View Full Version : Japanese construction methods = import to Ethiopia
March 31st, 2009, 07:56 PM
I am a half Ethiopian half Japanese living in japan, with lots of interest in Ethiopia, in particular construction.
I believe construction methods used here in Japan would suit Ethiopia very well, buildings are built very rapidly here using wood and concrete and are almost all 100% tiled on the outside. they are pleasing to look at even if they are very cheap to build. I want to know how i can transfer these skills from Japan to Ethiopia, and encourage Ethiopian architects and construction companies to use some of these techniques in their building process.
I also believe japanese house design is well suited for ethiopians, who like to live clustered together in kebeles with no sidewalks and narrow roads connecting them, very much like japanese residential neighbour hoods.
I can imagine addis and other cities in ethiopia to look like this if all home owners rebuilt their houses and the roads connecting the interior of these neighbourhoods were all paved.
i believe ethiopias urban development should mimic japans, as i strongly believe they share similar social mannerisms which suit japanese urban living. does anyone know how i could somehow transfer knowledge from japan to ethiopia (officially)?
also is the city taking into account that ethiopia may one day be able to afford to construct a subway system for addis? where will the stations go?
March 31st, 2009, 10:52 PM
First of all, welcome to the forum :)
There's a few Ethiopians on this forum and I'm sure I can speak for all of us when I say we look forward to seeing you here often.
Now for your question, I'm really not sure.
The last time I was back in Addis, I noticed there were some Chinese engineers who had started construction companies there. They were quite popular with people who were building homes, for example. One lady I know was building her house at that time and she told me that she hired Chinese contractors because they:
a. Did the work rapidly
b. Did it as she wanted
c. Did the work better (the finishing was good)
d. Did it within budget (or close enough)
Now, I don't know if the above reasons were due to a new technology (new way of building) or if they were just more efficient and effective.
The only way I can see the transfer you suggest is doing something similar to the Chinese contractors, i.e., moving to Ethiopia and starting a construction company. If the work is so rapid and efficient that business booms, other contractors will have to change their methods to withstand competition.
Another way would be to teach in Ethiopia, at the university level.
Do you work in that field?
April 1st, 2009, 04:46 AM
hi! thank you for your warm welcome
unfortunately I am not in the field of construction but have many contacts who are in this field in Japan.
I went to Addis 3 years ago, and i have to say that my one dream is to get all ethiopians out of substandard housing within my lifetime. i know that sounds almost impossible, but in theory it really isnt. the kinds of "western, modern" housing i saw being constructed was mainly for middle class to upper class people, with condominiums being constructed for middle classes too. the people i worry about are those living in inner city kebeles, and those living in those crowded neighbour hoods with no paving or proper roofing etc. it is actually very simple and cheap to provide building materials and expertise using wood and cement and roofing tiles to create 2 floor housing that people could use to replace their substandard housing with adequate housing. im not talking about palaces or even the houses like the ones in bole, but just small, clean, properties that are affordable for people that live there. i think condominiums are nice but believe ethiopians are more used to living in their own private property so i would promote that first (despite having to make properties very small) or promote apartments of 3 floors or such with maybe 5 or 6 residences within a building. i also want to see all these side streets i see that are made up of rocks and earth paved with tarmac, as they are in japan - as they are still a viable means of transport within neighbourhoods no matter how narrow they may be. but once tarmacced, this dramatically reduces the level of dirt etc withn the neighbour hood and can also prevent disease. its little things like this i seek to make universal across addis AND ethiopia. ill leave the construction companies like ayat etc to the middle classes. in fact i dont even want to see a class system in ethiopia at all. ok this is going onto a whole new topic but anyway yeah thought id share my goals with fellow ethiopians!
April 1st, 2009, 05:02 AM
I do like your idea. How about trying to contact the housing authority directly and proposing this as an alternative? Maybe after doing some preliminary research to give some credibility to your proposition.
It's called the Addis Ababa Housing Development Project Office. You could also try to contact the Japanese Embassy and see if there's a way they can facilitate contact with the proper person(s). It may help you reach someone higher up the administration ladder.
April 1st, 2009, 05:56 AM
i see, good idea. I will mention that to a friend of mine who owns a construction real estate company in Yokohama Japan.
I would like to see also the streams and small rivers within addis given concrete channels to allow for controlled flow and less mess within central city areas.
now for more trivial aspects
japanese methods of construction utilise tiling alot to ensure that buildings can be "washed" rather than having to be repainted over and over again, keeping the environment more pleasant. light colours such as beige, white, light blue, light peach etc are used to create a 白町(white city) effect, which is said to promote cleanliness and a good feeling for citizens, no matter how crowded or congested a city may be.
i also know how ethiopians love their fake western buildings (lol) as so do the japanese, and this is catered for in the case of restaurants, cheap hotels etc, which are also built cheaply but remain looking clean and smart. telephone cables and other utilities are kept above ground as so to prevent unnessarcy road works in narrow streets such as those in inner city kebeles.
if i had things my way, i would firstly put up posters throughout all kebeles announcing the plans to upgrade utilities and roads, and then organise meetings within each kebele, from which people would learn of a japanese government sponsered plan to use japanese trained architects to help refurbish their housing that already exists (or in some cases to build apartments within the kebele to house 4 or 5 families). these houses would be small and basic but would be a huge jump in standard of living for the people living there.
i would distribute leaflets informing of "good, healthy neighbourhood living" with a guide on disease prevention (using masks when ill to prevent spreading to others) and general consideration measures. even basic things like washing hands when returning home, and gargling with anti bacterial mouth wash after returning home (both of which were practiced in japan post world war two and are still done today). this would be done in the least "DO WHAT WE SAY!" manner (lol) rather promoted as a way of making ethiopian society a cleaner and safer and more civillized place to live, making it the envy of african nations.
another picture showing what i hope to transform the kebeles into
(in the background of this picture you can see that it is already kind of starting to happen, with people upgrading their housing and building more permanent subsantial buildings, even these buildings are more lavish than i have in mind..!)
(from that, to this below)
This is how i imagine main streets/crossings to look with input from japanese methods of building construction (less big open gaps and on street parking)
April 1st, 2009, 06:44 AM
japopian....its very refreshing to see that u are not forgetting about ur roots and trying to help ur fellow ethiopians live in better houses....we need more people like u and hope people of african decent can go back and help africa. Keep up the good work.
April 1st, 2009, 06:54 AM
Yeah, some very good ideas in this thread. I hope the very best for you japopian, you have a great vision. :)
April 3rd, 2009, 08:08 AM
believe it or not there is A LOT of interest in Ethiopia (the country - mainly in culture) in Japan...its really odd....and its not just from about 10 years ago when rastafarianism became "cool" but actually from about 90 years ago when the Ethiopian and Japanese royal family were going to intermarry (can you believe that?!?! I learned this stuff in school haha) and the Japanese were taught that they shared the same blood as Ethiopians (this was on the run up to world war two). Theres a big paper on it somewhere on the internet in English, I have four Japanese papers on the "Spiritual Affinity between Japan and Ethiopia". Was cool growing up in Japan when being introduced to elderley Japanese people telling them I was half Ethiopian, the younger kids dont really know about the past relations apart from that Ethiopian hair is nice (they have Ethiopian perms in hair salons recently)...
Anyway, I just emailed the Ethiopian Association of Japan (http://www.ethiasso.jp/index.html) inquiring about the transfer of construction knowledge etc so lets see what they say.
April 3rd, 2009, 06:38 PM
Whhaaat! They were going to marry? :lol:
That's too funny!
I've seen clips of Japanese dancers performing Ethiopian dances (wolayta, guragigna, etc). I think you can find them on youtube. They're really good too!
How big is the Ethiopian community there?
April 3rd, 2009, 08:49 PM
Interesting, You seem very well informed on the urban planning and housing development in Ethiopia. I also think that being Japopian is unique and interesting. I admire the industry and character of the Japanese people and it would be a dream for most countries to copy anything Japanese.
October 6th, 2009, 07:51 AM
I am an Ethiopian in Osaka JICA centre on short term trainning curently and I work with the Ministry of Works and Urban Developement back at home. I would like to know in depth the level and kind of assistance you may need.
Please let me know of what help I can be to you.:banana: