2021 Activity Report for Mission5-4:
Scientific Research on Wood Selection and its Contribution to Society: Wooden Architecture, Living Environments, Wood Resources/Databases, and Transition of Usage

Updated: 2022/06/07


Research1: Investigation of wood information in East Asia

Principal Investigator (PI): Suyako Tazuru (RISH, Kyoto University)
Research collaborator(s): Tomoya Imai (RISH, Kyoto University)

It is clear that our wood-based resource culture has been strongly influenced by East Asian countries. Exchanging information with neighboring countries opens a new horizon for understanding mutual relationships.

Here are some examples of research results. This year, we focused on Japanese old Shinto statues preserved in foreign Museums.

In one of our last projects (2017), we identified about 30 Chinese Buddhist sculptures, and two Japanese sculptures from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. One of them was a standing Shinto sculpture, that we identified as being made of Magnolia.sp. This wood type is rarely found in Japanese sculpture, so we were intrigued to find out more.

In a conversation with Shinto specialist, we learned that the sculpture belongs to a group of Shinto sculptures, once enshrined in a Shrine in the Izumo district, nowadays lost in US American or Canadian Museums.

The aim of this project is to bring together the group of Shinto sculptures, sold in the 1930s, and now preserved in several Japanese and US American Museums. The sculptures date from the Heian Period. The sculptures are all standing, and are about 1 m tall. We tried to obtain wood samples from the sculptures preserved in the various museums such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, Princeton University Art Museum, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, Honolulu Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art (loan), Princeton University Art Museum, Gitter-Yelen Collection, Royal Ontario

Museum, Sainsbury Centre, the Art Institute of Chicago and so on in order to perform microscopic wood identifications and to find out if the sculptures of this group are also made from Magnolia.sp or from other wood species.

As a result, we were able to discover several examples of the use of Magnolia.sp, and some were made in 12th century by radiocarbon dating.

On March 2022, our research results were summarized and published. Continued research may reveal the regional or religious selectivity of tree species.


Publications, etc.

(1)Suyako Tazuru, Mechtild Mertz, Takao Itoh, Junji Sugiyama, Wood Identification of Japanese and Chinese Wooden Statues Owned by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA, Journal of Wood Science 68(11) 2022 査読有
(2)Mechtild Mertz, Suyako Tazuru, Shiro Ito, Cynthea Bogel, A Group of Twelfth-Century Japanese Kami Statues and Considerations of Material Intentionality: Collaborative Research Among Wood Scientists and Art Historians, Journal of Asian Humanities at Kyushu University (JAH-Q),127-158, 2022 査読有
(3)田鶴寿弥子, 歴史的建造物のアスナロ属利用を巡る諸相 ~石川県・福井県の事例から~, 考古学ジャーナル3月号, 2022査読無
(4)Suyako Tazuru, Mechtild Mertz, Hiromi Kinoshita, Takao Itoh, Junji Sugiyama, Wood identification of Chinese Buddhist statues in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 文化財科学, 83, 109-119, 2021 査読有
(5)田鶴寿弥子, 杉山淳司, 重要文化財裏千家住宅保存修理工事における部材の樹種識別調査, 木材学会誌, 67, 1, 20-32, 2021 査読有
(6)田鶴(水野)寿弥子, 福井県の歴史的建造物におけるアスナロ属利用, 考古学ジャーナル12月号, 762, 33-35,2021 査読無
(7)Suyako Tazuru, Mechtild Mertz, Case study of the Wood Identification of a Chinese eleven-headed Guanyin Owned by the Cleveland Museum of Art, Spring-8 /SACLA Research report, 9, 7, 2021 査読有
(8)Suyako Tazuru-Mizuno, Wood selection for Chinese wood statues preserved in the several museums in the USA, Sustainable Humanosphere, 17, 58-60, 2021査読有
(9)田鶴寿弥子, 杉山淳司, 文化財修理時における木彫像の樹種調査 ~楽浪文化財修理所の事例~, 生存圏研究, 17, 52-57, 2021 査読有
(10)田鶴(水野)寿弥子, 福井県の歴史的建造物におけるアスナロ属利用 Usage of the Thujopsis sp. in Historical Buildings in Fukui Prefecture, 考古学ジャーナル, 2021 査読無
(11)Suyako Tazuru, Mechtild Mertz, Case study of Wood Identification of Japanese Shinto Statues Owned by the Honolulu Museum of Art, Spring-8 /SACLA Research report, 19, 6, 2021査読有
(12)田鶴(水野)寿弥子, 岐阜県願興寺修復工事における樹種調査からみえる当時の用材選択, 考古学ジャーナル, 756, 37-38, 2021 査読無

Research 2 : Dendroclimatology in equatorial regions

Principal Investigator (PI): Tomoya Imai (RISH, Kyoto University),
Research collaborator(s): Takahiro Tagami (Kyoto University), Yumiko Watanabe (Kyoto University), Yoshito Katayama (Kyoto University), Kanako Iwasaki (Kyoto University), Suyako Tazuru (RISH, Kyoto University) and Junji Sugiyama (Kyoto University)

Proxy assessment of Javanese teak: We performed a forward model analysis of tree-ring cellulose oxygen isotopic ratios, in order to improve our understanding of teak isotopes as a precipitation proxy on Java, Indonesia.  It reveals that the model can reasonably reproduce the observed δ18O values of teak (Hisamochi et al., 2021).

Dendroclimatology of teak collected in the Bago Mountains, Myanmar:  Samples of oxygen isotopic measurement are divided into 6 parts in the annual ring formed between 1981 and 2001 for two teaks collected in the Bago Mountains, Myanmar.  As a result, δ18O within the yearly group fluctuated in the range of 23 to 29 ‰, and the fluctuation pattern varied from year to year.  Furthermore, we confirmed the strong effect of ENSO on precipitation in the latter half of the rainy season, based on the correlation analysis between meteorological data and teak isotopic compositions.

Publications, etc.

  1. Hisamochi, R., Watanabe, Y., Kurita, N. and Tagami, T., 2021. Climate response of oxygen isotopic compositions in tree-ring cellulose in Java: Evaluation using a proxy system model. Atmosphere, 12, 310.


Research 3 : Wooden building technologies: innovation based on traditional wisdom

Principal Investigator (PI): Hiroshi Isoda (RISH, Kyoto University),

Research collaborator(s): Takafumi Nakagawa, Zherui Li, Kohei Komatsu(RISH,Kyoto University), Akishisa Kitamori(Osaka Sangyo University), Que Zeli (Nanjing Forestry University), Min-Fu Hsu, Yu-Lin Chung (National Cheng Kung University)

Aiming to create a safe and secure type of wooden living space for the future, we will deepen our understanding of the wisdom embodied in wood technologies by investigating traditional or modern wooden buildings. One of the objectives of this project is to develop a technology to investigate the deterioration of various performance conditions of wooden buildings in actual use environments using sensing.

An analytical model was proposed to account for the effect of the ”Sashigamoi ”joint and compared it with the experimental results. The hanging wall is represented as a shear spring, and the “sashigamoi” joint is represented as a member with a cross section. The behavior of the springs in each part was basically obtained by conducting elemental experiments. Comparison of the experimental results with the analytical results confirms that the present analysis can generally follow the experimental results.
A three-story shaking table test using the same construction method as the U.S. damage control system, so acceleration sensors were installed and the validity of the calculation method was validated.

Publications, etc.

  1. Dot Corporation and RISH Kyoto University: Report of lateral behavior of the traditional timber frame considering deep column and beam, funded by MLIT, 2022.3
  2. Zherui Li, HiroshiIsoda, Akihisa Kitamori, TakafumiNakagawa, Yasuhiro Araki, Zeli Que:Analytical model for the capacities of traditional Japanese timber frames with deep beams, Engineering Structures Volume 253, 15 February 2022
  3. Hiroshi Isoda, Shiling Pei, Takafumi Nakagawa, Jeffrey Berman, Tomoya Furusawa: Analysis of 10-Story timber structure with rocking shear wall, Summaries of technical papers of Annual Meeting Architectural Institute of Japan July 2021

Research 4: High-performance wood-based materials

Principal Investigator (PI): Kenji Umemura (RISH, Kyoto University)

Research collaborator(s): Miyuki Matsuo-Ueda (RISH, Kyoto University), Daisuke Ando (IWT, Akita Prefectural University), Min Zhang (School of Forestry and Biotechnology, Zhejiang A&F University) , Zhongyuan Zhao (College of Furnishings and Industrial Design, Nanjing Forestry University), Ragil Widyorini(Faculty of Forestry, Universitas Gadjah Mada)Sukma Surya Kusumah(Indonesian Instutute of Scinece, Research Center for Biomaterials), Rahma Nur Komariah(Faculty of Forestry, Jambi University), Md. Iftekhar Shams (Forestry and Wood Technology Discipline, Khulna University)

Effective utilization of wood and wood-based materials contributes to preventing global warming and accelerating decarbonization. Considering decrease of global forest area and breaking away from dependence on fossil resources, the development of wood-based materials combined with unutilized lignocellulose resources and bio-based adhesives is desirable.
Recently, development of particleboard using inner part of oil palm trunk are being carried out to investigate possibility of agricultural wastes as a raw material for wood-based materials. In this year, a bio-based adhesive composed of ammonium phosphate and sucrose were used. The manufactured particleboard had good mechanical properties and water resistance compared to those of previous one. The termite and decay resistance of the particleboard were comparable to those of particleboards bonded with PF resin and pMDI.
Regarding collaborative research with China, Indonesia and Bangladesh, we discussed future research plan and acceptance of researcher.

Publications, etc. 

Rahma N. Komariah, Takuji Miyamoto, Sukma S. Kusumah, Soichi Tanaka, Toshiaki Umezawa, Kozo Kanayama, and Kenji Umemura: Effects of Adding Ammonium Dihydrogen Phosphate to a Water-soluble Extract of the Inner Part of Oil Palm Trunk on Binderless Particleboard, BioResources, 16(3), 6015-6030 (2021)

2020 Activity Report

Gokasho, Uji City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. 611-0011
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