PROFILE OF HISTORICAL FIGURES CONNECTED
Kuraku Matsuemon was born in Higashimiya-machi, Takasago-cho, in 1743, the oldest son of hunter. He had displayed his ability as an inventor since his childhood. He first began producing material for sails in Banshu in 1785. The material was made of cloth, which was made of string, each string being made by twisting a dozen cotton threads together. As the shipping business had used sails made from straw (called "Enhan"), these new cloth sails were received as an epoque -making invention and were called "Matsuemon-Ho". The shipping business made rapid progress by using this cloth.
Kuraku also built a wharf on Etorohu island inChishima (also known as The Kurils Islands) and a dock in Hakodate in 1791. For this he was praised by the feudal government and given the name "Kuraku", which means "enjoying work".
He also invented special ships such as " Ishibune" and "Kuiuchibune" (ships used for harbor construction). As well, he contributed to the mechanization of building ports. His bronze statue is in the confines of Takasago Shrine.