The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Various Social Conditions

Miners' Pastimes
June 1965

Yamabito no Goraku
[Miners' Pastimes]
38.0 x53.9 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

Drunkards (nombe or hidarito) would bring sake to have noisy parties and drink a lot of it on each kokan-bi (exchange day), sannyo-bi (payday in pit dialect), or holiday coming once a month. Gamblers secretly paid or took money to or from each other. Drunkards often had small parties on working days and so did gamblers. During such parties, pit workers urged someone holding a sake cup for a long time without passing it to others, saying, "Hey you, pass the 'hako (tub or mine car)' to me, quick." It was because they likened waiting for the sake cup to be passed to waiting long for tubs or mine cars to come (hakonagure). The pain of waiting for tubs to be distributed underground for a long time was far harder than waiting for a sake cup to be passed, but it was an interesting joke. Miners use the saying also today.
The songs sung at such parties in the decade after 1897 were mainly Sutoraiki, Sanosa, Hokai, and Yakkorasa-bushi. The dances they did were Gombe ga Tane Makya, Takai Yama, Noe, Kappore, and so on.

Song Lyrics of "Gombe ga Tane Makya"
Gombe ga tane makya karasu ga sesekuru.
Sando ni ichido wa owa neba narumai.
Zumbera! Zumbera! Zumbera!

Crows peck at them every time Gombe sows seeds.
He must scare them away once in three times.
Zumbera! Zumbera! Zumbera! (Interjected chants)


Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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