The district of Tsubame-Sanjo, where the Aiei Sangyo plant is located, is known across Japan in the metalworking industry. Its metalworking history originated with the activities of casters way back in the early part of the Muromachi Period (1333–1568). With the start of the Edo Period (1600–1867), the area was the site of extensive manufacture of nails by blacksmiths. The middle of the Edo Period saw the transmission of technology for iron carpenter’s square for tools such as saws and matchetes, whose production boomed in this area. Ever since, the district has carried on the spirit of excellent craftsmanship.
Tsubame-Sanjo echoes with the sounds of large and small plant machinery in operation and is charged with the energy of the craftsmen working there. Although the main products changed in turn from silverware and utensils to industrial tools, home appliances, and automotive components after the war, the industry has constantly responded to the needs of the times with sophisticated technology. The metal die-and-mold industry supporting the town as its core industry currently consists of some 250 firms, counting just those in the central part of Niigata Prefecture. These firms are filling a wide-ranging demand for stamped, plastic, forged, cast, and rubber products from all parts of Japan. Manufacturing technology was the force driving Japan in the phase of booming economic growth. A new chapter in the story is now being opened in this area, whose activities are widening to the global stage.
photo credit: Tamagawado