Report # 86 : Single-family wooden house

by Norio Maki, Satoshi Tanaka

Japan has a long tradition related to wood construction. The main building of the Horyuji-temple, which was constructed in the late 7th century, is the oldest existing wooden structure in the world. Most Japanese housing is of wood construction. In 1993, 68.1% of the 45.8 million units of housing stock consisted of wooden structures. However, in newly constructed housing, the percentage of wooden structures is decreasing. In 1995, the percentage of wooden structures in newly constructed housing was 45.5%. The Hanshin Awaji earthquake disaster in 1995 damaged many wooden structures, especially housing that was constructed according to the pre-1980 building code. Despite the severe damage at the time of the Hanshin earthquake and governmental encouragement of seismic upgrading, retrofitting of these houses is not common.