All About Tomioka City

With the other three silk commercial heritages in the prefecture, in June 2014, Tomioka Silk Mill and Related Sites were included in the World Heritage List. The city of Tomioka (富岡) in southwestern Gunma Prefecture is the website of Japan’s very first contemporary silk factory, developed in 1872. The Tomioka Silk Mill served as a design for other silk mills in the nation to update Japan’s silk market throughout the Meiji Period when far-reaching reforms were brought out in all elements of society to capture up with the West.

Not just is the Tomioka Silk Mill Japan’s earliest contemporary silk reeling factory, it was also one of the world’s biggest silk mills at the time of its building. Thanks to the enhancements presented by the mill, raw silk ended up being an outstanding product that was exported from Japan throughout the world, and silk produced in Tomioka delighted in excellent credibility overseas for its high quality.

The Tomioka Silk Mill in Tomioka City, Gunma Prefecture, was the very first contemporary commercial complex in Japan, opening in 1872. Going To the Tomioka Silk Mill suggests experiencing the start of modern-day Japan – the Japan of the early Meiji Period (1868-1912) when the nation not just opened up to the outdoors world after 300 years of self-imposed seclusion throughout the Edo Period (1603-1868) however when it seriously began to attempt getting on a par with the significant Western powers.

The Silk Mill, situated in central Tomioka city, has formed the entire city. For over a century, it was the first commercial website of the town, more or less practically everyone in Tomioka was in some way associated with the silk mill. The glossy brand-new Joshu Tomioka train station starkly shows the reliance of the city on the silk mill.

Stroll out of the station, and the very first structure complex you come across is a Meiji Period silk storage facility and a silk cocoon drying center dating from the Taisho period (1912-1926). The still existing Haruta robe store, for example, offered robe to the ladies working at the mill. The motion picture theater opened to amuse the silk mill employees is gone today.

Image from tokyopic.com

They offer a broad range of silk items consisting of silk headscarves and other silk material items, silk soap, and even an amusing looking silkworm-shaped chocolate. Monsieur Robuchon’s significant French accent included an extra layer of credibility to his trip: the initial conception of the Tomioka Silk Mill was Franco-Japanese cooperation. While we stood in front of the East Cocoon Warehouse, possibly the most substantial structure in the stretching silk mill complex, Robuchon provided me the fundamental historical low-down.

History of the Tomioka Silk Mill

High-quality silk had always been an essential export item for Japan and Europe longed for Japanese silk.
Shady merchants stepped in and provided low-grade silk under the label of “Made in Japan” to global traders, seriously threatening the credibility of Japanese quality silk. The goal of the brand-new silk factory was not just to produce silk – that many desirable items – but also to present Western commercial production techniques to Japan.

Paul Brunet

The Japanese federal government selected a French trader based in Yokohama, Paul Brunet, to run the silk and construct a mill. There, prevalent conventional silk craft/ silkworm farming prepared to offer the required silkworm cocoons. To the processed fulfilled with an excellent supply of freshwater and an adequate number of coal mines close by that would be able to provide the coal required to fire up the steam-driven modern-day equipment Monsieur Brunet was going to import from France. Brunet introduced the most sophisticated silk processing innovation offered in France, and he worked with French silk device operators to teach the Japanese employees.

The Red Wine Story

Was the entire silk mill merely a ploy to gather the blood of virgins? The residents, initially really encouraging of the silk mill building, ended up being deeply frightened. It took the very first Japanese head supervisor of the mill, Junchu Odaka, to employ his 14-year-old child as the first staff member of the mill to eliminate the reports.

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