Lantern" by Toshiaki Fujii, handmade from scratch based on a model of a lantern from the Matsumae domain mansion (Matsumae-cho)

March 31, 2022 (Thursday)

Mr. Toshiaki Fujii, 71, a resident of Hokuryu Town, made a large wooden lantern of his own design and installed it in his garden in late March.

Mr. Toshiaki Fujii and his lantern

Toshiaki Fujii (age 71)

Large Lanterns

The lantern is a large wooden lantern about 1.8 meters high.

Wooden lantern made by Toshiaki Fujii

Mr. Fujii loves trees and woodworking.

Mr. Fujii loves trees and selects them for his garden on a regular basis. In his well-kept garden, he has planted many magnificent trees and placed wooden works such as a "drum bridge" and "water wheel," both of which he made himself.

Toshiaki Fujii (as of visit on January 25, 2022)

lantern making

Fascinated by the lanterns of the Matsumae Clan's residence

Furthermore, Mr. Fujii has been interested in crafts since he was a child, and has always had an interest in lanterns. While searching for various lanterns on the Internet, he came across a picture of the ideal lantern he had imagined. Upon further investigation, the image turned out to be a lantern from the Matsumae Clan's residence. My creative spirit was stirred.

So I asked my family, "I'd love to see the real thing!" and asked my family to visit the Matsumae Clan's residence in Matsumae. We took a close look at the actual house.

Using trees from the mountain that have been drawn up and cut down

The lanterns were drawn from "scratch" based on photographed images and measurements. Wood is made from wood purchased from the mountains, including wood that he himself cut down himself by pulling trees with a chain saw.

Cutting by the millimeter, the size did not quite fit as expected, and the process was repeated through trial and error. Production began at the end of November last year, 2021, and was completed in about three months.

We worked about six hours a day and spent a lot of time reworking.
The structure of the rain shelter has warped sections that are not straight, so I searched for a 'wari-kanna' to plane the curved surfaces of the wood and ordered one from outside of Hokkaido," said Fujii with a smile.

Production in the barn during snowfall

Large barn (warehouse)
Barn entrance

Highly difficult crafts

Production in a barn
Curved surface part is difficult and high

Another barn workshop

Barn workshop

Fujii family, rare photo after settlement in Hokuryu-cho

Mr. Fujii's ancestors were powerful wealthy farmers in Gifu Prefecture. They were allowed to have their names and flower seals. He has also preserved valuable photographs from the time of his settlement in Hokuryu-cho.

Funeral of the Fujii family in 1921

The funeral service for the Fujii family in 1921 was attended by all the priests of Hokuryu Town, including the priest of Numata Hokuryu. The "portable shrine" carried the round coffin, and the women's mourning attire was white.

The following images were "color reproduced" from black and white images of the time.

Photo of the Fujii family funeral in 1921
Rare photos from that time
Rare photos from that time

Self-made nameplate, Fujii family flower stamp

Self-made nameplate, Fujii family flower stamp
Self-made nameplate, Fujii family flower stamp
Flowers in the garden that herald spring.
We express our infinite love, gratitude, and prayers to Mr. Toshiaki Fujii's great lanterns, which he carefully and thoughtfully makes by himself.

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◇ Photography and Editing: Noboru Terauchi Reporting and Writing: Ikuko Terauchi