Watch videos with subtitles in your language, upload your videos, create your own subtitles! Click here to learn more on "how to Dotsub"

Annotated captions of TEDxSeeds-Kongogumi-12/12/09 in English

Last Modified By Time Content
translators 00:40
00:42

Hello everyone.

translators 00:42
00:50

All the previous speakers had wonderful performance before they speak so

translators 00:50
00:58

I don't feel comfortable coming out here to start my speach.

translators 00:58
00:59

(laughter)

translators 00:59
01:05

There will be some performances later on,

translators 01:05
01:13

but first, I'd like to take some time to introduce our company, Kongo-gumi.

translators 01:17
01:25

As introduced earlier, Kongo-gumi is considered the oldest company in the world.

translators 01:25
01:32

Today, we are continuously working on shrines and temples all around Japan.

translators 01:32
01:42

Thank you for giving us an opportunity to show our techniques here in TEDxSeeds.

translators 01:44
01:52

I'd just like to start by introducing some of our works.

translators 01:55
02:08

This is "Kondo", center of the temple "Shitennoh-ji", in Osaka city. One of our greatest works.

translators 02:08
02:15

Kongo-gumi was found 1,400 years ago. Prince Shotoku-Taishi brought few carpenters from Korean Peninsula to Japan is how it started.

translators 02:15
02:23

Present temple was rebuild in 1950s. I will show some pictures in late 1800s later on.

translators 02:25
02:34

This here is another work of ours, "Seigan-To-ji" of Mt. Nachi in Wakayama, and this is the three-story pagoda.

translators 02:34
02:40

There is a fall in the back of the temple in the picture as you can see and this temple,

translators 02:40
02:45

along with the fall, was designated a World Heritage Site in 2004.

translators 02:45
02:52

Another one here is "Kuon-ji" in Yamanashi, the head temple of Nichiren Buddhism.

translators 02:52
02:58

We dealt with all the reconstruction of this temple and of five-story pagoda last year,

translators 02:58
03:01

which had been 134 years since last repaired.

translators 03:02
03:10

And this is the Ko-buntei, a building in Kairakutei, one of three most beautiful gardens in Japan.

translators 03:10
03:20

This here is considered to be Mito-Kohmon's study room. Kongo-gumi dealt with the construction work.

translators 03:21
03:28

When APEC international conference was held in Osaka in 1995,

translators 03:28
03:35

these conference building in Osaka castle was also built by Kongo-gumi.

translators 03:35
03:48

Our works on castle vary from the first tower of the Osaka castle to the Utayasu-gate of Edo castle in Tokyo.

translators 03:48
03:52

Next, I'd like to introduce the history of Kongo-gumi.

translators 03:53
04:05

In 1431, the prince Shotoku-Taishi brought the three carpenters from Baekje, a kingdom in ancient Korea,

translators 04:05
04:11

and one of the three, Shigemitsu Kongo, established our company.

translators 04:11
04:20

Current head, or 39th Kongo, is now 86 years old and he is still working as an official carpenter of the temple Shitennohji.

translators 04:21
04:30

This is the former building of the Kondo, before burning down in WWII.

translators 04:30
04:38

It was a magnificent wooden masterpiece.

translators 04:38
04:46

But the Shitennoji, you may know, had gone through many disasters in the past.

translators 04:46
04:52

It is said that there were 7 big disasters.

translators 04:52
04:59

It's ironic, but the reason why Kongo-gumi was able to carry on the techniques

translators 04:59
05:06

is said that it's due to major reconstruction projects caused by these disasters.

translators 05:06
05:13

So if it wasn't for these disasters and reconstructions, I may not be here today.

translators 05:13
05:21

This is the two story pagoda of Shoman-in temple, a branch temple of Shitennoh-ji temple.

translators 05:21
05:28

There is a copper plate used as a lightning rod in the temple, and characters saying,

translators 05:28
05:35

"Chief master Takumi Kongo" is written at the arrow on the plate.

translators 05:35
05:39

It's clear that it was made 417 years ago.

translators 05:39
05:45

Kongo-gumi itself also met some disasters all around Japan.

translators 05:45
05:51

And so, many of our records and documentations had been lost.

translators 05:51
05:57

It happens that even nowadays historical materials like this

translators 05:57
06:02

are found from the roof of old building, telling it was one of our works.

translators 06:03
06:10

So, I'd like to explain how and why we can maintain buildings for hundreds years.

translators 06:12
06:17

You can see a round timber in center, this is going to become a pillar.

translators 06:17
06:24

And you can see a timber already attached at the left corner.

translators 06:24
06:29

This here is going to be combined with another timber from right side.

translators 06:29
06:32

Here, a carpenter is hammering it.

translators 06:32
06:43

By hammering a bung between two timbers, the stability becomes much higher, more than a single timber itself.

translators 06:43
06:46

There is also another wood at a right angle

translators 06:46
06:50

to give extra support and this is combined using a technique called "Shiguchi".

translators 06:50
06:58

A technique combining two timbers horizontally is called "Tsugite", and combining at right angle is called "Shiguchi".

translators 06:59
07:09

That's how parts are put together at a construction site.

translators 07:10
07:22

To show up close, this is a picture of them combining at a right angle in first, and then combining horizontally.

translators 07:22
07:27

These techniques are used in every details.

translators 07:28
07:37

Now it's actually becoming a building, but you can see that the work has been done with just woods.

translators 07:37
07:48

Since it is built without any nails, and we can dissect and reconstruct repeatedly.

translators 07:48
07:59

This is how wooden buildings are maintained for over centuries.

translators 07:59
08:08

This is called "Masu" one of the parts which holds the roof up.

translators 08:08
08:25

You can see only a small metal linkage in the center, used for reinforcement, but there is no metal anywhere else.

translators 08:25
08:35

Gradually parts are combined together. This is the one already built up.

translators 08:35
08:43

The expert techniques of carpenting are obviously essential to continue this way of work.

translators 08:43
08:52

From their experiences, masters make precise adjustments depending on temperature, humidity, and kinds of woods.

translators 08:52
08:59

We Kongo-gumi persist such handy-works without depending on machines.

translators 08:59
09:10

The reason is because "Inheritance of the techniques from 1400 years ago to the future" is the motto of our company.

translators 09:10
09:17

Persisting handy-works is the reason Kongo-gumi is who we are today.

translators 09:17
09:20

This will be the end of my presentation.

translators 09:20
09:25

You can see some tools and lumbers in front of you.

translators 09:25
09:38

Today, Kongo-gumi has branched to 8 teams. So there are 8 master carpenters and 120 carpenters in total.

translators 09:38
09:45

Working from east to west, all around Japan.

translators 09:45
10:00

Among them, today we have the one of the 8 master carpenters.

translators 10:00
10:07

If you would please give him a big hand, he might do us an extra performance.

translators 10:07
10:09

(laughter)

translators 10:09
10:12

Please welcome, Master Haba.

translators 10:29
10:33

He is the best of the 8 masters with magnificent skills.

translators 10:33
10:41

Though he is not much of a character to talk in this kind of stage,

translators 10:41
10:49

today, he has worked hard on preparation with his men.

translators 10:49
10:56

He will show you some techniques from 1400 years ago, so please make sure to take an in-depth look at it.

translators 10:56
10:58

Please take it away, master.

translators 11:02
11:04

Hello everyone.

translators 11:04
11:10

My name is Toshihiko Haba, the boss of Haba group.

translators 11:10
11:17

I'm 57 years old. My group consists of 15 guys,

translators 11:17
11:26

7 juniors and 8 artisans, and we are working at 4 sites now.

translators 11:26
11:38

Today we will demonstrate our techniques using "spear plane" and a timberwork.

translators 11:38
11:47

I'd like to introduce my apprentices. He is my first apprentice Ikeue, working for 8 years.

translators 11:48
11:51

I am not going to tell you how Ms. Fujii smells like,

translators 11:51
11:58

And over there, he is Koichi Mutsuna, who joined this year.

translators 12:02
12:14

I will plane with this spear plane, and the 2 guys will build up with a big mallet.

translators 12:14
12:22

What are we going to build? Just wait and you will find out soon. So let's start.

translators 12:42
12:45

Oh and one more thing.

translators 12:45
12:52

You might have seen some perfomances on TV,

translators 12:52
12:59

but this spear plane was used to plane pillars.

translators 12:59
13:06

Pillars in Horyuji temple was finely smoothed using this spear plane.

translators 13:06
13:09

So, I'd like to start the performance.

translators 13:13
13:23

Now, we rarely use spear plane in our usual work, we use it at only the repair of cultural properties.

translators 13:23
13:27

To be honest I have only used this tool 3 times.

translators 13:27
13:29

(laughter)

translators 13:29
13:33

So I might fumble today and if I do please forgive me.

translators 13:33
13:37

That means today's works are going to be cultural properties, right?

translators 13:37
13:40

Oh, okay.

translators 13:49
13:58

Spear planes are different from the ones today. As it doesn't have any back holding metal and "sagami" doesn't works well.

translators 13:58
14:02

As spear planes need to be slid to right, I'll turn the timber.

translators 14:14
14:16

It's a little difficult..

translators 14:53
14:56

Anyway, this spear creates such shavings.

translators 14:57
15:03

Since we don't have much time, I'll move on to next step.

translators 17:45
17:51

We are going to insert wedges into coaks.

translators 17:51
17:54

This technique has been around for ages.

translators 17:54
18:04

Carpenters commonly call it "hell-coak". If a wedge is inserted, we can never take it out.

translators 18:12
18:17

Cultural properties are going to come along.

translators 18:17
18:25

Ladies and gentlemen, please use your imagination and see what is to be created.

translators 21:08
21:10

It's coming along.

translators 21:13
21:20

I heard some voices from the audience saying, "Mottainai" and "I want to take it home."

translators 21:20
21:24

Aren't this scent of the wood just fantastic?

translators 21:30
21:34

This is a perfect scene to have cymbal ready to strike.

translators 21:34
21:37

(laughter)

translators 21:52
21:58

Uh.. the center X log with a stand is interesting.

translators 21:59
22:01

Such timber are...

translators 22:01
22:04

Please give them a big round of applause!

translators 22:10
22:20

After years, wood tend to wear and start cracking. So we gave it a bit of support on the back of "S".

translators 22:20
22:24

I suppose these could carry on for one or two hundreds.

translators 22:24
22:27

Boss, the "d" is opposite.

translators 22:40
22:48

Thank you for this amazing performance. Boss, do you mind to tell us little bit about your story?

translators 22:48
22:51

Please come front.

translators 22:51
22:56

It's an honor to have a TEDxSeeds logos that lasts for two hundred years.

translators 22:56
22:58

Even for thousand years.

translators 22:58
23:02

For a thousand years!? Thank you very very much.

translators 23:02
23:07

I heard you are from Hida-Takayama.

translators 23:07
23:16

And what lead you to this work, I heard, was one book of Japanese architecture.

translators 23:16
23:23

There, you were glued to the excellence of the architectural masterpiece,

translators 23:23
23:34

and you decided to be the master of Japanese architecture, right?

translators 23:34
23:37

And you were just 17 years old then.

translators 23:37
23:44

Please tell us the story. How you enrolled in Kongo-gumi.

translators 23:44
23:52

While you have to train and raise your apprentices for coming generation,

translators 23:52
24:01

you also have to be responsible as a boss of the group and protector of ancient architectural skills.

translators 24:01
24:11

This responsibility of both creating the future and protecting the past was very touching so please share it with everyone.

translators 24:15
24:21

After graduating junior high school, I went to a training school and studied common architecture.

translators 24:21
24:26

But I was not attracted to them because all the buildings seem same.

translators 24:26
24:37

At that time, I read the Japanese building book and felt "This is the work I want to do."

translators 24:37
24:49

As I was confident to do this work I looked for the company in Takayama city, but there weren't any.

translators 24:49
24:56

Since I was young and fearless at that time, I mailed a letter to the publisher of the book.

translators 24:56
25:02

And a man there was luckily kind enough to mail to the author of the book,

translators 25:02
25:07

and that's how I found Kongo-gumi.

translators 25:09
25:19

So I mailed to the chief executive of Kongo-gumi, and received a letter of appointment.

translators 25:19
25:25

Back then, when TVs weren't developed like today,

translators 25:25
25:32

my parents read the letter and said, "You are being tricked."

translators 25:32
25:42

"If you go such big city like Osaka, they will make you do a forced labor. Don't do it."

translators 25:42
25:51

And I was just 17 years old, and I couldn't overcome parents' opposition.

translators 25:51
26:02

But I really wanted to go, so I secretly created a tool box, and tried to send the box to the station.

translators 26:02
26:05

That's when my father caught me.

translators 26:05
26:10

Parents apparently sense their son's suspicions behavior.

translators 26:10
26:15

My father said "If you are that determined, you can go."

translators 26:15
26:21

"But not alone, let's go together tomorrow."

translators 26:21
26:30

So we went and met CEO of Kongo-gumi and master Miyaura who took me.

translators 26:30
26:36

My father bent his knees, and went back straight home.

translators 26:36
26:39

And yet he was my father.

translators 26:39
26:43

When I was drinking with my boss I was told that

translators 26:43
26:52

my father was sending alchohols and food to the boss 2 or 3 times a year.

translators 26:52
26:57

And that he would ask for my updates.

translators 26:57
27:05

Therefore boss took very good care of me and here I am now.

translators 27:05
27:06

Tribute.

translators 27:06
27:08

Uh.. Yes, it works well.

translators 27:08
27:12

Everyone, please draw upon his experience.

translators 27:13
27:15

Thank you very much.

translators 27:15
27:18

As it was just talked by Mr. Ohi,

translators 27:18
27:23

should things be connected by blood, by techniques, or by heart.

translators 27:23
27:29

An important question which holds the key to a bright future of Japan.

translators 27:29
27:31

The Kongo-gumi excellently crowned the "Redefinition" session.

translators 27:31
27:34

Please give them applause. Thank you very much.

translators 27:34
27:40

They have been really busy with their work plus preparation for this.

translators 27:40
27:46

They have worked over their weekends so many times.

translators 27:46
27:49

Today is a very special day so

translators 27:49
27:56

please, everybody, enjoy till the night's over.

translators 27:56
28:00

Boss was telling me that he wants to learn various things from this TEDx so

translators 28:00
28:03

I hope you'll have an enriched time here. Thank you.

translators 28:03
28:06

Thank you very much.