22. THE KUDŌ HOUSE
An Important Cultural Property of Japan
Original location: Funakubo, Shiwa Town, Shiwa County, Iwate Prefecture
Type of building: Farmhouse (nanushi / village headman’s house), magariya
Built: Hōreki Era (1751-63)
Form: Main part －Hipped roof of thatch
Length (parallel to ridge):
19.2 m Width: 11.1 m
Stable (projecting to south)－Hipped roof of thatch
Length (parallel to ridge): 7.6 m Width: 6.3 m
There are many minka in the former territory of the Nanbu domain (the northern half of Iwate Prefecture) that have an L-shaped plan with a stable projecting from the front of the main building, and they are well known as the “L-shaped houses of Nanbu” (Nanbu no Magariya) .
Magariya are considered to have been developed during the mid-Edo period when the breeding of horses (so-called Nanbu koma) became a major occupation among farmers in the Nanbu domain.
Built during the Hōreki era, this house is the oldest magariya in existence, and is also the largest minka in Nihon Minkaen.
If you look back after proceeding into the house through the main entrance, you will have a clear view of the cavernous open roof space with no ceiling, which is the highlight of this house. Generally speaking, most of the old folk houses in this area originally had no ceiling, probably because people tried to use the warmth from the fire in the sunken hearth to heat the entire building and help them to endure the bitter cold of winter.
The Daidokoro and Jōi were everyday living rooms, the Nando was a sleeping room, and the Zashiki (the only room in the raised-floor zone with tatami mats on the floor) was a special reception space with an alcove. The Daidokoro has a very convenient sunken hearth which can also be used from the doma. The design of the adjustable hook (jizaikagi) over the hearth is also peculiar to this district.
The Shimozashiki seems to have been used as a bedroom rather than an outer reception room. This means that the guest entrance to the Zashiki was probably via the wooden floored veranda on one side of that room.
The use of the Chanoma and Katte is not known for certain, but they were probably used for sleeping or related activities.
As for the structure, the main part of the building consists of a central frame with flanking aisles (jōya and geya), while the stable has a central frame only.