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[Weird grammar is from the sign]
Japanese style of cargo ship, which made the rounds from Osaka-Kyoto and the coastal area of the Island Sea the northeastern district and Ezochi (now Hokkaido) form in the late Edo area to the mid-Mejii era, was called Kitamaebune after the transport and trade sea route. With a cargo of sake (rice wine) and miscellaneous goods such as paper, tobacco, rice, cotton, sugar, salt, straw matting, they sailed from Osaka to and reached Hokkaido in late May.
After having sold out the goods there, they purchased the marine products such as pressed dried herring, herring roe, kept in late August and brought back them to Osaka in December through the inland sea in the typhoon season.
It is said that new shipbuilding cost was sometimes covered, after a sea trip, with the enormous profits made by taking advantage of the price margin in a remote place owing to the poor facilities of communication and transportation in those days.
For this ship's most active periods, this dangerous marine transportation brought many wealthy merchants. Later on, market prices were standardized and the price margin got less. Besides, since the network of railways was constructed and the Mejii Government took the policy for modernization of shipping, Japanese style of sailing ships for marine transportation were gradually supplanted by western style of sailing ships and steamboats.
How Kitamaebune is a ship that lives only in history, it's the only thing we can imagine the real ship from votive picture and model of the ship to a shrine along the one-time sea route. And yet, it is difficult to imagine what remains of former picture and model since they are damaged and broken down.
Kunitaro Matsumoto reproduced this extinct ship model with his whole heart and soul. This ship model is one fortieth scale model of the actual size and yet reconstructed most accurately. We can come in touch with the soul of the valiant seaman through this ship model.
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