Tosa Wasen, Traditional Japanese Fishing Boat


About the Model

This model was built from a kit from a small Japanese model manufacter. It is a 1/10 scale model and measures just about 2 feet long, though the sculling oar adds another foot to it when mounted.

The kit was created by the company’s owner out of his own interest in fishing and traditional Japanese watercraft. His goal was to create a model kit that used the actual materials used in building the real boat. So, this model is primarily made from Sugi, or Japanese cedar. A few parts, such as the stem and the beams are made from Hinoki, or Japanese cypress, while the oar is made from Ho, or Japanese magnolia.

The construction of the model is also made to very closely follow the design of the actual boats, and was developed under the supervision of the Tosa Wasen Tomo no Kai, or the Tosa Traditional Japanese Boat Society.

Those interested in Japanese-style boats should check out the website of American boatbuilder Douglas Brooks, who has studied in Japan and apprenticed with five traditional Japanese boat builders and has written articles and one book on the subject.

If you are interested in building this or other models of traditional Japanese boats, visit my Wasen modeler site.

Tosa Wasen, Traditional Japanese Fishing Boat

The Tosa Wasen is a common type of fishing boat used by the fisherman of the Tosa area of Shikoku island, one of the southernmost of the four main islands of Japan. This is specifically a 20’ boat that would have been commonly used by one or two fishermen.

From these boats, fishermen would use bamboo fishing rods to catch Sea Bream in coastal and harbor waters. The craft is propelled by a single large sculling oar called a “Ro”. The unusual shape of this oar makes it self-aligning. Because the oar never leaves the water and is in constant back and forth motion, it is a very efficient means of propulsion.

The boat’s deck is covered with removable panels, which allow easy access to storage compartments below. In the center of the boat, the panels cover a live well, with separate compartments for catch and for bait.

The Tosa Wasen is a model of a 20’ long traditional Japanese fishing boat that was operated by 1 or 2 people. It comes from the Tosa region of the Japanese southern main island of Shikoku.

This is a 1/10 scale model built from a kit from Japanese manufacturer Thermal Studio. The 2’ long model is built using the same materials and in much the same way as the full-sized boat.