese watercraft (don’t forget to check out my gofundme page), I’m taking the opportunity to really get some attention for this display. As with those people involved in the fine arts, I’ve made up an announcement card that I’m having printed up that I will be sending to various friends and people that  I think will be interested in it and possibly interested in helping me out (as well as those who have already done so). In addition, I’ve made a simple email announcement photo that I’ve been sending to people.

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My email announcement card

If you’re already familiar with the last couple displays, you will see two new models added, a simple Japanese traditional boat shop display and the Tosa wasen model. Both are a nice, big 1/10 scale, so the details are better for a window display like this.

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The 1/10-scale Tosa Wasen is the newest boat model added to the display.

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This is my simple model of an Urayasu boat workshop, showing some of the aspects of traditional Japanese boatbuilding. Under construction is a Bekabune, a seaweed gathering boat that was once used on Tokyo Bay. The model still needs a few additions – a work in progress.

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The Hacchoro and the Urayasu boat workshop with their scale boatmen silhouettes. The Hacchoro is one of the boats I will be focussing my attention on while researching in Japan this Fall.

You may notice in that display window photos that I’ve created little silhouette boatmen to provide scale reference for each model. This was a last minute effort, though I’ve been thinking about it for months. I finally sat down and scoured the Internet and found photos of boatmen dressed in traditional outfits on someone’s blog photos. I took the best one and did some Photoshop work to turn him into a silhouette, which I scaled to the needed sizes, printed them, and mounted them on cardboard.

There are, of course, things to do differently next time, which I’ve already noted. The boat workshop display should probably be on some kind of a riser, like the other models, there is enough room to put up another large, hanging photo board, and there’s room for at least one more model, using the tall stand I introduced in this display. I suppose I could consider staggering them a little too.

That tall stand, by the way, is actually a better stand for me to use because it’s simple two boards hinged together. This makes them foldable and they take up a lot less space in my car. I’m seriously thinking about replacing the box pedestals on the other models with short folding stands, which would allow me to carry more stuff in my car. And, actually, if I build models without sails, I might be able to fit one or two more in that car. Of course, that means building more models and I’m pretty far behind on other projects as it is. We’ll see… Ω