Tottori Prefecture is bordered by the rich Chugoku Mountains, which are abundant in hardwoods. During the postwar period, as Japanese people’s lives were becoming more affluent, Tottori Prefecture flourished as a woodworking center, with many skilled craftspeople and factories supplying furniture around the country. One of these was Chugoku Industry.
Over time, as harvestable hardwood timber stocks dwindled and outsourcing production overseas became the norm, the industry gradually declined. Chugoku Industry, too, closed its factory doors, but did not shut down. Adapting to changing times, they developed new products with more sustainable softwood lumber, and began production through their rich network of local woodworkers. Their contemporary products combine craftsmanship and industrial skill, such as sphere technology wooden speakers. 80 years strong, they remain in business.
Masanori Hirotani, Wood Factory’s CEO, follows in his father’s footsteps as head of the company. At its peak the company had 100 craftsmen working there, and supplied Japanese-style furniture all the way to California (where Hirotani himself worked for several years). Now, his job is to innovate the business, incorporating new techniques, and creating new products that are contemporary, sustainable, and, as Chugoku Industry has always done, use local timber and local skilled craftspeople and technicians.
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