The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Disasters and Lynchings

Pit Workers (Yamabito) in the Old Days: Increased Rock Pressure
March 1965

Mukashi no Yamabito: Juatsu
[Pit Workers (Yamabito) in the Old Days: Increased Rock Pressure]
38.2 x 54.3 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

Miners (yama no hito) said, "Ni ga kita" when they noticed the sign of a roof fall from increased rock pressure. At first, wooden wedges (kamisashi) on pillars began to crack. After the cracking sound ceased, miners erected additional pillars to reinforce the roofs of their workings. When rock pressure augmented again around the same workings, pillars broke or split and the walls of coal also began to make a cracking sound. If once such phenomena happened, miners could not help throwing off their usual boldness. It was dangerous for miners not to escape from their workings in such a case. Miners sometimes did not have time to bring out their mining tools from some workings near small-scale faults (gakkuri).
The augmentation of rock pressure never occurred around coalfaces of new deposits (aratoko). It occurred at workings from which coal pillars (ryuzu) were removed. Slopes with roofs in bad condition often collapsed without receiving stronger rock pressure. Expert hewers (sakiyama) sometimes checked the roofs of their workings by hitting them with their pickaxes to confirm if there were any rocks about to fall (ukibota), and rarely missed such rocks.

(Old Saying)
"Sa, nigero! Inochi atte no ni go han. Oyako yonin de issho no inochi."

"Let's get out of here! Where there is life, there is hope. I can enjoy two and a half go (450 ml) of sake and the four of our family can eat 1 sho (issho: 1.8 liters) of rice a day together [issho] if we survive."

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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