Building Without Nails The Genius of Japanese Carpentry



hi welcome to China uncensored I'm your host Chris Chappell before starting china uncensored I worked as a scriptwriter for a show called journey to the east TV documentary series about traditional Asian culture and the people carrying it on today unfortunately these show was scrapped before ever making it on air not long ago I posted one of the never aired episodes the truth behind traditional Chinese Kung Fu the response to that was so incredible that I decided to post more this one is about traditional Japanese carpentry without the use of any nails they can build temples that last for hundreds of years it's a fascinating look at a not quite lost art I hope you enjoy traditional Japanese carpenters build furniture houses and temples without the aid of screws nails or bolts not no bugs no nails that's longer even Japan power temple tower a thousand years is still standing we have a to thing in that our human history against the nature with nature you have to choose either one so we do want your natural side in a real craftsmanship side the finished pieces reflect the ancient philosophy of Japanese carpentry that is still alive today [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] my father we actually grew up doing woodcut prints this is something that they did in the old country they always learned a trade so some people were farmers some people were electricians but he chose woodworking when I graduate I have to sit him up on my life where to stay to work so I say oh this is very easy I want to get homesick I want to know home more if you stay you don't know too much because you're a bright spots far away you can see so I decided to live from Japan to somewhere hiss ow Hanabusa has been working with Japanese carpentry for over 50 years with his son he now runs MIA Shoji a traditional Japanese carpentry workshop in New York one day I was walking on 17th Street and I saw their beautiful tables inside and I went in to look and I said to him I met mr. Hanabusa and I said one day I'm going to own one of your tables and of course being a good salesman he said why not now and when I met Ken my husband and we decided we would start another life together we both wanted to change the way we were living I wanted to simplify you know I just wanted to simplify my life all the pieces in Hana fuzes showroom have been handcrafted using traditional Japanese techniques the pieces of lumber have also been individually selected by Hanabusa and his son [Applause] every morning enough uses team of carpenters begin by sharpening the blades of their hand forged planes and chisels caring for these hands tools takes almost as much time as using them but in the right hands the Japanese hand plane produces a smoother cut than a machine plane as the blade passes through these Shoji screen beams it cleanly slices off thin ribbons of wood the process of using and caring for these traditional tools reflects Hanabusa's philosophy of working with nature not against nature we have a to thing in that our human you know history against the nature with nature you have to choose either one when I was a kid study Industrial Revolution fantastic stuff but that kills all the craftsmen or the personal individual Turin they kill so we do more more natural sight in a real craftsmanship site that's what we still doing it some people say stupid [Laughter] I knew of mr. Hanabusa so I would go by the place with my children we look in the windows and there were plenty of screens and the and the furniture was all there so when we started talking about how we were going to decorate this apartment after we bought it he became a given what we did initially was go to muster Hana fuzes workshop and we chose the piece of lumber we wanted for the table the wool carpet tree in the past the wood within the area what I should dictate what the actual carpenter can make we actually practice the same thing here where wood in the area we collect would dictate what the actual client can actually have [Applause] oh we're taking down an elm tree and giving it a second life we're gonna slab these branches in the big trunk and someday it'll become furniture it was hit with a disease known as Dutch elm disease which devastates elm trees it survived the first bout of Dutch elm which came through here over 30 years ago unfortunately we've been hit with Dutch elm disease once again and the tree didn't survive this tree is approximately 300 years old it's a shame to see it go [Applause] [Applause] this is real specialty work it takes a lot of wherewithal to tackle a tree like this not to mention the equipment to be able to manufacture it into slabs of wood although you know this tree is dead it's always living in the spring and summer it it breathes it picks up moisture and and the winter it loses moisture so just think of it as something that's always living two slabs yeah here's your tape take it to museum everywhere after the tree has been milled into slabs it has to go through a drying process for many years before it is ready to be made into furniture the fresh tree water contents like a hundred percent night ready to use it is you have to remove our water content that's why 10 15 20 year air-dry will you watch it ready to use it or not by the time the wood first hits the cutting bench it is already nearing the end of its journey at this stage the carpenter begins to craft the joints that will hold the finish piece together like a three-dimensional puzzle without the need for screws nails or bolts the joints must fit together perfectly which is all the more difficult to achieve when using hand saws and chisels instead of precise electric tools these butterfly joints will prevent the crack in this tabletop from spreading [Applause] this rectangular dining table has an extremely simple and elegant design the base consists of two wide legs attached to a long trestle by two mortise and tenon joints and the legs hold the top in place with four dowels although it is extremely heavy the table is held together with only four pieces of lumber and six joints new construction is usually with nails bolts screws but we still actually use joinery which would be wooden wood expanding interacting with each other so this is actually something that lasts forever I don't know both no nails that's longer also strong for earthquake hurricane even Japan tower temple tower a thousand years is still standing the techniques for building Buddhist temples originally came from China's Tong dynasty era in the 6th and 7th centuries ad this period is considered China's Golden Age where art and religion flourished the mastery of joinery can be seen in the interlaced wooden brackets that support the temples wide roof with a minimal number of columns and give the visitors an unobstructed view of the Buddha statue like the Buddhist temples traditional Japanese homes and furniture are also held together with wooden joints and reflect the aesthetic values of simplicity modesty and appreciation of nature designing in a Japanese fashion or wanting to live that life entails a certain quest for simplicity it's easier to be a collective and it can be wonderful and beautiful to be eclectic but it's not part of anything permanent the Japanese design is what it is I mean it goes way back and it doesn't change and I think you you want to be as true as you can be to that that vision in that philosophy when you close you you don't see as a sigh so it's just a paper but paper makes a defined space I call mysterious space we don't know is very mysterious I think just like a life we don't know tomorrow Tangier Leila you exist you don't know maybe we don't like this this is also can take her off no hardware gravity is riding wood-framed shadow group deeper group no hardware chopstick knife and fork that's different bottom of the door or screen bottom of the tree tree grows this tree growth don't grow upside down so this is all same tree grow so doesn't warp if you upside down you know mix it they whoop it's basically with nature not against the nature process the Shoji screens they offer a really wonderful diffused light it offers a serenity it's like our sanctuary when we come here and I think that's in part because of the Shoji screens I was looking for a space that was more visually peaceful and actually a space that would get me away from my western New York busy life into a more contemplative meditative space my current apartment was almost the opposite I've been collecting American ephemera stuff for about thirty years so it's all over my apartment and if you go into the Japanese apartment there's absolutely nothing that's visible or discreet I find the space very peaceful and relaxing and I often go there to meditate you close the Shoji screens and all of New York is now disappearing you could be anywhere in the world it's almost like a little spaceship like a little time traveling man fact people from Japan who've seen this space said wow it's so that's so cool Segway once all the joints have been carved and fitted together the pieces are hands planed to a flat smooth finish and coated with many layers of traditional tongue oil made from the seeds of the tongue tree the finished table is then assembled in this folding table the legs fold out via dowels and are held in place by small wooden pegs the top is joined to the frame with four sliding dovetail joints the genius of the table lies in the flexible wooden beam that holds the legs securely opened or closed with the help of joints on the basement legs everything and it's done in a very traditional traditional way that lends itself to pride on what you do pride in the job and that pride is reflected in the quality of the things that we have in our home that make our lives wonderful and beautiful easy to live in so it arrived one day when hon of hooses men showed up at the apartment they would stop at our door they would remove their shoes and we bow now they like they honored the space itself by being so traditionally Japanese they have a reverence for their materials for the space for what they're doing and we can feel that using the table after they have put so much care into making it you can feel it comes through I can't say why I chose the Japanese that's why I think it's just something it's something in me that came from some remote place I can only think that if there were an afterlife then perhaps I use Japanese and some other culture because it really comes from something very innate Hanabusa is really a philosopher and I think what we have in common is that he's an artist and I'm an artist so I think he's a purist I think when you're an artist I mean you strive for some kind of truth and consistency the concept of beauty in traditional Japanese design is different from that in the West subtle imperfections and signs of age or weathering are prized they inspire the viewer to contemplate the passage of time in the imperfect nature of life a truly beautiful object should inspire a feeling of serene loneliness and quiet self reflection in Japanese this aesthetic is called wabi-sabi wabi-sabi talking abou t talking life many different kind of beauty antique bill elastic beauty fresh beauty young beauty is it's very abstract wide doesn't say this when I go Japan people say well you came back but season range you can go anywhere no I designed that way to see the reigning day you live there you don't notice you don't have to go raining day Nick tomorrow may be clear day but wet tempo wet garden and no people because of rain I think that's more beauty [Applause] [Applause]

37 Comments

  • type4

    April 13, 2019

    JESUS WAS JAPANESE

    Reply
  • CommiCrab

    April 13, 2019

    Did not expect to see China uncensored here!

    Reply
  • Z Szilagyi

    April 13, 2019

    This is brilliant, greetings from Hungary!

    Reply
  • zachikho thingo

    April 13, 2019

    6:00. so satisfying.

    Reply
  • Greg West

    April 13, 2019

    I have a high appreciation of fine joinery, but this fella's racket is selling giant burled slabs of lumber to dipshits. 🙂

    Reply
  • Rinoa Super-Genius

    April 13, 2019

    These people are trying their hardest to make japan uncool. lol

    Reply
  • Hugo Desrosiers-Plaisance

    April 13, 2019

    "I wanted to simplify my life by buying a table that was worth many thousands of dollars."

    *sigh*

    Reply
  • Ethan YT

    April 13, 2019

    Master Hisao sure do look like Obi Wan Kenobi of japanese carpentry.. so amazing craft…

    Reply
  • Bill Allmon

    April 13, 2019

    Ive been wood working for over 50years this was very inspirational and touching to me. Very very well done

    Reply
  • Geronimo Six

    April 13, 2019

    They do make good 4 runners but carpenter skills whatever dude

    Reply
  • Kole Knudsen

    April 13, 2019

    Haha the reason the temples are still standing after 1,000 years is because they are maintained every 50-100 years by wood workers who study the traditional ways. The wood itself still rots, gets damaged from the elements and pests. Just because they are using joinery instead of nails and screws does not mean that it lasts forever.

    Reply
  • Pzlsi Koleia

    April 13, 2019

    Well.. It's not childproof

    Reply
  • Bloodbath Mcgrath

    April 13, 2019

    I wonder what Jesus would say about this style of carpentry.

    Reply
  • Mr O'Neil

    April 13, 2019

    Your accent pisses me off, It's butchering the English language.

    Reply
  • Smooth Criminal

    April 13, 2019

    Americans left the group.

    Reply
  • Angel Maldonado

    April 13, 2019

    My uncle was a traditional furniture maker in Germany, and used no nails in any of the pieces he made. His furniture even 40 years after his passing is still in high demand. People fortunate to own a piece are offered thousands to sell them but rarely do. I enjoyed watching this video.

    Reply
  • Anonymous

    April 13, 2019

    Japanese civilization is probably one of the oldest in the planet

    Reply
  • ahmet celal kupeli

    April 13, 2019

    brrrrrrr paradoxes and paradoxes…. old tradition house middle of the NYC in this house guy acting like a obi van with Mac book, and this video on youtube… so building without nails with digital advertising….. its looks like a car video… as you know the guy buying MR2 and converting to the Ferrari but the car still is not a Ferrari 😀 😀 😀

    Reply
  • Fossil Draws

    April 13, 2019

    Welcome to my nyc washitsu…

    Christmas tree and school diploma in tokonoma

    Reply
  • Tony

    April 13, 2019

    Oh NO! Not this Guy. Jesus Christ I would rather hear fingernails on a chalk board while at a 8 hour insurance seminar. FUCK!

    Reply
  • Justin

    April 13, 2019

    Europeans built the exact same way until we innovated and found construction with nails to be much faster and efficient. I guarantee you modern Japanese homes are built the same way as American homes.

    Reply
  • D Baggins

    April 13, 2019

    "I wanted to simplify my life" so I ordered my new husband to buy me a super expensive, custom-made table.

    Reply
  • Kevin Rush

    April 13, 2019

    The genius of building they way we do is having invented nails.

    Reply
  • dentist linguist

    April 13, 2019

    It's always fun to see good craftsmen. My grandfather was from Finland and his profession and hobby were carpentry. He never used a nail, so it was a similar technique as the Japanese. He once made a chandelier from one piece of wood, hanging in a chain consisting of sort of cubes, still the same piece of wood. I still can't figure out how he made it. Difficult to explain, even in my native language.

    Reply
  • Wolf Thunders

    April 13, 2019

    Truth is koreans and Chinese is the one build the Kyoto Nara Osaka kamakura and even fake Japanese emperor royals orgachy from Korean's is the Truth, don't tricks by fake Japanese emperor or people's, Japanese educations schools histories are ruled by royals orgachy and dark deep states koreans descendants governments are brain wash and mind controls to dumb down the Japanese nation's, all this video tequnick from koreans and Chinese ok, Japan was Native Japanese tribes got dictates by power hungry greedy murder's and Rapist from koreans and Chinese is the True history and this Japanese culture is not Japanese culture at all it's a Chinese and Korean descendants cultures ok,there is no 100% Japanese blood on this planet at all,it's a all illusion lies of the satanic spirit behind themselves.

    Reply
  • Erik Iacopelli

    April 13, 2019

    I would give ANYTHING to live in Japan and learn from a master of woodworking.

    Reply
  • Erik Iacopelli

    April 13, 2019

    Thats cuz japanese have been at god level work WAY before anyone else and have stayed at that level. lol

    Reply
  • nick bill

    April 13, 2019

    millennials make digital furniture

    Reply
  • Gavrin La

    April 13, 2019

    German creativity is like that of Japan, without forgetting other peoples.

    Reply
  • Jacob Zhang

    April 13, 2019

    1:15 这中式英语装个j8日本人?

    Reply
  • Franco4590

    April 13, 2019

    I am bewildered as to why there are so many naysayers here. I'm sure there is plenty of garbage you would be much more interested in.

    Reply
  • BennyCFD

    April 13, 2019

    Something only the rich can afford.

    Reply
  • Scorpio54

    April 13, 2019

    I agree with those who have said that this video seems like a promo ad!! Having been fascinated my entire life not only by the Japanese type of craftsmanship, but all elegant craftsmanship I was really hoping for a more in depth look at the work behind the craftsmanship!! Disappointing!!!

    Reply
  • josemv25

    April 13, 2019

    That tree was healthy

    Reply
  • Zack Musick

    April 13, 2019

    Wants to live simply. So you need thousands of dollars worth of furniture to do so? What a tool.

    Reply
  • CUM2america

    April 13, 2019

    I bet $100 someone fucked on that table

    Reply
  • DISEAZURE

    April 13, 2019

    Educational and fascinating. Really enjoyable video.

    Reply

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