I participated in an exchange meeting that is held regularly. Those who participated today were natural stone, South Sea pearl, Chinese Akoya pearl traders, and freshwater pearl traders.
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Exchange meeting

Today, I participated in an exchange meeting that is held regularly. Those who participated today were natural stone, South Sea pearl, Chinese Akoya pearl traders, and freshwater pearl traders. Topics included the recent special demand for Akoya by Chinese buyers, the popularity of baroque South Sea pearls, and the nature of the Japan-US alliance when North Korean missiles were launched into Japan.

Special demand for pearl oysters by Chinese buyers.

For at least the last decade, the majority of Japanese Akoya pearls have been traded by Chinese. And under the influence of Covid-19, it became impossible to hold a physical jewelry exhibition, and payment by smartphone became popular. As a result, the Chinese trade in pearls has accelerated. From around last year, a new Akoya pearl company has emerged, and even Chinese people who have no knowledge of pearls are purchasing a huge amount of pearls every month. Some Chinese buyers make more than US$700,000 a month, but they don’t know much about pearls. Even if they don’t know much about pearls, they have trading know-how and sales channels. So they are successful. Many Japanese pearl companies are conservative, so we have no choice but to offer them cheap wholesale prices. I asked the company to send someone to China to do market research and do business directly with the company, but they wouldn’t accept it. They are satisfied with cheap wholesale prices. Anyway, the Chinese market is swallowing Akoya pearls like a big vacuum truck. As far as the statistics released by the Japanese government are concerned, the number one export destination for Akoya pearls from Japan is China, followed by Europe, America and Australia. A friend of mine works for a Japanese sake company. For several years, we have been holding events with the government to spread sake around the world. In fact, a few years ago, sake companies were in a critical situation where sales did not increase. Young people in Japan don’t drink much. Beer sales are also down, but sake was in a more critical situation than that. However, the sake industry has shifted its focus to the rest of the world and has achieved a certain degree of success in promoting the appeal of sake to people in many countries. Overcoming the crisis, they continued to work steadily and continued to promote their products to people who did not know them yet. And they have achieved some success. I respect such acts very much. I have a life in my hands and work every day. I can’t do such a grand thing right away, but I would like to convey the charm of Akoya pearls to as many people as possible.

Matsumoto Castle

South Sea pearls are harvested monthly.

Akoya pearls are harvested from December to January every year. However, South Sea pearls are harvested monthly. The ecology and environment of Akoya oysters and that of South Sea pearls are different. We, the producers of Akoya pearls, sort pearls only in December and January every year, but South Sea pearls are harvested all year round, so sorting is done all year round. I had no knowledge about South Sea pearls, so I was very surprised to hear that. According to the South Sea pearl company who was participating today, the company owns more than 20 pearl farms, mainly in Indonesia. Producing a large number of pearls. The company I work for is one of the top producers of pearls in Japan, but I can’t even compare it to their harvest. By the way, the grandfather of the person who works for the South Sea pearl company invented the stain removal process for Akoya pearls. Its processing was a revolution in the Akoya pearl industry. At that time, pearl companies from all over Japan gathered in the city of Kobe, where he is located, in search of the processing method. Kobe is still one of Japan’s major pearl processing areas, and there are about 150 pearl companies. Akoya pearls on the market are 99% stain-removed. 99% of the components of Akoya pearls are calcium, but the rest contains impurities such as protein. Removing it makes the pearl even more beautiful. For women, it might be like going to an esthetic salon to remove dullness from your face. There is a difference in brightness like changing from a fluorescent lamp to an LED. Today, different fabricators use different stain removal methods. I will write more about these processes at a later date.


About North Korean missiles

The elderly people who participated in today’s exchange meeting said that the Japanese government has not been able to grasp North Korea’s missiles. If it hits Japan, it can’t respond. Is called. I’m sure the Japanese government can’t do anything. And the United States certainly won’t help. That may be the general Japanese opinion. Their opinion is based on the media. The media has a strong tendency to report things that demean their own country. Personally, I think that both Japan and the United States are able to control and understand North Korea’s missiles, and because of the Japan-US alliance, I think that the United States will take care of air defense. Of course, there is no convincing basis for these. If North Korea fires missiles at Japan and neither Japan nor the United States responds, how will China handle it? The US has US military bases in Japan to keep China in check. These are also personal, unsubstantiated opinions. However, what I find disappointing is the sneering attitude of many Japanese people, who say, “No one will protect us anyway, and if an emergency arises, this country will be useless.” I’m not a nationalist, but I don’t feel comfortable treating our country’s security as someone else’s problem. I don’t know if they are calm or just out of peace. It seems that Japanese people have a somewhat resigned attitude towards their own governments and the companies they work for. I don’t have any knowledge about people from other countries, so I may just think that way.

A long time ago, Japan became an economic superpower, but now it is on the decline. The past 30 years have been ridiculed as the “lost 30 years,” and the rapid depreciation of the yen is causing many Japanese people to feel uneasy. Of course, recently the ban on tourism has been lifted and the city is gradually regaining its vitality.

Sharing such ramblings and having no particular solution, it was still a fun meet-and-greet today.

Kumatori, Wakayama-pref.


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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