The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Watercolor: All Genres

The Meiji-Taisho-Era (1868-1926) Small Pit Coalface Entrance
December 1966

Kiriha Irekuchi Meiji Taisho Koyama
[The Meiji-Taisho-Era (1868-1926) Small Pit Coalface Entrance]
38.1 x 54.2 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

It was at the irekuchi (coalface entrance) along the kanekata (level) that the atoyama (helper) of the hewer did not need to work hard. Because she could directly scoop up the coal mined by her sakiyama (hewer) and such work was called sukuikomi. In this case, the atomuki (atoyama) would be very cheerful humming songs while the sakiyama worked hard contrarily. The entrance was 2 meters high and the coalface was narrow. The coalface was of an aratoko (new coal bed) and the coal was so hard that even an expert hewer could not easily mine it. After the coalface was driven 3 meters deep it was widened to the width of about 4 meters. The coalfaces with thin coal seams were naturally driven quickly and the subsidiary kairos (normally kaidos: haulage ways) were lengthened day by day. And some coal pits paid additional kairo-chin (haulage fare) of 1 or 2 sen per mine car.

Text at the Top Center
Even thin coal seams were mined in an upright position in kanekatas (levels).

Lyrics of "Gotton Bushi" Song
Noborya horinasanna me ni ishi ga iru.
Kudarya horinasanna mizu ga tsuku.

Don't mine coal of an ascending coalface, or your eyes will catch coal dust.
Don't mine coal of a descending coalface, or the coal will get soaked with water.
Gotton (Clang)! (Interjected chant)

Words in the Inset
honsen-oroshi: main slope
haiki-oroshi: return air way
kanekata: level or gallery
hidari: left
migi: right
nobori-kiriha: ascending coalface
kiriha: coalface
irekuchi: entrance
tanchu: coal pillar
makitate: landing; turnout
funasoko: ship bottom; the apex of a curved branch line or turnout

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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