Long used in traditional Japanese furniture and construction, these gorgeous woods have never before been available as flooring in North America. Through our treasured relationships within the tight-knit circle of suppliers in the rugged mountains off northern Japan, Monarch Plank can now offer exclusive access to these very special materials.
True to the traditions of Japanese design and architecture, the Hokkaido collection venerates these woods by presenting them in pure, minimalist refinement. Offered in wide planks with a clear, ultra-matte finish that showcases the natural color and grain, the Hokkaido Collection caters to those who seek and appreciate understated elegance.
The somabito are a manifestation of the evolution of Japan’s approach to forest management. Four hundred years ago, Japan had a serious deforestation problem, a consequence of unsustainable logging that had been practiced for centuries to satisfy the demands of nobles for wood for their armies, castles and temples. The works that those nobles created are some of the most magnificent, enduring structures ever built (many of them still stand today), but the ecological cost was high. By the 1600’s, conflict between villagers, who relied on the forests for subsistence, and rulers, who wanted to cut them down for timber, had reached crisis proportions. Beginning around 1670, rural villages began responding to the crisis by establishing plantations of the most valuable species to satisfy the demands of the rulers while preserving natural forest areas for local needs. New techniques for planting and caring for trees were developed, and out of that care emerged the tradition of the somabito. In the centuries that followed, managed forestry continued to develop and expand in a virtuous circle of technical improvements and social institutions supporting sustainable forest use. Today, some 67 percent of the country is forested -- an area over twice as large as the world average, and Japan’s government has set the goal of managing single-species plantations toward a more natural condition for the benefit of wildlife, including the rare golden eagle.
Named after the northernmost of Japan’s main islands, known for its volcanoes, hot springs, snow-clad mountains, and dense forests, the Hokkaido Collection comprises three species:
| Nara: Japanese Oak | Kuri: Japanese Chestnut | Kurumi: Japanese Walnut |