The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Drainage and Ventilation

Drainage by Scooping up Water Stage by Stage
1964 - 1967

[Drainage by Scooping up Water Stage by Stage]
37.9 x 54.2 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

Text at the Top Left
This picture shows drainage work called dangumi in the first half of the Meiji era (1868-1912). Even in the mid-Meiji era when steam pumps were available, this method of drainage was still used because miners could not send steam everywhere in the pit. But this method was difficult for pits with steep slopes to adopt. (Also around 1907, this method was used at small-scale coal mines.)

Text at the Bottom Left
It was said that a laborer doing dangumi work ate 1 sho (about 1.8 liters) of rice a day when the same quantity of rice cost 10 sen (0.1 yen). This job was extremely hard sweaty work. These workers who did this job were, so to speak, human engines. It was not easy for them to do the work because several dykes were allotted to each person. (The dykes often had holes which were resealed with clay.) Additionally, they had to always duck their heads while working because most of the slopes led to thin coal beds and had very low ceilings. This working posture made the oil cans filled with drained water feel much heavier. They were paid 40 sen or more a day, which was more than normal wages.

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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