The Art of Growing Trees from Trees to Create Perfectly Straight Timber
Japan’s traditional architecture is admired around the world for its elegance and beauty. However, creating these buildings required an abundant supply of high-quality wood, which became increasingly scarce by the 15th century. In response, the Japanese developed an ingenious solution known as daisugi, a forestry technique that involves growing additional trees out of existing ones.
Daisugi: Growing Trees from Trees
Daisugi, written as 台杉 and literally meaning “platform cedar,” involves cultivating additional trees out of existing trees. The result is a tree that resembles an open palm with multiple trees growing out of it, all perfectly vertical. The technique prevents deforestation and produces round and straight timber known as taruki, which is used in the roofs of traditional Japanese teahouses.
Kyoto: The Birthplace of Daisugi
Kyoto is known for its traditional cultural heritage, and it is also the birthplace of daisugi. During the 16th century, the city’s preeminent tea master, Sen-no-rikyu, demanded perfection in the Kitayama cedar, which was used to build teahouses. A form of stylized architecture known as sukiya-zukuri was in high demand at the time, but there weren’t enough raw materials to build every home for the nobles or samurai who wanted them. Thus, the clever solution of using bonsai techniques on trees was born.
The Benefits of Daisugi
Not only is daisugi’s product straight, slender, and typhoon-resistant, but the lumber produced using this method is 140% as flexible as standard cedar and 200% as dense and strong. This makes it absolutely perfect for rafters and roof timber. The world has marveled at daisugi for 600 years, and it’s not hard to see why.
In conclusion, daisugi is an ingenious and sustainable forestry technique that has been a part of Japanese culture for hundreds of years. Its ability to prevent deforestation, produce high-quality timber, and create stunning architecture has made it a source of pride for the people of Japan. From a practical solution to a cultural treasure, daisugi is truly a wonder of the world.