Articles, Blog

How Japan Became High Tech w/ Silk Worms

August 12, 2019

ONLY in JAPAN It all started with silk I’m at the Tomioka Silk Mill in Gunma prefecture where many people say modern Japan was born. Have you ever wondered why Japan has such state-of-the-art technology creating some of the world’s highest quality goods Yeah That’s why I’m here, and that’s why this place is a world heritage site now the silk mill is no longer in operation But it’s the seed that has grown into the Japan that we know today. Today’s tech in Japan is super fast super cool very efficient and everywhere Robotics is one of the many areas Japan is excelled, but it’s also in everyday items like toilets and vending machines The gaming and health industries are also at the top, and the tech in sushi shops is pretty good too And yes as I said in the beginning, it all started with silk. Before we go through the mills east cocoon warehouse and facility areas, Let’s look at the Jobu region with Japan Silk Road lies Tokyo and Yokohama are Japan’s biggest urban center and port and the silk mill is Located up the Tone River to the foothills of the Japanese Alps in Gunma prefecture The Jobu region straddles the Tone River Takasaki is the largest city and from here. We’ll head to Shimonita and Tomioka where the silk mill is located. This is where Japan’s industrialization began. The mill ceased operations in 1987 and it was declared a World Heritage Site in 2014 because of its significance in history to the country This mill marked Japan’s entry to a modern industrialized era the point where a great desire for technological innovations spawned Silk was the popular product made in Japan that the west craved the most and the Jobu region was the perfect place to invest in since it already had the foundations for silk production The mill is open to the public and has been well preserved Even the machinery in the silk reeling plant is as it was when it closed three decades ago So now we are inside the silk reeling plant This factory was used to reel the silk from the cocoons, and we have all the machines that were used here until 1987 the year when the Tomika’s silk mill stopped production In the early Meiji era when Japan changed from an isolated feudal country to a modern one the government turned to France for silk making expertise in high-tech machinery That know-how evolved into workers perfecting the skills needed to make raw silk an extremely difficult task for a commodity and high demand worldwide It was silk that made Japan great Before mass production Japanese silk was a luxury good worldwide a and after it became more affordable still at incredible quality Japan led the silk industry for 115 years. The high-tech machinery here imported from Europe marked the start of Japan’s desire for state-of-the-art technology and fueled a desire to be at the top Make Japan great again with silk? these creatures are silkworms nibbling on special nutrition bars They’re extremely delicate and hard to cultivate from egg to cocoon But Japanese workers were good at it – really good at it Why was the mill here? It had coal to power the machines, close enough to the port of Yokohama Had a river with clean water and was cool enough to cultivate the eggs thanks to the Arafune Cold Storage This is the reason why the silk industry thrived here because I had a place like this where they could keep it cool Even in the hottest of days in the summer Even in August the temperatures are cool here which allowed an increase in the number of breeding seasons and more cocoon production Inside these holes were buildings that housed silkworm cocoons from over 40 prefectures in Japan the largest site in the country These days the silkworms are now important to the town in another way with the mill becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014 the silkworm is back! This shop sells them But not how you’d expect Wow, what is this? The silkworm chocolate is a popular gift locally made chocolate that really does look like the real thing How could I not buy some green tea chocolate flavored leaf and cookies and cream tasting worm cocooned in a wrapper to keep it fresh The street in front of the mill has a lot of shops selling silkworm confections This one with sweet red bean auzuki paste inside Here are the real silkworm cocoons And it makes you wonder how the quality of the silk was here in Tomioka in the 19th and early 20th century Tomioka produced the best raw silk in the world. The Tomioka brand was well known. At the mill office, I was shown some real high-quality silk made in the town Inazuka-san is in charge of the Tomioka silk brand To compare I brought my own assumed-to-be silk items purchased from the internet to see if it was real I asked Inazuka-san to close her eyes before her silk analysis WHAT “SILK” ITEM DID I BUY OFF THE INTERNET? It’s all I can find but was it silk? I asked Shinozuka-san to help me investigate the item it only cost me $10, so of course I was suspicious after a close examination It was ruled not silk – an impostor and after feeling the real deal It was easy to know why. I can tell the difference, it’s really beautiful! Real silk just feels really really good. When you touch it, you know — it’s smooth. It’s cool. It’s silk. Silk production here is limited these days, but the quality is still high if it’s not it probably isn’t real silk if it’s not it probably isn’t real silk. The Tomioka silk mill almost failed from the start because of a terrible misunderstanding between the Japanese and French cultuers When the mill was constructed there weren’t any foreigners here and when the French came they brought the silk machines and red wine Paul Brunant was the engineer on the ground The task to hire the workers for the mill became impossible when the locals believed that he was … Is it true? Are you vampires? A blood sucking vampire. I mean – no one had ever seen red wine drunk from a glass like this it looked like blood The misunderstanding led to no one wanted to work for the bloodthirsty French mill until the mills Japanese head manager hired his own Fourteen-year-old daughter to a position quickly the myth of blood sucking foreigners was dispelled The story is one of the favorites to tell at the mill Nearby is Shimonita nicknamed RETRO TOWN because it hasn’t changed much – in a long time When the mill closed the local economy shrunk and what has been left behind is a snapshot of Japan from decades ago It’s a real treat to walk the streets here and see what Japan used to look like Shimonita is famous for its sauce flavored breaded pork cutlets, and I was taken to Kiyoshiya Shokudo (restaurant) for a massive Shimonita Katsudon lunch The inside hasn’t changed much like the town While waiting for lunch to arrive I got a chance to ask Koto-san about Shimonita retro town name In the early Showa era, there was a very flourishing street around here and the town people considered seriously whether it should be preserved as it was, or be renewed to a more modern one people preferred living in the old-fashioned town rather than its modern counterpart Thanks to people’s decision, “Retro Town” comes to be one of the strong points of Shimonita Thank you for waiting! Here you are what’s this? This is the “Shimonita Katsudon” locally made breaded pork cutlets with sauce on rice All of the shops in Shimonita have incredibly delicious foods It’s so good! Here’s how he makes the pork tender It’s tenderized like this since the shop opened decades ago. The area is also famous for konnyaku a rubbery food that is used in a lot of Japanese cuisine It’s made from the konjac potato, and it takes the flavor of the sauce or ingredients around it What an amazing adventure we had today it was like taking a trip back in time So if you’re interested in learning where Japan came from and what makes it the country it is today? Make the trip to Jobu Silk Road and Tomioka Next time welcome to Obama city Japan known as a fishing town with amazing food and beautiful sunsets and In 2008 when a man with the same name became President of the United States That relationship is well a little weird well spend a couple of days in this unique town on the Sea of Japan If you liked it hit that subscribe button and check out another one of our shows Don’t miss my second live streaming channel only in Japan go and check out location photos on Instagram


  • Reply David L April 13, 2018 at 11:17 am

    09:27, I will definitely order this food if they have this service

  • Reply David Imhoff April 23, 2018 at 2:59 am

    I want to be in Japan with you!

  • Reply Daniel Nguyen April 26, 2018 at 4:37 am

    This video isn’t really about the silk worms. Just some parts of the video are

  • Reply Samantha Padilla April 26, 2018 at 2:59 pm


  • Reply ijansk April 27, 2018 at 7:09 am

    Can you make a video about Visual Kei culture? Pretty much ignored by the media, but very popular indies movement around the world.

  • Reply HBN Infotech - Tutorials April 29, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    Japan is really peculiar and very special

  • Reply spuspu Absher April 29, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    nice boii what else silk poo dish?

  • Reply linling1240 April 30, 2018 at 5:44 am

    Japan is so good at learning from everyone then exceeding everyone.

  • Reply Dr.Lovve April 30, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    This doesn't explain the whole trajectory from the silk making era to the robots. This is just a travel video about the place! I feel cheated.

    Kind suggestion: you could also make your presentation style a little more fluid.

  • Reply Tetra Digm April 30, 2018 at 11:52 pm

    so basically, they have never done anything but what other people already did. and for all their technology, 99% is purchased. anything they actually make themselves is made by a sweatshop of hundreds of workers just to create a single new product, and only 1 guy gets the credit.

  • Reply Sir Laugh May 3, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    5:26 trumps hair probably was made of silk worms

  • Reply jurassic park May 15, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    i thought the thumbnail was just a bunch of cigarette buds

  • Reply Noble House Foundation May 21, 2018 at 2:05 am

    John, Where do they make silk now in Japan ?

  • Reply S春香 May 25, 2018 at 10:05 am

    Even the Toyota was making mechanical loom before their car, Japanese industry really started from fabrics. Good choice of theme! (as usual) Thanks for great video.

  • Reply 21whichiswhich June 1, 2018 at 10:00 am

    Silk connect East and West in Ancient times.

  • Reply kyle June 23, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    That guy prob bought that underwear for himself..

  • Reply Bobofet241 July 2, 2018 at 12:36 am

    The music makes it hard to hear the 'tutorial' and is really annoying.

  • Reply William Poetra Yoga July 9, 2018 at 2:46 am

    The chocolate prices actually look OK, considering that it was mostly for tourists.

  • Reply V Sen July 10, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    Lol that dance with robot is so random and funny.

  • Reply Austin Hart July 17, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    John, your work is second to none. I wish the U.S. could claim you as one of ours. You do a great job of being culturally respectful. There is only one other host I have ever found that truly met that mark and that is Andrew Zimmern. He is different, but he appreciates people. Your work is excellent.

  • Reply MarkusZM July 20, 2018 at 11:49 am

    duude I'm hooked.

    you have a very Discovery Channel/Educational TV style of narrating.
    it's very entertaining.

  • Reply NotBeta2 July 28, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    "how could i not buy some?" well… you only bought one so…

  • Reply Rockey gamer July 29, 2018 at 5:50 am

    I hate Japan 🇯🇵

  • Reply Age First July 29, 2018 at 9:16 pm

    Cool 😎🍅🌶🥕🥒🥔🥫🍛🍶🥄

  • Reply budd Aah August 7, 2018 at 12:29 pm


  • Reply Super Average August 22, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    I assume all the dislike are from Chinese people lol, they do this kind of thing a lot. They dislike everything regarding Japan.

  • Reply 云梦丁氏 August 26, 2018 at 10:30 pm

    How dare u Japanese steal our silk!

  • Reply Naveen Kumar August 29, 2018 at 9:37 am

    History of Silk: Although silk was well known in Europe and most of Asia, China was able to keep a near monopoly on silk production. The monopoly was defended by an imperial decree, condemning to death anyone attempting to export silkworms or their eggs. Only around the year 300 AD did a Japanese expedition succeed in taking some silkworm eggs and four young Chinese girls, who were forced to teach their captors the art of sericulture.[19] Techniques of sericulture were subsequently introduced to Japan on a larger scale by frequent diplomatic exchanges between the 8th century and 9th centuries. SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA

  • Reply Sinclair Dewitt August 31, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    Why he keeps saying tekken i bet he can’t even hit any of those combos

  • Reply Karen Dixon September 1, 2018 at 3:58 am

    Thank you.. Very interesting and informative.. 👍💕

  • Reply Priyanka Sen September 2, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    nice video but such a lolistic ad of secret deo!!!!!!!!!

  • Reply First Maje September 2, 2018 at 9:58 pm

    Should be retittle: "I visit Japan silk worm village."

  • Reply ooXChrissieXoo September 3, 2018 at 12:12 am

    very informative and a great story, but silk worm isn't very difficult to raise. We all raised silk worms in school actually, quite easy.

  • Reply Phish N' Chimps September 8, 2018 at 1:27 am

    What made them such horrific combatants in War?Their Culture? They never ratified the Geneva Convention.

  • Reply Techy of Voidspace-3 September 8, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    But what if this Red Whine was made from blood? The Blood of Grapes? Yeah wow … morbid i know.

  • Reply sarcasmo57 September 9, 2018 at 3:40 am

    Why did the factory close?

  • Reply Onochie Ubani September 9, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    So Trump stole Japanese slogan? (make Japan great again)

  • Reply Trance Classics. September 9, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    China is better!

  • Reply Alexander Supertramp September 9, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    nice to know, that saying, i live in Obama, is totally a normal thing to say, if you live in Obama. lol

  • Reply yeyo September 9, 2018 at 10:52 pm

    I love japan and I love this guys videos

  • Reply Joseph Kim September 11, 2018 at 1:21 am

    LOL most advanced country japan? That was over a decade ago. It's now korea for sure

  • Reply Best Experiments September 11, 2018 at 12:17 pm


  • Reply RafaelS156 September 12, 2018 at 2:14 am

    wtf isit only me or is there a guy who looks like hitler in 6:57 he is in the right in the front row

  • Reply ささぷー September 13, 2018 at 12:52 am


  • Reply Th Jesse September 17, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    Wtf annoying background music!!!

  • Reply Eriksson Salisbury September 20, 2018 at 10:53 am

    If “it was silk that made Japan great”, they should thank China then

  • Reply omkr 01 October 6, 2018 at 7:42 am

    You can write messages on a paper made from silk, with messages written on it using mulberry tree extracts. The secret can be written by the silkworms…

  • Reply Joe Cortez October 7, 2018 at 9:46 am

    This “retrotown” thing isn’t unique to Shimonita. It feels like everywhere you go in Japan, there are these towns stuck in time, that have this “Showa” flavor to it. Perhaps it’s a marketing ploy to try and get tourists to come towns that have nothing else going for them?

  • Reply Xavier Vargas October 8, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    Thumbnail looked like joints with hash lol

  • Reply Robert Sarno October 8, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    really good job on film editing

  • Reply selami32 October 9, 2018 at 8:46 am

    courage to holding woman's lingerie against a woman you're the man John :d

  • Reply Jayffee Fernandez October 18, 2018 at 5:53 pm

    1:53 is that wall for blocking titans? hehe

  • Reply Steve Steele October 21, 2018 at 9:28 am

    Kinda wanted to see silk harvesting

  • Reply ジュン October 23, 2018 at 10:11 pm

    Cough cough toyota.

  • Reply Dragon Tiger Love January 1, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    This view is very cool

  • Reply David Stunning January 1, 2019 at 10:41 pm

    I found you through mike from strictly dumpling. Great videos man.

  • Reply Thehappygodzilla January 19, 2019 at 5:52 am

    I used to have silk worms as pets and they are actually cute when you look at their face

  • Reply nordfresse January 22, 2019 at 2:19 am

    I really enjoy watching you videos. The videography is also very good, which camera are you using? Looks like a GH5, am I right?

  • Reply Kazi rahaman January 30, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    See Japanese university

  • Reply Rosita Shen February 7, 2019 at 12:32 am

    Why all the historical things in Japan comes from China and had Chinese influences but the west believes that Japan own these historical things not china

  • Reply skorn February 16, 2019 at 12:23 am

    I thought it said "How Japan Became High"

    Those worms looked like blunts man lmao

  • Reply Kk Veereshkumar March 6, 2019 at 10:30 am

    I start silkworm farming how to start first

  • Reply Whirlybird April 13, 2019 at 6:53 am

    That silk worm chocolate lady was just so sweet and lovely

  • Reply Selvokaz April 13, 2019 at 11:16 pm

    What a amazing world, if only we were all born Japanese, or French.

  • Reply nangseng kukoi April 14, 2019 at 4:51 pm

    My mother my granny and the womens of my family are very good at silk producting..but i am the balck sheep i even scared of this lill worms😢😢😢

  • Reply Karl Puno April 16, 2019 at 1:37 pm

    is this the first High tech building before buliding bullet trains and other machines.

  • Reply Fragnance of your pillow April 18, 2019 at 10:38 pm

    Could you please tell what did they give green square blocks to eat if it . Please .

  • Reply Katrina Casinillo April 24, 2019 at 7:48 am

    This is amazing!

  • Reply Bludclone April 26, 2019 at 12:47 am

    10:45 is the wow react from facebook

  • Reply Hiram Eberhardt April 29, 2019 at 11:35 pm

    The silk worm looks like "MOTHRA"

  • Reply gottfer May 1, 2019 at 9:41 am

    did you know, japanese toilet is actually a french invention…
    then interview of damien Robuchon in japan who is now owning Nil which is a company about hygiene, cleaning and sanitizing basically
    and like you said, same for the silk, huge help from France and even more for the trains actually
    im scratching my head
    does that mean, France made japan great?

  • Reply Bee Bee May 1, 2019 at 9:58 am

    That why when we already use ( wagol ) item can not forget how smoot n feel in that wagol produce under waer n sleep dress .

  • Reply Kazuma Kazuma May 1, 2019 at 8:21 pm

    Wherever you look is a great scenery just in Japan.

  • Reply Jaguarcliff Sushi Adventures May 3, 2019 at 2:25 am

    This is in Gunma! Thanks for making a documentary about this place! I wanna visit this place. I'm from Takasaki btw 😁

  • Reply Ginka Stoynova May 3, 2019 at 10:23 am

    Do they still produce silk the same way. In Bulgaria I visited one of those houses with "silkworm cellars" in them but it was no longer used. In the kerpich house they fed the caterpillars with chernica leaves.

  • Reply Dr Victor Fursov - Entomologist Beekeeper Teacher May 3, 2019 at 3:48 pm

    Very nice story! thank you!

  • Reply chironapolonio May 4, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    Wonderful video. The history; Demien; the red wine; those mountains. The technology married to nature. That pork looks so good, it makes me angry🤣

  • Reply KINGDOM of AU May 4, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    china invents
    japan refines
    china adds chemicals to make it cheaper
    LOL disgusting

  • Reply Miche Y May 4, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    I love the commercial too

  • Reply demammoet May 5, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    The charisma of that older restaurant owner is through the roof.

  • Reply Elsa Innamorato May 6, 2019 at 10:01 am

    These insects are being that are raised and exploited for there production. your hearts and your minds having program to stiffen and think that these are things good ….. There are so many products that pollutes our oceans and water and overfill are dumpsthese products can be recycled and can be turned into endless varieties of fabric and different feels of softness. This is food for l thought

  • Reply Don't worry Bre Happy May 6, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    Idk how but this whole time I thought the title read "How Japanese people became high from silkworms"

  • Reply Catnip2011 May 8, 2019 at 1:19 am

    Thousands upon thousands of silkworms (cocoon) have to be scoured to death with hot water in order to harvest the silk for a piece of silk. I'd rather go with synthetic (silk) material and a peace of mind.

  • Reply MaggsHappy May 9, 2019 at 12:34 am


  • Reply 哪里哪里 May 9, 2019 at 10:05 am

    [email protected]!!!!

  • Reply Kane Stone May 14, 2019 at 8:19 pm

    Did u buy those for yourself…. what kind of fantasy world u live in

  • Reply Jj Jhon Marlon Edra May 15, 2019 at 11:05 am

    JUBU region
    where SAITAMA lives

  • Reply 崩星咆哮炮 May 16, 2019 at 7:08 am

    I used to raise these worms for fun when I was very young, there were peddler
    s selling them outside elementary school when it's about season. I raised them in a Boji ( a Chinese big pan-like tool plaited with bamboo) until they became cocoons. Some of the cocoons got broke though and sucked dry by spiders, spiders are harmful to this kind of insect. The survived ones became moth and lay tiny yellowish spawns on the paper I put in the Boji. Kinda missing those young ages that I dare to grab worms and geckos with my bare hands, the memory had lost for a long time, until I saw this video.

  • Reply Crisjapop cris May 16, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    I usually don't like insects very much but Japanese silkworms are actually cute. They are soft as silk itself, very hungry and curious little creatures. ❤🐛

  • Reply Mr6gamer May 19, 2019 at 11:34 pm

    How does this video became eating amazing food from how silk was made? 😅

  • Reply HEAVY SUNDUK May 22, 2019 at 2:22 am

    Come Assam, India Manchester of the East for Mugha Silk.

  • Reply akram khan May 22, 2019 at 8:48 pm

    Nice video I am Bangladesh

  • Reply Amrit Chhetri May 24, 2019 at 7:20 am


  • Reply Glitch May 28, 2019 at 3:01 am

    I just had a bowel movement that looked like those silk worms. Does anyone have a clue as to what may have caused such an event?

  • Reply Raj M May 29, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    Check out Mysore silk .. from India 🇮🇳

  • Reply Kakashi Hatake June 1, 2019 at 10:46 am

    In operation FROM FOR 115 years???

  • Reply ElEx SpArX June 6, 2019 at 7:22 pm

    Wtf. Video less about silkworms and full of absurd things

  • Reply ABC 5555 June 9, 2019 at 6:46 am

    6:45 The tools for your pleasure time !

  • Reply Immanuel Kant June 14, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    I recommend Minakami Onsen in Gunma Prefecture.
    Minakami Town, located in the northern part of Gunma Prefecture, is famous as one of Japan's most popular rafting spots. In spring, the river melts with snowmelt, and you can enjoy world-class torrent rafting, with many “repeaters wanting to come next spring”!
    You can experience various river activities such as getting down from the boat and swimming, jumping from the rocky place when the summer water volume is calming, and during the fall leaves, you can enjoy a superb view rafting while looking at the beautiful valley beauty I can enjoy it.
    It is such Minakami town, but there is not only rafting but also the attraction of nature such as Tanigawadake, so it is a popular tourist spot as a hot spring resort

  • Reply Immanuel Kant June 14, 2019 at 1:33 pm

    A short distance from Minakami Onsen, there is Takara Onsen, a mixed bath famous for foreigners.

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