How Japan Became High Tech w/ Silk Worms

The most modern and advanced country in the world? Well, Japan is certainly at the top, but it wasn’t always that way. Before the Meiji Restoration (1868) Japan was closed to the outside world. Before 1868, it was the time of the samurai and feudal society.
After 1868, Japan started to compete internationally for the first time during the industrial revolution.
At the time, the most sought after good with the MADE IN JAPAN label was …


The TOMIOKA SILK MILL and the JOBU SILK ROAD in Gunma Prefecture is the area where Japan’s industrial revolution took place and between 1872 and 1987, the silk mill turned out the highest quality of silk in the world.

Today, the silk mill is on the UNESCO World Heritage site and a reminder of where Japan started it’s tech revolution. It’s worth a visit to see where modern Japan came from, buy some chocolate silk worms and see the remnants of an era past.

More detailed information on the Tomioka Silk Mill:


Working closely with France, Japan brought in the highest technology for making raw silk to increase production for world demand – to raise foreign capital. It worked, and as Japan succeeded with silk, it continued to modernize and upgrade.
The model of bringing tech from foreign partners, improving on it and selling the global market better products at a better price can be seen in the automobile industry, the TV industry, robotics, image sensors.

The area also includes Shimonita which many call RETRO TOWN because it’s lost in time, a place where nothing was renewed and lived on in its original state for decades dating back to the Showa Era.
Hungry? The Shinokita Katsudon 下仁田かつ丼 is the dish to try.
The konnyaku is also very famous in this area.

(Kiyoshiya Restaurant)

Music Credit:
Kool Kats by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (

Evil Plan by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (

Special thank you to the town of Shimonita and Tomioka and Gunma prefecture!

This show has been created and produced by John Daub ジョン・ドーブ. He’s been living and working in Japan for over 19 years and regularly reports on TV for Japan’s International Channel.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *