The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Labor in the Mines (repairs)

Coal Pits (Yama) in the Mid-Meiji Era (1868-1912): Repairers (The Chief Repairer and the Helper)
1964 - 1967

Meiji Chuki no Yama: Shikurikata (Sakiyama, Atoyama)
[Coal Pits (Yama) in the Mid-Meiji Era (1868-1912): Repairers (The Chief Repairer and the Helper)]
38.0 x 54.3 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

(The timber used was pine wood. The timber was selected according to the size of the smaller end. In tunnels for upper coal beds, timber from Japanese cedar wood was also used.)
These shikurikata (repairers) are a working couple; the husband performing the role of a sakiyama (chief) and the wife as an atoyama (helper). Such a pair was also called sashi in the same way as a couple of a hewer and a helper. In large-scale shikuri (building or repairing), another male atoyama joined to help them. The painting shows repair work at a kanekata (level).
Even a woman had to at least saw narugi (small logs) to finish the work in time to meet the deadline. Mine timbers used to make kamisashis (wedges) are shown here.
The foot of the pillar for a frame is inserted into a hole dug into the base of the wall on the elevated side of the tunnel. The hole is called a wakugama (hitch). The upper end of a pillar to be connected to a beam (hari) is called an agoshita. Both squarely-cut ends of a beam are called ebijiri. Hari is also called kamoi. A nagakasugai (long cramp) is used for supporting the timber for a hari on which the sakiyama is working. The pillar of the frame used on the elevated side of the tunnel (kataashi) is tilted more than the pillar used on the lower side (fukeashi). The hari is fixed, putting its thicker end on top of the pillar on the elevated side.

Lyrics of "Gotton Bushi" Song on the Left
Onna kinsei Koya no yama ni
nazeni mematsu ga haeta yara?

Why is the Japanese red pine considered as female found
in the forest of Mt. Koya, which is closed to women as a Buddhist training center?
Gotton (Clang)! (Interjected chant)

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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