Yakisugi () is a traditional Japanese method of wood preservation. Yaki means to heat with fire, and sugi is cypress.[1] It is also referred to in the West as burnt timber cladding and also known as Shou Sugi Ban (焼杉板) which uses the same kanji characters but a different pronunciation. The ban character means "plank".

Traditional houses in Naoshima, Kagawa clad with yakisugi panels
Close-up view of charred yakisugi board
Yakisugi treated wood used in a box for sunglasses

By slightly charring the surface of the wood without combusting the whole piece, the wood becomes water-proof through the carbonisation and is thus more durable. It also protects against insects, as well as making it fire retardant.

Contemporary architect Terunobu Fujimori works with yakisugi[2] [3]


  1. The Latest Design Trend: Black and Burned Wood AMANDA FORTINI, New York Times, September 19, 2017
  2. Yakisugi House by Terunobu Fujimori Megan Wilton, Dezeen, 11 March 2009, Photograph: Edmund Sumner
  3. Interiors: A Japanese charred-timber house inspired by a cave dwelling Yuki Sumner, The Telegraph, 28 August 2009

Media related to Yakisugi at Wikimedia Commons

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