The Journey of a Japanese Carpenter and His Giant Wooden Gundam

In the quiet stretches of Mie Prefecture, Japan, Ryuji Asai, a carpenter with years of experience tucked under his belt, embarks on a project that is both a tribute to traditional Japanese craftsmanship and a nod to the modern pop culture phenomenon: Gundam. Asai-san, having spent years mastering the intricacies of Japanese architecture since the age of 18, is now channeling his skills into creating a towering RX-78-2 Gundam statue, entirely out of plywood.

Image: Ryuji Asai (IG)

This huge endeavor began in April 2023, motivated by Asai-san's long-standing fondness for the Gundam series. "I started thinking that it would be fun to make an item called Gundam, which is my favorite, using the skills of a carpenter I have learned so far," Asai says in a conversation with us. His choice of material—plywood—demonstrates his ability to transform a commonplace, often disregarded substance into something exceptional.

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As the project approaches its one-year anniversary, Asai-san continues to delicately shape each piece of plywood to bring the legendary Gundam to life. Unlike many artists who set rigid deadlines, he takes a more easygoing approach to his work. "The timing of completion has not been decided yet. I think I want to enjoy it as I am now and take my time," he says. This patience and attention to his craft highlight a broader principle that underpins traditional Japanese art: the journey is just as important as the destination.

Asai-san's intentions for this project transcend beyond the act of creation. He intends to bridge the gap between Gundam enthusiasts and people who are unfamiliar with the franchise by demonstrating the high quality of his work. More significantly, he wants to highlight the workmanship of Japanese carpenters to a global audience by utilizing the universal appeal of Japanese animation. "I want to show you a surprising quality even if not only those who like Gundam but also those who don't know about it," he goes on to say. "And I hope that the technology of Japanese carpenters will be known to the world by borrowing the power of the culture of Japanese animation, which is loved by many people."

Asai-san's dedication to his work and passion have piqued the interest of his Instagram and YouTube fans as the Gundam 45th anniversary approaches. His voyage, which includes the meticulous production of a revered icon, is eagerly anticipated by admirers all across the world. Followers are invited to check his social networking platforms (SNS) for updates and additional outstanding art creations. Asai-san welcomes everyone to observe his project's growth and to enjoy the craftsmanship that crosses generations and countries.

Asai-san's massive wooden Gundam is a monument to the confluence of traditional craftsmanship and current pop culture, demonstrating the enduring significance of handmade artistry in a digital age. While the completion date is unknown, the suspense only heightens the attractiveness of this one-of-a-kind venture. Gundam fans and craftsmanship enthusiasts alike eagerly await the reveal of Asai-san's masterpiece, a real expression of passion, perfection, and cultural heritage.

"Our vision at is to be the premier online destination for Gundam and GunPla enthusiasts worldwide. We aim to foster a vibrant, inclusive community where hobbyists of all skill levels can connect, share, and grow. By offering a platform for sharing tips, techniques, and creative builds, we strive to celebrate the artistry and innovation inherent in GunPla building. Our commitment is to provide a space that not only showcases the world’s greatest hobby but also inspires and supports the next generation of modelers in their GunPla journey."

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