Matamukashi was improved by Ito Hikojiro, a breeder of silkworm eggs, a habitant of Date district, Fukushima Prefecture, in the era of Genbun(1736-1741) or Kanpo(1741-1744). The Matamukashi came from Shosu strain, and had small shaped cocoon. The name of "Matamukashi" became prevalent in Japan after the Meiji era(1868). In addition, the name of "Matamukashi" written in kanji(Chinese characters) had been already used on the book by Tsukada Yoemon in the 2nd year of Kansei(1790). According to "Kaiko No Shuruigo", the ancestor of Matamukashi was a strain of Usuakashitsu. The cocoon of Matamukashi was not constricted in the middle, and was peak shaped in the ends of cocoon at first. Afterwards, the cocoon shape gradually became like the present.
Dr. Toyama Kametaro reasoned as follows: "Matamukashi was selected from a strain of Shosu. The strain of Shosu which had the cocoon shape of long peanut, little constricted in the middle and of a little peak in the both ends of cocoon was selected from the ordinary Akajuku having been reared in Date district of Fukushima Prefecture from the old days. That is to say, the strain of Shosu was said Matamukashi." Probably, it is presumed that the ancestor of Matamukashi is an Akajuku strain among excellent Kawahisa varieties and is related to "Nyorai" varieties(in particular, "Sho-Nyorai" of "Shosu" strain) in around 1740, besides "Komarumayu", "Kinko"(in particular, "Kogumi" and "Kayanari") in around 1700.
While on the other hand, according to the description("Kaiko No Shuryigo") of Ono Tsunezo of Yanagawa-machi(Fukushima Prefecure), it was said that Matamukashi when it was named by Ito Hikojiro already had fairly round cocoon. But according to an old man of the town, the Matamukashi that was equally said "Katakoke" or "Mugimata" was little constricted in the middle and peaked in the both sides in the shape of cocoon. And the Matamukashi that was reared by Ohtake Sobei of Yanagawa-machi in the era of Tenpo(1830-1844) was synonymous with “Kodai-Matamukashi”, and was peak shaped in the both sides of cocoon and was not constricted in the middle of cocoon. This race mentioned above ceased to exist in the 15th year of Meiji(1882). This one of Takahashi Sataro was also annihilated by a germ in the 19th year of Meiji(1886). And instead of this race of Takahashi, the strain kept by Harada Heizo of Ohari-village, Igu-gun, Miyagi Prefecure was used.
In addition, the strain of Harada Heizo was found by Abe Tsunezo of Yanagawa-machi after the great effort. It was said that the strain of Harada Heizo became the parent strain of Kuniichi. Matamukashi began to be reared in the era of Genbun(1736-1741) or Kanpo(1741-1744), and became famous as a silkworm race particularly from the era of Meiwa(1764-1772). Acordingly, Matamukashi was replaced by Osu strain. Because Osu strain frequently brought poor crop of cocoon. So, Matamukashi was spread over the sericultural areas in Japan as a silkworm race suitable for filature. The demand for Matamukashi became greatly to exceed the request for the other races in the era of Bunka(1804-1818) or Bunsei(1818-1830). Then, the demand for Matamukashi decreased at the period of being fond of Seihaku(to the 15th year of Meiji(1882)) and at the period of being fond of Akajuku(to the 20th year of Meiji(1887)). But from around the 20th year of Meiji(1887), Matamukashi had become spread with Koishimaru all parts of the country accompanying wide prevalence of Shosu(white colored cocoon) strains.
Koishimaru attained the highest stage of popularity at the beginning of wide prevalence of Shosu strain(white colored cocoon). But, on the other hand, it was said that Koishimaru had the defect of having deeply constricted in the middle of cocoon, low reelability and cleanness and neatness defects. The demand for Koishimaru had decreased since the 32nd year of Meiji(1899), inspite of the improvement of it. On the other hand, the demand for Matamukashi increased more than before. And the Matamukashi had been cherished to the beginning of the Taisho era(Taisho era: 1912-1926) by the related men. During this period, many ideas about Matamukashi were advanced by silkworm eggs manufacturers, sericultural farmers, silk manufacturers etc. The difference of selecting cocoon for eggs production and of principle of breeding arose among them. Many Matamukashis of different quality were bred. The races by hybridization between Matamukashi and other races were bred. One of them differed from the old Matamukashi in quality, another was superior to the old Matamukashi. These Matamukashis were often named "OOOO-Matamukshi".
The names used in the Taisho era(1912-1926) were "Matamukashi", "Kairyo-Matamukashi", "Kinjo-Matamukashi", "Sahei-Matamukashi" etc. They were used nationally. And especially in Hokkaido, "Matamukashi" was designated as eggs in official distribution. The Sericultural Experiment Station of Japan distributed "Japanese No.1", "Japanese No.4" and "Japanese No.6" (these were improved races of "Matamukashi") to all over the country. These races were excellent in healthiness of larva and in quality of cocoon and cocoon filament. These national project reaped rich harvest.
Production of Matamukashi:
1,728,000 moths(in the 1st year of Taisho(1912))
679,000 moths(in the 5th year of Taisho(1916))
(It is presumed that one moth will hatch 400 eggs.)
1) Eikichi HIRATSUKA(1961) : History of Modern Silkworm Race Breeding, Dainippon Silk Foundation, Silk Science Research Institute, pp236
2) Eikichi HIRATSUKA(1969) : Genealogy of Japanese Silkworm Races for Practical Use, Dainippon Silk Foundation, Silk Science Research Institute, pp335