Sunday, February 25, 2024

Sechibaru Coal Mine Museum


In the high country north of Sasebo, near the border with the  Arita district is the small local history museum dedicated to the former coal industry in the area of Sechibaru. Built as the offices of the local coal mine, the building is registered as an important cultural property as it is the only example of a Western-style building of stone in the northern part of Nagasaki prefecture. In Nagasaki City itself, there are numerous examples.

I am intrigued by the history of coal mining in Japan for two main reasons. One is that my grandfather and my father were coalminers and I grew up in the shadow of a coalmine. The second is that it is a little known part of modern Japanese history that kind of contradicts some of its cherished "myths".

I didn't know there were mines in this part of Nagasaki. I knew most Japanese coal was mined in northern Kyushu, with Battleship Island off the coast of Nagasaki being one of the famous sites, but northern Fukuoka and the Kumamoto-Fukuoka border area being some of the major coalfields. Early in this pilgrimage, I visited a coal mine museum in Nogata. A much longer article I wrote delving into the subject is here

There was not actually much on display, though the old photos were cool. I did learn that Kansai Coal Company, the owner of the mines, built a railway line in 1896 from Sechibaru down the valley to take the coal out. The previous post in this series on day 67 of my pilgrimage was on the nearby Oyamazumi Shrine and its ancient forest.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing the link to your longer article. I had no idea Japan had that much coal. The social/historical aspects were really interesting as well.