Quite some time ago, while I was building my Woody Joe Higaki Kaisen model, I started working on a construction article. It has essentially done for many months, but I’m trying to wrap up the first 1/3 of the article, which essentially talks about the background of the Japanese coastal transports.
I’ve been having some trouble, as there is some conflicting information regarding possible imposed restrictions on Japanese ship building during the Edo period. Most sources indicate the existence of restrictions, but a few scholarly sources say that there’s been no evidence of any restrictions at all. Yet, even in the 1850s report from Perry’s expedition, there is mention of restrictions on the construction of Japanese ships.
Still, not being an academic, it’s hard to get in the middle of this discussion. I don’t want to alienate myself by possibly insulting people who have studied the subject, and some of whom have helped me out. So, what to do?
I sent the article to a Mr. Toshihiko Shibafuji, who was involved in sailing the Naniwa Maru during sea trials conducted before it was placed in the museum in Osaka (now closed). He has been very helpful regarding Japanese traditional boats and is a friend of Douglas Brooks. Shibafuji-san sent his comments back to me along with some technical data on the sailing characteristics of the Naniwa Maru. He also pointed out that the discussion of shipbuilding restrictions is one that even scholars in Japan have disagreements over.
So, I’m going to look over that part of my article and probably do a few rewrites. Perhaps the best thing to write is about the disagreement over this issue.
In the meantime, I’ve been reading a number of articles on JSTOR, which is a digital library of academic journals and books. A free account is available, which provides access to the collection. But, downloading articles requires a paid pass. This is generally available through academic institutions and some libraries, but can also be purchased by individuals. I signed up for a one-month pass for just under $20 that allows me to download up to 10 articles.
Using this system has actually been quite helpful. I’ve found some information on shipping during Tokugawa Era Japan, and other articles where references to sengokubune appear and specific information about Higaki Kaisen and Kitamaesen.
I’m not sure how much of this additional information I’ll use in this article. I’ve already been delaying this article for the last year. It’s time to wrap it up! Ω