Friday, August 25, 2006

Kamaishi Steel

Kamaishi City, on the coast of Iwate, is famous for steel if nothing else. Until the Americans shelled the city in the first naval attack on the Japanese mainland in 1945, the city was an important mining and shipbuilding center.

Nippon Steel
[ Nippon Steel Facility at Kamaishi Bay ]

One of the people who helped turn Kamaishi into a modern industrial city was Takato Oshima - 大島高任. He was born in Morioka in 1826 and built the first reverberation blast furnace in Kamaishi in 1858. He had built two others before in Mito in 1855 to make guns for Japan's military but he didn't have the best raw materials to work with. He was finally able to get high grade pig-iron from Kamaishi and made larger high quality cannons. He died in 1901.


Takato Oshima - 大島高任
[ Statue of Takato Oshima in front of Kamaishi Station ]

So after this long and eventful history of iron production, ship and gun making, etc. - what commodity essential to the prosperity of Japan do you think is being produced here in large quantity? PACHINKO BALLS! Kamaishi produces 80% of the pachinko balls used in Japan. Well, that's better than guns I suppose.

Lotsa Pachinko Balls
[ Pachinko Balls ]

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3 Comments:

Blogger NYD said...

Cool fact! Now I know who to thank for the balls after I rock my next machine

4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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10:56 PM  
Blogger Bryan in Japan said...

Great information! Please revive the blog!

5:23 PM  

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