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A Taboo among Miners in the Meiji Era (1868-1912), Rice Soaked in Miso Soup
September 1965

Meiji Yamabito no Engi, Shirukake-meshi
[A Taboo among Miners in the Meiji Era (1868-1912), Rice Soaked in Miso Soup]
38.1 x 53.9 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

One morning at a boardinghouse called a hamba, a newcomer and entry-level miner poured his miso soup (soup made of soybean paste) on the rice in his bowl without knowing that it was a taboo in coal pits, and the senior miners around him kicked, trod on and beat him within an inch of his life. Laborers hated eating rice soaked in miso soup in the morning, believing that they would be jinxed and things might go wrong after they saw someone doing so.
Construction laborers hated it more than miners. Some of them reportedly were beaten to death after pouring miso soup on their rice even without knowing the taboo. I suppose that it was because they associated such rice with burials in the past.

Swearwords at the Top Left
"Kono zukunyu! (You fool!)"
"Kon gaki! (You hungry brat!)"
"Kon chikusho! (Damn you!)"

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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