Minka are vernacular houses constructed in any one of several traditional Japanese building styles. In the context of the four divisions of society, minka were the dwellings of farmers and merchants; this connotation no longer exists in the modern Japanese language, any traditional Japanese-style residence of an appropriate age could be referred to as minka. Minka are characterised by their roof structure and their roof shape. Minka developed through history with distinctive styles emerging in the Edo period; the term minka means "houses of the people". It covers houses that accommodated a wide variety of people from farmers to village headmen and low level samurai. Minka come in a wide range of styles and sizes as a result of differing geographic and climatic conditions as well as the lifestyle of the inhabitants, they fall into one of four classifications: farmhouses nōka town houses machiya, fishermen's dwellings gyoka and mountain dwellings sanka. Unlike other forms of Japanese architecture, it is the structure rather than the plan, of primary importance to the minka.
Minka are divided up with primary posts that form the basic framework and bear the structural load of the building. Despite the wide variety of minka, there are eight basic forms. The'inverted U' consists of two vertical posts fixed at the top with a horizontal beam; the beam can be fixed to the top of the post either by resting upon it or via a mortise and tenon joint. This latter method is found in minka on the island of Shikoku. The'ladder' has post and beam units connected with larger beams including beams that are closer to the foundation level; this form of structure originated in townhouses of the Edo period. The system allows the irregular placement of posts and, allows flexibility in the plan. With the'umbrella' style, four beams radiate out from a central post; these posts sit at the centre of the square rather than the corners. Minka of this type are found in Shiga Prefecture. The'cross' has two beams at right angles to one another with the posts in the centre of the sides, it is used for small minka that have no other posts erected in the space or for large minka in the earth-floored area.
The style is most found in Shiga and Fukui prefectures.'Parallel crosses' are found in Shizuoka Prefecture and cover an area 5 metres by 10 metres. This system doubles up the ` cross' structure with eight posts; the ` box' structure connects four or more beam units to create a box-like structure. It can be found in Toyama and Ishikawa prefectures. The'interconnected box' can be found in Kyoto and Osaka.'Rising beams' is a form that enables better use of the second storey. It uses beams that rise from the posts to a secondary ridge, below the one formed by the rafters. Thatched roof farmhouses based upon the'rising beam' structure can be further classified into four major types; the yojiro-gumi and the wagoya are rare. The latter of these, the wagoya, is popular for machiya houses. Far more common are the odachi types; the odachi style has rafters and short vertical posts to support the ridge. These posts would have extended to the ground resulting in a row of posts extending down the centre of the house and dividing it.
Although these could be accommodated in the layout of the main house, they were impractical in the earth-floored entrance area—so they were omitted and a special beam structure used instead. This style was in wide use until the Edo period; the sasu style is a simpler triangular shape with a pair of rafters joined at the top to support the ridge pole. The ends of these rafters were sharpened to fit into mortice holes at either end of crossbeam; as this system does not rely on central posts it leaves a more unobstructed plan than the odachi style. There were two main methods for setting out the floor plan of the minka; the kyoma method uses a standard size of tatami mat, whereas the inakama method is based upon column spacing. The kyoma method works well for minka without central columns as the mats and the sliding partitions can be based on a standard size, it was used in minka in eastern Japan. The method has its disadvantages if used with posts because variations in post width can make the prefabrication of the sliding partitions difficult.
The inakama method is based upon the distance between centre of one post and centre of the post adjacent to it and it was used on the eastern side of Japan. The size and decoration of a minka was dependent upon its location and social status of its owner. Minka were influenced by local building techniques and were built with materials that were abundant in the immediate locality. For example, minka in Shizuoka used abundant bamboo for roofs, eaves and floors; when miscanthus reeds were difficult to obtain for thatched roofs, shingles were used instead. Climate had a bearing on construction: In Kyoto in the late Heian and Muromachi periods, roofs were clad in thin wooden shingles so owners would put stones on top to prevent the shingles from flying away in the wind; the social status of the minka owner was indicated by the complexity of the building. For thatched roof minka the nu
Japanese Buddhist architecture
Japanese Buddhist architecture is the architecture of Buddhist temples in Japan, consisting of locally developed variants of architectural styles born in China. After Buddhism arrived the continent via Three Kingdoms of Korea in the 6th century, an effort was made to reproduce original buildings as faithfully as possible, but local versions of continental styles were developed both to meet Japanese tastes and to solve problems posed by local weather, more rainy and humid than in China; the first Buddhist sects were Nara's six Nanto Rokushū, followed during the Heian period by Kyoto's Shingon and Tendai. During the Kamakura period, in Kamakura were born the Jōdo and the native Japanese sect Nichiren-shū. At the same time Zen Buddhism arrived from China influencing all other sects in many ways, including architecture; the social composition of Buddhism's followers changed radically with time. In the beginning it was the elite's religion, but it spread from the noble to warriors, merchants and to the population at large.
On the technical side, new woodworking tools like the framed pit saw and the plane allowed new architectonic solutions. Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines share their basic characteristics and differ only in details that the non-specialist may not notice; this similarity is because the sharp division between Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines is recent, dating to the Meiji period's policy of separation of Buddhism and Shinto of 1868. Before the Meiji Restoration it was common for a Buddhist temple to be built inside or next to a shrine, or for a shrine to include Buddhist sub-temples. If a shrine housed a Buddhist temple, it was called a jingū-ji. Analogously, temples all over Japan used to adopt tutelary kami (chinju and built shrines within their precincts to house them. After the forcible separation of temples and shrines ordered by the new government, the connection between the two religions was severed, but continued nonetheless in practice and is still visible today. Buddhist architecture in Japan during the country's whole history has absorbed much of the best available natural and human resources.
Between the 8th and the 16th centuries, it led the development of new structural and ornamental features. For these reasons, its history is vital to the understanding of not only Buddhist architecture itself, but of Japanese art in general. Buddhist architecture in Japan is not native, but was imported from China and other Asian cultures over the centuries with such constancy that the building styles of all Six Dynasties are represented, its history is as a consequence dominated by Chinese and other Asian techniques and styles on one side, by Japanese original variations on those themes on the other. Due to the variety of climates in Japan and the millennium encompassed between the first cultural import and the last, the result is heterogeneous, but several universal features can nonetheless be found. First of all is the choice of materials, always wood in various forms for all structures. Unlike both Western and some Chinese architecture, the use of stone is avoided except for certain specific uses, for example temple podia and pagoda foundations.
The general structure is always the same: columns and lintels support a large and curved roof, while the walls are paper-thin movable and in any case non-carrying. Arches and barrel roofs are absent. Gable and eave curves are gentler than in columnar entasis limited; the roof is the most visually impressive component constituting half the size of the whole edifice. The curved eaves extend far beyond the walls, covering verandas, their weight must therefore be supported by complex bracket systems called tokyō; these oversize eaves give the interior a characteristic dimness, which contributes to the temple's atmosphere. The interior of the building consists of a single room at the center called moya, from which sometimes depart other less important spaces, for example corridors called hisashi. Inner space divisions are fluid, room size can be modified through the use of screens or movable paper walls; the large, single space offered by the main hall can therefore be altered according to the need.
The separation between inside and outside is itself in some measure not absolute as entire walls can be removed, opening the temple to visitors. Verandas appear to be part of the building to an outsider, but part of the external world to those in the temple. Structures are therefore made to a certain extent part of their environment; the use of construction modules keeps proportions between different parts of the edifice constant, preserving its overall harmony. In cases as that of Nikkō Tōshō-gū, where every available space is decorated, ornamentation tends to follow, therefore emphasize rather than hide, basic structures. Being shared by both sacred and profane architecture, these architectonic features made it easy converting a lay building into a temple; this happened for example at Hōryū-ji, where a noblewoman's mansion was transformed into a religious building. Buddhism is not a Japanese native religion, its architecture arrived from the continent via Korea together with the first Buddhists in the 6th century.
Adopted in the wake of the Battle of Shigisan in 587, after that date Buddhist temples began to be constructed. Because of the hostility of supporters of local kami beliefs towards Buddhism, no temple of that period survives, so we don't know what they were like
Traditional lighting equipment of Japan
The traditional lighting equipment of Japan includes the andon, the bonbori, the chōchin, the tōrō. The andon is a lamp consisting of paper stretched over a frame of wood or metal; the paper protected the flame from the wind. Burning oil in a stone or ceramic holder, with a wick of cotton, provided the light. Rapeseed oil was popular. Candles were used, but their higher price made them less popular. A lower-priced alternative was sardine oil; the andon became popular in the Edo period. Early on, the andon was handheld; the okiandon was most common indoors. Many had a vertical box shape, with an inner stand for the light; some had a drawer on the bottom to facilitate lighting. A handle on top made it portable. A variety was the Enshū andon. One explanation attributes it to Kobori Enshu, who lived in the late Azuchi-Momoyama Period and early Edo period. Tubular in shape, it had an opening instead of a drawer. Another variety was a bedside lamp; the kakeandon under the eaves of a shop bearing the name of the merchant, was a common sight in the towns.
The expression hiru andon, or "daytime lamp," meant someone or something that seemed to serve no purpose. In dramatizations of the story of the forty-seven ronin, Oishi Yoshio is given this description; the bonbori is a kind of Japanese paper lamp used in the open. It has an hexagonal profile and is used during festivals, it can either stand on a pole. Famous is the Bonbori Festival, held annually at Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū in Kanagawa. Artists paint on the about 400 bonbori erected for the occasion on the shrine's grounds; the chōchin has a frame of split bamboo wound in a spiral. Paper or silk protect the flame from wind; the spiral structure permits it to be collapsed into the basket at the bottom. The chōchin hangs from a hook at the top. In present-day Japan, plastic chōchin with electric bulbs are produced as novelties and for matsuri and events; the earliest record of a chōchin dates to 1085, one appears in a 1536 illustration. The akachōchin, or red lantern, marks an izakaya. Used in the broad sense to mean any lantern, the word tōrō came to mean a lamp of stone, iron, wood, or another heavy material.
These illuminate the grounds of Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, Japanese gardens, other places that include tradition in their decor. The earlier oil and candles have given way to the electric bulb. Tōrō nagashi Physalis alkekengi, the Japanese lantern plant Japanese gardening, Lanterns. Accessed on February 2, 2010
The shōrō, shurō or kanetsuki-dō is the bell tower of a Buddhist temple in Japan, housing the temple's bonshō. It can be found at some Shinto shrines which used to be shrines, as for example Nikkō Tōshō-gū. Two main types exist, the older hakamagoshi, which has walls, the more recent fukihanachi or fukinuki, which does not. During the Nara period after the arrival of Buddhism in Japan bell towers were 3 x 2 bay, 2 storied buildings. A typical temple garan had two, one to the left and one to the right of the kyōzō, the sūtra repository. An extant example of this style is Hōryū-ji's Sai-in Shōrō in Nara. During the following Heian period was developed a new style called hakamagoshi which consisted of a 2 storied, hourglass-shaped building with the bell hanging from the second story; the earliest extant example is Hōryū-ji's Tō-in Shōrō. During the 13th century the fukihanachi type was created at Tōdai-ji by making all structural parts visible; the bell tower in this case consists of a 1-ken wide, 1-ken high structure with no walls and having the bell at its center.
Sometimes the four pillars have an inward inclination called uchikorobi. After the Nara period, in which temple layout was rigidly prescribed after the Chinese fashion, the position of the bell tower stopped being prescribed and began to change temple by temple. Roofs are either gabled or hip-and-gable
Main Hall (Japanese Buddhism)
Main hall is the term used in English for the building within a Japanese Buddhist temple compound which enshrines the main object of veneration. Because the various denominations deliberately use different terms, this single English term translates several Japanese words, among them Butsuden, Butsu-dō, kondō, konpon-chūdō, hondō. Hondō is its exact Japanese equivalent, while the others are more specialized words used by particular sects or for edifices having a particular structure; the term kondō "golden hall", started to be used during the Asuka and Nara periods. A kondō is the centerpiece of an ancient Buddhist temple's garan in Japan; the origin of the name is uncertain, but it may derive from the perceived preciousness of its content, or from the fact that the interior was lined with gold. This is the name used by the oldest temples in the country. A kondō, for example Hōryū-ji's is a true two-story building with a 3x2 bay central core surrounded by a 1-bay wide aisles (hisashi making it 5x4 bays, surrounded by an external 1-bay wide mokoshi, for a total of 9x7 bays.
The second story has the same dimensions as the temple's core at the first story, but has no mokoshi. Some temples, for example Asuka-dera or Hōryū-ji, have more than one kondō, but only one exists and is the first building to be built; because of its limited size, worshipers were not allowed to enter the building and had to stand outside. The kondō and a pagoda were surrounded by a corridor called kairō; the use of kondō declined after the 10th century, when it was replaced by a hondō divided in naijin and gejin. The term remained in some use up to the Edo period, but its frequency decreased drastically after the appearance of the term hon-dō in the Heian period; the term hondō means "main hall" and it enshrines the most important objects of veneration. The term is thought to have evolved during the 9th century to avoid the early term kondō, at the time used by six Nara sects called the Nanto Rokushū, it became common after the introduction of the two Mikkyo sects to Japan. Various new types of temple buildings, including the hondō, were built during the Heian period, in response to the requirements of new doctrines.
Different buildings were called hondō depending on the sect, for example: the kondō, the chudō, mieidō, the Amida-dō. A notable evolution of the hondō during this period is the inclusion of a space for worshipers inside the hondō itself, called gejin. Other names such as Konpon-chūdō "cardinal central hall" are used as well, for example for the main hall at Mount Hiei's Enryaku-ji; the Tokugawa funeral temple of Kan'ei-ji, built explicitly to imitate Enryaku-ji had one, though it has not survived. Yama-dera in Yamagata is another example of a temple using this name; the Butsuden or Butsu-dō "Buddha Hall", is the main hall of Zen temples of schools such as the Sōtō 曹洞 and Rinzai 臨済. This architectonic style arrived together with Zen during the Kamakura period. There are following types of Butsuden or Butsu-dō: The simplest is a 3x3 bay square building with no mokoshi (a mokoshi being an enclosure circling the core of the temple covered by a pent roof one bay in width; the second type is 3x3 bay square, but has a 1 bay wide mokoshi all around the core of the temple, making it look like a two-story, 5x5 bay building as in the case of the butsuden, visible in the photo on the right.
It is known that during the 13th and 14th centuries large butsuden measuring 5x5 bays square having a mokoshi were built, but none survives. Large size 3x3 bay butsuden with a mokoshi however still exist, for example at Myōshin-ji. In the case of the Ōbaku Zen school that arrived late in Japan, the architecture retained the Ming Chinese style; the hondō of Ōbaku Zen temples is called daiyū-hōden ‘the Treasured Hall of the Mahāvīra ’. An example can be found at Mampuku-ji. Shichidō garan for details about the main hall's position within a temple compound; the Glossary of Japanese Buddhism for terms concerning Japanese Buddhism, Japanese Buddhist art, Japanese Buddhist temple architecture. Mahavira Hall, the common Main Hall of Chinese and Korean Buddhist temples Iwanami Kōjien Japanese dictionary, 6th Edition, DVD version Iwanami Nihonshi Jiten, CD-Rom Version. Iwanami Shoten, 1999-2001; the Evolution of Buddhist Architecture in Japan by Alexander Soper 1978, ISBN 9780878171965 Japanese Art Net User System Dictionary of Japanese Architectural and Art Historical Terminology, Kondou, Hondou entries.
Accessed on May 6, 2009 Watanabe, Hiroshi. The Architecture of Tokyo. Edition Axel Menges. ISBN 978-3-930698-93-6