Rihachi Sano was a Japanese silk industrialist. He was the first man to directly export Japanese raw silk to the United States.
Rihachi Sano was born in 1844 in Shiga, Japan.
At the Meiji Restoration (1868), when Tomomi Iwakura passed Omi Province (Shiga Prefecture) on a mission of bringing the Hokuriku District under the control of the Imperial Government, Rihachi provided funds to Iwakura. He joined the Ono Gumi Company of Ichibe Furukawa and became its general manager in northeastern Japan and engaged in silk reeling.
After the Ono Gumi was disbanded (1874), he continued to engage in silk reeling. He exported to the United States some raw silk (1876) and raised the reputation of Japanese raw silk and expanded its export. He also engaged in banking and mining.