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Okumikawa to the Wallowas: A New Life for Old Houses

Toda Komuten and the Kominka Collective share 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 enjoy exquisite traditional Japanese architecture and to ensure that these beautiful old houses and materials will be given a new life. 

Yoshinobu Toda

Chairman of Toda Komuten

Director, Japanese Kominka 

Association, Aichi Branch

Kunito Niwa

Kominka Assessor


Kominka Collective

Eric Carlson

Designer Builder


Kominka Collective

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. 

I was previously in charge of the overall management of a Japanese company that manufactures and sells electronic components. In this capacity, I was posted overseas for many years and have particular experience in business related to import-export operations. I am very fond of kozai - which translates to old wood -  and have a keen interest in preserving traditional timber-frame architecture. I am delighted to be able to share these beautiful traditional structures with people overseas.

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 work to give these incredible structures a new life.

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