Heritage of Japan’s history

Do you want to know the real Japan?

Welcome to your introduction to Japan. In Japanese, Japanese-Style is called “Wafuu”. This is the site where correct Japanese culture is sent all over the world, we tell of Japan’s cultural splendor to those who love Japan, like you! If you like what we introduce on this site, you can purchase as it.

First of all, we would like you to know more about Japan. The history of humans in Japan dates back about 100,000 years. Currently, Japan includes the islands of Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu, however Japan at one time it was one big island of land-tracking from Hokkaido to Kyushu.
For this reason, there is a Japanese characteristic, “cultural inflow end point”. Where culture inflow from the south, near the Chinese continent, and culture inflow from the north, near Russia will arrive. This characteristic has become an innovation temperament that evolves and develops by flexibly incorporating cultures from other countries, and has become a strong point of the Japanese to this very day.

About 1500 years ago, Japan was established as an initial nation. 645(the first year of Taika) in the era of Emperor Kotoku, the “Renaissance of Taika” was held, and a centralized system centered on the Emperor was established. This line of emperors has continued until now, Emperor Akihito of the Heisei era is the 125th Emperor.

The samurai who created the Bakufu(Shogunate) as a government position “Seii-Taishogun”(Shogun) appeared from the emperor’s government. This is the Kamakura bakufu of Yoritomo MINAMOTO, the Muromachi bakufu of Takauji ASHIKAGA, and the Edo bakufu of Ieyasu TOKUGAWA. Do you know Japan’s favorite thing about the Edo period? Perhaps you know Kamakura era or the Muromachi era.

The Japanese culture created in its long history has various tangible and intangible features in each era. Until the 7th century, ancient tombs and pottery were made. Horyu-ji temple registered as a World Heritage Site, as the oldest wooden building in the world, is known as the foundation of 607 (15th year of Suiko).

The origins of Kimono, Foods and Buildings

Do you like kimonos? The ancient Japanese kimono is written in an ancient Chinese document “Gishi Wajin-den”, “It is a combination of a wide range of cloths and men tying their hair together.” The colour of the cloth at the highest royal position was purple as “purple clothes were only worn by the highest ranked figure” of Prince Shotokutaishi who established “Kanni 12 kai” (crown position 12th floor).

In the Kamakura period, Dogen, who opened the Buddhist Soto-sect, went to Soh (present-day China) to study Buddhism and take home the Shojin cuisine with cuisine as the daily life itself, including cooking in Buddhism. Cooking ingredients such as Tofu, Konnyaku and Miso as well as the mortar were brought in from the culture of shojin cuisine. These are foods that Japanese people in the 21st century eat on a daily basis.

The beginning of modern times in the Edo period

Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, who was a member of the Sengoku warlords, took power during the Sengoku period in the 16th century and became the Seii-Taishogun(Shogun) in 1603 (8th year of Keicho) and opened the Edo shogunate. The period of this shogunate is called the “Edo Jidai”(Edo period). Since then, the Edo shogunate took over the government office of the “Seii-Taishogun” and built a peaceful and stable administration for 265 years until 1867 (3rd year of Keio) when the 15th general Shogun Yoshinobu Tokugawa returned to the shogunate administration.

Over the long period of over two and a half centuries, the Edo Shogunate adopted to isolate the nation. Japan became a very homogenous society. During this time, stable social systems as well as culture would mature. In the middle term of the Edo era, a very important time in the history of Japan emerged. It was a time where the civilian culture of ordinary people bloomed. In contemporary Japanese society, Ukiyo-e prints and Nishiki-e (= bromide) dating back to the Edo era, “Edo shopping guidance”, the novel “Koushoku Ichidai Otoko”(Sensual age man) are permeated on a daily basis. Teachings such as “Ikebana”(Flower arrangement), “Cha”(Tea), “Odori”(Dance) and “Shamisen”(three string guitar) continue as a practice still.

In pursuit of youth and immortality, it is said that Ieyasu Tokugawa prepared medicine himself for longevity, and it can be said that it has supplemented the supplement mania of modern life.

When the Genroku era of Tsunayoshi Tokugawa(fifth shogun) of the Edo bakufu arrived, the society was in a stable period. Agriculture and industry developed. Literature, academics and art developed. Korin OGATA’s national treasure “Kakitsubatazu”(Iris flower picture) was born during this era. In the latter part of the Edo era, a monetary economy penetrated into the market and the townspeople’s culture bloomed. It may be said that this period was the Renaissance in Japan. The sushi of Edomae (Edo bay-front) which is loved all over the world was created by Yohei HANAYA, who opened “Hanaya” in 1824 (7th year of Bunsei). Ukiyo-e, the earliest form of woodblock printing was born in the same era.

Ukiyo-e in Japan had great influence on the French Impressionists, and it became the foundation to produce worldwide masterpieces

Especially the Ukiyo-e, which was called as Nishiki-e, was made as a printmaking. It was an era when ordinary people enjoy paintings such as “Bijin-ga”(beautiful girl paintings) and “Fukei-ga”(landscape paintings). A Ukiyo-e painter such as Utamaro KITAGAWA of beautiful girl paintings, Hiroshige UTAGAWA of landscape paintings, Hokusai KATSUSHIKA and others became very popular in Edo, and more than 1000 Ukiyo-e artists worked in this era.

Among them, Utagawa faction Ukiyo-e, including Hiroshige UTAGAWA, held 200 exhibits at the Paris Expo in 1867 and later influenced painters such as Van Gogh, Manet, Monet and Gauguin, which were later called impressionists. They talked about the impact of ukiyo-e, and expressing the influence of ukiyo-e in regards to their own paintings. In particular, Monet’s “La Japonaise”, where kimonos are drawn with gaudy embroidery, posing dazzling with folding fans, and fan-shaped fans in the background. They are said to be ukiyo-e itself. Cezanne was eagerly looking at ukiyo-e prints, but he took them for himself and tried too much to express it. However, in recent research, it turned out that he was obsessed by “Hokusai Katsushika’s Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji”, and Cezanne’s “Saint Victoire Mountains” were Mt. Fuji for him. It is thought that he would have wanted to draw thirty-six views of St. Victoire.

Beyond the Great Wave off Kanagawa

Beyond the Great Wave off Kanagawa

Do you know this picture? Yes, I understand. So, what is the name of the picture? This picture is a woodcut print called “Kanagawa Oki Namiura”(Beyond the Great Wave) of KATSUSHIKA Hokusai. Kanagawa Oki Namiura is a masterpiece of Ukiyo-e. It was recorded as part of “Fugaku Sanju-Roku kei”(Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji) published by Katsushika Hokusai after 1831 (2nd year of Tempo). It is known as one of the most famous Japanese art objects in the world, and “Fugaku” refers to Mount Fuji.

Fugaku Sanju-Roku kei are landscape paintings of Mt. Fuji which he saw from various places around Edo to Sunpu country, there are various compositions of drawings of Mt. Fuji over the whole screen, things drawn in a distant landscape, as background. In addition, each season and region depicts not only the various aspects of Mt. Fuji but also the lives of the people in various places, and it also recognizes the landscape of Japan during the Edo period and the material value that represents the lives of people.

Katsushika Hokusai’s painting motif crossed all of his work, and he had published over 30,000 works in his life. In addition to famous prints, he painted ukiyo-e prints even handwriting. Other reading books and illustrative arts also progressed actively. In the later years he was also experimenting with copperplate prints and glass paintings. You could say he was the Leonardo Da Vinci of Japan. Do not forget that Fugaku Sanju-Roku kei are a completed work by Katsushika Hokusai at his age of 72 and it is the finished beauty of the author’s life. The beauty of Ukiyo-e in Katsushika Hokusai is based on the use of Prussian Blue which was then called “Bero ai”. It is one of the key points in tasting Hokusai’s work, which is described as “Hokusai Blue”.

Ukiyo-e painting around the time of Hokusai’s activities were not as highly evaluated as in modern times. It was also the culture of the general townspeople. As a result, the woodblocks made during the production are not preserved and unfortunately do not exist as a rule, as they were discarded after being used. However, in the Tokyo version of ukiyo-e which continue from the Edo era, artists still produce Ukiyo-e with the same technology as at that time. That is Edo wood prints.

Beautiful insight of Ukiyo-e painting

Edo wood prints use cherry blossom wood as a woodblock. A sculptor sculpts on a woodblock, a slinger attaches the paint to the finished work-piece, puts Japanese paper on the log, and slides it with a Baren made of bamboo skin and leaves. All are handmade by traditional craftsmen. If the depth of carving is too deep or shallow, it will affect the next printing process. The printer is required to change the amount of paint to be placed, taking into consideration external factors such as temperature and humidity. In order to finish the work, both the engraver and the slinger are required to make delicate adjustments learned through long-term training and experience. Ukiyo-e is produced by extremely delicate manual work.

Ukiyo-e, which is produced by traditional techniques that continue from the Edo period, has been approved and protected as a traditional craft item designated by the Japanese government’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry in modern times. Katsushika Hokusai’s “Kanagawa Oki Namiura” provided here is produced at the oldest workshop which continues from the Edo period and is designated as an ‘authentic’, traditional craftwork by Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry. JapaneseStyle, custom-made Kanagawa Oki Namiura, which was specially framed to fit this large Western European building.

The size of Ukiyo-e prints corresponds to B4 size (353 cm × 250 cm) of the standard called ‘Japan unique B row’. The Ukiyo-e prints that are generally sold in Japan are framed, and the size is about B3 size (500 cm × 353 cm), the decoration of the frame itself is very simple so as not to disturb the features of the painting it is something. In general houses, they look stunning, however, paintings of this size are too small in size in Western European museum type buildings and a simple frame can seem weak or unimpressive, and even though they are adorning these wonderful Ukiyo-e prints.

So we used A0 size (841 cm × 1189 cm) and fitted it to a big Western European building which was bigger than Japanese houses. We framed it, put a beautiful purple mat suits the Kanagawa Oki Namiura. Next, we entered a special order for a craftsmen to frame it.

Your room becomes the Tokyo Bay in the Edo period, you can see the same Mt. Fuji as Hokusai

This screw is a traditional technique that shapes parts using the glossy part inside a pearl shell into a motif and embeds it in the frame’s wood. It is a traditional craft that requires a highly skilled individual to shape the circular shell into a flat shape and flatten it into the desired shape. In Ukiyo-e prints of JapaneseStyle, you can embed the beautiful spiral work into the shape of a great wave and get a Hokusai decorated like no others. It shines with a rainbow colored luster. Your room decorating Ukiyo-e prints will become a beach in the Edo period when Hokusai sees it.

Please enjoy a genuine Kanagawa Oki Namiura made using traditional techniques employed for 300 years from the Edo period, please decorate it in your house.

 

 

The Symbol of Samurai power

Himeji-jo Castle

The largest existing castle

Do you like Japanese castles? Japanese castle construction is a unique architecture to Japan. Japanese people call it “Oshiro” carefully with respect, adoration and familiarity. Among them, Himeji-jo Castle. It is the largest castle in Japan and it has been a nationwide treasure, since it was built in 1609 (14th year of Keicho). It is currently over 400 years old. In 1993 (3rd year of Heisei), it was registered as a World Heritage Site.

The charm of Himeji-jo Castle is not only its size but also its elegant appearance similar to that of when the Shirasagi(shrine) spread its wings. It is called by another name, “Shirasagi Castle”, this alias has penetrated throughout Japan as well as Himeji-jo Castle. This white colour is created through a method called “Shiro Sikkui Sou Nurigome”(white stucco total painting basket), not only painting the outer walls with white stucco but also applying white plaster to the joint of the roof tile, it combines into a refractory purpose. Not limited to Himeji-jo Castle, Japanese traditional buildings are wooden buildings, but fireproofing and fireproofing performance is improved by hardening the outer wall with plaster. Due to countermeasures for firearms such as guns that the castle was plastered during construction.

The castle has several functions. It was a defense base when the samurai were attacked by enemies, it is a battle base and also a stockpiling place for food, weapons and funds. The main castle was the Tonosama’s residence, and it was also the base of politics and information. For functional reasons, the history of the castle has evolved from the Yamajiro castle built at the summit, to Hirajiro castle through to the Hirayamajiro castle. It was originally built in mountainous land for the purpose of defense. However, as the result of warfare changes and the power of Daimyo(Tonosama) developed, a result of suppressing the key points of traffic such as rivers and highways, it came to be built.

Tenshu – The symbol of the castle

Tenshu(castle tower) is the final defense base of the castle and symbolizes the castle developed as large watchtowers. The character of facility was originally a final defense base and as such a gantry tower was constructed to aid in defense. However, as the castle owner wanted a symbol of power, spaces for human resources, such as materials and money, were added.

The Tenshu of Himeji-jo Castle is built on a small mountain with an altitude of 45.6m at Himeyama, and the stone wall is 14.85m above it, the building is 31.5 m with a total of 46.3m. In total it is 91m high. At the top of Himeji-jo Castle you can look around to the Setonaikai(Seto Inland Sea) as you climb.

Three main attractions

There are three main points of the Tenshu. They are “Shachihoko”, “Hafu”, and “Ishigaki”.

Shachihoko is an imaginary sea fish whose head is like a tiger, often knocking down whales and raising waves and causing rain. It is said to shoot water from its mouth when looking at fire. A statue of it is placed on the roof as an unbelievable fire extinguisher. Himeji-jo Castle has 11 Shachihokos each about 1.9 m in height and about 300 kg in weight.

Hafu gives the castle a glamorous and powerful appearance, it becomes has a heavy appearance of overlapping on the roof. It has the effect of emphasizing the symbol of authority. Originally it was a word that refers to the modeling of the “Irimoya” side itself, but in the castle tower it is a huge multiplexed structure. It was a roof hung with a bay window at the end of the small room. As Daimyo(Tonosama)’s power grew and architectural technology developed, the decorative role of the appearance becomes larger than the functional role of the bay window roof faded away. Himeji-jo Castle is equipped with various types of galls of different sizes, and the huge “Karahafu” emphasizes its mighty power.

There were three kinds of techniques in the method of stacking stone walls, historically “Nozura-zumi”, “Uchikomi-hagi” and “Kirikomi-hagi”. When Terumasa IKEDA built Himeji-jo Castle it was an era of “Uchikomi-hagi”. However, before building the current Himeji-jo Castle, this place was the site of the former Himeji-jo Castle that Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI built. For that reason, some old parts of Himeji-jo Castle used “Nozura-zumi”, and when the repair or reinforcement work was done in the Edo period, the technique of “Kirikomi-hagi” was used. Therefore, you can see all three stone wall loading techniques in Himeji-jo Castle.

We reproduced the largest Himeji-jo Castle tower on a 1/150 scale.

The most elaborate castle model

Mr. Norio Tsuneki is the president of a manufacturer who manufactures model products from 1947(22nd year of Showa). His father was a founder, however his father retired when he was 25 years old. He has been manufacturing wood products for many years as my second manager. It was the forerunner who introduced laser processing to the wooden model industry first and announced the most elaborate castle model in Japan. This Himeji-jo Castle also succeeded in reproducing both the huge castle construction and delicate decorative objects positively by introducing laser processing to Hafu and “Gegyo”.

Of course it is wooden just like the real Himeji-jo Castle. The Himeji-jo Castle Tenshu will be restored with respect to Terumasa Ikeda who included the feature called “Renritsu Bouro type” that is not only a Giant Tenshu but also two small Tenshus.

The three main points of the Tenshu:

Shachihokos are the castings made of white metal and their size and shape are created according to the scale. They are elegant to the castle.

The hafus are all made as “irimoya hafu” of the Giant Tenshu and Tangle winds are all original shapes. So you can experience the beautiful hafu with different shapes and different sizes just like the real Himeji-jo Castle. In addition, under the hafu, a sculptured plate called a Gegyo has been reproduced. This Gegyo is a remarkably, noteworthy feature that can be realized only by using laser processing.

Ishigaki has reproduced Himeji-jo Castle’s 400 year history by using real wood to portray an invading army looking up at the defending samurai army. The defending army attack enemies from above with high realism. When you see the precise and elaborate Himeji-jo Castle that is not made anywhere else, you can enjoy a feeling of creating Himeji-jo Castle, as if you were the one who built this castle.

This Himeji-jo Castle combines the elements that all the people who love Japanese castles are looking for. This is the only elaborately reproduced Himeji-jo Castle. You can collect this handmade, artisan created Himeji-jo Castle for your home. We will also attach cases to protect your precious Himeji-jo Castle from dust and dirt. LED lights are set in the case, if you turn on the attached switch, you can light up Himeji-jo Castle Tenshu even in a dark night’s room. You can enjoy Himeji-jo Castle Tenshu differently than in the daytime. As you can see from the height of the roof, it is no doubt that you will feel the same as the lords of Terumasa Ikeda.

 

 

Kimono

Under construction.