A 2002 New York Times article estimates there are only about 200 toryos left in Japan. The nail-less building style is thought to be harmonious with nature, and it dates back to 300 B.C. And thanks to the master craftsmanship of the toryos, these temples have stood for hundreds of years. However, the late 19th century invention of the Western nails derailed the ancient Japanese carpentry. Carpenters began building with nails and speed in place of art and hand-craftsmanship. Who knows if or when the Japanese carpentry style will die out, but for now it is hanging on—without any nails. To follow the journey of a toryo, watch the video below.
A Toryo Uses Ancient Techniques To Build Temples Without Nails
Try to build any worthwhile type of functional building without nails or power tools. Go ahead, we're waiting. It's obviously not an easy task, which is why the toryo is so highly revered. A toryo is a master temple carpenter that builds structures following an ancient Japanese style of carpentry that does not employ the use of nails, glue, or power tools.
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