Japan Minka Revival Association

September 22 attended a workshop in 塩山(Enzan), Yamanashi Prefecture sponsored by the Japan Minka Revival Association (JMRA). "Minka" means house in Japanese, but refers to traditional Japanese timber-framed homes with wattle and daub walls. Takeru YOKOKAWA, a friend of mine who I met at the international ecovillage conference in Tokyo this past April, has just been appointed school principle of a Minka School associated with JMRA. The main teacher is 大沢匠先生(Mr. Ohsawa), a architect living and working in Kamakura. The workshop consisted of two parts, 竹小舞(takekomai) and 茅葺屋根(thatched roofing). Takekomai is the wattle of Japanese earthen plastered walls.Before the second world war, many rural Japanese villages were self-sufficient in terms of roofing materials. Each individual home would cultivate its own reed field and harvest yearly. The year's harvest would be gathered and used to re-thatch one or more buildings in the community. Thatching was done as a community.

However, most of the reed fields are no longer cultivated and there are very few thatch roofers. Japanese thatched roofs are framed with poles and bamboo lashed together with straw rope. Also great for taking naps.


Damien Ward said...

Could you tell me if these workshops are open to volunteers? Or whether there are any organisations that allow volunteers (without a formal carpentry, thatching or joinery education) to take part?

Kyle Holzhueter said...

Hello Damien,
Some of the workshops are open to the public and some classes are for the Minka School run by the Minka Revival Association.
I hope that this helps.