Clare “Jiro” Hess is a life-long model builder and has been building wooden ship models for nearly 30 years. For the last 7 years, he has focused much of his attention on researching and modeling Japanese traditional watercraft or “wasen”. He has studied the details of Japanese wooden boat construction under Mr. Douglas Brooks, an American boatbuilder, who himself has studied Japanese wooden boatbuilding for 25 years under master boatbuilders in Japan.
In 2016, Clare Hess made a research trip to Japan to study wasen first-hand, and has since attended Zoom-based meetings of the Wasen Study Group run by Professor Masaaki Kon of Kanagawa University. He is the author of three articles on modeling Japanese traditional boats, and has given presentations on the subject, most recently for the San Francisco Maritime Park Association’s web-based MESS lecture series in May, 2021.