Regional Cultural Asset Portal

Kure City , Hiroshima
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Shipwrights of Kurahashi - A Record of Building a Gozabune Ship for Itsukushima Shrine    

Digest: 3 minutes
Entire story: 42 minutes
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Kurahashi-cho in Kure City is located in the southernmost part of Hiroshima Prefecture that sits in the middle of the Seto Inland Sea. The town has thrived as a shipbuilding town from olden times and, in 1990, the year of the "Exposition of the Sea and Islands," it built a life-sized kentoshi-sen (the boat of the Imperial Embassies to China of the 8th Century) in tribute to the historical event described in the Manyoshu anthology of poems. In the Heian period (794-1192), Taira no Kiyomori brought the fune-kangen festival from the capital to Itsukushima Shrine. Since then, it has been performed as the Kangensai festival and is one of the three biggest Shinto rituals involving boats in Japan. In the early modern period, the development of a kaisen (cargo vessel) network and new shipbuilding technology together contributed to the areas prosperity as the major shipbuilding town in the Inland Sea area and they built ships including gozabune (a boat for people of high position) for feudal lords and bezaisen (a boat with one mast and a sail) for commercial use. In recent years, the shipwrights have formed the Kangensen Goyo Ko Association to pass on the ritual of the gozabune procession. However, together with the decline of wooden ships, the aging of the shipwrights has progressed. Therefore, we decided to record their skills so that we could pass them on to future generations.

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