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Each Pit in the Southeastern Part of Tagawa City Generally Had a Series of Coal and Rock Layers Called Shin Goshaku-so
August 1965

Tagawa Shi no Seinan-po no Kaku Yama wa Shin Goshaku-so ga Ooi
[Each Pit in the Southeastern Part of Tagawa City Generally Had a Series of Coal and Rock Layers Called Shin Goshaku-so]
38.0 x 53.8 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

Each pit (yama) in the southeastern part of Tagawa City generally had a series of coal and rock layers called shin goshaku-so. A seam of chamotte rock lay between this series of layers. (Chamotte was burned to be made into material for firebricks.) This thick rock seam lay near the top part of the shin goshaku-so layers and was hard. Some other thin soft rock seams were found in the lower range no higher than 1.8 meters from the bottom. 27 meters above these layers, there was another series of coal and rock layers called sanjaku-so about 75 centimeters thick.
Coal mining became difficult during World War II, because the use of dynamite was limited and a pair of miners (hitosaki: a hewer and a helper) could use only four pieces a day. At that time, the hewer (sakiyama) entered the pit at about 3:00 a.m. in the same way as they did in the Meiji era (1868-1912). He undercut his coalface as deep as possible to blast the upper and lower parts each with two pieces of dynamite. The pair produced about 3 tons or 6 mine-car-loads of coal a day. Because the chamotte bed was not shattered in the blasting, the miners cut the bed to build fine stone walls along the haulage way.
These rock masses from between the coal beds had to be neatly assembled, or there would be no place to store them. Good sakiyamas skillfully built fine stone walls. This painting shows a scene at Ito Coal Pit during the period from 1940 to 1945.
During the war, miners had to buy dynamite and other blasting necessities themselves. Two pieces of dynamite 3/4 pound (about 280 g) each and 6 bu (about 18 mm) in diameter, a detonator, and a fuse 2 shaku 5 sun long (about 76 cm long) cost 18 sen. When silicified wood (iwa) or unevenly spotted rock layers (shime) were found in a coalface, the underground boss sent a day-laborer to the coalface to help the hewer with the blasting. If a pair mined the expected quantity of coal or more, they were paid 18 sen per mine car of premium (agari). 8 yen of shift allowance was paid when a miner worked 23 or more shifts a month. Mining wages (kirichin) were 1 yen 5 sen (1.05 yen) per mine car of coal, and were raised to 1 yen 20 sen (1.2 yen) when the coal was mined at difficult or muddy coalfaces.
Most pits in the Chikuho region had few pure coal seams called kiritaoshis without any rock layers.

Lyrics of "Gotton Bushi" Song
Izari Katsugoro kuruma ni nosete,
hike yo Hatsuhana Hakoneyama.

As lame Katsugoro rides behind,
pull your cart and go over Mt. Hakone, Hatsuhana.
Gotton (Clang)! (Interjected chant)

[Translator's Notes: Katsugoro and Hatsuhana were husband and wife in a Japanese puppet drama Joruri kabuki, who cooperatively avenged Katsugoro's father. Katsugoro became lame from his illness and Hatsuhana was killed by their enemy. However, Hatsuhana's ghost prayed and cured Katsugoro's disease and he successfully achieved his revenge.]

Words Describing the Shin Goshaku-so on the Left
hassun (niju yonsenchi): 8 sun (24 centimeters)
nenketsutan: coking coal
nanasenkarori: 7,000 kcal/kg (29,307.6 kJ/kg)
shamotto bota: chamotte rock
shirobota: white rock
honsu tan: main coal seam
rokusenkarori: 6,000 kcal/kg (25,120.8 kJ/kg)
usubota: thin rock seam
dojo: the same as the above

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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