Living with Trees: In Conversation with Makino Yoshiyuki and Kevin Martin


Watch a recording of the event in the player above.

Join us for a special talk and panel discussion exploring the relationship between humans and trees, an event accompanying Japan House London’s latest exhibition ‘The Carpenters’ Line’ and its story of the densely forested Hida region of Gifu Prefecture in central Japan.

In this event the audience is invited to explore how trees shape our lives and the environment, with Makino Yoshiyuki, researcher and furniture craftsmen from Hida Takayama and Kevin Martin, the Head of Tree Collections at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. It is moderated by Japan House London Programming Director Simon Wright.

The panel explores the environmental and medicinal benefits of trees as living organisms as well as the extraordinary properties of wooden objects and the way they can impact and stimulate our wellbeing and contribute to a sustainable lifestyle. The event also features a demonstration of woodworking techniques using yariganna, or ‘spear plane’, the use of which preserves the wood’s natural water-resistant properties among other natural benefits. The yariganna is a carpentry tool which has been used for many centuries by woodworkers in Japan.

About the Speakers

Makino Yoshiyuki

Makino Yoshiyuki is a researcher, furniture craftsman and interior coordinator. In 2011 he established Makino wood works and since 2013 has continued to make furniture with oak sourced in Hida. Since 2019 Makino Yoshiyuki has been studying medicinal properties of trees under Abe Kurayuki , and recently in cooperation with the Gifu Prefecture Institute of Human Life Technology he has been conducting analysis of wood extracts. As a result of the research, in 2020 he launched ‘Cure Furnishing™’ with the intention of increasing understanding of the natural benefits of the use of wood.  

Kevin Martin

Kevin Martin is the Head of Tree Collections at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, having joined in 2012. In his role, he is charged with the curation and management of Kew’s unique and historic collection of trees from around the globe for the purpose of scientific research and conservation within a UNESCO World Heritage Site landscape.

Kevin has a foundation degree in arboriculture and is a TRAQ certified tree inspector. He also sits on several boards including the Arboreta Advisory Committee for Westonbirt and Bedgebury. Kevin is also the vice chair of the arboricultural subgroup for the apprenticeship trailblazer. He is also a member of the UK Botanic Garden and Arboreta Collections Consortium (UKBGACC).

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