kanban 看板
KEY WORD : architecture / folk dwellings
A signboard placed outside or affixed to the front of a commercial premises displaying the name of the shop yagou 屋号, and the nature of the business. Special variants in the case of theaters gekijou 劇場, might display the plays currently being performed. Kanban appear to have developed in Japan during the Edo period, for there are none in the late Muromachi illustrations of urban scenes (such as the *rakuchuu rakugai-zu 洛中洛外図). Instead curtains *noren 暖簾, in shop entrances were used to identify merchants' houses *machiya 町家 at that time. Sometimes the sign was applied directly to an architectural element, such as a projecting gable parapet *udatsu 卯立 or the box holding the rain doors *tobukuro 戸袋, but the simplest Edo period, kanban were wooden boards with characters painted or incised on them, which were suspended from the eaves of either the main roof or the front roof *hisashi 廂, parallel or at right angle to the facade, or mounted on the hisashi roof. Sometimes the board was given a decorative outline, related to the nature of the business: a pot for a vinegar manufacturer, or a comb for a comb-maker. In the latter half of the Edo period, more elaborate kanban developed, taking the form of small roofed structures yakata 屋形, and using elements of architecture usually associated with temples or shrines, such as bracket systems *tokyou 斗きょう and cusped gables *karahafu 唐破風. These reflect the increasing prosperity of the merchant class. A more abstract form of kanban were the balls of cedar needles sugidama 杉玉, suspended from the eaves of sake 酒 breweries sakaya 酒屋.

Kobayashi 小林 house (Saitama)

Old Nakamura 中村 house (Nagano)

Kosaka 小坂 house (Gifu)
a) sugidama 杉玉 b) *noren 暖簾


(C)2001 Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System. No reproduction or republication without written permission.