Findings of Kanazawa Machiya Kenroku, a nationally registered tangible cultural property building

Hidetaka Nagaike, Chief Examiner, Cultural Property Protection Section, Kanazawa City

(Name) Kanazawa Machiya Kenroku
(Location) 224 Showacho, Kanazawa City (Residential display: 9-10 Showacho)
(Structure and form) Wooden 2-story, tiled part metal sheet fence, building area 47.58㎡
(Architecture age) Renovation in 1888 (1888) / 1938 (Showa 13)

1. History
Kanazawa Machiya Kenroku is located along the former Miyakoshi return route that connects the old castle town and the former Miyagoshi, which is a port town. However, because the road was bent, it came from being called “Folding Bridge” because it was built diagonally. The current name of the town has been changed according to the residence display implemented in 1965.

The building was built by Shotaro Koshimura in 1888 (Meiji 21) and purchased by Mr. Zentaro Araki who run a greengrocer in the neighborhood until 1894 (Meiji 27), and the current owner acquired it. It is a building that I have owned. Mr. Zentaro Araki was originally a Samurai warrior of the Kaga clan and  in Meiji era  he started to was said to have operated a greengrocer nearby.

The current block was the time when the front road was widened by the Kanazawa City Planning Street Project, which was approved in 1936, and the project was completed in 1938.

The reason why this Meiji townhouse became a signage architecture   was that this road was widened. In 1941, when the street project was completed, Mr. Zentaro passed away and Hiroshi Araki took over his house. But his brother, Shizuo, is said to have designed the design the facade of the building. Shizuo was a mathematics teacher at the prestigious Kanazawa Daiichi Junior High School (now Izumioka High School).

The current owner purchased a land and building from Mr. Araki in 2018, because he wanted to preserve the signboard architecture that has become scarce in the city. In order to make use of the atmosphere both inside and outside of the building, it will be used as a simple inn “Kanazawa Machiya Kenroku”.

2. Architecture / renovation
It was speculated that it was built before 1888 from the registered copy by the Japanese Legal Affairs Bureauthe .And that it was remodeled to the current signboard architecture in 1938 (Showa 13). The front road was widened by the planned street project  in 1938 . According to the “Kanazawa City Town Map” held by the city, the land before widening is rectangular, and more than three-quarters of the land has become roads due to the project. It can be seen that the back side formed a tapered land.

Also, on the front side, the width of the sidewalk is just widening from this building, but in the remnant of the Kanazawa City Planning Street Project, a space like a separation zone called “ safe zone ” was established in the center of the road at the time. 

It can be seen that the road width is widened from the part, and that the front road boundary is diagonal has a great influence on the design of the building.

The building materials are old and  traced back to the Meiji period. After this house was built, the front side was cut and the walls were raised to form a signboard. And at the back of the building, it is presumed that it was greatly modified to match the shape of the land.

3. About the building
The main building will be a two-story wooden building, gable construction, and a tile roof, and the rear accessory will be a metal plate.

1st floor
The front door continues to a half-width path (Tooriniwa). There is a room with 5 tatami mats with a staircase on the left (Chanoma), a Japanese tatami room with 4 tatami mats  and a kitchen, and a kitchen. In front of Chanoma, a small space with a flat surface cut out according to the site shape.
Tooriniwa bends to the shape of the site and connects the attached rooms in the back. The floor of the the attached room is a soil concrete, the former washing place remains, and the second floor of the attached room is a warehouse called Ama.

2nd floor
On the second floor, if you go up the stairs, the corridor will pass and rooms will be arranged in front and back. The front side is a 4 tatami mat room with a closet. A space with the same deformation as the first floor is attached to the front. The Japanese room on the back side is a room with a floor. There is an open corridor on the courtyard side.

The biggest feature is the style of signboard construction with standing plate-like walls. A facade that matches the shape of the diagonal site on the front road boundary changes the design. The outer wall was washed out with mortar and finished with a stone tone with horizontal joints. The top of the opening is decorated with a keystone-like design. Although it is a simple design with no decorativeness, it has a three-dimensional design by changing the height of the protruding top and the top of the main building.

As mentioned above, the design of the facade was built with the city planning street project of Showa 11 and was designed by the younger brother of the owner at that time, who served as a mathematics teacher at Kanazawa Daiichi Junior High School Met. “Signboard Architecture” written by Terunobu Fujimori introduces designs by not only carpenters and designers, but also by painters and amateur owners, and it is interesting that the same trend can be seen in Kanazawa.

There are few signboard buildings left in the city, and about 10 buildings have been confirmed in addition to the old clinics of the Ueno family that have already been registered as nationally registered tangible cultural properties (buildings), Tsunoshima family houses and main buildings. Among them, five buildings, including the main building, are located along the same street. This is a characteristic of this neighborhood, and the city planning street project that was carried out in the era of Showa 11 had a great influence. I understand. In particular, Kanazawa Machiya Kenroku is a building that is located at a point where the road further spreads out and clearly shows the characteristics of the front road, and is indispensable for telling the historical street space of this neighborhood.