Coal Mine King and His Servant ~the UNESCO world heritage~

Hi there! Continuing from the previous article. The Coal Mine King, Denemon’s residence is filled with precious treasures. There are many cultural assets and they are all preserved so carefully. It was May and on May 5th, Japanese people celebrate the day for boys to grow strong and healthy. The tiger toys and the wall paintings are  for boys to be brave and courageous. Samurai worrior helmet is for the boy’s day also.

こんにちは!前回の続きです。伝右衛門邸は宝の山みたいなお屋敷で、文化財としての価値は非常に高く随所に施された飾りや置物も当時の粋の限りを尽くしたものばかりで、興味深いものばかり。五月なので、こどもの日に因んで男の子の健やかな成長を願う虎人形や兜(かぶと)なども陳列されていました。

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And not only that, there are some original paintings of UNESCO world heritage that have such a high value. Denemon was the Coal Mine King who made a huge fortune by exploiting coal miners. One of the poor coal miners , named Sakubei Yamamoto who was actually working at Denemon’s coal mine painted the severe labour to preserve the history after he retired.

そして、伝右衛門が持っていた炭鉱で、実際に坑夫として働いていた山本作兵衛がその当時の苛烈な労働の様を描いた絵の原画も展示されていました。伝右衛門は炭鉱王として、多くの炭坑夫を搾取する形で財をなしました。一歩、作兵衛は無名の小学校しか出ていない一坑夫でしたが、炭坑夫を退いた後、その仕事の様をつまびらかに描き上げ、歴史に大きな爪痕を残しました。

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Coal miners’ life was so dangerous they were facing with death every day. And thanks to thier labor, Denemon was able to become a billionaire. Denemon and Sakubei, they are King and a servant. But seeing them from a different perspective, it’s not that simple. Sakubei was a poor coal miner  all through his life, but he was so determined that he must tell the life of coal miners to the next generation. He painted and painted just relying of his memory as there were no pictures. And his paintings got a big attention when they were enlisted as a UNESCO world heritage in 2011.

下っ端の死と常に隣り合わせだった坑夫達の人生と、その労働力を元手に巨万の富を築き炭鉱王として君臨していた伝右衛門と。まさに王様と召使の図ですが、この炭坑労働の様子を克明に描いた作品は、日本初のユネスコ記憶遺産に2011年に登録されました。

Denemon, a billionaire who lost his dear wife and got a shame in public, and Sakubei, a poor coal miner when alive but got an unbelievably honorable  reputation after death who heard a calling and so persistant to preserve the history of coal miners. It is impossible to say which is better. But life is so and so mysterious and unpredictable. It was so much fun visiting the Coal Mine King’s residence.

大いなる富を得ても恋しい妻に逃げられ赤恥をあびせられた伝右衛門と、生涯貧しい坑夫ながらその執念と使命感により歴史を後世に伝えて死後に大きな評価を得た作兵衛と。一概には論じ得ませんが、人の一生とは、かくも筆舌に尽くしがたい綾を織りなすものなのですね。

That’s all for today. Blessings to you all!

では今日はここまで。またね!

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