The Building of Horyu-ji
The Technique and Wood that Made It Possible
Nishioka Tsunekazu and Kohara Jiro
Translated by Michael Brase
Hardcover | ISBN 978-4-916055-59-0 | 236 pages | 210mm (h) x 148mm (w) | March 2016
- About the Book
Horyu-ji temple was first erected in the 7th century and has come down to us today in the magnificent form it achieved in 711, over 1,300 years ago. It has given the lie to the common misconception that wood is destined to quickly rot and decay, and has demonstrated the enduring value of wood, not to mention the fact that the temple has been designated a World Heritage Site as the earth’s oldest wooden structure.
Here Tsunekazu Nishioka, the master carpenter who undertook the repair of this monumental structure in the mid 20th century, shares the insights and knowledge he gained from that experience. To make Nishioka’s words and observations more easily understood by later generations, Jiro Kohara has buttressed them with scientific experiments and commentary, bringing into sharp view Horyu-ji’s long-concealed mysteries and secrets. The result is a revealing picture of Japan’s immemorial love of trees and wood, a broad-ranging introduction to the country’s wood culture.
- About the Author
Born in 1908 in Ikaruga-cho, Nara Prefecture, Japan. For many years Nishioka worked on the repair of Horyu-ji and other temples as a miyadaiku (master carpenter), including the reconstruction of Horin-ji’s three-story pagoda as well as Yakushi-ji’s main hall and west pagoda. He was called the last miyadaiku of the Showa Period (1926-89). He received the Nara Prefecture Culture Award, the Yoshikawa Eiji Culture Prize, the Architectural Institute of Japan Prize, the Jiji Cultural Medal, the Sankei Children’s Book Award, and the National Land Afforestation Promotion Organization Prize. The Japanese government awarded him the Order of the Sacred Treasure and the Medal with a Purple Ribbon. He was also designated a possessor of Cultural Assets Selected Conservation Techniques, a person of Cultural Merit, and a honorary citizen of Ikaruga-cho, Nara Prefecture. He passed away in 1995.
Born in 1916 in Nagano Prefecture, Japan. Graduated from Kyoto University. Received a PhD in Agriculture. After serving as Professor in the Engineering Faculty, Architecture Department, and chair of the Engineering Faculty of Chiba University, he was appointed Professor Emeritus at the same university. He is former Executive Director at Chiba Institute of Technology. He is recipient of the Architectural Institute of Japan Prize, the Architectural Institute of Japan Grand Prize, and the National Land Afforestation Promotion Organization Prize. From the Japanese government he was awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure and the Medal with Blue Ribbon. He is honorary chair of the Japan Society for Interior Studies, honorary member of the Architectural Institute of Japan, and honorary member of the Japan Ergonomics Society. His field of specialization is ergonomics, the housing industry, and timber engineering. He is the author of numerous books.