Japan Woodcraft Journeys – Wooden Boat Building | Douglas Brooks

Douglas Brooks is a boatbuilder, writer and researcher on a mission to preserve the wonderful yet dying tradition of Japanese wooden boatbuilding.

Over the course of last 3 decades, Douglas sought out and gained the trust of Japan’s last generation of elderly master boat builders, becoming their sole apprentice and confidant, building 8 types of traditional boats under their tutelage and watchful eye.

His insight and subsequent documenting of the traditions and techniques is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the wider world to learn about this ancient craft.

We’re delighted to bring you Douglas’s remarkable story with this revealing interview. We also urge you to read more about an often overlooked woodworking tradition through Douglas’s fantastic book, available to buy direct from him here.

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TRADITIONS | Shikinen Sengu

Imagine taking 8 years to build not just 1, but 2 stunning shrines made of Japanese cypress, then 12 years later to take them down and start again? That’s exactly what happens at Jingu Shrine in Isu City, Mie Prefecture in a 20 year cycle that’s part of the ‘Shikinen Shengu‘ ceremony. The last one took place in 2013 and the next is scheduled for 2033!

Read our overview of one of Japan’s oldest traditions to get a feel for the reverence of wood as a building material in Japanese culture.

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MAKERS ABROAD | Hiroshi Sakaguchi

Born in Japan, Making in the USA

Introducing the first in a series of features on makers who’ve emigrated from Japan and set up a new life abroad with traditional Japanese woodwork values at their heart.

In 1985, Hiroshi Sakaguchi and his wife, Ann, established ‘Ki Arts’, a traditional Japanese woodworking business in Sonoma County, Northern California.¬†From the challenges of adapting to Western preferences and ways of doing business to sourcing hardwoods similar to those in Japan, Sakaguchi-san has successfully overcome obstacles to fulfil his California dream.

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