Tomioka silk mill to be world heritage

It is recently reported that Tomioka Silk Mill is going to be registered in World Industrial Heritage in June this year. It is a westernized silk mill built by Meiji new government in 1872 (Meiji 5th) in Tomioka City, Gunma Prefecture in Japan.
Silk production was introduced to Japan more than 2000 years ago through “Silk Road”.
During Edo era, the demand for good quality silk rose sharply and many provincial domains competed each other to improve production technologies. In the consequence, toward the end of Edo era, they were able to produce high quality raw silk by sophisticated handicraft manufacturing.

Soon after Meiji Revolution in 1867, the Government tried hard to modernize Japanese society to catch up with European countries and make it competitive in the world market.

Thanks to the modernized mass production, Japanese silk industry earned lots of foreign currency and contributed much to the growth of young Japanese capitalism.

On the contrary to the growth of mass production which sacrificed the quality for the quantity to some extent, the production of handicraft best quality raw silk dropped sharply.

There is Japanese saying “when you get something, you lose something.”

Tomioka Silk Mill is a good sample of a successful westernization from which we have obtained lots of advantages beginning with rich and convenient modern life, however we have left and abandoned many precious heritages and wisdom behind.

We should not forget what we can learn from the wisdom of ancient people. silk mill in early Meiji era (