Okada in Chita Peninsula: Sakichi Toyoda might have been a corporate spy!


     “Sakichi stole the idea for the invention of the automatic loom from Toraoh!” The guide said that passionately…I was in a small village named Okada, Chita Peninsula in Aichi Prefecture with AGGN members. AGGN (Aichi Goodwill Guides Network) hosted the tour around Chita Peninsula on December 2nd, CAM00713and I joined it. The participants were divided into three groups and were walking around the village of Okada with some local guides.

     Sakichi means Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota Industries Co. Ltd, known as the inventor of the automatic loom. According to the guide, Sakichi stayed in the village as a carpenter in 1889, and learned everything he needed for the invention of the power loom from Toraoh Takeuchi, who was an entrepreneur in Okada.

     Actually, by when Sakichi visited Okada, Toraoh had already invented an automatic loom. Sakichi came to the place because he got the information somewhere. Unfortunately, Toraoh had not taken a patent for his invention. Sakichi had his power loom patented in first in 1891 and was given a title of “King of Japanese Inventors”.

    The local people in Okada do not like the fact that Sakichi is famous for the invention of the automatic loom. They are trying to prove that Sakichi was a corporate spy but it seems to be difficult. According to the guide, Sakichi’s second wife discarded all records before their marriage. They noticed that while they were researching…CAM00694

     Okada used to flourish until Showa 30s (1950s) from the Edo period (1603-1869) as a leading producer of cotton textile, but now it is all gone to pot. The village has left behind the 21st Century, but because of that, it has remains of old houses along the street and is a good place for ramblers.

     The tour participants enjoyed about one hour stroll as follows: 1) an old storehouse build by Toraoh 2) a black storehouse 3) an old post office built in 1899 (It has special roof tiles molded the mark of Japan’s post service “〒” ) CAM007004) the remains of an old bank 5) a wall with horse rein hooks 6) Jiun-ji Temple 7) the remains of an old hospital 8) the remains of an old air raid shelter 9) an old restaurant (We just looked at the building from outside. We didn’t have lunch there!) 10) Shinmei-sha Shrine (It was built by the old materials of Ise-jingu Shrine.)CAM00710CAM00711

     One hour was too short! There are many interesting things in Okada. I would like to visit again in spring when cherry blossoms are in full bloom. The village must be beautiful!CAM00714

     Actually the tour was not over there. The participants left Okada and headed for another place called Utsumi by a chartered bus. I’m going to write about it next time.CAM00715CAM00716


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