9th Japanese Boat Models Display, October 2019

I just finished setting up Japanese wasen model display 9.0 yesterday. I was a bit late setting it up, which I had planned to set up 3 days earlier, but it was difficult for me to arrange my time this week for various reasons. But, it’s up now in the display window of the Union Bank community room inside the Japan Center’s East Mall in San Francisco.

Due to the sale of my Higaki Kaisen model, and to keep things manageable, I ended up scaling back to 6 models, plus a panel of photos. This fills up the display window just fine and allows me to set up more easily.

In fact, I have traditionally set aside 2 hours to handle the setup, but I must have become more efficient at it, as it only took me an hour to get the key from the bank, carry everything from my car, and set up the display.

The display includes:

  • Hacchoro – 1/24-scale Woody Joe kit of a Yaizu bonito fishing boat.
  • Yakatabune – 1/24-scale Woody Joe kit of an Edo period pleasure boat.
  • Tosa Wasen – 1/10-scale Thermal Studio kit of a Tosa fishing boat.
  • Kamakura period Umibune – a 1/50 scale model of a trade boat, c. 1300AD
  • Urayasu Bekabune – 1/10-scale model of a Tōkyō Bay seaweed gathering boat.
  • Kobaya – 1/32-scale model of a boat belonging to the Shōgun’s government.

Noticeably missing, at least to me, is a model of a bezaisen, or Japanese coastal transport, as I sold my Higaki Kaisen model last month and haven’t completed the Kitamaebune model yet.

The Kitamaebune will be ready for the next display, I’m sure. And, I do have another Higaki Kaisen kit. So, by that time, mabye I’ll have the second Higaki Kaisen model ready too.

One thing different about this display is that while I was setting up the display window, a cat wandered through the East Mall and sat out in front by the bunraku puppet display. While the cat didn’t specifically come and look at the display, I like to think that he or she brought by some good luck to the display.

The display will run through at least the end of October. Given that I was several days behind schedule on the setup, perhaps I’ll leave it up a little longer if the window space is available. Ω

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Wasen Models at the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival

The Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festivalis a big annual event up in Washington state for lovers of wooden boats, and I believe it’s one of the largest events of its type in the world. Now, I’m not personally a big wooden boat enthusiast, so I never had any intention on going, but it looks like I’ll be displaying my Japanese boat models there this Fall.

This is all coming about with the suggestion of Douglas Brooks, who will be doing a Japanese boat building workshop just prior to the festival. The organizers want to make something of an event out of the completion of the boat.

Douglas had the idea that the organizers would be interested in some Japanese boat related displays, which they are. They offered a table and to look for some accommodations for me, so it looks like I’ll be making the drive up there at the end of August with a car load of models and display paraphernalia.

Of course, now I want to make sure I have some more interesting models available, so I put in a little time again on the new Woody Joe Kitamae-bune kit and the colorful Kobaya model, and I’ll have some progress reports on both of those sometime in the next week or so. But, I can’t help but feeling that I need more on display there, so who knows what subjects I’ll end up attacking in coming months.

If you’re planning on attending, watch for updates on where I will be and what days and times I’ll be manning my table. It’s a 3-day event, and I’ll probably be dying if I can’t take a break from my table regularly.

8th Japanese Boat Models Display, February 2019

My next display of models of Japanese traditional boats will run through the month of February in the display window of the Union Bank community room inside the Japan Center’s East Mall. It’s hard to believe, but this will be my eighth such display.

I made two more tall stands this week, giving me a total of seven stands, which is enough to put all the models I brought last time up on stands, getting them up off the floor of the display window. However, I’d like to put my Kobaya model on display too, even though it’s not yet complete – I did the same thing with my Kamakura period Umi-bune last time, which is done now.

The Kobayabune, though not complete, is my latest addition to the Japanese boats display.

The display includes the following models:

  • Higaki Kaisen – 1/72-scale Woody Joe kit of a coastal transport.
  • Hacchoro – 1/24-scale Woody Joe kit of a Yaizu bonito fishing boat.
  • Yakatabune – 1/24-scale Woody Joe kit of an Edo period pleasure boat.
  • Tosa Wasen – 1/10-scale Thermal Studio kit of a Tosa fishing boat.
  • Kamakura period Umibune – a 1/50 scale model of a trade boat, c. 1300AD
  • Hozugawa Ayubune – 1/10-scale model of a fishing boat from the Hozu river.
  • Urayasu Bekabune – 1/10-scale model of a Tōkyō Bay seaweed gathering boat.
  • Kobaya – 1/32-scale model of a boat belonging to the Shōgun’s government.

It is now set up and will be available for viewing through the morning of 2/28/19.

Japanese Boat Models Display 7.0

Just last week, on a rainy March 1st morning, I packed up my car with stands, posters, models, signs, and accessories, and drove 2 hours through traffic to set up the latest and largest Japanese boat models display yet. 7 models in all are on display in the window of the Union Bank community room in the Japan Center Mall from now through the end of March.

This year, Woody Joe’s Hacchoro, Higaki Kaisen, and Yakatabune are prominently featured, along with Thermal Studios’ Tosa Wasen, and my scratch built Hozugawa Ayubune, Urayasu Bekabune and Kamakura period Umibune.

Just over half of these models are based on kits, mostly from Woody Joe. And, if your interested in building one of these wonderful kits, of course, I always recommend Zootoyz.jp as your source for Woody Joe, and other kits. Here is some information on the models in this display – click on their titles to go to a website where you can purchase the kits. Continue reading

My Next Wasen Model Display, March 1st – 31st , 2018

I may be no Yukio Nakayama, but I will have my own wasen model display coming up again in Japantown, San Francisco, in the display window of Union Bank’s community room inside the Japan Center’s East Mall.

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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

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!