From Mikawa to the Wallowas: A New Life for Old Houses
Toda Komuten in Shinshiro Japan and Zen House in Lostine Oregon formed the Kominka Cooperative with the aim of bringing traditional Japanese folk houses and reclaimed materials to the United States in order that people outside Japan will have opportunities to appreciate and enjoy exquisite traditional Japanese architecture and to ensure that these beautiful old materials will be given a new life.
Chairman of Toda Komuten
Director, Japanese Folk House Reconstruction Association, Aichi Branch
Our Mikawa area is blessed with both natural beauty and, as the birthplace of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, the region has a long and interesting history. In this traditional setting there are many old folk houses, called kominka in Japanese, and we are very proud of the world-class craftsmanship with which these structures were designed and built. Nowadays, however, many of these old homes are now being torn down and incinerated, This is an immeasurable loss, and it is my life's work to protect, preserve and reconstruct Japanese folk houses for the sake of future generations.
In my early 20's I read a book about Japanese timber-framing and became deeply interested in this traditional approach to building. A few years later I visited Japan and fell in love with old Japanese folk houses and the materials used to build them. I live and work in the northeast corner of Oregon, at the foot of the Wallowa mountains. Like the Mikawa region, this rural setting is rich in natural beauty - a wonderful setting in which to give these incredible structures a new life.