Wood and Ocean: the two things fascinated me ever since I was a child.
As a boy of 15, I built a small boat and did a lot of day -sailing along the coast.
As a young man at 30, I had a bigger sailing boat; a 38 -foot wooden yacht named Tradewind which I soon took into the open waters on a 7- year adventure around the world. But early into that journey, in the Australian waters, a hurricane struck and my yacht capsized suffering severe damage.
The limited budget I was restricted to forced me to do the repairs myself – a job that would take a whole year.
But it became an opportunity of a lifetime.
For at the end of that period, I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life – to be a professional wood craftsman.
On my return to Japan I joined a wood workshop and began my apprenticeship as a carpenter. There I worked under several master craftsmen learning different skills from each one:
Yonamine sensei taught me how to pick and read the wood;
Oyadomari sensei demanded exacting standards and precision work where the error margin had to fall within 1/1000 of the dimensions;
From Yuikikaku sensei I learnt how to measure, plan, and make accurate sketches and then execute the designs;
and finally Shiroma sensei taught me how to reveal the hidden beauty of the wood and enhance its unique individuality.
It was in the year 2001 that I moved to Auroville in Tamil Nadu in South India where I established my own workshop – ‘Kenji’s Woodwork’.
Kenji can be watched from 2:11
Kenji can be watched from 1:52