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Akoya Pearl Cultivation Chronicles: Navigating Challenges in an Ever-Rising Market

Hello. Today is January 19, 2024. The sorting of Akoya pearls harvested from January 5 is ongoing. I’ve been working tirelessly for almost two weeks without any breaks.

I genuinely enjoy the process of sorting pearls. However, during the sorting, I have the company president and the manager next to me. About 80% of their conversations revolve around gossip, such as scandals involving comedians, corruption cases of politicians, or discussions about gambling. Many people find such topics interesting, but personally, I am not interested. I find the environment where such conversations dominate to be very stressful, rather than enjoyable.

Since joining this company, I have been struggling with the stress of these conversations, especially during the year-end and New Year’s pearl sorting. Being in a position with no authority, my opinions are often ridiculed, and I become the target for their stress release.

Due to these experiences, I am careful not to belittle my subordinates. I don’t want to use my position to mock or attack those below me with jokes. Physical injuries, even fractures, may heal in a few months, but the wounds inflicted on the mind do not.

I have faced bullying since childhood, mostly due to my habit of not comparing myself to others. I have always had a clear sense of what I want to do. However, those who bullied me or attacked me did not share the same mindset. They often believed in conformity, expecting everyone to act the same way or agree with popular opinions.

In the workplace, this manifests as everyone having a habit of watching TV daily. When they learn that I don’t own a television, they indirectly attack me by labeling me as “unconventional.”

While others may only see the results when encountering news, I am interested in the causes, processes, and the media’s relationship with the events. Many news stories have layers beyond the initial headlines, and understanding them requires digging deeper.

Japanese TV programs often focus on comedians creating a ruckus, biased news reporting, programs guiding viewers on what to buy because they are unsure, or simply broadcasting popular videos from social media. While these shows may be appealing to many, I prefer observing the changing shapes of clouds in the sky.

Sharing these thoughts with my colleagues would undoubtedly make me even more disliked. Nevertheless, these stresses add up during the pearl sorting process.

In the past few days, I have been returning to the hotel after work and falling asleep with my backpack on the bed. Today, however, I had a bit more energy, so I completed the shipping for two orders. When receiving orders on Etsy or this site, I usually state that I will ship in early February, but I always aim to ship as soon as possible.

Regarding my workplace, the company I work for has started the auction for the pearls it cultured today. Even though it’s the first day, Akoya pearl prices have increased by about 30% to 40%. Last year’s prices were already record-high, and this year’s surge is even more remarkable, setting new records in the history of Akoya pearl cultivation.

I feel honored to witness this historic moment. With this, I have no regrets about my time in this company.

By the way, the company has several pearl cultivation sites, and one of them is managed by the person who became the manager when I joined. He went through significant struggles over the past eight years—mass deaths of Akoya clams, internal politics resulting in a lack of flexibility in obtaining Akoya clams, being forced into unwanted pearl cultivation due to unreasonable demands from the headquarters that didn’t understand pearl cultivation, and various other difficulties. Two years ago, the pearl cultivation site he managed received a recommendation for closure. However, a few months after that recommendation, Akoya pearl prices sharply increased, saving him. This season, with the surge in prices, he is in a more stable position. Due to the immense struggles, he aged rapidly over the years, losing a considerable amount of hair.

When I joined, he became the manager, and due to that, we have different positions, but we share a sense of having studied together. Despite the difference in roles, I appreciate the struggles he endured finally being rewarded.

In a broader sense, I’ve come to realize how challenging it is to cultivate Akoya pearls, a form of agriculture. Despite producing excellent pearls, there were times in the past when buyers asked, “Who will buy these?” and the pearls were purchased at less than 10% of the original price. On the other hand, even lower-quality pearls can fetch high prices due to market fluctuations. It seems like a constant battle against market forces, more akin to surrendering than fighting.

Today’s article has become longer than intended.

In conclusion, the Akoya pearl market this season has increased by 140% compared to last year. If you have the flexibility, waiting a few more years before purchasing pearls might be an option. I believe the market will eventually experience a downturn within the next three years.

Now, I look forward to enjoying the pearl sorting for the next two weeks.



I am part of a Japanese company with an Akoya pearl farm. Apart from the company, I personally run an Akoya pearl shop. I would appreciate it if I could share smiles with various people through pearls.

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