The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Labor in the Mines (repairs)

Descriptions of Supports
March 1965

Hashira no Setsumei
[Descriptions of Supports]
38.3 x 54.3 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

Names of the Supports (Left to Right)
Tanuki-bashira: "Raccoon Dog" Pillar [nickname of a pillar which was stood on its bigger end without a wedge, contrary to normal ones]
Bozu-bashira: Unwedged Pillar
Masa-bashira: Normal Pillar
Ninawase: Prop and Strap System Frame

Text at the Top
These are supports used since the Meiji era (1868-1912).
I do not know when people began to call this region the Chikuho region. Not until the Taisho era came did I start to use this term. Before they knew it, people supposedly began to use this compound region name not only because there was the Chikuho Line of Japan National Railways in this region, but also because it was inconvenient to use the two old district names of Chikuzen which included Kaho and Kurate Counties and Buzen which included Tagawa County.

The tanuki-bashira stood on its bigger end and was not wedged even if a raccoon dog did not turn into it. This type of pillar was hated by miners at small-scale coal pits (yama). I guess that even very old miners have not seen a pillar like this, except for those who worked at small-scale coal pits.
[Translator's Notes: Sakubei talks about raccoon dogs shape-changing into pillars in paintings, such as No. 178, 185, and 490.]

Text at the Bottom
At most coal pits, miners carried mine timber on their shoulders through slopes when the height was more than 2 meters. However, since the slopes in small-scale pits were generally low in height, they carried the timber on their hips. These miners made it a habit not to carry mine timber on their shoulders even when they carried it through slopes which were high enough.

Descriptions of Supports
Miners in the old days were most afraid of roof falls. Therefore, they were especially careful about supports. The bozu-bashira, which was not fixed with a wedge called a kamisashi or ya, was hated, because it did not warn of increasing rock pressure (ni) with the breaking sound of the kamisashi.
The tanuki-bashira was even more hated because it had no wedge on it as well as was erected upside down (on its bigger end) compared to normal pillars. [The pillar erected on its bigger end was called a saka-bashira (upside-down/topside-up pillar).] The roof sometimes fell around this type of pillar without a wedge because the small end of the pillar was driven into and broke the roof. .

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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