The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Omens, Superstitions, Taboos

People at Coal Pits (Yamabito) in the Old Days (Crows, Cut Flowers, and Clogs)
March 1965

Mukashi no Yamabito (Karasu, Kusaki Hana, Geta)
[People at Coal Pits (Yamabito) in the Old Days (Crows, Cut Flowers, and Clogs)]
38.0 x 54.3 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

1. Everyone hates hearing the croaking of craws in the morning, and pit workers especially did.
2. Pit workers hated bringing cut flowers to the pit. It seems that it was because such flowers might remind them of the dead.
3. Pit workers did not wear getas (Japanese clogs) when they entered the pit. They said getas would get pits dirty, and also getas were dangerous to wear in the pit because of its slipperiness.

Song Lyrics
"Kawai-kawai" to naku ka to omou ya "Aho-aho" to naku karasu.
Iro ga kuroi to nikumi wa senu ga, karasuguchi yue hijideppo.

The "Caw-caw" croaking of crows sometimes sounds like "Kawai-kawai (Cute-cute)" or "Aho-aho (Ass-ass)" to me. Their black feathers do not make me hate them, but their beaks are so sharp like drawing pens that I do not want to be near them.

There is an old legend that crows are the messengers of mountain gods/goddesses in Kishu, Kumano Gongen who are avatars of Buddha. However, people also say crows croak with joy, knowing of someone's death three days before he/she dies, and miners would lose their temper over the croaking of crows in the morning.

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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