My spirit and thanks to our loving mountain forests / Masaaki Hara

My spirit and thanks to our loving mountain forests

My first charcoal making training started with logging trees in mountain forests.
While logging trees every day with my father, a master charcoal maker, I used to complain to him that he should teach me more professional charcoal making techniques and skills, not just logging. I should not have sad such things and now I feel ashamed of it because a real master charcoal maker has skills not only to make charcoal but also to "create mountain forests."
Unfortunately more and more people these days do not "log trees" for creating mountain forests, which is inviting run-down forests and lack of raw woods. This is the biggest problem for charcoal makers. I called for young artisans to help me solve such big problem, but things did not go well. However, recently I found a big ray of hope, that is, "Donguri (Acorn) Project."
Some people who are not interested in the project may think growing just one seedling will not make any difference, but I believe that a single seedling will make big forests in the future. This is because "Donguri Project" and charcoal makers have a common spirit or philosophy of loving mountain forests.
Just as charcoal makers in the past used to love and diligently preserve mountain forests, we should cultivate and keep them flourishing for the next generation. I hope more and more people will join me to promote this activity because it is one of duties that charcoal makers should seriously focus on.

September 13, 2010

Masaaki Hara
Binchotan charcoal maker
Started charcoal making training from his father at the age of 21. Used to work in sales in a metropolitan area, but realized the job was not the one he should pursue. Quitted the job and returned home, where he felt how wonderful it was to live in the country compared to his urban life. Decided to succeed his father's business and has been working on charcoal making since then.