Sericulture and filature industries flourished in Gunma since the Meiji Period (1868-1912). There were many people who dedicated their lives to the improvement and spread of sericulture technologies in Gunma. Yahei Tajima was one of them. He studied to create quality silkworm eggs and eventually succeeded in developing a method called Seiryo-iku that focused on ventilation. In 1863, to put the Seiryo-iku method in practice, he built a farmhouse with sericulture rooms with a raised roof for ventilation. He also wrote about the method in his two books: "The New Theory of Sericulture" and "The New Theory of Sericulture, Sequel". The residential structure spread to the rest of the country and became the prototype of modern Japanese sericulture farmhouses. Yahei Tajima was also a member of the missions to Italy to take silkworm eggs there and sell them directly. There were four missions between 1879 and 1882.
Besides the farmhouse with sericulture rooms, a few more buildings still remain on the premises. One of them is the Kuwaba (storage for mulberry leaves) where mulberry leaves were chopped into a suitable size in accordance with silkworm growth. The other is the well building. Because there were many floods in this region, wells were important both to living and silkworm egg production, and wells were built on a foundation covered with stonework that was higher than the foundation of the living quarters. The seventh-generation descendants of Yahei Tajima are still living in this house, so visitors are allowed only in the gardens.
There are several reasons for the inclusion of the Tajima Yahei Sericulture Farm to the nomination list. It is because of the contribution to the development and spread of how to raise quality silkworm eggs, the farmhouse that still remain intact which became the prototype of modern Japanese sericulture farms, Yahei Tajima's contribution to the development of the Seiryo-iku method and his major role in the Japanese sericulture industry in the early Meiji Era as well as that in the international arena.
Tajima Yahei Sericulture Farm
Address: 2243 Aza Shinchi Sakai Shimamura, Isesaki MAP
Contact: 0270-63-3636 (Cultural Property Protection Section, Isesaki City Hall)
0270-61-5924 (Tajima Yahei Sericulture Farm Information Center)