Building the Kamakura Period Umi-Sen, Part 3

The latest update on my Kamakura period sea boat project.

I’m still a bit behind on the writing, and the model is further along than what you see here. The whole thing probably took me about no more than two weeks from the start of construction to get this far. This one was a big departure from other traditional Japanese boat, or wasen, designs that I’ve built because of the early era of the subject, so it took weeks of study before I felt I was ready to start.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型


The largest source of Kamakura period boat information appears to be in 13th century picture scrolls that appear in books and on the Internet, but I really know very little about the scrolls themselves. What they depict includes a lot of boats with hull designs very similar to the ship I’m modeling. These are semi-structured ships or junkozosen (準構造船) with dugout-style hull, which have been built up with hull planks. Most of those depicted are river boats, but some appear to be sea boats.

I recently found a great sketch of a large sea ship on a blog site. I believe this was scanned from one of Professor Ishii’s books, but it’s not one that I have.


This image is very similar to a less detailed drawing I have in my books. The ship depicted here varies only slightly from my model in that this image shows a peaked roof called a kappa…

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