Tansu box inscription translation

Discussion in 'Translations' started by Luka0101, Jul 5, 2018.

  1. Luka0101

    Luka0101 Registered

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    Hi,
    I recently bought an old Tansu suzuribako box and on the underside I found a writing that I can't read. I suppose it's a date and the name of the maker.
    I've uploaded the photo with the text.
    I hope somebody will be able to help with the translation. Thanks A LOT!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. joadbres

    joadbres Sempai

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    #2 joadbres, Jul 6, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2018
    Others may freely correct me if I have made a mistake, but I believe that, according to what is written, the date of manufacture is March 1928, and the maker is Katou Kumasaburou. There is additional information indicating that the box is manufactured from paulownia wood which was donated to (in the name of?) the Crown Prince in 1926. That Crown Prince would be the one who went on to become the Showa Emperor (Emperor Hirohito).

    Edited.

    Follow-up: There was a Kato Kumasaburo who founded ramen shops in Asahikawa, Japan, around the same time as the box was made. Could be the same person.
     
  3. Luka0101

    Luka0101 Registered

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    Oh, thanks Joadbres for your fast and thorough reply!
    Wow, such a cool story. I find it amazing that the maker took the effort to write these things on the box and give us a glimpse into its history.. Just amazing...
    So the box is from Showa period... I wonder was the wood donated for the making of the box or for something else and he just used the wood? And why was this connection to the Prince important enough that he would mention it...

    Once again thank you for the translation..
    Btw, here's a photo of the whole box if someone's interested:
     

    Attached Files:

  4. Toritoribe

    Toritoribe 禁漁期
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    There is no mention to the purpose of the donation. He used a term 献木, not 献上, thus, it shows that he donated the wood, not woodwork. I think he was not a cabinetmaker or something, but he asked someone to make the box using the rest of the donated wood.

    It's honor for him to use the box made from the same wood donated to the Prince (the Emperor at that time, as joadbres-san mentioned).
     
  5. Luka0101

    Luka0101 Registered

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    Hi Toritoribe, thanks a lot for jumping in the discussion..

    So you when you say HE you mean Kato Kumasaburo? So maybe that's not the name of the maker, but a donor of the wood and owner of the box...

    Was it more common for owners or makers to write their name on boxes? Probably both...
    Perhaps you guys will know some more about that, there's not that much info around the web.
    Thanks a lot for taking time to help! :emoji_smile:
     
  6. Toritoribe

    Toritoribe 禁漁期
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    Right. Kumasaburō is a male given name.

    That's my interpretation. If Kumasaburō is a cabinetmaker, it's more common that he donated his works, not the wood as a material, I think.

    Yes, both are common.
     
  7. Jellyzo

    Jellyzo 後輩

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    If I try to add something,
    two kanjis on the top of the second line, X時 ( I can't type the first one, so I put X instead), which seems simplified kanji of 當時. It means that "at the moment".
    As joadbres and others pointed out, when the wood was donated, he was the Crown Prince (大正 Taisyo) , but at the time Kumasaburo wrote this, he (the crown prince) already became the emperor. This is the reason why Kumasaburo put the word, at the moment.
     

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