The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Watercolor: All Genres

Mining Coal in a Lying Position
December 1694

[Mining Coal in a Lying Position]
39.4 x 54.9 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

Miners mined coal in a squatting position when coal seams were about 45 centimeters thick, but when they mined thinner ones (teisotan: thin coal seam) they had to work in a lying position.
These thin coal seams were rarely seen in the Chikuho region but a few of them were found in the Onga area. They were not mined because of the inefficiency in mining.
The height of the haulage ways was made to be about 30 centimeters higher than the thickness of the coal seams. A skilled sakiyama (hewer) mined about 2 tons of coal a day.

Lyrics of "Gotton Bushi" Song
Noborya horinasanna me ni ishi ga iru.
Orosha 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)

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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