The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Transport (outside the mine), Coal Sorting

Work at a Coal Washery (Coal Picking Women)
January 1968

Sentanki de no Sagyo (Sentanfu)
[Work at a Coal Washery (Coal Picking Women)]
37.8 x 53.7 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

Text at the Top Left
In the beginning of the Taisho era (1912-1926), coal washers were also introduced to medium and small-scale coal pits (yama). Large and medium-sized coal was washed and sorted. Later, slack coal was also washed and sorted and as a result, the color of the clear waters of the Onga River turned black. However, men or women were still needed for sorting large-sized coal by hand.
The shown conveyor line composed of steel-board-type belts for conveying masses of coal was called a yoroi (armor) or a bando (belt). It was about 10 meters in length and 1.2 meters in width, and one of the belts looked as if a number of 40-centimeter-wide steel boards were overlapping with each other. The belts of the machine moved roughly at a human walking pace. Masses of coal went on the two outside belts while separated refuse (bota) went on the central one.
The separated masses of nigotan (2nd class coal or alkaline coal except selected high-quality coal) were temporarily put on the wooden floor where the women were standing.

Text at the Bottom Left
They worked in 12-hour shifts. They had to use both of their hands, or their boss would scold them.

Lyrics of "Gotton Bushi" Song at the Top Right
Shite mo sen to koku (yu) sentan-ba no musume me.
Kesa mo nido shita usugesho.

A young coal picking woman wearing makeup said she didn't make herself up.
But I know she lightly put on her face twice this morning.
Gotton (Clang)! (Interjected chant)

Words in and around the Two Insets
1. deguchi: exit
2. bando: conveyor line
3. chiipura shita sukurin: screen underneath the tippler
4. otoshiguchi: pit
5. 1.50 (1.20) metoru: 1.50 (1.20) meters
6. 40 senchi: 40 centimeters
7. botauke: refuse (bota) receiver

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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