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A field of tea plants with Mt. Fuji in the background.
  1. Land Reform in Postwar Japan
  2. Why Japan's Land Reform Succeeded
  3. Wet Rice Agriculture
  4. Transplanting Rice Seedlings
  5. Early Mechanization of Agriculture
  6. Reorganization of Farm Land
  7. Innovations in Fruit and Vegetable Farming
  8. Rice Rationing and Subsidies
  9. Japan’s Shrinking Farm Population
  10. Farm Household Size and the Problem of Succession
  11. Who Farms in Japanese Farm Households?
  12. San-Chan Nōgyō
  13. The Changing Japanese Diet
  14. Dairy Farming in Japan
  15. What Dairy Products Do Japanese Eat?
  16. Beef Cattle in Japan
  17. The Changing Income of Farm Households
  18. Raising Silkworms in Japan
  19. Food Self-Sufficiency in Japan
  20. Food Self-Sufficiency in Rice
  21. Organic Farming in Japan
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A woman spins silk by hand.
Beautiful silk thread produced from spinning silkworm cocoons.
Photo from Kodansha Encyclopedia.
Raising Silkworms in Japan
Raising silkworms, or sericulture, is a traditional side crop for Japanese farm families. To raise silkworms, the family first has to grow enough mulberry trees to feed the silkworms. They buy a supply of silkworm eggs or produce them from the previous year’s crop. The eggs are placed on large, flat trays and usually kept in the warm farmhouse attic. When the eggs hatch, the family picks mulberry leavs and feeds the silkworms, which each voraciously as they grow. The silkworms then build a cocoon around their bodies for the next stage of their development. Farmers generally sell the cocoons to a silk mill, saving a small number of seed cocoons to complete the lifecycle and produce silkworm eggs for the next crop of silkworms. The silk mill uses commercial reeling machines to unwind the silk from the cocoons and produce silk thread of various weights for weaving cloth. Relatively few households still raise silkworms today, because silk can be produced much more cheaply in other countries. When the export of silk declined in the 1920s, the Japanese govenrment encouraged mulberry fields to be transformed into mikan orchards.
Special Terms: commercial  |  reeling machines

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