The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Yama Children

Students in the Coal Pit (Yama) #18
1964 - 1967

Yama no Gakusei #18
[Students in the Coal Pit (Yama) #18]
25.5 x 35.6 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

Pit workers' children from 1897 until 1902 did not or could not go to higher elementary schools after finishing jinjo [Meiji-established ordinary] elementary schools, and it was good enough for most of them to graduate from jinjo elementary schools at best.
The school shoulder bag called a zatsuno was introduced to higher elementary and junior high schools around 1900, and after a few years, pupils at jinjo elementary schools also started using it.
Boys and girls studied in the same classroom at jinjo elementary schools for four years. The fees were 12 sen (0.12 yen) a month, and if a pupil had a sibling or more in the same school, both or all of their fees were reduced to 8 sen (0.08 yen). Jinjo elementary schools had no course in painting. When I drew a picture during class, my teacher made me stand outside the classroom.
Boys and girls studied in different classrooms during the four years at higher elementary schools. Both boys and girls wore hakama skirts. However, only boys wore school caps. The fees were 30 sen a month.
Only boys studied at junior high schools for five years after finishing higher elementary schools, wearing school uniforms (of Kokura fabrics), caps, gaiters, shoes and short jackets. The tuition fees were 3 yen a month. There were no girls' junior high schools in the Kaho and Iizuka areas.
Students and pupils used round lathed wooden lunch boxes composed of two parts put together (about 10 cm in diameter). After the lunch time, the upper part of the box, which had foods other than rice, was turned upside-down and put under the bottom part to make the shape of the box smaller. The students and pulpils were annoyed by the shaking and rattling of the empty boxes in their bags, as they rushed home.


Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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