Japan heritage site sells at auction for 35 million Yen

The historic Goto Textile factory in Gunma Prefecture was up for public foreclosure auction earlier this year and appears to have found a buyer.

Goto Orimono is a silk textile manufacturer that was established here in 1870 by Sadakichi Goto, aged 22 at the time. He was quick to introduce Western-style textile dyeing methods and vastly improved the region’s Kiryu silk production. The buildings are Nationally Registered Cultural Properties and are considered of great significance to the region’s textile industry.

The property was first up for auction in January 2021 with a minimum bid set at 43,288,000 Yen. It failed to attract any bidders. A second auction was held in May, with a local real estate company making the winning bid of 35 million Yen (approx. US$317,000). The company is hoping to preserve and restore the historic property.

The exact age of the main house is unknown but thought to date from the early 1870s. Some parts have been extended and altered over the years. 

The textile factories were built before WWII, with some built shortly after. They feature nokogiri (saw-tooth) rooflines. Records even exist of the prefecture providing written approval for two flushing toilets in 1934, just two years after the region had running water. Textile dying requires a lot of water, with the on-site wells used for this purpose. 

The property has 11 buildings in total, ranging from Meiji, Taisho, pre-war Showa, and post-war Showa eras. 

Location

Higashi, Kiryu City, Gunma Prefecture

Sources:
Jomo Shimbun, May 28, 2021.
The Mainichi Shimbun, May 29, 2021.

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