The most recommended Japanese carpentry books

Who picked these books? Meet our 2 experts.

2 authors created a book list connected to Japanese carpentry, and here are their favorite Japanese carpentry books.
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Book cover of The Art of Japanese Joinery

Azby Brown Author Of The Genius of Japanese Carpentry: Secrets of an Ancient Woodworking Craft

From my list on Japanese carpentry and construction.

Why am I passionate about this?

Azby Brown is a widely published author and authority on Japanese architecture, design, and environment, whose groundbreaking writings on traditional Japanese carpentry, compact housing, and traditional sustainable practices are recognized as having brought these fields to the awareness of Western designers and the general public. His creative work spans many media and has been widely exhibited internationally. In 2003 he founded the KIT Future Design Institute in Tokyo, focussing on cognitive and cultural issues surrounding the human hand and its use in the creative process, conducting collaborative research with neuroscientists and perceptual psychologists. A native of New Orleans, he has lived in Japan since 1985 and is currently on the sculpture faculty of Musashino Art University in Tokyo. 

Azby's book list on Japanese carpentry and construction

Azby Brown Why did Azby love this book?

This is the book that got me hooked on Japanese carpentry when I was in college in the late 1970s. There’s not much explanation, really, but the black-and-white photos convey the sheer beauty of Japanese joinery in an evocative and compelling way. The drawings resolve some of the mystery. 

By Kiyosi Seike,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art of Japanese Joinery as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This lively introduction to Japanese joinery not only delves lovingly into the unique history and development of Japanese carpentry, but also reveals many secrets of Japanese joinery. Presenting 48 joints, selected from among the several hundred known and used today, this visually exciting book will please anyone who has ever been moved by the sheer beauty of wood.

With the clear isometric projections complementing the 64 pages of stunning photographs, even the weekend carpenter can duplicate these bequests from the traditional Japanese carpenter, which can be applied to projects as large as the buildings for which most of them were…


Book cover of Measure and Construction of the Japanese House

Azby Brown Author Of The Genius of Japanese Carpentry: Secrets of an Ancient Woodworking Craft

From my list on Japanese carpentry and construction.

Why am I passionate about this?

Azby Brown is a widely published author and authority on Japanese architecture, design, and environment, whose groundbreaking writings on traditional Japanese carpentry, compact housing, and traditional sustainable practices are recognized as having brought these fields to the awareness of Western designers and the general public. His creative work spans many media and has been widely exhibited internationally. In 2003 he founded the KIT Future Design Institute in Tokyo, focussing on cognitive and cultural issues surrounding the human hand and its use in the creative process, conducting collaborative research with neuroscientists and perceptual psychologists. A native of New Orleans, he has lived in Japan since 1985 and is currently on the sculpture faculty of Musashino Art University in Tokyo. 

Azby's book list on Japanese carpentry and construction

Azby Brown Why did Azby love this book?

This book is a classic and is a beautifully informative excerpt from the author’s longer and more extensive The Japanese House: A Tradition for Contemporary Architecture which is long out of print. The drawings and plans are wonderful, and illuminate the Japanese House layout, modularity, proportions, and many structural and ornamental details. I particularly love the white-on-black visual treatment used for many of the plans. 

By Heino Engel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Measure and Construction of the Japanese House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A remarkable classic work on traditional Japanese architecture and its general integrative quality, the order of space and form, the flexibility of partitions and room functions and other important or unique qualities. The author describes in detail, and with numerous architectural plans and drawings, the influence of the anatomy of the Japanese human body on traditional units of measurement and on house construction. This work is not simply a description of the features of the Japanese house, but "an invitation to probe the possibilities of utilizing this architectural achievement of the Japanese ...in modern living and building," according to the…


Book cover of The Complete Japanese Joinery

Azby Brown Author Of The Genius of Japanese Carpentry: Secrets of an Ancient Woodworking Craft

From my list on Japanese carpentry and construction.

Why am I passionate about this?

Azby Brown is a widely published author and authority on Japanese architecture, design, and environment, whose groundbreaking writings on traditional Japanese carpentry, compact housing, and traditional sustainable practices are recognized as having brought these fields to the awareness of Western designers and the general public. His creative work spans many media and has been widely exhibited internationally. In 2003 he founded the KIT Future Design Institute in Tokyo, focussing on cognitive and cultural issues surrounding the human hand and its use in the creative process, conducting collaborative research with neuroscientists and perceptual psychologists. A native of New Orleans, he has lived in Japan since 1985 and is currently on the sculpture faculty of Musashino Art University in Tokyo. 

Azby's book list on Japanese carpentry and construction

Azby Brown Why did Azby love this book?

This book, first published in 1995, is a detailed how-to guide that answers a lot of questions about how carpentry is practiced in contemporary Japan. The drawings and plans are fabulously informative. It does not focus on tool use per se, but beautifully conveys the structural logic and reasoning that lie behind the joints and connections themselves. I keep it handy as a reference.

By Yasuo Nakahara, Hideo Sato, Koichi Paul Nii (translator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Complete Japanese Joinery as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book is clean, excellent condition.SHIPS USPS PRIORITY.FAST FULFILLMENT!!


Book cover of Building the Japanese House Today

Azby Brown Author Of The Genius of Japanese Carpentry: Secrets of an Ancient Woodworking Craft

From my list on Japanese carpentry and construction.

Why am I passionate about this?

Azby Brown is a widely published author and authority on Japanese architecture, design, and environment, whose groundbreaking writings on traditional Japanese carpentry, compact housing, and traditional sustainable practices are recognized as having brought these fields to the awareness of Western designers and the general public. His creative work spans many media and has been widely exhibited internationally. In 2003 he founded the KIT Future Design Institute in Tokyo, focussing on cognitive and cultural issues surrounding the human hand and its use in the creative process, conducting collaborative research with neuroscientists and perceptual psychologists. A native of New Orleans, he has lived in Japan since 1985 and is currently on the sculpture faculty of Musashino Art University in Tokyo. 

Azby's book list on Japanese carpentry and construction

Azby Brown Why did Azby love this book?

Len Brackett trained with superb carpenters in Japan and returned to the US West Coast to create exquisite Japanese-stye houses and other buildings. His work is in extremely high demand. This book shows how high-quality Japanese-style design and construction can be adapted to our current lifestyles without sacrificing either aesthetically or functionally. Brackett’s descriptions of his design and construction process, as well as of the wood material he uses, are enticing and provide a lot of technical and philosophical insight.

By Len Brackett, Peggy Landers Rao, Aya Brackett (photographer)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Building the Japanese House Today as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Built like a piece of fine furniture, the traditional Japanese house is universally admired for its clean lines, intricate joinery, and unparalleled woodworking. Focusing primarily on a new guesthouse in California, this elegant volume shows how a classic Japanese house can be built to offer the warmth and comfort that modern homemakers require.Len Brackett, rigorously trained as a temple carpenter in Kyoto, has spent decades adapting the ancient Japanese design aesthetic to Western needs. Here he demonstrates step-by-step how both the traditional live-on-the-floor house, as well as models that accommodate furniture, can be constructed to provide such modern essentials as…


Book cover of Japanese Woodworking Tools: Their Tradition, Spirit and Use

Scott Wynn Author Of Woodworker's Guide to Handplanes: How to Choose, Set Up, and Master the Most Useful Planes for Today Workshop

From my list on kicking your woodworking up a notch.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been designing and building furniture professionally since before 1976. From the beginning I’ve had an avid interest in what might be called “appropriate technologies”— when to use a hand tool or power tool — that is, for a specific use, which one gives the best results for the least time and effort? If you read the journals of 18th Century woodworkers you’ll find they were unbelievably fast —using only hand tools. I believe that by the 1970s much of that knowledge and many of the tools themselves had been lost. I set out to rediscover them.

Scott's book list on kicking your woodworking up a notch

Scott Wynn Why did Scott love this book?

This is the definitive book in English on Japanese woodworking handtools. Anyone who is or contemplates using Japanese handtools — and I strongly suggest that you take a second look at them if you haven’t already as there are a number of them that are superior in their performance to their western counterparts —needs to be familiar with this book.

By Toshio Odate,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Japanese Woodworking Tools as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The classic work on the tools and spirit of the Japanese master craftsman.

In Japan, a woodworker spends years learning to use his tools with great speed and skill. Only after he has proved his mastery can he proudly call himself a shokunin, a master craftsman.

Japanese Woodworking Tools brings the traditions and training of the shokunin to the Western world. Calling on his own apprenticeship as a tategu-shi (sliding-door maker), and on 40 years of woodworking experience, Toshio Odate here offers a complete guide to Japanese tools: thin saws that cut on the pull stroke, laminated chisels with hollowed…