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Mining Methods (Adopted in Small Coal Pits) in the Late Meiji Era (1868-1912)
March 1965

Meiji Koki Saitan-ho (Koyama)
[Mining Methods (Adopted in Small Coal Pits) in the Late Meiji Era (1868-1912)]
38.1 x 54.1 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

At first there were two mining methods in driving lots of single coalfaces. One was mining by leaving small coal pillars in a grid-like pattern before removing them one by one from the upper levels, and the other was mining by driving some series of coalfaces upward from the level called kanekata. There were also coalfaces as shown in the inset in the late Meiji era (1868-1912). Though the coalfaces were combined, each of them was mined by only an assigned pair (hitosaki) of workers and not mined in cooperation with other pairs like today. "Coal pillar" was also called "ryuzu" in some coal pits (yama).

1. Inset (1) shows the coalfaces seen at Kongo Coal Pit in Koyanose, Kurate County around 1910, which had a coal seam with the inclination of about 10 degrees and the thickness of 75 centimeters. Each pair of miners mined 2.5 to 3 tons of coal a day. The longer the haulage ways stretched because of the advancement of the coalfaces, the softer the coal turned.
2. Inset (2) shows the coalfaces at Kamimio Coal Pit in Kasamatsu Village (Iizuka Town since 1909), Kaho County a few years before 1910. The coalfaces were of the coal seam called sanjaku-so on which lay a dangerous white rock layer with the thickness of 30 cm called kayarimono, which might unexpectedly fall on miners. Each pair mined 2 or 3 tons of coal a day (cutting their coalface without using dynamite).
3. Inset (3) shows the mining method by the coal-pillar system in driving single coalfaces used at middle and small-scale coal pits in the Meiji era (1868-1912) (The details are as described above).

The fault was called a kuichigai, gakkuri, domagure, and so on. The fault plane was inclined against the slope of the coal seam as a whole. The fault line thickened and radiated as it descended.
Before miners met a gakkuri when mining the coalface, the inclination of the coal seam would become inconstant, more water would come out than usual, and the condition of the roof would become so bad that it sometimes suddenly fell down.

Text at the Upper Center
Faults are the cancer of coal mines, and small ones were sometimes found in tiers at some pits. Sometimes large-scale faults were cut through by volunteered Kanayama kofus (expert miners from the copper mine in Besshi) through their large-scale work. The Kanayama kofu very skillfully used their special hammers called settos with chisels to bore blast holes.

Words in the Insets
Inset (1)
Kiriha-men gometoru ijo: The area of each coalface was 5 square meters or more.
kiriha: coalface
sura: coal sled (sledge); skid
hashira: pillar
koronashi kairo (kaido): haulage way on which no wooden ladders were laid
kanekata: level; gallery
honsen makioroshi: main slope

Inset (2)
Kakuji no kiriha menseki wa 5 metoru kurai aru: The area of each coalface was about 5 square meters.
Soreijo no tokoro mo aru: Some coalfaces had more areas.
kairo (kaido): haulage way
koroshiki: haulage way on which wooden ladders were laid
suradana: sled platform
kiriha: coalface
botamaki: pack wall; infill wall
tsugino kairo zukuri: driving the next haulage way
kanekata: level

Inset (3)
honsen makioroshi: main slope
hidari ichikata: No. 1 level left
hidari nikata: No. 2 level left
migi ichikata: No. 1 level right
menuki: air head way; thirl
hoan ryuzu: safety coal pillar
itabari: planked wall
Tanchu wa 5 metoru matawa 10 metoru: Coal pillars were 5 meters or 10 meters square.
tanchu matawa ryuzu: coal pillar called a tanchu or ryuzu
kanekata: level; gallery
makitate: landing; turnout
san: three
ni: two
ichi: one
ichinobori: No. 1 ascending coalface haulage way
ninobori: No. 2 ascending coalface haulage way
san-nobori: No. 3 ascending coalface haulage way
yon-nobori: No. 4 ascending coalface haulage way

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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