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産業遺産観光
西上州エリアマップ
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富岡製糸場 世界遺産推進ホームページ
富岡製糸場を愛する会
鉄道遺産群を愛する会
西上州での交通手段
日本観光協会

 

If you visit the silk industry heritage group scattered in Western Joshu (Gunma) (the Tomioka Silk Mill and Related Industrial Heritage enrolled in the UNESCO tentative list of world heritage candidates), you should beforehand learn the historical background and study the usage and history of the individual heritage components.
Because this heritage is of industrial nature, such preparatory knowledge will help you more deeply understand the value of the heritage.
西上州観光をより楽しむために知っておきたい絹産業遺産群
西上州と絹産業遺産群

ポール・ブリューナ等フランス人技師たちWhen Japan was promoting the policy for development of new industry after it was opened to the world, Western Joshu (Gunma) served as the front of industrial modernization for the production of silk, which was expected to contribute to export.
The silk production method at that time in Japan relied on manual power or traditional methods. The quality of silk products was significantly inferior to that of France, Italy, and other leading countries.

Silk made in Japan was labeled "third rate" in the world market.

In order to train silk production engineers and technicians, the government built a government-run factory at Tomioka, Western Joshu (Gunma) where sericultural and silk production had already been promoted since the Edo era. For this purpose, the government introduced machines and invited engineers from France, which was one of the leading silk production countries.

The Silk Mill thus started in 1873.
Since the commencement of Tomioka Silk Mill operation, the quality of silk produced in Japan continued to improve. Silk made in Japan began to be recognized as acceptable in the world market. As a consequence, the sericultural and silk industry in Western Joshu (Gunma) advanced further.

めがね橋、荒船風穴、甘楽社小幡組倉庫の絹産業遺産群In Western Joshu (Gunma) where sericultural and silk production had already been thriving, additional many silk production facilities were built.

- Facilities for sericultural technology training (main building with silkworm room of Takayama-sha in 1875)
- Cocoon and silk transport facilities (Usui Pass Railway facilities:Spectacles Bridge in 1893 and Maruyama Substation in 1911)
- House of farmer who supplied silkworm eggs and wind cave used as cold storage for silkworm eggs(rafune Wind Cave in 1906)

Farmers who had long been engaged in silk reeling were progressively organized into unions.
- Buildings for silk production unions, warehouses for storing cocoons and silk(former Usui-sha head office in 1905 and former Kanra-sha Obata-gumi warehouse in 1926)
, and other facilities were continually built in this area of Western Joshu (Gunma).

Why don't you follow the Silk Road that remains in Western Joshu (Gunma)?

Facilities
Construction year
Type of facilities
Main house with silkworm room of Takayama-sha 1875 Sericultural facilities
Spectacles Bridge 1893 Usui Pass railway facilities
Maruyama Substation 1911 Usui Pass railway facilities
Arafune wind cave 1906 Sericultural facilities
 

For information on world heritage, visit the webpage "What Is World Heritage?" containing various links. -> "What is World Heritage?"

日本の近代化に大きく貢献した富岡工女たちDaughters of samurais were collected from all over the country to the Tomioka Silk Mill. Many of them learned silk production technology that was the latest then, brought the learned technology to their home land, and played the role of silk production leaders.

One of the working women was young 「Ei Wada」 who, born to a samurai family in the former Sanada Domain, came from Matsushiro, Shinshu (Nagano) to Tomioka.

Ei, who was seventeen years old then, came to Tomioka together with sixteen women also from Matsushiro. She worked and learned at the Tomioka Silk Mill from 1873 to 1874. She was engaged in founding Rokko-sha, a mechanical silk production factory, at Matsushiro, which was her home land. She later made effort as a leader to improve silk production technology.

Western Joshu (Gunma) is the place that demonstrates that the modernization of silk production industry in Japan was accomplished by women.

Ei wrote "Tomioka Diary" to record what she saw and heard. By browsing this diary, you can feel the scenes she had experienced.