Sakubei Yamamoto Collection
Documentary heritage submitted by Japan and recommended for inclusion in the Memory of the World Register in 2011.
The collection of annotated paintings and diaries of Sakubei Yamamoto is a personal testimony to the developments during the late Meiji era and into the later twentieth century, when the industrial revolution was still being acted out in the coal mining industry of Chikuho. The collection combines naive art with text, informed by diaries written during the events being depicted, painted by a man who lived through the events and worked literally at the coal-face. It is highly unusual in a Japanese context as a private record created by a working man, whereas the dominant records of the period are official government and business papers. The Sakubei paintings have a rawness and immediacy that is totally missing from the official record, and the collection is a totally authentic personal view of a period of great historical significance to the world.