|Birth Place||Kitakatsuragi-gun, Nara-ken|
Sakamoto Kyūgorō developed automatic looms and was a former president of Enshu Seisaku (present Enshu Limited).
He was born as the fourth son of a farmer family in Nara in July 28, 1882. Kyūshirō and Tatsu, his parents, had eight children.Besides farming, the father sold wooden tubs he made to make a living. His mother and sisters weaved clothes to support. He maintained outstanding grades since he was in elementary school.People then called him "Sullen Kyūgorō". This nick name came from the way he wouldn't talk to anyone when he was concentrating on something.He liked drawing and he used pseudonym of Shunsui. When he was in junior high school, his father died. He created ema, pictorial offering boards, to pay his tuitions.Studying his mother and sisters weaving, he created a device to control the tension of warp yarns.
In 1902, he graduated from junior high school and enrolled into Osaka Kōtō Kōgyō Gakko (present Osaka University). As he graduated from the school, he worked as a railroad engineer.He married to Yae in 1909. He studied machinery by reading books at night. In 1914, he quit his job to work for an iron factory in Osaka, Kimoto Tekkō, with a desire to operate machines. Japan took the side against Germany in WWI. As the coutry was then the major supplier of machines, Sakamoto worked on the development of substitutes of its products.
He quit the company in 1919, and worked in several companies in Osaka. With a recommendation from a powerful businessman in Osaka, he was hired at Suzumasa Shokki (present Enshu Limited) as the chief engineer in 1921. He undertook the turnaround of the company with Fujiki Shigeichi, Takahashi Kikumatsu, and Kojima Seigorō. In order to create a completely automatic loom that weaves broad width fabrics, he lived in his work place. The company renamed as Enshu Shokki in 1923. He developed and applied for patents of a device to cut warp in 1926, and a waft-stop motion in 1927. The business began growing and it became stable in the beginning of Showa period. He earned a patent for a bobbin winder in 1928.In response to the new law set in 1929 that prohibits youths to work at night, the demands of his productive automatic looms increased rapidly. In the same year, he visited China and received orders.
In 1930, he was granted for his achievements on inventions an audience to the Showa Emperor when the emperor visited Shizuoka Prefecture. The national association of invention awarded his creations with the best prize. When he was fifty, he became the president of Enshu Shokki in 1932. Sakamoto Automatic Loom was introduced in 1933. Sakamoto named the machine with the letter that means "work"(働) instead of "move"(動), which is commonly used to spell "automatic"(自動), saying "it does not just move, it works for us".The move of the factory from Sunayama to Takazuka began in 1934 and finished in two years. He earned patents for an automatic shuttle-changing loom, Sakamoto Negative Warp Let-off Loom, High Speed Weft Winder, and High Speed Warping Device.
The company started machine tools production by the order from the Japanese Army in 1938. He received the Medal of Honor with Green Ribbon in 1940. The business renamed as Enshu Kikai in 1941. The prefectural governor awarded him as a contributor of industry. Along the end of WWII in September, 1945, the production stopped. Next month, it restarted as Enshu Shokki. He invented a thread winding device around this time.
As a great inventor, he received Medal of Honor with Blue Ribbon in 1950. Since 1953, he released inventions such as a warp sizing device, an apparatus to prevent warp to make two lines, and more. He won the Prime Minister's Award at the National Invention Exposition of Japan in 1954. In 1955, he developed Sakamoto Positive Warp Let-off Motion. Same year, Doctorate of engineering was granted to him for his essay on the study about warp let-off motion of power looms. He wrote it while he was under treatment at a hospital.
The weaving industry began suffering from overproduction since 1958. Sakamoto promoted the company to diversify its business and to manufacture machine tools. Consequently, it became a major machine tools manufacturer later on. The company renamed as Enshu Seisaku in 1960 and Sakamoto passed its presidency on to Sakamoto Tōemon.
He passed away on January 3, 1961. He earned 106 patents and 209 petty patents.
In spite of efforts, the company wasn't growing when he just started working at Enshu Shokki. He then told workers, "If we are patient in hard times, someday we will make it." His hobbies were playing shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute), drawing, and collecting antiques, calligraphies, paintings, and swords. He despised gambling. He also made many donations.
"Enshū Ijinden Daiikkan" (Stories of Great Figures of Enshū vol.1)
"Hamamatsu Sangyōshi" (the History of Hamamatsu's Industry)
"Enshū Kikai Kinzoku Kōgyō Hattenshi"(History of Enshū’s Machinery and Metal Industry)
"Enshu Kabushiki Kaisha 80 Nen-shi" (80 Years History of Enshu Limited)