Hirata Sajiro (平田佐次郎)

Sajiro HIRATA (1842 - 1902) is a businessman from Yokkaichi City, Mie Prefecture and the founder of Hirata Boseki (Hirata Spinning Company).

He was born as the fifth son of Sashichi MIZUKOSHI, a farmer of Minami-Fukuzaki village, Asake County (current Kawagoe town, Mie County).

At the age of 13, he was articled to the Hirata family and became a sailor and porter of the ship of his master, Sajiro HIRATA, and at age 18 became a manager and at age 23 bought up Ihomaru, a ship carrying a load of 500 koku, and as a ship-owner he was in the business of carrying cargoes between Edo and Yokkaichi.

He was adopted into his master's family, the Hirata family, so that he changed his name to Sajiro HIRATA; then he gave Ihomaru to his elder brother, Sahe, and bought Fukuyoshimaru, a ship carrying a load of 1400 koku, to be engage in shipping business.

Having understood that net manufacturing business was more profitable than shipping business, he founded Hirata Ryomo Shoten (Hirata Fish Net Store) and later founded Hirata Boseki of cotton spinning; thus he developed the Hirata family into a huge enterprise and accumulated a great fortune to make his family business flourish.

Benefits of Tomisuhara villagers
He was awarded a prize by the governor of Mie Prefecture for having donated his personal assets to public utilities such as roads and the constructions of Tomisuhara Elementary School and police substations.

As a representative, he won the lawsuit of soson (a community consisting of peasants' self-governing association) real estate of Tomita-Issiki village against neighboring villages at a court of Tokyo in the Meiji period.

Sajiro HIRATA is at rest in the huge tomb of the Hirata family in Tomisuhara cemetery.

Speaking of the family of Sajiro HIRATA (the first), his son succeeded to the name of Sajiro HIRATA (the second) and served as the president of Hirata Boseki. A grandchild, Sukenori HIRATA assumed the position of the mayor of Yokkaichi City after being the president of Hirata Boseki, and constructed Yokkaichi Industrial Complex and succeeded in achieving economic development and making Yokkaichi be an industrialized city, whereas he created the negative legacy of Yokkaichi asthma pollution issue. Sukenori HIRATA's younger brother is Sukenobu MUNEMURA, the founder of Akatsuki Gakuen (Akatsuki Academy). Hirata Boseki penetrated into the spinning industry in addition to the net manufacturing business. Then, after the wartime contribution of a military factory for Nakajima airplane, they once expanded their business by constructing Hakodate factory and Fukushima factory, but they discontinued their manufacturing business of nets and spinning in 1985. Since they sold out their old factory sites for residential districts and changed the company name, they have been running different business.

[Original Japanese]