John Gathright was raised in Victoria BC Canada by family of Scottish decent and tradition. (He plays the Pipes) His love for Japan was born at the young age of 5 years through an extraordinary encounter with a Japanese Geta Shoe on the West Coast of Canada.
At an early age he developed a love for life, nature and people that would
not diminish with age or maturity. John first came to Japan in 1985 for
a brief stay that metamorphosed into a career, life and love for Japan
and her people. John attended and Graduated with honors from Nanzan University
and started a career writing humorous yet heart warming news paper article
John established himself as one of the very few Non-Japanese columnists
to have their own weekly column in Japanese spanning over 10 continuous
years in National News Papers in Japan. A very talented writer and speaker
he soon found himself in demand as a TV / Radio Commentator and Personality.
( rumor has it he speaks better Japanese than English) He is an award winning
author of 9 popular books and continues to write, give speeches and make
TV appearances in Japan and Internationally John was the host for the Japanese
National Broad Casting Networks Program.. "Meeting people of the earth"
2001 ·2002. John is also the host for the TV program "Voice
of AICHI" . as well as numerous documentary programs on nature and
John not only writes about families, nature and harmony with the environment
but lives true to his principals. He lives in a Tree House made of
recycled Miso Barrels in the Mountains of Seto with his wife and two boys.
John has received a number of prestigious awards for his contribution to
communities and environmentally conscious educational and programs.
John is a recipient of the Tsubaki award presented to those persons who
have made extraordinary contributions to society in the Chubu Area of Japan.
John also was awarded Ecology Design Prize GOOD DESIGN AWARD
from Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization (JIDPO) Ministry of
International Trade and Industry for his growing village project.
John is an avid ecologist/naturalist and tree climber. His first
Tree Climbing Experience began while doing volenteer work with bear researchers
while he worked summers for the Ministry of Parks and Recreation on Vancouver
Island. His love for nature trees and helping people later inspired him
to establish the first tree climbing school in Japan.
He is also the founder of Tree Climbing Japan an organization that is devoted to bringing people of all ages and physical
ability into the forests to climb trees, and to enjoy nature. Tree
Climbing Japan is also active in bettering forests and empowering people
John established a Treehab Program for Physically Challenged persons to
climb the largest Trees in the World. In the summer of 2001, Tree Climbing
Japan helped Hikosaka Toshiko to be the first severely physically challenged
person in the world to climb to the top of an 80 meter Giant Sequoia Tree.
( Smithsonian March 2002) Treehab continues to help physically challenged
persons climb trees and hopes to create tree climbing international exchanges.
John's passions include trees and helping others. John has been accepted
into Top Ranking Nagoya Universtity's Forests Science doctorate program
to further study about Trees and the medical benefits of Tree
Climbing in rehabilitation and recreation programs.
He is a key note speaker for the Japanese Ministry of Parks and Education
and strongly encourages sustainable forestry and eco lumber. He discourages
the import of Old Growth logs and lumber to Japan.
John is a very warm hearted , fun, congenial person. His gentle sincere
activism combined with his innovative programs are the secrets to his success.
When ask his philosophy on life John shared this story.
"Hinoki is a very revered and sacred Tree for Japanese. To find such
a wonderful tree on the top of a mountain ridge was a wonderful treat.
As I climbed I could read the tree story in her bark and branches.
For the past 1000 years this wonderful tree was blasted by high winds and
freezing blizzards. Baked in Hot summers. A typhoon broke her in Half hundreds
of years ago. But she never gave up she kept growing and spreading her
branches out to shade and protect the other trees behind her.
Just a short 50 meters away there are 3 other big Hinoki but they are not
nearly as majestic and awe inspiring. Living on the easy side did
not sculpture them into God Like Trees but left them clones to all the
other trees in the forest.
I have never met a 1000 year old person but I have know very well many
elderly people who surpassed their 100th. birthday...Those with lives of
challenge and adversity have a similar majestic and awe inspiring Constance.
I too want to live my life on the edge and facing all the elements."
His Hobbies include Family Camping and outings. Sports, Scuba,
Bagpipes and spending quiet nights aloft with flying squirrels and Japanese
Monkeys. John is truly a multi talented person with many accomplishments.
He is known and loved through out Japan as JOHNSAN but to his family he
is 100% DAD.
Translated and edited from P.P.J Aichi Japan.
"(It is my Dream that All Children, Grow Up Like Magnificant Trees.
Tall, and Strong, Kind and Unique. Helping others to Grow.)"