Our factory is located in the Murodani village in Shimane, where nostalgic scenaries of Japan are still stored today. The massive Osa mountains overlook the terrace rice fields below, and the nature - trees, insects and rivers - freshly live the four seasons that come and go.
Since our establishment in 1958, we have been making furniture, fittings and all sorts of wooden products. Each and every one is made carefully by our craftsman, to satisfy each and every customer. It all started with one man with a tool set of a chisel, a plane, and a saw. With support from countless people, we are almost welcoming our 60th year.
“If there is a customer in need, I will do anything I can with wood.”
That is a motto my father, Shigefumi Yoshihara promised in his heart when he decided to live as a wood craftsman in the area.
In the beginning, most of the orders were of fittings and wedding furniture, but Shigefumi would respond to any request that used wood - repairing walls, ceilings, and old drawers. There were no cars at that time, so he would use an “oiko” - a type of farming tool - and carry the product he made on his back to the customer’s house.
“I asked my father, busy with farming at the time, to carry a drawer with me over the mountain. It was night by the time we walked back, so he would sing this song to blow off the pitch darkness. But oh he was such a bad singer!”
The devastating flood of 1983
Around 1965, the business started expanding with the growing economy in Japan, also backed by the fact that there were no other furniture makers in the area. Shigefumi was able to hire more craftsmen and purchase machines, little by little. He was starting to feel confidence in the business.
However, a disaster strikes the company.
July of 1983, heavy rain floods the whole Misumi city, washing away and destroying 130 houses. Yoshihara was located in Murodani, the mountainous region, and a vast mudflow attacked the factory.
In pouring rain, Shigefumi was in a rush putting the machines away, when he felt a roar of the earth. The next moment, a tremendous amount of mudflow came pouring in, ruining the building. Though he luckily survived, more than half of the factory was destroyed, and most of the machines were washed away. Seeing the tragedy before his eyes, Shigefumi recalls “I felt so torn apart, I wished I had been washed away with the machines.”.
Over 90mm of rain per hour, 500mm in total. Deaths in Shimane together summed up to 107, and lives were mostly lost from landslides.
A new start, welcoming trainees from Bhutan
After the tragedy in 1983, Shigefumi makes a decision. He built a new factory on the only rice-field adjacent to a main road.
The former factory faced a narrow road, so the lumber was carried by hand. The new factory was made with a timber storage, with more workspace, making it possible to accept large orders. With a strong will to never give up, Yoshihara starts on it’s second challenge.
The industry of paper straining was common in Misumi city, and the traditional “Sekishu-Washi (Japanese paper)” brought international relations with Bhutan.
In 1993 and 1997, Yoshihara was recommended as a trainee accepting company, and started welcoming them.
The trainees from Bhutan were very sincere and friendly, and everyone in the area felt touched by their studious and passionate manner and hard work. Although different in birth and culture, we learned that compassion and sincerity unites people, which is actually all that matters in life.
Inheriting the tradition to tomorrow
Over 50 years since our establishment, we have been supported by our customers and neighbors. Now, we contain the latest machines, and are able to produce furniture and fittings for housings, shops and public facilities.
In November of 2012, I succeeded the business from my father Shigefumi, and we are running in a fresh organization. With a strong resolution at heart, we will keep on producing items with our craftsmanship.
In a rapidly changing era, Japan’s craftsmanship is being measured it’s true value.
Inheriting from our ancestors the skills, knowledge and tradition, and succeeding it to the next generation.
As a craftsman of today, we embrace the mission and keep on working.