The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Yama Living

Fuels Used in Coal Pits in the Meiji (1868-1912) and Taisho (1912-1926) Eras #3: Chopped Wood
June 1965

Meiji Taisho Yama no Nenryo #3: Wariki
[Fuels Used in Coal Pits in the Meiji (1868-1912) and Taisho (1912-1926) Eras #3: Chopped Wood]
38.0 x 53.9 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

Old mine timber was used as fuel by miners. The timber used for that purpose was half rotten after long underground use or had been replaced with new timber comparatively earlier than usual and had no other use. Since most of the timber was pine wood, it emitted heavy smoke when burnt, but it had caloric force only half as strong as fresh wood. People made it a rule to stand wood on its smaller end and bamboo on its bigger end when they chopped them. Among old timber, there were sometimes twisted or knotted pieces of wood which were hard to chop, such as those of miscellaneous small trees or Japanese cedars. Each of such pieces of wood could not be chopped while stood on its smaller end, but could easily be chopped while it was stood on its bigger end. Wood thicker than 15 centimeters in diameter had to be chopped with a method like peeling and made into about 6-centimeter-wide slices. Among hewers (sakiyama) there was also a great difference in their skill at chopping wood.

Description of Stoves in the Inset
A. Stove Made of an Empty Oil Can: This was a rapidly-completed stove (kuro [normally kudo] or kamaro [normally kamado]) made of an oil can bought at as much as 5 sen (0.05 yen). It would overturn together with the rice cooking pot if people did not put two bricks, dirt, or stones on its inside bottom.
B. Stove Made of Straw-mixed Clay: It required more wood than the above stove to cook a potful of rice. (An oil-can stove [gangan kuro] required no more than 2 kilograms of wood to cook the same quantity of rice.)

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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