The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Other work at the yama

Pit Workers in the Old Days: Deduction; What Miners Called "Kan kuuta (Some percent was deducted from our mined coal)!"
April 1965

Mukashi no Yamabito: Kambiki; "Kan Kuuta!" to Yu
[Pit Workers in the Old Days: Deduction; What Miners Called "Kan kuuta (Some percent was deducted from our mined coal)!"]
38.2 x 54.2 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

Text on the Right
Today's kentan-gakari (weight inspecting clerk) was called a kamba in the decade starting from 1897 and a kanryo in the latter half of the Meiji era (1868-1912). He deducted dozens of tons of coal (which was measured by the unit of kin [600 g] at that time) a day from the quantity of coal mined by all miners in his pit and the results were shown by signs written on coal tallies with a piece of chalk (hakuboku). Therefore, the kamba was strongly hated by miners. In deduction called irebiki due to a lack of load in each mine car, transverse lines to show the rate of deduction were drawn above an x mark on each coal tally attached to the mine car. The rate of botabiki or deduction due to debris mixed with coal in each mine car was shown by transverse lines in a circle on each coal tally. One transverse line showed a deduction of 10 %.
Atoyamas (mainly female helpers or carriers) went to the weight inspecting clerk's office to receive their coal tallies two or three hours after they exited the pit. The office was near the trestle. In pits run by Mr. A, miners loaded each of their mine cars, which normally carried 4.2 seki [unknown unit of quantity: probably about 420 kg] of coal, with a half ton of coal by fencing their edges with large masses of coal and heaping up other lump coal inside the fence (tategure). 20 % was deducted from the load of coal in mine cars which were loaded without doing tategure. The rate of deduction (kankui) was 20 % on average and it sometimes reached as much as 30 %.

An Atoyama's Words
"Kyo wa ire mo yoku bota mo nakatta yo. Wah! Sango zutsu kamba to mitsuwake da yo. Mikomi kan bai."

"We loaded our cars with a good quantity of coal without debris. Wow! We have to share our wages among the three of our couple and the clerk, and each will take about 30 %. He deducted the quantity of our mind coal according to his own expectations."

Text at the Top
In Sumitomo Tadakuma Coal Pit, no deduction was done. However, a half mine-car-load of coal was confiscated as a punishment from those who deliberately mixed a lot of debris in their mined coal.
Coal tallies were made by miners themselves and had an individual name on each one. However, they were changed to tin plates, each with a number written on it, around the latter half of the Meiji era.

Lettering on the Tallies in the Inset
Lettering on the Hand-made Tallies
Onomi [family name meaning "a drinker"] Taizo [given name meaning "an idler"]
Lettering on the Tin Tallies
nana hyaku goju san: 753

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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