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The House of “Ashigaru”

Text: Yoshiko Nagai


I like to visit the archives, museums and galleries associated with the city. While walking through the samurai residences area in  Kanazawa, I saw a sign that said “Ashigaru Museum” and stopped. It’s a strange feeling of familiarity, Ashigaru are low-ranking samurai who work as foot soldiers on the battlefield and wait for their assignment while perfecting their martial skills in peacetime. The houses of the Ashigaru in Kanazawa were not row houses, but houses with gardens. In the garden, they grew vegetables for self-sufficiency.

When you think that the activities of people living in the present will one day be transformed into a museum, you suddenly begin to love your daily life. From the everyday tools, the layout of the house to the way we use our time, it’s like a scene cut out of an imaginary frame, seen from a distant future. Things that have faded, things that we don’t know how to use, things that barely make us feel connected to the present. We feel a more intense existence than things brought by explorers in these objects that reflect the daily life of the past.

Kanazawa City Ashigaru Museum
1-9-3, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture

Yoshiko Nagai
She became an independent curator, after having worked for a company planning and producing cultural activities. She connects creators, artworks, and audiences by creating and communicating values in a way that suits the environment. She is the author of “Out of line,” an exhibition by Alison Turnbull (2020, Tokyo), and the booklet Materia Prima, which is published irregularly.

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