Been awhile since I posted anything on my page but have recently just returned from a wonderful vacation! I think just about any wood worker you speak with about Japan and you while get similar topics such as; chisels, joinery, and Japanese black steel! What you may not know,however is that after world war II there was a migration of Japanese woodworkers to the Northern region of Hokkaido. To be more specific the city of Asahikawa is now the epicenter of furniture design and woodworking in Japan. Every three years there is a design fair and I was just so lucky to have been able to attend this years fair. The following link will take you to this years winners! (IFDA Home)
While there are several manufactures and individuals who are producing in this area I had only enough time to visit one company. (Time & Style) I am truly grateful to the Time and Style staff for taking the time to show me their methods of production and explaining the benefits of wood working in different parts of Japan. I have seen their products while living in Japan, and was told that they have several stores in Europe, however unfortunately they do not have something in the United States to date.
On this trip I also had the pleasure of speaking with a Canadian guitar maker who was very insightful about living and woodworking as a foreigner in Japan. Thankfully he informed me prior to arrival of a lack of quality hand tools in the area and for future reference he recommended southern Japan such as Kyoto, Osaka area where still much of the traditional skills have been passed down from one generation to the next.
If you would like to know more about Japanese wood working I would like to recommend these two books that I have recently finished reading as they give not only in-depth knowledge of Japanese tools but also the life of traditional Japanese woodworkers. Japanese Tools, Shoji, and Japanese house. And as always if you have any questions its always my pleasure to share the love of wood working with all.