Hoshino Chotaro was born in Mizunuma, a district of Kurohonecho, Kiryu City in 1845. The Hoshino family were wealthy farmers and from generation to generation actively engaged in the political administration of the district.
The photograph shows the filature mill established by Chotaro in 1873. (A filature mill transforms silk cocoons into raw silk yarn.) At the time, Japanese raw silk sold overseas was considered of poor quality, and often the weight of the yarn was inaccurate. As a result, Japanese raw silk was held in poor regard.
For that reason, Chotaro, along with his adopted brother Ryoichiro of the
Arai family in Kazuno, purchased silk throwing machines and established
a filature mill.
Ryoichiro traveled to the United States, and, in order to sell their silk yarn, visited many companies. The two brothers combined their efforts to manufacture and sell silk yarn of high quality. As a result, American and European customers recognized the value of Japanese raw silk, leading to even more sales overseas.
The Japanese government established a large silk filature corporation in
Tomioka, Gunma Prefecture, however, the first privately owned and operated
filature mill in Japan was the one established in Mizunuma.
The filature mill no longer stands, however, its original site is located
behind the Kurohone Museum of History and Antiquity.
Hoshino Chotaro's gravesite is here. For more information regarding the Mizunuma Filature Mill, see here.