Timber‐Handling Technology in Japan

  • Conrad Totman
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4425-0_9332

Japan has long been known for the ability of its artisans to construct gigantic, durable wooden structures, lesser wooden buildings of graceful design, and small objects of meticulous craftsmanship. One wonders how they were able to use the trees of their archipelago for these purposes when its topography made logging and timber transport so exceedingly difficult.

Preindustrial Timber Handling

Japan's earliest wood‐handling technology was predictably simple. Stone – and later metal – hand axes, adzes, and chisels were used to fell and process tree trunks and bamboo to create rafts, dugout canoes, and plank‐walled boats; diverse hand tools, weapons, and other small objects; and post‐and‐beam buildings lashed together with vine and enclosed with thatch or wattle.

During the seventh century, however, major new architectural forms – grand wooden palaces and Buddhist temples that utilized stone foundations, mortis‐and‐tenon framing, board walls, and tile roofs – arrived from the adjacent...

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Conrad Totman

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