The works of Sakubei Yamamoto

People at Coal Pits in the Old Days #4: Blast-hole Boring
1958 - 1963

Mukashi Yama no Hitobito #4: Maito-ana Kuri
[People at Coal Pits in the Old Days #4: Blast-hole Boring]
20.6 x 29.1 cm Ink Painting

When boring blast holes, 0.5-inch octagonal chisels for general use and 0.6-inch octagonal chisels for hard shale (kogan) both made of Chikusa-ko steel were used. [Translator's Notes: Chikusa-ko steel was once made through the tatara iron-making process in Chikusa in today's Hyogo Prefecture.] A specialist in boring blast holes with chisels and a setto hammer rarely used these tools except when cutting through shale in fault lines or bottoms of driven headings, so other miners did not need nor have them. Only skilled men could use the hammer for chisels well in the work at coal pits (yama). The long stick used as a drag shaped like an ear pick (mimikaki) is called a kyuren.
S Coal Pit had some workers called kanayama kofus who grew up at the copper mine in Iyo and the houses for these miners were called kanayamas. They were very good at jobs like cutting through faults. They were skilled at quenching chisels repeatedly by themselves. They also behaved well and tried to maintain friendship with each other, organizing a mutual aid society. Therefore, miners in the pit lived peacefully.

Text at the top Right
They used a chisel with a straight tip and one with a clam-shaped tip.

Lyrics of "Gotton Bushi" Song at the Top Left
Iyo no kanayama kane fuku oto wa
kikoemasu ba na Matsuyama ni.
Dokkoi! Dokkoi!

The sound of using bellows at the copper mine in Iyo
can be heard in the faraway town of Matsuyama.
Dokkoi! Dokkoi! (Interjected chants)

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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