KEY WORD : architecture / general terms
A bay; the space between two columns. During the Nara and Heian periods most buildings had no interior partitions, and consisted of one room. The exact size of a building was expressed by the number of bays across the facade and the side of a building. Each bay was of uniform length, usually just under 2m. Room space was often divided using squares of these lengths, one bay by one bay, called ma 間. Ken as the measure of length came into being in connection with land surveying. The necessity for correctly surveying agricultural land sprang from the need to collect taxes. In Toyotomi Hideyoshi's 豊臣秀吉 time (1536-98), one ken was equal to 6.5 shaku 尺, equivalent to 197cm. In the early Edo period, around 1650, the length of one ken was reduced to 6.0 shaku, 181.8cm, in order to increase taxes (one shaku = 30.3cm). After the Edo period ken began to be called kyouma 京間.


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