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Feature JAPAN'S TECHNOLOGICAL ACHIEVEMENTS Dr. Hashimoto Interview An insightful conversation about the development of manufacturing in Japan Dr. Hisayoshi Hashimoto former director, Technology Division, Small and Medium Enterprise Agency VEENA YOSHINO J APAN’s small and medium enterprises supported traditional crafts since before the Meiji Period, and even now continue to support the development of the nation’s modern industry. Today, they form the backbone of world-class technologies. To learn about how these enterprises have supported Japan’s growth, we spoke to Dr. Hisayoshi Hashimoto, former director of the technology division at the Small and Medium Enterprise Agency, now doing research focusing on the activities of small and medium enterprises at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies. 6 | highlighting japan Tell us a little bit about the history of how Japan developed its skills in manufacturing and industry. Japan existed in a state of national isolation until the end of the Edo Period, which gave it some time to develop its own unique culture without much influence from outside. The growth of culture can be seen most clearly during that time, which is when samurai culture was born. The skills of craftsmen were already flourishing as they created the impressive swords that were to become protective and sacred objects for the samurai.