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Pearls to Factories: New Challenges and Outlook for the Future

It’s been quite a while since I last posted an article. I resigned from the company I worked for nearly 10 years in March 2024.

The company owns one of the larger-scale Akoya pearl farms in Japan.

That’s where I encountered Akoya pearls and learned how they are nurtured. For about three months each year, I visited the Akoya pearl farm, observed the growth of Akoya oysters up close, and participated in the sorting of freshly harvested Akoya pearls.

I’ve been greatly indebted to the head of the Akoya pearl farm, both professionally and personally. We shared many laughs, endured scoldings and tears, and there were numerous occasions where I even got furious with them.

Over the years, I developed a fondness for Akoya pearls. And not just as an employee but also personally, I ventured into the pearl business.

However, I couldn’t adapt to that company. Despite my love for pearls, I couldn’t fit in there.

The company’s management policies were too far from what I wanted to do with pearls. I became mentally unstable and made the difficult decision to resign.

Of course, I’ll continue with the pearl business.

Since April, I’ve been working with a college classmate.

This is Takadaya Kahei’s ship. He was a great man who traveled around Japan doing business on ships like this in the late Edo period. In early April, I went on a family trip to Awaji Island, the island where he was born.

We’re doing jobs like being a factory manager at a food processing plant, sales of sweet potatoes in Indonesia, and corn in Thailand. In April, I’ve been learning the job of a factory manager at a food processing plant from my classmate.

For me, who has worked in a very relaxed environment resembling a café, the job of a factory manager is extremely tough. There’s heavy physical labor, staff management, equipment management, sourcing raw materials, daily profit and loss calculations, and a wide range of tasks.

This is a Japanese painting from 200 years ago.

Once I master these tasks, my classmate and I plan to split the duties of a factory manager in the morning and afternoon respectively. And in our free time, we’ll do jobs related to sweet potatoes, corn, and pearls.

By early May, I seem to be progressing enough to handle the job of a factory manager alone.

In reality, my classmate has been scolding me harshly every day. The kind of words that would make an average person furious or want to go home.

All the images in this article were taken on Awaji Island, which I visited with my family in early April. Awaji Island is an island to the west of Osaka. Onions are one of Awaji Island’s specialties. This is an onion mascot.

But my classmate and I have known each other for over 20 years. I fully accept their words, understand what lies beneath, and strive every day.

Today was the last day of the month. My classmate said to me, “I’ve used quite harsh words on you this month. I think you’ve done well to keep up. This isn’t something I’d say to just anyone. Thanks to that, your rate of growth has accelerated,” with a wry smile.

In reality, I’ve hidden and cried several times. It was days of despair over my own incompetence. But at the same time, I keenly felt my classmate’s desire for me to master this job as soon as possible. It’s true that having worked in a relaxed environment at a pearl company for so long, I had become quite sluggish. I also understood that my classmate didn’t feel good about using harsh words on me.

Of course, I still have a long way to go, but I made it through April in this state.

As for pearls, fortunately, even after resigning from the pearl company, there are pearl companies willing to do business with me personally as before. So I think I’ll continue working with them on pearls.

I want all the visitors to this site to continue learning various information about Akoya pearls. The pace is very slow, but I want this site to satisfy everyone’s intellectual curiosity about pearls.

Ryotaro Shiba is the author of the novel by Kahei Takadaya, a native of Awaji Island, a disaster prevention center on Awaji Island that preserves the same house as it was at the time of the great earthquake in 1995, and the “Pearl Bridge” that spans Awaji Island and Honshu. Kobe, a Japanese city where I live, is said to be the city of pearls. Few people know about it. Kobe Port was the first port opened after Japan’s period of national isolation. From this port of Kobe, pearls departed for the world. There are no pearl farms in Kobe. Kobe is where the “stain removal technology” for pearls was established. For this reason, pearls from all over Japan still flock to Kobe.

The market price of Akoya pearls seems to be at its peak again. The company I resigned from also paid the highest bonus ever. It feels unpleasant to resign when the economy is bad and the rewards are low. It was good for me to be able to resign at a time like this, with the highest rewards ever. It’s not because of money that I resigned.

It’s because I love pearls that I left the pearl company. It’s a strange story. But that’s the truth.

In Japan, the Golden Week holiday begins tomorrow, so there will be consecutive holidays.

During this holiday, I plan to produce as many pearl products as possible.

The site updates are very slow, but for some reason, the number of visitors to this site continues to increase. I’m curious about that, but I’m grateful. I want to work hard now and update the products and articles.

Well, it seems like I’ve been writing similar articles lately.

Anyway, thank you all as always.

The purpose of the trip was to celebrate my father’s 77th birthday as a family.



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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