JDF JapanDefenseFocus No.102 August 2018

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Tomioka Silk Mill

Tomioka Silk Mill

Located in Tomioka City approx. 100km north of Tokyo, Tomioka Silk Mill is a mechanized silk-reeling factory established by the Meiji government in 1872 for the modernization of Japan.

At the time, the mill was one of the largest in the world.

First opened in 1872, this mill introduced technologies from western Europe for the mass production of high quality silk, promoting improvements in sericulture and silk reeling technologies in Japan. By transferring these advanced technologies to other parts of the world, the mill contributed greatly to the development of the world’s silk industry and the spread silk products around the world, bringing greater affluence to people’s lifestyles and culture.

Today, Tomioka Silk Mill is preserved nearly in its original state. Highlights include the timber-frame and brick construction in which a wall of bricks is piled against wooden frames and incorporates Japanese tiles on the roof, as well as the iron water tank and brick drain.

Tomioka Silk Mill and Related Sites were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2014 as heritage of Japan’s modernization, and today the site is visited by large numbers of tourists from Japan and abroad.

Kitagunma District in Gunma Prefecture is home to Soumagahara Exercise Area that houses the Eastern Army, including the 12th Brigade Command. A field exercise called Forest Light was conducted with the U.S. Marine Corps and relocation exercise of MV-22 outside of Okinawa was conducted at this exercise area.

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