The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Disasters and Lynchings

Accident in the Steam-pipe Slope of Kamimio Coal Pit
September 1965

Kamimio Tanko Joki Oroshi de no Jiko
[Accident in the Steam-pipe Slope of Kamimio Coal Pit]
37.9 x 53.9 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

Text at the Bottom Right
It is impossible to describe each victim who died in the line of duty in disasters at coal pits (yama) because innumerable lives were lost. There was no pit which suffered no casualties from the opening (shibahaguri) until the closing of the pit though the period of operation and the scale of a pit varied. Some miners were always killed or injured in every accident in which someone had cried, "Damn it!" upon realizing the danger.
(I will describe the following accident because I was terribly shocked by it.)
It emerged at 11:00 a.m. on July 7, 1915 that an accident occurred. This time, Chief of the Mining Section (Chief Underground Foreman) Mr. Suzuki and Deputy Chief Underground Foreman (also called "Ohmawari") Mr. Kumai became victims during their patrol underground in the slope with piping for steam and drainage (tekkan oroshi or joki oroshi) of the No.1 pit of Kamimio Coal Pit (run by Mr. Takichi Aso) in Iizuka Town. Mr. Kumai was found dead. Mr. Suzuki died on July 16 in Pit Foreman Mr. Aiba's house after receiving medical treatment. The skin on the faces and hands of both victims, which had been exposed when they were found, looked horrible because they were severely scalded and peeled off.

Text at the Top Middle
Split-toed socks with rubber soles (jikatabi) became available around 1916, and they made mining work easier.

Text at the Top Left
This slope with piping for steam and drainage was also wholly used as a return air way. A lot of steam leaked from the joints of pipes which were strained as the bottom of the slope swelled because of the natural rock pressure. The temperature in the slope was higher near its roof than near its bottom. It was higher than 50 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit).
There were two expert repairers named Mr. Kumagai and Mr. Hasebe who always repaired this inferno-like slope. This slope was a place where they could not continue working for even 20 minutes whether or not they opened the gates at the lower part of the slope to let in the cool wind during their work. These two repairers were accustomed to this slope and knew well that there were some escapes through which they could go out to the main slope if they broke a wooden board covering each of them in the state of emergency.
The two high-ranking staff members (officers) who died in this slope supposedly knew it. However, it was said that they could not even find the wooden boards or escapes because of the loss of lights and the high heat.
The rest of this description is omitted because it is too long to write.

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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