Gable Wall (妻壁)

A gable wall is an exterior wall above the gable beam of a building. It is also used to refer to the walls of transport machinery in the distribution industry.


Gable walls can be seen in structures that have walls which reach the ridge such as Irimoya-zukuri style (a hip-and-gable roof) and Kirizuma-yane style (a gabled roof) buildings, but cannot be seen in those with the Hogyo-zukuri style (pyramidal style) or Yosemune-zukuri style (hipped roof style) roofs. There are many examples for which the shape is triangular. When a hafu-ita (bargeboard) is included, it is known as "hafu" and the designs adorning it are called tsumakazari.

In the case of wooden buildings, large walls are plastered walls coated with lime plaster and mortar, or covered wooden boards or metal sheets. When the attic is a closed space, a ventilation hatch is opened, and when the attic is an accessible space or is vaulted, features such as windows and balconies may be installed.

As traditional Japanese buildings, the gable walls of temples may be finished in the shinkabe style (the framing for the wall is set between pillars that remain exposed on both sides when the plastered wall is finished), and buildings in styles such as the Shoin-zukuri style (a traditional Japanese style of residential architecture that includes a tokonoma) may have their gable walls finished using kizure goshi (gable pediments filled with boardbacked, crisscross lattice). The gables of irimoya style roofs used for farmhouse and tea house buildings with an attached furnace thatched with grass or straw sometimes have an opening with a lattice for ventilation, called a 'kemurinuki,' instead of the wall.


Gable walls are the walls at the front and rear (where the number plates and brake lights are located) of vehicles. They are also called tumagawa (gable side) or yokotehoko (side direction). The term is frequently used in the distribution industry to explain or indicate box-shaped transportation machines such as various types of container and trucks.

[Original Japanese]