The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Omens, Superstitions, Taboos

People at Coal Pits (Yamabito) in the Old Days (Bringing out a Body from the Pit)
April 1965

Mukashi no Yamabito (Shisha no Hanso)
[People at Coal Pits (Yamabito) in the Old Days (Bringing out a Body from the Pit)]
38.1 x 54.3 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

It was believed that after coal miners died in disasters underground, their souls stayed there and wandered as ghosts. Therefore, the coworkers and acquaintances of a victim laid his/her body in a mine car and rode in 5 or 6 mine cars, which were slowly winched up. While they were going up, they called the name of the victim and shouted, "We are going up to the surface" or "We are at a certain level.'' Mine cars stopped once they came close to the pit mouth, and they removed the talisman of the mountain god/goddess hung on the portal frame of the pit mouth. When they came out of the pit, they shouted loudly, "We are out of the pit!''
Miners hated wearing facecloths covering their hair, ears and cheeks, because they could not hear the calls of others very well. However, more importantly, covering their ears with such cloths hindered them from noticing warning signs of roof-falls.

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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