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Japanese architectural craft approved as UNESCO intangible heritage

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Japanese architectural craft approved as UNESCO intangible heritage

Ironic to so honor a country that has engaged in the wholesale destruction of its own architectural heritage.

21 ( +24 / -3 )

Such structures include Horyuji, a World Heritage Buddhist temple said to have been built in 607. The building in the western prefecture of Nara is the world's oldest surviving wooden structure.

Right, and the company that built these structures, Kongo-Gumi, once the oldest company in the world had Korean immigrants that brought their knowledge here to Japan! They specialize in building Buddhist temples!

Japanese construction company that was the world's oldest continuously ongoing independent company, operating for 1,427 years. In January 2006, it became a subsidiary of Takamatsu and lost its independence.

> Headquartered in Osaka, the once family-owned construction company traced its origins to 578 AD when one of the skilled Korean immigrants,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kong%C5%8D_Gumi

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Good for Japan. Once this disaster is over this award should boost tourism, both foreign and domestic, even more.

-14 ( +4 / -18 )

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said in a statement that he "truly rejoices" at the UNESCO listing.

The Japanese and their FETISH for UNESCO. Pfffff

Rejoice PM. Rejoice

20 ( +23 / -3 )

Cause its not like there are any more pressing matters at hand..oh wait

15 ( +17 / -2 )

does it stop demolition if a building has these?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

the centuries-old techniques are still indispensable today to enhance the resilience of old buildings to earthquakes and typhoons. 

That just isn't true. The adoption of western technology, composite materials and techniques have made buildings in Japan way more resilient to natural disasters. In the Kobe earthquake, for example, the traditional wooden homes with the heavy tiled roofs and light foundations were flattened and caused huge numbers of deaths.

20 ( +21 / -1 )

And yet, when I look outside, Tokyo has to be the ugliest city I've ever lived in.

19 ( +21 / -2 )

Well houses are made of plastic now so . . .

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Some of the techniques of woodcraft in construction are truly wonderful.

Not so far from me is a 5 story pagoda built without nailing of any sorts and it's interlocking joints are a fascinating study in the art of master carpentry.

In addition it has a built-in weight counterbalance system to ameliorate the effects of earthquakes.

To date it has stood for centuries.

But I also agree that there is a bit of an obsession in Japan with "grading" everything, whether it be a 5 yr olds scholastic ability to a go players ranking to world heritage status for "things".

Not everything needs to be so measured.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

Agree with the sentiment here, Japan has a perverse obsession with heritage sites not seen in any other country. And woodworking? Are you kidding me lol? Just mark the entire country as a heritage site jeez

15 ( +18 / -3 )

I come from a family with a very long history of woodworking dating back hundreds of years. Carpenters, cabinet makers, furniture makers, shipwrights and boat builders. My father taught me from an early age but I became the first in my family not to take it up and became an engineer. I still have two brothers and four cousins who work with wood.

In western carpentry there are less than about 20 wood joints used on a daily basis. All require glue to hold them together.

Japanese carpenters use about 150 joints, all very elaborate and complicated but constructed in a way that does not require glue, screws or nails. Sometimes a wedge is part of a joint. When it moves likes from an earthquake, those wedges can be tapped in to tighten the joint again.

Kumiki is a wooden building technology where grooved wood pieces are joined together to form sturdy three-dimensional objects, and making it possible to produce longer pieces. Its history goes back as far as the Heian Period.

Shorter lengths can be made for transport then joined on site.

https://hidakuma.com/en/blog/kumiki/

Although not a carpenter myself Kumiki holds a fascination for me.

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

 In the Kobe earthquake, for example, the traditional wooden homes with the heavy tiled roofs and light foundations were flattened and caused huge numbers of deaths.

So did concrete buildings collapse, many from the 2F. The fault of the roof tiles is not with the tiles themselves but with the wood construction of the roof. If strong enough it will hold the weight of the tiles. In Kobe we lived in a traditional house, 100 years old which survived the Kobe earthquake. The house had been constructed by a rich family and didn't spare the wood. The roof structure had timbers 30cm x 30cm.

Today, there are new roof tiles which look like the old type but made from a composite, making them 90% lighter, and cheaper to buy.

Traditional houses, has do the modern houses, are not attached to a foundation like in western construction. This enables the house to move in a strong earthquake.

In Kobe earthquake the largest numbers of deaths were from fires started by broken gas lines. Kobe got lucky with the 5am earthquake. Had it been five hours later probably tens of thousands would have been killed.

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

The utter contempt shown for Japan and the Japanese in most of the comments here makes me wonder what accomplishments those posting can claim for themselves and their countries.

My father was a carpenter. I worked with him on construction sites until I went off to college. Even now, a half century later, I always stop to look at residential construction sites. Not many use traditional techniques, but when you find one, the craftsmanship is extraordinary.

-13 ( +5 / -18 )

Modern Japanese houses are constructed inside factories and then transported to the site enabling erection within 2-3 months which is fast by any countries standard.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

Aside from regular repair works, some shinto shrines hold a unique tradtion called sengu 遷宮, periodic relocaiton of structures (in every 20 years for Ise Shrine, for example). The practice of scraping and (re) building seems to have successfully kept and transfered the architectural craftsmanship for over centuries. It is a dynamic continuity.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

Modern Japanese houses are constructed inside factories and then transported to the site enabling erection within 2-3 months which is fast by any countries standard.

I may be wrong, but I'm not sure this UNESCO award covers pre-fab houses?

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Calm yourselves down. Japan's not even in the top ten for UNESCO W.H. sites. Although it has the second most intangible cultural heritage assets, that number lags way behind China in first place, and is only one to four ahead of the next four in line.

There is nothing wrong with being proud of your heritage, as long as you don't think it makes your people better than anyone else's people. Mocking that pride just makes people seem very petty, even jealous.

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

I may be wrong, but I'm not sure this UNESCO award covers pre-fab houses?

I wasn't saying they do. I, like others was just commenting on the current house building situation. If you know anything about British prefabs built after the war including asbestos then the Japan pre-fabs are good standards.

The insulation and glazing could be better. But since most house are made for a single generation in mind that would add to the construction costs. Carpenters can work in the factories out of the weather all year round. Teams of erectors tend to be younger ones requiring less skills.

Many new constructions like the previous traditional constructions, generally lack the use of diagonals which strengthens the house against quakes.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

Mocking [a nation's] pride [in its heritage] just makes people seem very petty, even jealous.

True.

There is nothing wrong with being proud of your heritage, as long as you don't think it makes your people better than anyone else's people. 

Ah...

You answer yourself better than I could answer you.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

 Just mark the entire country as a heritage site jeez

Seems like that's exactly what they're trying to do

14 ( +15 / -1 )

jpn_guy

I asked no question. I gave some facts, and my opinion, and I am not arguing with myself at all :D

I don't see anything in this article or generally in the pleasure at receiving these awards, that indicate feelings of superiority.

Elsewhere, I may or may not, but that's irrelevant. More than half of the comments here are negative, for no good reason.

Many temples, including Kinkakuji, were built without nails. That's impressive. Well done Japan. :)

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

Well deserved world heritage listing! The Japanese craftsmanship for wooden constructions is amazing. And still used to some extent in ordinary homes as well!

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

Photo of shrine roof replacement.

https://cdn.japantimes.2xx.jp/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/np_file_58035.jpeg

The roof of Himeji Castle was replaced 2009-2015. The project remained open to visitors to view the work. We visited several times. An amazing project.

https://www.kajima.co.jp/english/tech/himeji_castle/index.html

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I was looking at some photos of Kyoto over ten years ago. Visited there a few weeks ago. Most of the unique buildings I photographed are gone.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

There is nothing wrong with being proud of your heritage, as long as you don't think it makes your people better than anyone else's people. 

> I asked no question.

Your post invites us to consider whether Japan's repeated appeals to the UN to register all and sundry are, or are not indicative of a desire to suggest that Japanese culture is "better" than other cultures. If you have never run into this attitude, then perhaps you don't live here?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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