CANCELLED: Ways of Learning: An Apprentice Boatbuilder in Japan

Douglas Brooks, boatbuilder

Douglas Brooks, a Vermont-based boatbuilder has been studying traditional Japanese boatbuilding for over twenty-five years. Since 1996 he has worked with six boatbuilders, and he is the sole apprentice for each of his teachers. Brooks’ research involves recording his teachers’ design secrets and techniques before they are lost. His latest book, Japanese Wooden Boatbuilding, is the first comprehensive study of the craft. In this lecture Brooks will discuss the crucial role of the apprentice system nurturing Japanese crafts and the threat posed by the absence of a new generation of apprentices. He will describe the roles and responsibility of the apprentice faced with the unorthodox teaching styles of his masters. He will describe his efforts to document and preserve this craft through articles, books and workshops, and he will discuss the future for this craft in a country at the forefront of modernization and change. His talk is a lesson in craft, learning, and boatbuilding, and includes his photographs of traditional boats from throughout Japan.

Sponsored by East Asian Languages and Cultures