Okayama University


Maniwa City and Okayama University Establishes a Planning Committee to Promote Wood Construction Technology in the Local Region

July 06, 2020

Maniwa City promotes higher education, research, and human resource development related to wood construction technology through industry-academia-government collaboration with the goal of supporting regional revitalization, the development of new technology, and new demand for timber. To this end, a planning committee was established in collaboration with Okayama University and its related institutions. On the 2nd of July, the Forestry, Timber, and Wooden Architecture Education and Research committee held its first annual meeting in Maniwa City. Okayama University President MAKINO Hirofumi as well as other co-representatives were in attendance.

The committee members include co-representatives Maniwa Mayor OTA Noboru and President Makino, as well as architect KUMA Kengo (Special Invited Professor at Okayama University), President of Okayama Prefectural University OKI Yoko, President of Okayama Rikadai University YANAGISAWA Yasunobu, and Chairman of the Maniwa District Timber Association YAMASHITA Kaoru. Additionally, Forestry Agency Forest Planning Officer WAKAMATSU Yoshinori, Representative Director and President of Meiken Lamwood Corporation, NAKASHIMA Koichiro, and Shimizu Corporation consultant KAWATA Takashi attended the meeting as observers.

President Makino opened the meeting by stating that, “This committee has been formed to tackle various regional issues such as declining birthrates, aging populations, industrial decline, etc. by making full use of the rich historical culture and resources of the Maniwa area. Our goals line up perfectly with the SDGs, which aim to create a sustainable future”. President Makino called for co-operation by emphasizing that, “I would like to work with you to create new, sustainable values in Okayama that can impact the world”. Participants were hopeful about the new venture, commenting that, "Surely this committee will become a world-famous model in post-urban communities”, and, "My hope is that Maniwa will become a place where students who are interested in architecture can deepen their learning while being in direct contact with building materials and wood construction technology.” 

Prior to the meeting, President Makino, Mayor Ota and Mr. Kuma visited Omido, an ancient temple which is said to have been built during the Heian period. Chairman HIGUCHI Motohiro and other members of the Council for Promotion of Regional Communities explained the deeply rooted cultural history of wood in Maniwa, elaborating that Maniwa timber has been prized since the Middle Ages.

The planning committee is expected to meet annually to discuss specific plans relating to wood construction technology in the region.