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日本の生糸産業、誕生物語   Birth Story of Japan's Raw Silk Industry












I recently watched "Choice of Heroes" on NHK TV on Wednesday, January 25.

It was an examination of the people who made raw silk from zero to the world's largest industry that supported the backbone of Japan in the Meiji Era and the background that made it possible.

They are,

(1) The decision at the national level (Tokugawa Shogunate) to produce raw silk domestically,

(2) The basic technology research and development personnel and their decision to share the technical information without monopolizing it.

(3) The introduction and implementation of revolutionary new production technologies (including quality control)

(4) Proud workers (mainly women)

I watched this program with great interest because I spent several years at TOYOBO in the 1970s researching how to reproduce the excellent texture of pure silk kimono fabrics with the synthetic fiber Chinon, and later in the 1980s I was twice invited by Sichuan Province in China, a major silk producing area, to provide them with my technical guidance on final processing of silk fabrics.

In the words of Professor Emeritus Seiichiro Yonekura of Hitotsubashi University, who explained the historical and technology situation from the aspect of innovation, and other cast members’, I have found hints for Japan to escape from 30 years of economic and technological stagnation.

Since the Meiji era, the textile, shipbuilding, electrical, and automobile industries have supported Japan, but what new industries will support Japan in the future, and when will they emerge?