Chapter

A World within a World

Tamara K. Hareven

in The Silk Weavers of Kyoto

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780520228177
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520935761 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520228177.003.0002
A World within a World

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Nishijin cloth is considered informally a cultural property of Japan. The introduction of the jacquard, followed by the spread of the powerloom, revitalized Nishijin's industry and made it supreme in Japan. Following its recovery after the Korean War, Nishijin enjoyed a decade of prosperity until dwindling markets, resulting from the Oil Shock of the early 1970s, caused its continuing decline. The manufacturers have continued to maintain family businesses, but the larger family concerns have been incorporated into companies. Nishijin's system of production underwent several transformations in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, following the introduction of the jacquard mechanism and the powerloom. Nishijin's decline has undermined the weavers' security more dramatically than that of the manufacturers. Many older people who have lived through recessions in Nishijin view the current one as the most serious and irreversible in their experience.

Keywords: Nishijin; family businesses; powerloom; jacquard; Oil Shock; manufacturers; weavers

Chapter.  8203 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Occupations, Professions, and Work

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