Sunday, February 5, 2012

Living in a Coal Mine....Sakubei Yamamoto Collection

Now I'm reading "Living in a Coal Mine....Sakubei Yamamoto Collection", I borrowed from the city library.
Coal mining paintings of Sakubei Yamamoto was registered as UNESCO's Memory of the World heritage last year. It is a collection of about 700 annotated paintings and diaries of Japanese artist Sakubei Yamamoto depicting the conditions of coal mines.  This is the first work by a Japanese  chosen for the Memory of the World heritage.

a couple working together
 Sakubei Yamamoto (1892-1984), a Fukuoka Prefecture native, recorded the state of coal mines and the lives of miners, including him, with pictures and words. This collection consists of about 700 works. He worked at a Chikuho coal mine in Fukuoka prefecture for about half a century and took up painting in his 60s with the purpose of handing down the livelihood of coal mines to his posterity. His main work includes a picture-essay book titled "Tanko ni Ikiru" (Living in a Coal Mine), which I am reading now.

they are selling sweets
The Memory of the World program aims to preserve historical archives and other precious items around the world. Among items already inscribed in its roster are the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen issued during the French Revolution in the late 18th century and the diary of Anne Frank from World War II years.

 This picture shows  a woman carrying a big container filled with coals. Women had to work in a coal mine with his husband, leaving  small children at home. After the hard work, they had a lot of housework to finish. Men often gathered to drink and gamble. How tough and miserable people's lives, especially women's lives were! Yet they strongly lived their lives. This book shows the lowest people's lives without exaggeration, so it is very convincing.

children looked happy to find something fun


  1. We look at other people's lives and think how hard a life they had. But if we were those people and knew nothing else, it would be just normal to us. It's always interesting to learn how other live.

  2. very interesting post..
    thank you for sharing..
    love cucki xxx

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