This ceremonial post was used for the beam raising of The Japanese House at the Boston Children's Museum. The post is made of cedar with Japanese text translated as "Kyo no Machiya Beam Raising Ceremony; Hosted by Kyoto and Boston"; date: "Auspicious Day, Showa 54 , July 25." The text also includes the names of the architects and of the construction company. The post is decorated with a paper fan painted with a red sun (the symbol on the Japanese flag), green leaves, and Otafuku (the "homely woman" or "good luck lady") mask; the decorations are tied on with straw and plastic.
Okame, also known as Uzume or Otafuku, the "homely woman," is a figure from Japanese folklore. Okame is often portrayed as the female counterpart of Hyottoko in traditional Japanese kyōgen theatre (both are somewhat comical figures). She is considered to be the goddess of mirth and is frequently seen in Japanese art with her characteristic full cheeks and merry eyes. It is believed that Okame masks represent what was once an idealized form of feminine beauty.