Japan Minka Revival Association

Japan Minka Revival Association

About JMRA

Japan Minka Revival Association (JMRA)
"Minka" is a form of traditional Japanese housing that was once the primary form of Japanese residence. Translated directly from the Japanese, minka means "peoples' house." This term is used most frequently to refer to the traditional houses of Japanese farmers.

Establishment: September 1997 (became an NPO in June 2001)

Chairperson: Hideo Kanze (Noh performer, director)

Address: Rokubancho 1-1, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0085
Tel: 03-5216-3541 / Fax: 03-5216-3542
URL: http://www.minka.jp/

Membership
Full corporate members
Full individual members
Supporting members

Establishment Prospectus

Built of wood, paper, and thatch, without nails and concrete foundations, minka are one of Japan's great contributions to world culture. Minka are built with local materials and techniques, and are perfectly suited to the local climate and traditional lifestyles. Minka are well-known in Japan as both works of art and as masterpieces of traditional engineering and craftsmanship.

Today, many minka, after having survived years of rough weather and hard use by many generations of families, are being demolished and lost. Many people see minka as inconvenient for today's hurried and materialistic lifestyle. Moreover, the skills and materials needed to restore minka are disappearing, as builders turn to modern construction techniques and newer, artificial materials.

Just as minka are disappearing at an increasing rate, more and more people are realizing the beauty and practicality of this traditional form of housing. Not only do minka embody the best of Japanese culture and traditional technology, in many ways, they represent a very up-to-date idea of recycling and concern for the environment. The common practice in modern Japan of building houses and scrapping them after 20 or so years has come under severe criticism as a source of environmental problems. Thanks to the recycling movement in the housing industry, people are beginning to recognize the value of minka for their superiority as a form of recyclable housing.

The aims of the Japan Minka Revival Association are to enlighten the public about the importance of preserving, restoring, and recycling minka; to promote exchange of information and techniques and research/study; to build a network between the demand side and supply side for restoring minka and recycling kozai (old wooden building materials); and to contribute to building a society with an environmentally sound use of materials.

Objectives

  1. The Association is a non-profit, nation-wide network for architects, representatives of the media, researchers, craftsmen, builders, owners of minka and all others interested in minka.
  2. In addition to being a research body, the Association aims to actively support efforts to restore and recycle minka. It will also assist in town and village planning.
  3. The Association does not limit itself to the preservation of minka, but also furthers the study of dwelling culture in general. The association thus goes beyond the advancement of traditional Japanese wooden architecture, towards broader activities to understand and promote dwelling culture.
  4. The Association relies on voluntary activities of participating members.
  5. The financial base of the Association is membership fees. The Association will not seek external sponsorship.

Primary Activities

  1. Publishing
    MINKA (bimonthly magazine), JMRA Tshushin (bimonthly newsletter)
  2. Event organization
    a. Minka Forum: Held once a year, usually in autumn.
    b. Field trips, seminars, and workshops.
  3. Minka Bank and JMRA Kozai Network: To promote the restoration and recycling of minka and kozai (old wooden building materials).
  4. Counseling: To provide advice on the restoration and recycling of minka.
  5. International exchange: To exchange information and opinions about restoration of traditional dwellings and environmental issues with people from other countries.