Unity & Hope

Stop Motion Japanese Joinery


Making wood fit together (AKA "joinery") by hand takes some serious 12th century Japanese level patience. Thankfully I had the help of several talented and well-connected people to show me how. I then captured the joints doing the hokey pokey on camera. My friend, Robin, generously shared her studio and photography equipment.

Giving Credit

Preserving an endangered artform is not easy nor cheap. In order of familiarity, a massive thanks goes out to:

Besides the artistry involved, carpentry by hand without nails or glue was also a commonplace occupation when there was no electricity. It also turns out that a lot of these methods migrated to Japan from China along with Buddhism.

Joinery in Stop Motion

Half Lap joint

Bridle joint

Bird beak joint

Castle joint

Mortise (left) and tenon (right) joint

A lattice frame for kumiko, intricately interweaving wooden or bamboo laths.

A lattice frame for shōji, which could be a door, window, room divider, or face of a lantern.

Memorable Quotes

It's a message of unity and hope.

Lyra Naeseth, Friend (apropos of the joinery)

I'm giving you a lot of 'blah blah blah'. A lot of this is experiential learning. The guy I learned from spoke no English and I spoke no Japanese... You learn by watching, by being more sensitive to the environment and yourself.

Jay van Arsdale, Teacher

The wood is a living thing so it's cruel to make a mistake.

Unnamed Japanese carpenter in a documentary

Vivi Running

Please wash your hands!
And don't forget to have fun~