Vol.18 ブッシュウィックで学べる、日本の昔ながら...

文:林 菜穂子(baCe Inc.) 写真:Fumihiko Sugino アートワーク:Shun Sudo

text by Nahoko Hayashi(baCe, Inc.) photographs by Fumihiko Sugino artwork by Shun Sudo

Vol.18 ブッシュウィックで学べる、日本の昔ながらの大工の技とは?

Learn traditional Japanese carpentry skills in Bushwick.


ブッシュウィックで日本の伝統的な大工の技を伝えている「MOKUCHI(モクチ)」のヤン・ジゲアさん。この日は「障子づくり」のクラスが開かれていて、5人の生徒が集まっていました。 Yann Giguère of Mokuchi, a woodworking studio in Bushwick that imparts traditional Japanese carpentry techniques to others. On this day, there was a shoji making class attended by five people.


Something that strikes me every time I meet someone like Yann Giguère is that I’m a Japanese but I still don’t know enough about my country. For instance, the words “tsugite,” “shiguchi,” and “yari ganna.” I am ashamed to say that until I met him I didn’t really know what these words represented.

「機械より、手工具を使うほうが楽しい」と語るヤンさん。伝統工法「木組み」の凸凹も、こうして手でていねいに加工されます。 “It’s more fun using hand tools than machinery,” says Yann. The mortise and tenon of the traditional method of “kigumi” or wood joinery, are made painstakingly like this by hand.



Yann’s studio, Mokuchi, is located close to Morgan Avenue station on the L train.
“I moved here from Virginia four years ago. This studio was introduced to me by a friend. Since it’s located close to the station, I decided to start up and build upon the small classes I had held in Virginia. Since Brooklyn especially has a lot of carpenters and woodworkers, many of those who come here do so to enhance their skills.”

The classes he started in Bushwick are not just regular woodworking classes—they teach teach traditional Japanese carpentry techniques! For example, kigumi, often used in building temples, shrines, and, in the past, homes, is a traditional technique that does not use nails or adhesives to join beams but uses carefully handcrafted interlocking wooden joints to secure structural strength. Splicing wood together is called “tsugite,” and joining two or more pieces of wood at angles is called “shiguchi.” Here at Mokuchi, Yann teaches woodworking techniques including “kanawatsugi,” which is one of the strongest ways for joining using traditional techniques, and a type of “shiguchi” called “shachitsugi,” which very few carpenters do now.

2日間の障子づくりクラスで完成させるのは、2×2フィートの小さな障子(右)。参加するには、あらかじめ鉋と継手のクラスを受講する必要があります。 A small shoji screen (right) that is 2×2 feet is completed in a two-day shoji making class. To participate in this class, you need to have taken the “kanna” and “tsugite” classes.



This shoji making class is one of the most popular classes at Mokuchi, and on the day I visited the studio, there were five people attending it, including a person who likes to DIY, a carpenter who works at commercial sites such as fashion shows, and a craftsman who makes small items of furniture at home. Their reasons for participating in the class were various, from wanting to learn about Japanese tradition and broaden their knowledge, to wanting to use Japanese tools. Yann is also a craftsman who engages in works such as making tailor ordered bathtubs made of hinoki cypress in his studio, as well as the interior woodwork of Japanese restaurants in Manhattan.

But why is Yann, a French Canadian originally from Quebec, so devoted to conveying to others the depth of this Japanese tradition.

1 / 2p