Cover Graphics

Kanayama picture scroll of the Kake Sumiya
in the Geishu domain owned by the Kake family dating from the latter part of the Edo period.
(Reproduction from the Museum's collection. The original is in the collection of Mr. Masahiro Kake.)

This scroll depicts an iron manufacture at the end of the Early Modern period. The scene portrayed in this cover graphic can be described as the climax of the iron making process.

The " tatara-buki" process, where iron sand and charcoal are placed in a furnace and bellows used for smelting steel, has already been completed and red-hot lumps of steel called " kera" are pulled out altogether. These " kera" are thrown into the pool of water in the foreground to cool down, after which they are crushed to extract the necessary portions. With its detailed depiction such as transportation of charcoal, and several types of tools that were used, the scroll is a valuable historical material also for what it tells us of the " tatara-buki" process. It also portrays most vividly the actions and gestures of the people engaged in the manufacture of steel.

(Minoru Sakamoto, Museum Research Department)


Special Feature:Steel

"Tetchan" (Minoru Sakamoto)

A Witness to History

A photographic introduction to items from the collection
"An Encyclopedia of Guns"
(Takehisa Udagawa)

Special Feature:Steel

People of the Japanese archipelago who came in contact with steel (Shinichiro Fujio)
Steel manufacture in the Early Modern period - the "tatara-buki" method of manufacture (Masatoshi Kawase )
Determining the age of steel (Minoru Sakamoto)
The distribution of steel from the Early Modern period through to the Modern period (Ken'ichi Nohara)


The incredible "oroshi" method of a blacksmith (Hideharu Takatsuka)
Putting patterns onto steel (Tsutomu Saito)

The 19th Rekihaku Research Update

Rekihaku International Workshop
"The Social Function of Medieval Castles - A Comparison between Japan and Europe"
(Kesao Ihara)

Introducing Our Researchers - Part 14

My Chance Encounter with My Field of Research (Masaru Nishitani)

From the Classroom to the Museum

"Children in the Guidance Room" (Akira Watanabe)

Book Introductions by the Authors

"Medieval Temples and the Public" by Kesao Ihara
"The Secrets of Food and Nature" by Masaru Nishitani

Rekihaku Chat (readers' page) September 20, 2004

Rekihaku News