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Delivering ‘made in Japan’ excellence at home and abroad

Article - September 21, 2023

Founded back in 1894, Murakami Lumber specializes in high-quality wood products, working with a network of trusted suppliers to deliver a first-class service that construction clients can depend on.

MURAKAMI LUMBER SHOWROOM

“Our vision revolves around conveying the allure and excellence of wooden materials to people worldwide, and in turn enriching their lives through our service.”

Kenji Sahara, President, Murakami Lumber Co., Ltd.

A company with 129 years of history, Murakami Lumber is a leading Japanese supplier of logs, lumber and pre-cut wooden products, chiefly catering to B2B clients in the housing construction sector. The Osaka-based firm, which boasts an in-house pre-cutting factory, imports wood from worldwide locations such as the United States, Canada and Scandinavia, before delivering its top-quality materials to building projects both in Japan and beyond. Murakami also provides customers with the know-how offered by its own team of highly-qualified architects and engineers.

“What truly sets us apart is our profound knowledge and understanding of Japanese construction methods,” says Murakami’s company president, Kenji Sahara. “Recently, there has been a surge of interest from other Asian countries in applying the highly regarded ‘made in Japan’ approach to construction, particularly the axis method. This revered practice, prominently utilized in the construction of centuries-old temples, boasts exceptional strength and earthquake resistance, achieved without the use of nails. We have embarked on an ambitious project to export this traditional construction method to other Asian markets.

“We have chosen not to establish factories in local overseas markets. Instead, we focus on leveraging Japanese expertise in pre-cutting wooden housing materials and transporting the finished products abroad. This enables us to maintain strict quality control.”

At present, Murakami’s international aims are centered around Vietnam, Mr. Sahara explains. “One compelling reason is the country's rapid population growth, projected to reach 100 million within the next few years,” he says. “Vietnam’s average age is in the 30s, so there is tremendous growth potential in the market. I’m delighted to announce that this year, we will successfully complete our first building project in Vietnam, showcasing the impeccable craftsmanship and unwavering commitment to excellence that define Japanese construction practices. We can also reveal that we will soon finalize an agreement for an additional 15 buildings in the city of Da Lat.”

While Murakami has traditionally focused on B2B services, the company has in recent years ventured into the domestic B2C market, developing a portfolio of products that not only cater to home-building needs, but branch out into other areas, too. Alongside its ‘M’s’ brand of wooden tabletops, for example, customers will also find the company’s ‘Ikonih’ range of wooden toys. “Our primary objective is to effectively communicate the unparalleled excellence of wooden materials to the Japanese audience,” Mr. Sahara says. “We are particularly keen on expanding the sales of our wooden toys. We had a collaboration with a Japanese airline for a limited run of a set of wooden plane toys which was an instant success, selling out promptly. Currently, we are formulating our next strategic moves within the domestic market.”

And as Murakami plots continued growth both in the B2B and B2C sectors, Mr. Sahara knows that the first step on that path is to preserve the happy workplace culture that the firm cultivates at each of its offices. “At the core of our company's philosophy lies the belief that the well-being and contentment of our employees are paramount,” he says. “It is my personal dream to relentlessly pursue the happiness of our team members, creating an environment where they feel fulfilled and motivated. By fostering a workplace that values and prioritizes employees’ happiness, I strongly believe we can achieve extraordinary goals together.”

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