The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
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Dangerous Rock Bed Roofs
1964 - 1967

[Dangerous Rock Bed Roofs]
39.4 x 54.7 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

Text at the Top Left
The kayarimono is the white rock bed beside the roof of the coalface, which sometimes fell together with coal. Dynamite was not used at that time and only the rock bed remained after mining coal. However, it did not long remain the same. It was difficult for a miner to confirm if the rock bed would fall or not by hitting it with his pickax. If pillars were erected to support it, they disturbed the miners' work, so the kayarimono was a nuisance. The kayarimono was 30 centimeters thick or more.
This painting shows the working face of the sanjaku-so of K Coal Pit or S Coal Pit run by Mr. A. The coal bed was 4 shaku (about 120 centimeters) thick including the 6-sun (about 18 cm)-thick coal seam beside the roof. Therefore, the thickness of the working face was about 5 shaku (150 centimeters) in total (adding the 30 centimeters of the kayarimono).
This type of pillar shown here was called a ninawase and no wedge (kamisashi) was used on it.

Text at the Bottom Right
Lyrics of "Gotton Bushi" Song
Itame masame no ishi no me mo shirazu,
Sakiyama-san to wa na ga okashi.

If you can't tell the difference between the cross and straight grains of the coal bed,
you aren't worthy of the name of sakiyama-san (hewer).
Gotton (Clang)! (Interjected chant)

The shown sura (coal sled) has tin side panels for lightening it. The panels were made of cut and extended oil cans. Additional boarding was put on the edge of the sura and the sura was loaded with about 250 kg of coal. The mining work was relatively easy at coalfaces with inclinations (bangayari) of 14 or 15 degrees or less.
These are miners in the mid-Meiji era (1868-1912).

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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