We present a new and alternative proposition for the traditional Asian timber column-and-beam connection, using the Kusabi-Nageshi (K-N) joint system. The mechanical behaviour is complex and relies on the embedment strength of the timber, pre-stress, friction, and elastic energy storage. Using a systematic comparative analysis, the advantages of the K-N joint over more traditional joints can be made clear. The comparison of the hysteresis from cyclic loaded cross-joint tests with varied pre-stress clarifies the enhanced mechanical behaviour of the K-N joint system. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.