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Prologue

This portfolio has two unrelated sets of pictures taken during rural field excursions. The farming pictures were made shortly after my arrival, when the so-called "Raper Study" was being edited (the fieldwork was done before my arrival). But some checking on details and other last-minute information-gathering required a few trips back to rural areas (e.g. Arthur Raper, et al., Japanese Village in Transition SCAP, Natural Resources Section, 1949). The first set of pictures is an assortment of farm scenes, mostly from the Lake Kawaguchi area, in the Fuji-Hakone region. Kawaguchi is the second most developed lake, but with considerable farming near it. The second set of pictures concerns the craft of folkpottery, and these pictures were mostly taken on field trips to the village of Mashiko, northwest of Tokyo, explicitly to observe this traditional craft, and also to photograph the potter Sakuma, pictures of whose studio, kilns, and portraits appear in this portfolio.

exterior view of several farmhouse buildings

154. Farmhouse Scene
This is a farm establishment in Chiba Prefecture. The architectural details, like the tiled roof, would probably have been replaced by prefabricated, industrial shingles.

exterior view of a rural house

155. A Farmhouse "Treasure House" (kura)
The treasure house is for the safekeeping of family valuables and mementos--above all, to protect against fire.

a farmer walking in front of a cart being pulled by an ox

156. Kawaguchi farmer
A farmer and his bullock cart, near Lake Kawaguchi, with a cornfield and garden plots.

fields of rice

157. Rice-Growing in the Kanto Area
At the time of this photo there were large rice-growing areas in the Kanto plains region near Tokyo, this one near Tachikawa. By the 1990s, it would be covered by industrial establishments. Level arable land is scarce; every square inch is devoted to agriculture--or at least every inch on coastal plains that is not occupied by cities. Intensive agriculture has gradually diminished since the 1950s, as the Japanese have shifted to wheat products and meat. This large "paddy" area has shrunk, as urbanization has appropriated sections.

fields of rice, aerial view

158. More Rice Paddies
The water flows down the slope through the paddies, and into the lake (Lake Kawaguchi).

a house with ears of corn hanging from its eaves

159. Kawaguchi Farmhouse: 1
The farmhouse near the lake, with corn drying from the eaves.

ears of corn hanging from a roof

160. Kawaguchi Farmhouse: 2
This is a closer view of corn storage. The prevalence of corn (maize) production in this region is due mainly to the relatively high altitude.

lines of crops

161. Sheltered Rows
Bamboo-sheltered horticulture somewhere in Shikoku Prefecture--the low crop is, if I remember correctly, a variety of semi-dwarf spinach.

a channel dug into the ground for drainage

162. Slope Drainage
A drainage system in a "coppice" planting--trees and shrubs, which retain the soil and also can be cut for charcoal from time to time.

rice piled up around trees

163. Rice Straw Storage
Rice straw stored on trees and poles.

a man with a very large hammer winnowing rice

164. Rice Winnowing
In the farmhouse yard.

several men making a thick rope

165. Straw Rope Making
Making a heavy cable or rope, as ceremonial decoration for a Shinto shrine.

a sunny and shady vineyard

166. Yamanashi Vineyard
At the time the vineyards in Yamanashi Prefecture were Japan's only producing vineyards.

a middle-aged man (Totaro Sakuma) standing outside

168. Sakuma-san the Farmer and Potter in his Yard
Note his homespun working gown. He is stirring one of his clay pits. Totaro Sakuma (1900-1976) was known at the time as the number two folk potter in the village of Mashiko, northwest of Tokyo, and the home of elite folk craft potters. Number one was, of course, Shoji Hamada (1894-1977). This photo, taken by the author, was used as the frontispiece for the SCAP publication, The Japanese Village in Transition, or more familiarly the "Raper Study," since Arthur Raper, of the National Resources Section, and the author of the Japanese Land Reform, directed it, with PO&SR personnel doing the fieldwork and the data analysis. The fieldwork was completed about the time I arrived. One of my first field trips was to Mashiko to take the pictures of the Sakuma establishment in this portfolio.

a shed, a larger building, and miscellaneous tools laying in the yard

169. Sakuma's Work Yard
The workyard of the potter and farmer, Totaro Sakuma. The archaic treatment of the buildings--thatch on the house roof; ceramic tiles on the storage shed--were quite deliberate: Sakuma, like other rural craftsmen who also farmed for a living and for own food use, liked to preserve the old handmade ways.

Sakuma-san standing outside

170. Pottery Clay Storage
Another photo of Sakuma-san, stirring clay taken from one of the cylindrical wells.

firewood and clay pots line the outside of Sakuma's buildings

173. Back of the Kiln at Sakuma's
Note the stacked firewood on the left; the kiln is on the right. The forms on the right are containers for greenware for firing.

a view of Sakuma's kiln

174. The Kiln from the Side
Looking from the back of the previous photo. These kilns have a slight upward slope in order to facilitate the movement of heat through the kiln.

Sakuma working on a pot

175. Sakuma at His Kick Wheel
The standard wheel for wheel-thrown ceramics in the folk-craft pottery industry was operated by the feet, often from a sitting or squatting position.

numerous rows of clay pots

176. A Room of Pots from the Sakuma Kiln
These are all utilitarian containers, mostly sold in regional village stores. The backbone of the folk-pottery industry was the utilitarian, with the artistic vessels a sideline--albeit a lucrative one in the Occupation, since the Occupation personnel relished the product.

a room with many drawings hung up on the wall

177. Sakuma's Gallery
The roka of Sakuma-san's farmhouse in Mashiko, with his collection of Munakata prints and paintings. Shiko Munakata (1903-1975) was, in the 1940s and later, up into the 1960s, the favored folk craft printmaker and sumi (ink) painter among the folk art people.

children playing in the yard outside of the clay studio

178. Children in the Sakuma Yard
Some farm children from Mashiko, visiting Sakuma's establishment. Note the chapped cheeks of the girls-- resulting from living in virtually unheated houses in the winter--especially in the war and Occupation period, before economic recovery. The children are wearing geta--wooden clogs--because of the mud.

interior of the clay studio; 2 people at work

179. Kawai-San's Ceramic Studio in Kyoto
Pottery-making in one of the famous studios in the Kansai region--in this case, Takeichi Kawai's (1908-1989) studio in Kyoto.

interior of the clay studio; several people at work

180. Another View of the Kawai Potters
Showing the cross-legged posture at the wheel.