Hamamatsu was one of the largest growers of cotton in Japan since the middle Edo period (the 18th century). Naturally, people slowly began to sell cloths, which they initially started to weave for themselves. The textile manufacturing became more active in the region as Inoue Masaharu, the lord of Hamamatsu-clan since 1845 to 1847, recommended farmers to manufacture cotton fabrics as a side job.
Enshu Boseki, the first western style spinning factory in Enshu region, was established in 1884, following the introduction of Japanese style spinning machine (Garabo) in 1878 and western style machines. The industry grew phenomenally after the appearance of Toyoda Sakichi's wooden power loom in 1898. With the increase in exports in the Taisho period (1912–1926), its production was shifted from narrow width fabric (about 36cm, the general width for Japanese cloths) to broad width (over 46cm).
The textile industry in the region is characterized by each company specializing in one particular process of fabric making, such as weaving, dying, and sawing. Although most of them are small family scale business, they possess the highest level of techniques in Japan, which allow them to respond to high-mix/low-volume needs.
Japan became the world's largest exporter of cotton fabric in 1933. However, its volume gradually declined as other countries' cheaper products emerged in the market. This dramatically damaged textile companies in the region especially because the companies largely depended on orders from large trading companies. Additionally, as the workforce engaged in fabric manufacturing is aging today, the industry is now in danger of extinction.
In order to preserve Hamamatsu's unique textiles from vanishing, movements such as the formation of a project team aiming to create new products applying its traditional techniques remained are beginning.