ATTIC MUSIUM

神奈川大学
日本常民文化研究所
Institute for the Study of Japanese Folk Culture Kanagawa University

Activities

Exhibition

Kanagawa University Exhibition Hall

 The Institute for the Study of Japanese Folk Culture has long placed emphasis on the importance of viewing Japanese culture in relation to oceans. Our Special Exhibition Section has been hosting “The Structures and Techniques of Traditional Japanese Vessels”. The ships’ features are explained through the use of models, reference materials and panels on the vessels and shipbuilding tools, with a focus on coastal trading ships called Bezaisen.

Kanagawa University Yokohama Campus Building 3; Kanagawa University Exhibition Hall
[Opening hours]
Monday - Saturday 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. *Please enter by 4:30 p.m.
[Closed on]
Sundays, national holidays, days designated by the University, and Saturdays when classes are not held.

Exhibition Room of the Institute for the Study of
Japanese Folk Culture, Kanagawa University

  This exhibition room introduces the history of the activities of ISJFC spanning over more than 90 years from 1921 when the Attic Museum Society was originally founded by Keizo Shibusawa and the prewar to postwar period when it was renamed the Institute for the Study of Japanese Folk Culture through to the present ISJFC as part of Kanagawa University.
  The exhibition comprises various modes of display including panels, historical materials/publications and films recording the lives of common people across Japan.

Museum Collection
“Models of Small Traditional Japanese Boats”


  • Entrance to the exhibition room. The models are displayed in glass cases. The glass case in the foreground contains the models Chorobune (Mie Prefecture) and Fishing Boat (Biwa Lake)

  • Tenmasen used by offshore bonito fishing ships to communicate with shore (left). kawabune (Niyodo River) and Ferry Boat (Tenryu River) (right)

  • Peronsen is used in a festival of Chinese origin that was introduced to Nagasaki and Japanized. From the near side, boats from the Meiji, Taisho and Showa-to-contemporary eras

  • Sekobune used by a group for catching whale

 We introduce works created by Tomoichiro Kondo, who was awarded the title of Contemporary Master Craftsman of traditional Japanese ship models. Kondo’s models are known for being faithful replicas of the original vessels, based on his unique research.
 Here we mainly feature models of small vessels such as the Tenmasen, river boats and Peronsen. We hope you will also view the adjacent exhibition room where models of large vessels such as Bezaisen are displayed.

Special Exhibition Room: The Structures and Techniques of Traditional Japanese Vessels

From the right, the ship in the Kamakura period, Chinese vessel (1/10 model each)
From the right, the ship in the Kamakura period,
Higaki Kaisen, Chinese vessel (1/10 model each)

 During the Edo period, domestic freight was transported mainly by coastal trading vessels called Bezaisen and other cargo ships. Large Bezaisen with a capacity of 150 tons, or 1,000 koku, were called Sengoku-bune and became the most common type of the era. The structures of Japanese vessels were different from those of Chinese and Western counterparts, thus requiring unique shipbuilding techniques and tools. Bezaisen were characterized by large single sails whose strong motive power has been demonstrated in recent replica sailing.
 In this exhibition, the unique features of traditional Japanese vessels, Bezaisen in particular, are explained in a comprehensible manner through model ships, reference materials and picture panels on shipbuilding tools. Moreover, a life-size partial Bezaisen replica with a capacity of 15 tons, or 100 koku, produced by Tomoichiro Kondo, is displayed in the lobby of the first floor of the basement.

  • The venue entrance
    The venue entrance
  • Panel display
    Panel display
  • A votive plaque for ships: a photograph of the original plaque stored in Enkakuji Temple in Aomori Prefecture
    A votive plaque for ships: a photograph of the original plaque stored in Enkakuji Temple in Aomori Prefecture
  • From the left, the Chinese vessel, the Higaki Kaisen, the ship of the Kamakura period (1/10 model each)
    From the left, the Chinese vessel, the Higaki Kaisen, the ship of the Kamakura period (1/10 model each)
  • Japanese (left) and Chinese (right) shipbuilding tools
    Japanese (left) and Chinese (right) shipbuilding tools
  • Cross section of a bezaisen
    Cross section of a bezaisen

 A model of benzai-sen (traditional Japanese sailboat) is displayed on the first basement floor (built by Tomoichiro Kondo, weighs approx. 15 tons). Repair workshop, material room, and library and archives are on the second basement floor.

  • A life-size replica of a coastal trading  Bezaisen vessel with a capacity of 15 tons, or 100 koku
    A life-size replica of a coastal trading Bezaisen vessel with a capacity of 15 tons, or 100 koku
  • A life-size replica of a mast based on a design from the Edo period
    A life-size replica of a mast based on a design from the Edo period