Naminashi Maru

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  • Built: 1624
  • Japanese: 波奈之丸 (nami nashi maru)

The Naminashi-maru was one of the chief personal ships of the Hosokawa clan lord of Kumamoto han. A gozabune, it was grand in design and ornately decorated to display the wealth, power, and cultivation of the Hosokawa, and featured a special compartment (goza or yakata) employed by the daimyô himself. It was regularly used by the Hosokawa lords for the maritime portion of their sankin kôtai journeys to Edo, sailing between Tsurusaki[1] and Osaka, or between Kokura and Hyôgo no tsu.[2]

The Naminashi-maru was first constructed in 1624 by Hosokawa Tadaoki. It was given this name several generations later by Hosokawa Tsunayoshi, expressing that the ship would not be perturbed by even the greatest waves. The ship was rebuilt numerous times over the course of the Edo period,[3] such that it continued to exist, albeit in new incarnations, throughout the rest of the Edo period. The goza ("honorable seat") section of the sixth incarnation of the ship (built in 1839) survives today, and has been designated an Important Cultural Property. It has been kept on display in Kumamoto castle since 1963. This sixth incarnation of the ship was some eighteen meters long and six or seven meters wide; it was dismantled in the Meiji period due to new policies against the maintenance of former daimyô vessels, but due to the efforts of a retainer family known as Shudô, the goza yakata section was retained.

The goza is a small rectangular room which, on the inside at least, was constructed in essentially the same style as the rooms of a daimyô mansion: the floors are lined with tatami, the walls with colorful paintings on a gold-foiled ground, and the ceiling in lacquered lattice, with gold ornaments and ornate paintings by domainal court painters Sugitani Yukinao and Yano Yoshitaka. A set of sliding screens (fusuma) divide this space into two sections: the goza-no-ma, where the daimyô would sit, and the tsugi-no-ma, where retainers and others would sit to face the daimyô. The goza-no-ma was elevated one step above the tsugi-no-ma in height, allowing the daimyô to sit literally higher than those he met with; this was not only a nominal or symbolic representation of hierarchy - it also likely genuinely served to make him appear more impressive or imposing.


  • Eisei bunko no kokuhô, Tokyo: Eisei Bunko (2004), cat. no. 42.
  • Hosokawa-ke monjo: ezu, chizu, sashizu hen II, Tokyo: Yoshikawa kôbunkan (2013), 197.
  • Gallery labels, Eisei Bunko.
  1. An Inland Sea port on the east side of Kyushu, near Beppu.
  2. It was common for daimyô to follow different sankin kôtai routes; some daimyô merely changed their route over the course of the Edo period, but others, like the Hosokawa, alternated between different routes depending on conditions, or depending on the lord's whims.
  3. In 1660, 1686, 1799, 1834, and 1839. Hosokawa-ke monjo, 198.