Mikimoto was born 25 January 1858 in Toba, Shima Province (now Mie Prefecture). He left school at the age of 13 and sold vegetables to support his family. This is also the time when he witnessed divers bringing pearls from the sea, thereby creating a passion for pearls in him. At the age of 20, Mikimoto noticed the many flaws of pearls as he judged a pearl exhibition in 1878. This began Mikimoto's search for the development of the perfect pearl.
As president of the Shima Marine Products Innovation Association, Mikimoto began looking for an alternative method to produce pearls when demand had outstripped supply.
In 1888, Mikimoto obtained a loan to start his first pearl oyster farm at the Shinmei inlet on Ago Bay in Mie prefecture with his wife and partner Ume. On 11 July 1893, after many failures and near bankruptcy, he was able to create the hemispherical cultured pearls. The pearls were made by seeding the oyster with a small amount of mother of pearl. Despite this major discovery there were initially difficulties in selling his cultured pearls due to public confusion. To encourage sales, Mikimoto opened a jewelry boutique in Ginza where he was able to have workers educate the consumer on the nature of the cultured pearls. He introduced these pearls at a marine products exposition in Norway in 1897 and began an export business. However, it took him another 12 years to create completely spherical pearls that were indistinguishable from the highest quality natural ones, and commercially viable harvests were not obtained until the 1920s.
His company was awarded patents for pearl cultivation and in 1985 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the patent system he was selected as one of Japan's top 10 inventors. He was inducted into the house of peers by imperial decree and posthumously awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure.
According to en.wikipedia.org, alchetron.com