1999 Laughing Happy Trees by John Gathright

John Gathright, has had a long-standing interest in the welfare of trees and the benefits mankind can receive from them. Where he lives in Japan, he has voiced support for sustainable forestry, and not by bringing imported old-growth timber into Japan. He is also the founder and the developer of the Tree climbing Japan. 

Tree climbing Japan is a non-profit organization that teaches tree climbing techniques which are safe for both humans and trees. He has a strong belief that the tree’s quiet strength and physical therapy of climbing trees has potential for healing. This led John to create a program called Treehab, which helps the physically challenged climb the tallest trees in the world.

John was contemplating how he could help his elderly friends, to share in his enjoyment of trees. Some time in 1990s He came up with the idea of wanting to grow a bench seat. This idea occurred to him while he sat in the branches of the nearly 1000 year old tree. He believed that if he had thought of the idea, maybe other people had as well, so he did some research online.  This would later be used when he decided to accept the responsibilities of being producer for the Growing Village Pavilion at the World Expo 2005 in Japan. Here, John and his team presented the art form of shaped trees to the world. At the Growing Village Pavilion, the work of seven different artists was displayed for six months. During this time, there was worldwide and local media attention brought to the art form.

His web site