The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Fights, Rice Riots

Fight with Real Swords at a Pit in Karatsu
December 1694

Karatsu no Tanko de no Shinken Shobu
[Fight with Real Swords at a Pit in Karatsu]
38.2 x 54.3 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

Text on the Right
There was a fight with real swords at a pit in Karatsu around 1897. It was said that both of the miners who fought with each other had not practiced fencing in kendo before then. They spent a few minutes without brandishing their swords, each holding their sword aimed at their opponent's face. One threw his sword at his opponent. Then the one without a sword was reportedly killed in a moment by the other. The miner who killed his coworker, dodging the thrown sword, was imprisoned. It was said that he was nicknamed "Shinken (real sword)" and was distinguished for his nerve after being released from prison several years later.

Text at the Top Left
It was rare for even miners who were reckless with their lives to formally fight a one-on-one duel with real swords. Miners made it a habit to fight in the nude even when it was cold. It was because they wanted to use their tattoos, which were symbolic of men, to advantage in their fights. Therefore, they dared to show their tattoos to each other when they took a bath or fought with others.

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

  Next pictorial record>>

1|2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 |   Next 10 Items>>