Kakejiku (Japanese hanging scroll) (掛軸)

Kakejiku is a Japanese hanging scroll made of paper or cloth on which a Japanese painting or calligraphy is mounted; it is displayed and appreciated in the tokonoma alcove and so on.
It is also called 'Kakemono.'
It plays an important roll in the interior decoration of a Japanese room.

History of Kakejiku
It was used as a kakemono (hanging) during the Northern Sung Dynasty period in China
It seems to be meant for worship, used as 'hung and worshiped.'

It was easy to carry when kakejiku was put into paulownia box, and producing more than one kakejiku at one time could be relatively easy. Therefore, first of all, kakejiku started to spread for Buddhist images.

Kakejiku was already introduced into Japan in the Asuka period as Buddhist painting. However, it gained wide popularity with the trend of 'suibokuga' (ink-painting), influenced by the spread of 'Zen Buddhism' in the late Kamakura period.

This trend developed kakejiku from the field of Buddhist portraitures that 'hung and worshiped,' to a complementary product of the independent work of art, such as suibokuga (ink-painting) of kacho-fugetsu (beauties of nature, the traditional themes of natural beauty in Japanese aesthetics); these works of art can be seen even better by being mounted in kakejiku.

Kakejiku of suibokuga (ink-painting) have been seen frequently also in the 'tokonoma' alcove of a Japanese room when 'Chanoyu' (tea ceremony) are held, since the Muromachi period. Kakejiku became popular dramatically among people who were fascinated with the tea ceremony, when SEN no Rikyu mentioned the importance of kakejiku. Changing kakejiku to match the guests, seasons and the time of day became customary. People came to think that it was important to express the formality of the guests or occasions by displaying various kinds of kakejiku.
The concepts are; 'shin' (the most strictly formal), gyo (the middle of 'shin' and 'so'), 'so' (the most casual), and these three kinds are divided into further three categories respectively, according to the degree of formalities, 'shin,' 'gyo', 'so.'

Ming dynasty-style hyogu (the technique and the craft of mounting) was introduced into Japan in the Edo period, and kakejiku began to be flourished as 'Bunjinga' (literati painting) was mounted with literati painting mounting.

At the same time, the technique of mounting developed significantly. Additionally, the elaborated woven textiles such as 'yamato nishiki' (embroidered texture in colored threads) and 'enishiki karaori' (embroidered texture in colored threads, making a design stand out) gained popularity. Therefore, the wide variety of elaborated woven textiles including 'Nishijin ori' (Nishijin textile) were produced one after another in various textile-producing areas.

In the 18th century, 'Kyoto gadan' (the Kyoto gadan School organized by painters who worked actively in Kyoto) flourished; this is different from the Kano School whose members worked actively in Edo. Kakejiku's artistic value became higher, with the support by people who also appreciated Nihon ga' (Japanese paintings).

With the prosperity of 'Nihon ga' (Japanese paintings), kakejiku flourished vigorously in the Meiji and Taisho period.

In the Showa period, the war hindered people from enjoying viewing kakejiku and demand in kakejiku decreased sharply.
After the war, 'tokonoma' became less popular, since people remarkably started to lose interest in kakejiku of 'Nihon ga' (Japanese paintings), and the westernization of people's lifestyle,
Today, the number of the kakejiku lovers is still very limited.

Variations of Kakemono
These following items were mounted into kakejiku, 'butsu ga' (Buddhist paintings), 'sansui ga' (Chinese-style landscape painting), 'kacho ga' (painting of flowers and birds), 'bokuseki' (black ink brush writing by Zen priests), 'kohitsu' (ancient calligraphy), 'shikishi' (a square piece of fancy paper for writing a poem on), 'tanzaku' (long, narrow card on which Japanese poems are written vertically), 'gasan' (inscriptions associated with paintings), 'shosoku' (a letter) and 'dankan,' fragmentary pieces of a scroll. Tsuifuku' refers to a series of calligraphic works and painting mounted the same way. Tsuifuku' includes 'sofuku' (a pair of hanging scrolls) such as 'kaki kuri zu' (a painting of a Japanese persimmon and chestnut) or 'ryuko zu' (dragon and tiger painting) and 'sanpukutsui' (set of three hanging scrolls) mounted paintings such as a statue of Kannon (Deity of Mercy), monkey, or crane. Yonpukutsui' is a set of 4 kakejiku mounted paintings such as a series of the 4 seasons, and 'juunipukutsui' is a set of 12 kakejiku mounted a series of the 12 months.

These kakejiku mentioned above are called 'toko gake,' because they are hung in the tokonoma alcove.

Other than 'tokogake,' there is a type of kakejiku hung in a Buddhist alter. These kakejiku are mounted paintings such as Buddhist images including 'Gohonzon' (the main object of devotion) and 'wakiji' (the objects of devotion standing on the right and left sides of the 'gohonzon') of religious schools, and words such as 'myogo' (the name of Buddha) or 'homyo' (a posthumous name).

The style of Mounting
The style of kakejiku was established with tea ceremony. The size is set up in order to be shown beautifully when kakejiku is viewed from a kneeling position, and it is produced with the size of tokonoma (tokonoma alcove) or tatami (straw mat) taken into account. Generally, in Kanto area, the ratio of the top section and the bottom is two to one: 'kami ichimonnji' (horizontally long strip of cloth put on the top of the surface) is twice the length of 'shimo ichimonnji' (horizontally long strip of cloth put on the bottom of the surface) and 'ten' (heaven, the top section) is twice the length of 'chi' (earth, the bottom section). In Kansai area, where the size of tatami is larger than that of Kanto, the top section is a little bit shorter than the ratio of two to one.

For materials, paper or fabrics including 'kinran' (luxurious cloth embroidered in gold threads), 'ginran' (luxurious cloth embroidered in silver threads), 'donsu' (glossy silk cloth) and 'sha' (thin silk cloth) are used for the surface of kakejiku. Tomogire' (the same cloth) is used for 'ichimonji' (horizontally long strip of cloth put on the top and bottom of the surface) and 'futai' (a pair of strips of cloths or paper hanging from the top). Another material is used for 'chumawashi' (the center part of kakejiku on which a painting or calligraphy is displayed). Therefore, kakejiku can be appreciated with the variety. Generally, the material of the highest quality is used for 'ichimonji' (horizontally long strip of cloth put on the top and bottom of the surface).

The combination of these fabrics can add more greatness to the picture plane.

Yamato hyogu'・・・the style shown by the illustration. This type of kakejiku has three parts; the top (called 'ten,' heaven), the middle (called 'cyumawashi') and the bottom (called 'chi,' earth). A pair of strips of cloth or paper called 'futai' is hung from the top. This type is the most common.

Bunjin hyogu' or 'fukuro hyogu'・・・the style which omits some parts of 'yamato hyogu' such as 'ten' (the top section), 'chi' (the bottom) and 'futai' (a pair of strips of cloths or paper hanging from the top) and extends the top and bottom of 'cyumawashi' (the center part of kakejiku on which a painting or calligraphy is displayed).

Chagake hyogu' and 'Rikyu hyogu'・・・the style that narrow the width of 'cyumawashi' (the center part of kakejiku on which a painting or calligraphy is displayed). The style is used for tea ceremony.

Honzon hyogu,' 'hotoke hyogu' and 'shinsei hyogu'・・・outside of the left and right sides of 'chumawashi' (the center part of kakejiku on which a painting or calligraphy is displayed) are covered by the same cloth used for the top and the bottom section. This style is only used for things related to Shinto and Buddhist deities.

Ivory, red sandalwood, Chinese quince (pea family), 'tsuishu' (a curving on layered coats of lacquer) and crystal are used as the material of 'jiku' (a cylindrical rod at the bottom). The material of 'jikuhashi' (the end of knobs on a cylindrical rod at the bottom) varies according to the subject of a painting; 'jikuhashi' made of wood is for 'nan ga' (paintings of Chinese origin), 'jikuhashi' made of metal or crystal is for 'butusu ga' (paintings of Buddha).

Jikuso' refers to the mounting of calligraphic works and paintings in kakejiku.

How to Handle Kakejiku

Tools such as 'yahazu' (the forked edge of a bamboo stick) or 'kakemono sao' (a long stick for hanging kakemono) are used to hang kakejiku. When a hook or nail is placed out of reach, kakejiku can be hung using a 'jizaikake,' height-adjustable stick.

The Procedure of Hanging Kakejiku on the Wall
1. Untie a 'makio' (a string connected to 'kakeo' [a string attached to the top]) and move it to the right side of a 'kakeo' (a string attached to the top).

2 Hold the kakejiku in your left hand and hold a 'yahazu' (a forked edge of a bamboo stick) in your right hand. Put the 'kakeo' (a string attached to the top) into the metal piece fixed at the edge of the 'yahazu' (the forked edge of a bamboo stick).

3. Hook the 'kakeo' (a string attached to the top) on a nail or hook and spread the kekejiku down slowly.

4. Balance between the right and the left when it is finished rolling down. Hang 'futai' (a pair of strips of cloths or paper hanging from the top) down, if it is available. Hang 'fuchin' (a decorative wood or ceramic piece used for preventing kakejiku from swinging in the wind) on its 'jikusaki' (the end of knobs on a cylindrical rod at the bottom), if needed.

The Procedure of Taking Kakejiku off from the Wall
If it is possible, take kakejiku off from the wall with two people. When you do it by yourself, you should set a 'yahazu' (the forked edge of a bamboo stick) against the wall beforehand.

1. Roll up the 'jiku' (the cylindrical rod at the bottom) slowly with both hands. If you roll it up tightly, you may damage it.

2. When you roll it up around halfway, hold it in your left hand with the back of your hand up and hold the 'yahazu' (the forked edge of a bamboo stick) in your right hand, and then take the 'kakeo' (a string attached to the top) off from the nail and the like.

3. Put down the upper part of kakejiku carefully not to fold it down and then, take off the 'yahazu' (the forked edge of a bamboo stick) and put it on the floor. Finish rolling it up.

4. As for the kakejiku with 'futai' (a pair of strips of cloths or paper hanging from the top), first, bend the 'futai' on the left hand side into the bottom of the other 'futai' on the right hand side. Then, bend the 'futai' on the right hand side and put it on the 'futai' on the left hand side. When the 'futai' is too long, bend them along with a creased line.

5. When there is a 'makigami' (a piece of paper which is 5 to 7 cm in width and 20 to 25 cm in length), roll it up with the kakejiku getting its edges into the kakejiku.

6. Hold the kakejiku in your left hand and hold the 'makio' (a string connected to 'kakeo' [a string attached to the top]) in your right hand and then, tie the makio aroud the kakejiku three times from the left to the right (the same direction in which the kakejiku was rolled up). The 'makio' (a string connected to 'kakeo' [a string attached to the top]) of the kakejiku mounted a Buddhist painting, myogo (name of the Buddha) and so on is tend to be longer, so, tie the makio around the kakejiku more than three times.
Make a ring at the edge of the makio and pass it through the lower right of 'kakeo' and again, pass it through the lower left of 'kakeo.'

7. Wrap it with 'momigami' (a piece of paper soften by crumpling) and put it in a 'jiku bako' (a box for kakejiku).

Kakejiku is vulnerable to humidity and dryness. Therefore, it should be put in a paulownia box and kept in the place with less temperature change. It is kept in paulownia box with fragrant mothballs made of fragrant wood.
Mothballs such as naphthalene may damage 'jikusaki.'