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History of Yamashita Pearl

18 years have passed since the end of the war. The founder, Ryoichi Yamashita, founded Yamashita Pearl in poverty.

(Photo: The founder, Ryoichi Yamashita, is in the center. The baby in his arms is Futoshi Yamashita, the third generation owner.)

The year is 1963, 18 years after the end of the war, which left the land in ruins. It was a time when Japan was making concerted efforts to rebuild after the war.

At that time, the Hiraura area was a remote peninsula where the only way to get to Uwajima city was by walking through the mountains or by boat. As a result, the villagers were very poor, either fishing or growing vegetables on terraced fields in the mountains. They even said, ``It's fine to marry a girl from Hiraura (because she works hard), but don't marry her!''

Furthermore, since the first generation member, Ryoichi Yamashita, was from a branch family, I think he jumped into the pearl industry even more impoverished and hoping to find a way to make ends meet.

Under these circumstances, the first generation started by growing and selling Akoya oysters (mother of pearls), and used the sales and loans as capital to invite engineers from Mie Prefecture and create the foundation for pearl farming.

Heaven and Hell. The second generation, Takanori Yamashita, overcame turbulent times.

After graduating from high school, the second generation, Takanori Yamashita, got a job at Toyota Motor Corporation in Aichi Prefecture. After experiencing the culture and harshness of the city there, he returned to his beloved hometown at the age of 22. Then, under his father, the first generation, he began his journey into pearl making.

At that time, the pearl industry continued to develop significantly until around 1990, benefiting from high economic growth, the bubble economy, and the popularity of pearls. However, the economic bubble burst and around 1993, a large number of Akoya oysters died and the development of the pearl industry came to a halt. Then, as if to add insult to injury, the Lehman Shock occurred in 2008, which had a devastating effect on the pearl industry.

The reason why Yamashita-Pearl was able to survive even during these turbulent times was because the second generation, Takanori , maintained solid management and continued to refine his techniques for producing high-quality pearls.

Futoshi Yamashita, the third generation who is spreading his wings around the world with design and metal engraving as his weapons.

The pearl industry has been in a slump for a long time and its future is uncertain. My predecessor told me, ``If there's something else you want to do, do it.'' After graduating from high school, he left for Osaka to study design. At a vocational school and atelier, he studied design and learned the basics of metal engraving, and returned home in 1996. He begins training in pearl making under hisfather, Takanori.

Based on aquaculture, he began making original jewelry using the design and metal engraving skills he had learned. Passed the first round of judging at the 1st Uwajima Pearl Design Contest (title: "Buckle King"). After that, he won the category award in the third edition (title of the work ``Octopus Ring'').

Furthermore, with an eye on the future, we began expanding overseas. Starting with business with Finnish pearl seller Kuunpisara in 2014, we exhibited at "JapanExpo in Thailand" in 2017, "Bangkok Japan Expo 2018" and "Taiwan Founding Market" in 2018. We are seeing a positive response, with lines forming at exhibitions overseas.

In 2019, we opened a new store in our hometown of Hiraura. At the same time, we are renewing our online shop and aiming for further development.