Registered: December 2004
No. 433 —38.2 x 54.0 cm. Watercolour and Ink.
What the text says:
Meiji 32 (1899); polished rice cost 10-sen (for 1.4 kg)
“Sakiyama” (hewer/husband) goes into the pit first and starts mining coal. “Atoyama” (pusher/wife) is late to finish the house chore; a baby son (less than 10 years old) is carried on his back, while she carries lunch boxes and coal plates (tallies).
The team is issued with a “Chagame” (canteen or flask), “Sumifuda” (Coal tallies to attach to
skips), and “Karui” (toweing rope to draw coal basket or box), and they enter into the deep
carefully. When the adult is carrying a baby on the back, it is usually safe, but when the drive is narrow and ceiling low the baby can hit its head.
The cost of a nursery above-ground is 10-sen with an additional cost of 3 to 4-sen. It is costly, and children tend to often leave school temporarily or for a longer term and work underground.
At the end of Meiji (1912), there were some nursery schools at the middle sized pits.
Text at top left: From the age of 7 and 8 years old, kids work at the pit. Descending the pit with
lantern. Nobody could blame the miners for taking their children to the workplace when they could not afford childcare.