Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Kakuro Tatara Museum

 


Tatara are the traditional type of forge used to smelt iron in historical Japan. They used charcoal and iron sand rather than coal and iron ore.



The first iron used in Japan was all imported from the Korean countries on the peninsula, which begs the question what they paid for this fundamental resource. One historian suggests mercenaries which would make sense of the Japanese military involvement on the peninsula in ancient times.


Later iron sand was discovered and so domestic production of iron began using tatara forges, the technique also having been introduced from the Asian mainland.


The Chugoku mountains and especially the Okuizumo area became the centre of iron and steel production for ancient Japan until the late 19th century when the more efficient western techniques of iron production using coal and ore were introduced.


This former tatara high up in the Chugoku mountains was actually not built until the 1930's. It was built next to an Edo period tatara that closed down in 1911. It is a kind of hybrid forge, utilizing a mix of traditional and modern techniques. It is close to where the Sakurai family, a high-ranking samurai family that controlled some of the iron production in the region.


The museum is free to enter and has plenty of information, in Japanese, about the technology as well as numerous mannequins showing scenes..... The bellows were operated by water power.


During the 1930's the US began to apply sanctions against Japan because of the invasion of China.... these sanctions eventually included all export of iron and scrap iron to Japan, which suggests that this tatara was created to improve the situation for Japan. It ceased operating in 1945.

1 comment:

  1. we have one close to home in Okayama.
    and
    Kanayagogami 金屋子神 / カナヤゴガミ Deity of the Blacksmith
    Goddess of Tatara
    .
    https://japanshrinestemples.blogspot.com/2014/08/kanayago-kami.html

    ReplyDelete