history

15 March 2024

old advertising signs 

These are historic advertising signs that were made of metal plates. They are from the 1950's - 1970's, collected and well preserved by Masakatsu Itou. 

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We call them 琺瑯看板 or HouRou-KanBan because the early ones had an enamel glass coating. I think these are also valuable as creations from the early days of Japanese graphic design.

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24 January 2024

old glasses

These Japanese glasses are more than 100 years old and have special metal temples. Can you guess the reason behind the shape? 

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People in that era wore traditional hair style, so that it was difficult to use conventional ear glasses. Then people were using this style of glasses that clamped to their temples. 

Picture below should be another solution, although this one may be much older.

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27 October 2023

fireproof building

This old building in Takaoka, Toyama is built as a warehouse about 100 years before. Its earth walls are for fireproofing and covered with a unique black plaster which is made by mixing normal plaster with pine ink and oil smoke. You can also see the western style of cast-iron pillars under the front eave.

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04 August 2023

Hiroshima

On August 6th in 1945, the United States blasted the atomic bomb over Hiroshima and killed instantly around 60,000 civilians in the single explosion, more than 140,000 people by the end of the year and 300,000 people until today have died.

This picture below is one of the pages of "The effects of Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki" by the US strategic bombing survey in 1946. The visualization of the event is saying that the red zone is extent of fire, but reality is mostly blew up without a trace.

No nukes, no war. All we are saying is give peace a chance.

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05 June 2023

machiya

Not many but some old Machiya, a traditional merchant’s house, is well preserved in the city of Kanazawa. ( related page is here )

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Irori, an open fireplace, is placed in the business area near entrance to welcome their customers. You will notice the scratched pattern on the ash, I guess it's an easy version of charcoal settings as in formal tea ceremony.

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Beautiful wooden structure can be seen looking up at the spacious entrance. I guess flat ceilings used be only for living space.

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19 December 2022

Chinese lions

I found lions in the narrow gap of pillars at the temple gate. They are well wood carved and painted in blue/green with gold foil plated on partly.

We call the creature 唐獅子 / Kara-jishi or Chinese lion and they are applied to many other design or objet in various styles. In this case at the temple gate, I guess lions have a role as a gate keeper like Komainu. ( related page is here )

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And this guy below is biting the plant stem and hang on to it like puppies oftenly do.

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02 November 2022

not just a rock

A rock, but it's not just a rock for people in the region. In many of shrine we can find rocks which people believed where gods descended. It is also called Iwa-kura, the sacred rocks, and is usually adorned with shimenawa ropes, but very few has a stone lantern on it as in this picture.

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29 August 2022

gradation

You can see four colors in gradation are painted on this old bridge. This iron bridge is built about 100 years before and one of the iconic and historical public structure in Kanazawa city. I guess the painting is a part of recent renovation though.

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24 August 2022

packing

Packages are sometimes wasteful. And we japanese are culturely inclined to overwrap.

However this picture below is simple but sufficient packing method by just tying with a rough straw rope. Not sure if this is ancient way but looks well designed although very few people know how to do it.

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27 May 2022

giant wood hook

Giant wood hooks pictured below are called Daikoku which were used for hanging kettles or cooking pod above the fireplace in old houses. They are well smoked and got acidic tint, the unique sculptural design is very popular among the antique collectors. I don't know why these have to be such a big and heavy, but look very reliable.

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