Yakisugi (焼杉) is a traditional Japanese method of wood preservation. Yaki means to heat with fire, and sugi is cypress. It is referred to in the West as burnt timber cladding and also known as shou sugi ban (焼杉板) which uses the same kanji characters but an incorrect pronunciation. The ban character means "plank".
By slightly charring the surface of the wood without combusting the whole piece, the wood becomes water-proof through the carbonisation and is thus more durable. It also protects against insects, as well as making the wood fire retardant.
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Media related to Yakisugi at Wikimedia Commons