General Incorporated Association Living with Yoshino
“Story of the cycle of trees they want to convey”Successors in Yoshino, Nara for the next generation: Vol. 2
Materials for benches of the Yoshino brand

“I have often heard the phrase: We have to protect Japanese forests, forestry, and lumbering industry, but it did not resonate with me. After starting living here, I realized the reason for the phrase,” confessed Kohi Yoshikawa, who relocated from Osaka City to Yoshino Town in 2021. In 2019, when he was a fourth-year college student, he visited a small guesthouse “Yoshino Cedar House” beside Yoshino River, and communicated with Kentaro Tsuji (Tsuji Mokuzai Shoten) and others of “the Society for Living with Yoshino,” experiencing the life with trees. He was attracted to the stance of enjoying seeking methods for utilizing trees without taking regional issues negatively.

They hope to not only pursue quality, but also redevelop a new Yoshino brand. The society envisions a story of the “cycle of trees” that cannot be disseminated by anyone except Yoshino. Tsuji said robustly, “Not all natural trees on mountains can be used for building materials or wooden products. Lumber, which enriches our lives, can exist only because many forerunners continuously planted, cut down, sawed, dried, and utilized trees, earning revenues, and then allocated earned funds to the conservation of mountains in a steady manner for several hundred years. If this cycle stops, the life with trees will become impossible.”

Sawn lumber is dried naturally and aged for six months to one year, to enhance its strength. He considered that if benches are produced from green lumber so that users can enjoy its aroma and texture with their five senses, this may help spread the story around the world. This idea motivated him to join Co-Design Challenge. The representative director Hisayori Tanaka of “Green Forest Enterprise Ltd.,” which produces customized furniture from Yoshino lumber, said, “I hope to convey the stance and passion of craftsmen who engage in production to create new value and maintain the cycle as well,” expressing his expectations toward the expo.

Yoshikawa now takes a central role in the society, constantly launching plans for rediscovering the attractiveness and potential of trees, such as the tour to Yoshino Lumberyard and a workshop at a vacant lumbermill. “Growing trees and conserving mountains are essential for taking measures against global warming and preventing disasters. Through the redevelopment of the contact points between people and trees, which have decreased in our daily lives, I hope that many people will not consider the issue as an event in a distant world like I did before, but consider it as an issue which is urgently tackled by them.”

Nowadays, those who are interested in trees visit Yoshino Town from around the world. The society is preparing for transforming vacant lumbermills into a plaza where many people can get together. After the expo, they plan to set the returned benches at the plaza or recycle them to produce new wooden products, and utilize earned revenues for conserving mountains, to realize the cycle of trees. Ishibashi said, “I hope that everyone will pay attention to the Yoshino region and the people who support the cycle of trees, in order to pass down our activities to the next generation,” representing the members of the society.

Mr. Kohi Yoshikawa, a director of the Society for Living with Yoshino
Mr. Kentaro Tsuji of the Society for Living with Yoshino
Mr. Hisayori Tanaka, the representative director of Green Forest Enterprise Ltd.

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