Welcome to Seeds of the Sakura. This site provides a description of a digital media project that aims to increase understanding about Japan’s cultural history through the experiences of a former University of the Pacific student, Sanji Muto.

Sanji Muto

Sanji Muto was a student at University of the Pacific in the late nineteenth century. Upon his return to Japan, transformed by his American education at University of the Pacific, he introduced far reaching social and political changes. Sanji Muto joined the Kanebo textile business and revolutionized labor relations with his humanistic management style and, in the process, established several industry firsts. Despite his tremendous successes, Sanji Muto remained grounded, believing that men should be honest and earnest. Like the samurai, who followed the ethical code of bushidō, Sanji too embodied such values as benevolence, courage, foresight, honor, humility, integrity, loyalty, and righteousness. Sanji Muto remains an unsung hero and one of Japan’s earliest modern-day samurai.

‘Made in Japan’ Content

Interviews with Sanji Muto’s grandson, Haruta Muto, President, Kokumin Kaikan Foundation; Managing Director Hasegawa, Kokumin Kaikan Foundation; Executive Director Hanasaki, Cotton Industry Club; and Kyoto University professors deepened our explanation of Sanji Muto’s timeless messages, keen foresight, and enduring values. Site visits in Japan, including shrines, cemeteries, and museums, produced content capture in a variety of formats, including audio interviews, 2D and 3D images, and video recordings.

Project Funding

In 1919, Sanji Muto established an endowment to further communication and advance understanding between people in Japan and the United States. For 100 years, endowment distributions funded book purchases. Then, in 2018, in recognition of the growing popularity of digital resources, the Muto family approved directing endowment interest monies to digital media projects.

Screenshot of Seeds of the Sakura virtual reality museum
Project Deliverables
Virtual Reality Museum

This Virtual Reality Experience explores the formation of modern Japanese society during the Meiji regime. On your left are exhibits that examine important developments in Meiji era Japan as new leaders attempted to create a modern nation that both borrowed models from abroad but was still distinctly Japanese, and on your right the exhibits follow the experiences of Sanji Muto, as he lived many of the profound national changes.