About OAK VILLAGE
Workshop in the Woods
Mid-20th century was a time Japan faced a huge transition, due to the beginning of Consumer Era, triggered by the influence of modernized lifestyle. It was in 1974 when five youths, who felt a sense of crisis to the possible loss of traditional culture and value, established a group of craftsmen that handled domestic solid wood; which later became what we know as OAK VILLAGE today.
OAK VILLAGE was set off to realize a sustainable, circulatory society, through the authenticity of wood culture of Japan. Our three principles still and forever represent the vision of our business activities and craftsmanship.
“From a hundred-year-old tree to a century old creation” “From bowls to buildings” “An acorn for every child”
OAK VILLAGE products; whether they are pieces of furniture or architectures; are bound to last a century. Timbers used for furniture are made of broad-leafed domestic trees; naturally grown in the forest, nurtured over the years, without human intervention.
It is our duty to develop pieces that last for an equally long time.
It is our vision to create products in “good designs” with “quality timber” and “craftsmanship” that allow OAK VILLAGE to be a brand like no other.
OAK VILLAGE Style
Furniture & Architecture
OAK VILLAGE has several visions, one of them is “From bowls to buildings”. Not only that our timber is thoroughly used; we uphold this commitment by offering woodworks in every aspect of our life and enabling consumers, who are used to living in modern lifestyle, to come into contact with the authentic wood culture of Japan.
At OAK VILLAGE, we group together a team of architects, furniture designers and upholsters to develop housings and furniture that comply to consumers’ demands. Our ability to create our own entire world; with tables, chairs, chests and everything that a household needs; by the best craftsman, in style, using quality timber, allows city dwellers to lead lives in harmony with nature.
OAK VILLAGE has five founders, also known as “The Original Five”.
Tadashi Inamoto, Masatoshi Tsukuda, Osamu Shoji, Kohei Shimoda and Yutaka Inamoto were members of an alpine hut project for Wakaguri Pass of Omachi, Nagano in 1972. By 1974, the youths who had gathered to make their dreams come true had started to establish a self-sufficient base in Takayama, Gifu.
Although their mission was to “craft with wood”, their experiences were very limited; they decided to attend an industrial technology college in Takayama for a year to learn the basics of woodworks and build a workshop in a barn. Days would pass by, leaving them with nothing but sharpened chisels and woodchips; until their motto “Breakthrough & Expand” were slowly yet surely acknowledged – by local supporters and customers through personal acquaintances. It was in 1974 that they established the long-awaited “OAK VILLAGE”, and 1976 that they built a traditional handicrafts village at where they are now.
Our first exhibition at Kinokuniya Bookstore of Tokyo in 1978 was delivered with a poster titled “A Heart of OAK”, alongside a message that represented the bond between those who had overcome all the hardships together; “Our hearts; as tough as oak”.
Before our establishment in 1974, OAK VILLAGE had a predecessor; its vision was matured though a project in 1972 to build a hut in Wakaguri Pass of Omachi, Nagano, run by a group of youths consisting of students, teaching staff and graduates of RIKKYO University.
From late 60s to early 70s, Japan faced a huge transition; wrack of student protests settled down and economy grew rapidly as they entered the Consumer Era triggered by the influence of modernized lifestyle. It had been the antithesis to such trends, a sense of crisis to the loss of traditional culture and value and the urge to a self-sufficing lifestyle that had brought together this alpine hut association. Although the construction of the hut completed in a couple of years, members left, one by one, after struggling to choose between dream and reality.
With their eldest member Tadashi Inamoto as their leader, those who decided to stay continued to pursue their dreams; to live their lives in the wood; what they believed was the authentic style of living in Japan. They formed a group of craftsmen, built huts and realized a sustainable and self-sufficing handicrafts village in Takayama, Gifu where they emigrated to with their families.
OAK VILLAGE became a unique carpentry workshop that produces everything “from bowls to buildings” using domestic timber, using skills inherited by “the Masters of Hida” over the millennium.
OAK VILLAGE Headquarters is in Kiyomi-cho Makigahora - only 10km far from JR Takayama station. It is a valley at high altitude (150m) surrounded by mountains; an upstream site of Makiya River that flows into Miyagawa in Takayama. Seasons from Spring to Autumn pass by on the double; instead, we have long Winters from the end of October to mid-April.
Established by “The Original Five” in 1974, OAK VILLAGE continues to develop our own “Green Villa” – a unique traditional handicrafts village that represents the company vision to realize a sustainable, circulatory society.
By 1976, a barn in the suburb of Takayama had grown to a family community of carpenters and architects, and further expanded to workshops with wings to craft furniture, architecture, lacquerware and textile, as well as housings, storage, parking area and material yards within the next three years.
In the late 80s, our wooden construction business became fully fledged, allowing “The Original Five” to run “Green Villa” as a corporate organization. OAK VILLAGE’s aspiration, however, is succeeded by current staff and our customer membership organization “Sylvan Club”; which members plant and grow broad-leafed trees as well as cultivate fruits and vegetables as part of its cultural activities.
In February 2020, OAK VILLAGE announced “OAK VILLAGE Green Country 2020 Environmental Management Policy Statement” as part of our SDGs activities, such as leveraging LCA to calculate CO2 emission from our business activities for carbon offset.
OAK VILLAGE will continue to develop “Green Villa” that fits with time and shares what “Life in the Woods” is like to all over the world.
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