crew member #9TV Forestry Expert, Master of Tricky Terrain and Felling Large Trees, Stunt Performer
Location: Saitama Prefecture, Japan
A passionate outdoorsman since childhood, Junichi “Kuma-san” Kumakura’s decades of professional logging experience have turned him into a celebrity in his home country of Japan.
Known for his specialty working in tight spots and tricky terrain, Kumakura has amassed a reputation for a masterful command of his craft, and Kumakura Forestry Service—the company that he began at only twenty-eight years old—is frequently called on to fell enormous trees everywhere from established forests to densely populated neighborhoods.
Kumakura’s enthusiasm for forestry stewardship has given him national notoriety. He regularly appears on television to talk about not only the importance of the work he does but the intense skill that it requires. He’s even participated in primetime dramas as both a stunt performer and on-set expert for shows with a strong forestry element.
While called on frequently for routine tree removal across his home of Saitama prefecture, Kumakura’s company also aids in the removal of exceptionally large trees, including the 2008 removal of a nearly millennium-old Himilayan Cedar from a graveyard in Iwate prefecture of the Tōhoku region. With single branches alone weighing over 2200 pounds, Kumakura’s efforts at felling the tree safely attracted many onlookers. The complex task reminded Kumakura of why he loves what he does and that every tree he works with deserves respect. “Like humans, each tree has its own personality,” he said. Hundreds of years ago, small stones had become lodged in the cedar’s trunk, several of which Kumakura kept as souvenirs of this once-in-a-lifetime job.
Since 2015, Kumakura has been a brand ambassador for Oregon through appearances at Japanese trade shows and on national television, where he can be seen outfitted head to toe in Oregon PPE gear. He also leads Oregon seminars for those interested in learning more about land management, encouraging the next generation of logging stewards.
Because the timber from the trees Kumakura works with is sold locally, he often gets to see the amazing creations that come directly from his work, which has included traditional taiko drums, intricate slab-built tables, and enormous barrels used for brewing sake. Some of these special projects have been built with what Kumakura calls “famous wood,” or planks harvested from trees of exceptional size or provenance.
"We, the sky masters, climb trees with a chainsaw and work, so it is very important that the chainsaw must be lightweight as well as sharp. The lightness of the guide bar, durability and sharpness — these three factors affect the performance of the chainsaw, so I'm really happy with Oregon's saw chains and guide bars. Oregon launches new products and other companies follow suit. If you are using Oregon, there is no reason to change to another company. There is no doubt if you choose Oregon. It is the most reliable manufacturer. "