Learning From The Masters

Empress Michiko to Empress Masako – Continuing The Imperial Sericulture

Empress Michiko has kept the sericulture activities alive in the palace for decades. 2019 was her last sericulture tasks and passed it on to Empress Masako this year. On Monday 11 May 2020, the palace held a ceremony called “Goyosan Hajime no Gi” to mark the opening of the year’s silk-farming activities in Momijiyama Imperial Cocoonery in Tokyo, Japan. And during the private ceremony, Empress Masako started feeding the silkworms type – Koishimaru, with the shredded mulberry leaves for the first time.

The sericulture tradition was first  started in 1871 by Empress Sho Ken. Since then, the tradition has been passing on to the next generations until today. They usually grow many kinds of silkworms, but due to the Covid-19 situation, Koishimaru type is the only one they grow this year which produce soft and strong silk fabric.

Continuing the palace sericulture: below is a video about Empress Michiko and her staff during the process of the silk cultivation – from growing mulberry trees and feeding silkworms in the palace to producing fine silk cloth – from Koujo Hasukagi YouTube Channel in Japanese and French:…

Here are some images (from Koujo Hasukagi YouTube Channel) about – The Imperial Sericulture of the Japanese Empress – to give you general understanding about how the silkworms transformations in the palace:..

The eggs and the 3mm silkworms. Usually it will take about 30 days to be as large as middle finger and start to pupate.

Empress Michiko feeding silkworms with shredded mulberry leaves in a ceremony marking the start of silkworms farming.

The 3mm silkworms eating the mulberry leaves in large quantity.

Empress Michiko continuosly feeding the bigger silkworms with the whole leaves.

Bigger size of silkworms.

The harvest of the branches of mulberry leaves in the palace.

Empress Michiko feeding the bigger silkworms with the whole branch of mulberry leaves.

The big silkworms are about the size of middle finger. Not long before they stop eating and put in the weaved rice straws construction.

Weaved rice straws construction built for silkworms to spin their silk fluid.

A silkworm spinning around their silk fluid around it until closed inside in a cocoon.

Empress Michiko with her private staff collecting the cocoon out of the weaved crossbar.

Empress Michiko selecting the undamaged cocoons with the team.

Selected cocoons go into the silk cultivator to hot water to soften the gum until they found the silk filaments.

Silk bundles before weaved into a silk fabric.

Fine white silk weaved cloth.

Source: Koujo Hasukagi YouTube Channel , Mainichi Japan News Online.