by Shohei Araki (Daiku-san from Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture) (adapted from The Wooden Post, vol. 3, June 2016)
Nice to meet you.
The basis of the traditional Japanese life style is the desire to co-exist with nature. The workings of nature and of the human relationship with the forest-built house is older and closer due to the agricultural base of Japan. We are interested in the many kinds of trees which make up the traditional home and, as a carpenter, it is my mission to make the “future home of the tree” using the traditional construction methods by-hand with nomi and saw.
Everyone knows that the traditional construction methods, combined with knowledge of the careful use of the forest resources, has influenced the way houses were designed and built. If there is support for the continued skills of carpentry and methods allowing direct communication with (woodcutter’s) aimed to foster the forest and create wooden homes, more and better homes will be designed as the result.
The current situation: the indiscriminate use of petroleum products, combined with other materials in current construction methods, does not support selection of the best natural products of nature. In this case, if we make a mistake with the combination of materials, and the in-room environments are built without consideration of the chemical conditions in terms of “the living house”, conditions become unhealthy. I think this condition can not be handed over to the next generation to improve.
Now it is up to us to design ways to make a warm bath in a short period of time, design and build a stylish kitchen, and create clean, pollution-free toilets. You need a house re-designed for the next generation that combines the useful life of the tree and the long term needs of people.
Once, there was a system called Yui, carried out by craftsman, but with the mutual help of the entire village. A system of cooperation. If we revive this cooperative community method of collective building between the carpenter and the village, we can reduce a great deal of the cost and the duration of a building project. This Yui is a culture that had been all but lost, but I think it is what is necessary in the future. I want to build houses using this traditional construction method, to protect and foster such a pure Japanese life and dynamic culture. I want to make such a house that can be used over and over again until the life of the tree (wood) is exhausted.
By performing such fun carpentry with houses made with everyone together creating the wooden building from the forest, using traditional tools and joining methods, by showing communities how to use tools together, we want to be cheerful again all over Japan.
By building a lot of long-lived houses using traditional construction methods and using natural materials, we create a convenient life on an ongoing basis (now) and we will create a future that carries over to the next generation.
My favorite hand tools are the Ohno (broad ax) and Chouna (adze).