NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/1/7


熊谷家住宅 Kumagaikejyuutaku Kumagaike Family Residence

Jp En

The Kumagai family were influential and important merchants during the second half of the Edo period (early 19th century). Their old residence is in the town of Omori, Ota-shi, Shimane Prefecture. In those days, the residence was also used to receive officers of the daimyo (feudal lords) and junkenshi (ambassador/inspectors from the Shogun).

Because of severe deterioration of the house, it has been undergoing some renovation since December 2001.

The Kumagaike Family Residence has been designated an Important Cultural Property of Japan and is the largest existing residence of a wealthy merchant within a preserved residential area. The total area of the residence is about 1,500m2. The main building is a two-story wooden house of 30 rooms, with an area totaling about 265m2 (160 jyo). Within the compound, there are five warehouses for storing rice and other miscellany.

The building itself is astonishing, with elaborate interior decorations, such as 'fusuma' (sliding doors) with a cloud design called 'kumo-tatewaki-monyou'; and 'yoshido' (matchstick blinds), which let in cool, comfortable breezes in summer.

Around 3,300 articles have been donated to Ota-shi from Kumagaike. Many ancient pieces of literature have also been found on site and are being examined and analyzed.

Currently, the house is exhibiting many articles, which were actually used during that time, and which show the actual lifestyles of people at that time.
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