Ishikari coalfield

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The Ishikari coal basin lies in the tertiary mountains of the mining region of Sorachi, east of the Ishikari Plain in central Hokkaido. These coal veins contain the largest quantity of coal of Japan. Because of its late discovery the historical role of the coalfield could not be compared with that of the Chikuho coalfield, but its economic importance since the Japanese industrial revolution is comparable with that of the southern Chikuhō coalfield.[1]

The Discovery[edit]

It was explorer Matsuura Takeshirō (松 浦 武 四郎), who, during his journey through Hokkaido in 1857, first marked the coal seams on the banks of the Sorachi river near Akabira.[2] In 1868, carpenter Kimura Kichitarō (木村 吉太郎) discovered coal in Horonai, Mikasa (三 笠).[3] However, it took another six years before the local government took action, and the mining engineers Benjamin Smith Lyman and Takeaki Enomoto welded an investigation. Their findings were satisfactory, and the Meiji government decided to build in Horonai the first coalmine of the Ishikari coal basin.[4] In 1889, the Meiji government sold off the mine and its railways to, Hori Motoi, who found the Hokkaido Colliery and Railway Company (北海道炭礦鉄道会社 Hokkaidō Tankō Tetsudō Kaisha), abbreviated as Hokutan.[5]

Alongside to the historic mine Horonai this basin is also home to the famous mining town of Yūbari (夕張市). Here in 1888, coal was discovered by engineer (坂市太郎) Ban Ichitarō (1854-1920), a follower of Benjamin Smith Lyman, on the upper reaches of the river Shihorokabetsu (士幌加別川). The following year, Hokutan opened its first colliery in Yūbari, the Yūbari Saitanjo (夕張採炭所).[6]

Location of the Coalfield and its Collieries[edit]

Map of Hokkaido
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The coalmines of Hokkaidō[7]

List of Coal Mines in Ishikari[edit]

Number Mine[8] Top Annual Production Coordinates[9] Associated Town Owner Start Date Closing Date
1 Hokutan Horonai coal mine 1500.000 43°13′16″N 141°54′32″E / 43.221°N 141.909°E / 43.221; 141.909 Mikasa Hokutan 1879 1989
2 Hokutan Ikushunbetsu coal mine 200.000 43°15′40″N 141°58′05″E / 43.261°N 141.968°E / 43.261; 141.968 Ikushunbetsu Hokutan 1885 1957
3 Sorachi coal mine 1500.000 43°30′40″N 142°03′07″E / 43.511°N 142.052°E / 43.511; 142.052 Utashinai Hokutan 1890 1995
4 Hokutan Yūbari coal mine 2000.000 43°03′50″N 141°59′06″E / 43.064°N 141.985°E / 43.064; 141.985 Yūbari Hokutan 1890 1977
5 Hokutan Kamui coal mine 500.000 Utashinai Hokutan 1891 1971
6 Sumitomo Kami Utashinai coal mine 300.000 43°31′26″N 142°03′07″E / 43.524°N 142.052°E / 43.524; 142.052 Utashinai Sumitomo 1894 1988
7 Sumitomo Akabira coal mine 1900.000 43°32′53″N 142°03′22″E / 43.548°N 142.056°E / 43.548; 142.056 Akabira Sumitomo 1895 1993
8 Mitsui Sunagawa coal mine 1600.000 43°28′01″N 142°00′47″E / 43.467°N 142.013°E / 43.467; 142.013 Kamisunagawa Mitsui 1899 1987
9 Sumitomo Ponbetsu coal mine 1500.000 43°15′54″N 141°54′36″E / 43.265°N 141.910°E / 43.265; 141.910 Mikasa Sumitomo 1902 1971
10 Sumitomo Yayoi coal mine 43°15′32″N 141°56′17″E / 43.259°N 141.938°E / 43.259; 141.938 Mikasa Sumitomo 1905 1970
11 Sumitomo Utashinai coal mine 800.000 Utashinai Sumitomo 1905 1971
12 Hokutan Mayachi coal mine 700.000 42°58′16″N 142°04′16″E / 42.971°N 142.071°E / 42.971; 142.071 Yūbari Hokutan 1905 1987
13 Hokutan Manji coal mine 500.000 43°08′02″N 141°59′31″E / 43.134°N 141.992°E / 43.134; 141.992 Manji Hokutan 1905 1976
14 Mitsubishi Ōyūbari coal mine 1000.000 43°05′49″N 142°05′42″E / 43.097°N 142.095°E / 43.097; 142.095 Yūbari Mitsubishi 1906 1973
15 Mitsubishi Bibai coal mine 1600.000 43°20′02″N 141°58′08″E / 43.334°N 141.969°E / 43.334; 141.969 Bibai Mitsubishi 1913 1972
16 Mitsubishi Ashibetsu coal mine 300.000 Ashibetsu Mitsubishi 1914 1964
17 Hokutan Miruto coal mine Miruto Hokutan 1917 1969
18 Mitsui Bibai coal mine 1000.000 43°20′02″N 141°55′01″E / 43.334°N 141.917°E / 43.334; 141.917 Bibai Mitsui 1918 1963
19 Moshiri coal mine Akabira Yūbetsu 1918 1969
20 Hokutan Kakuta coal mine Kakuta Hokutan 1927 1953
21 Meiji mining kami Ashibetsu coal mine 100.000 Ashibetsu Meiji mining 1935 1963
22 Hokutan Heiwa coal mine 1000.000 43°01′01″N 141°59′28″E / 43.017°N 141.991°E / 43.017; 141.991 Yūbari Hokutan 1937 1975
23 Toyosato coal mine Akabira Toyosato Mining Company 1937 1954
24 Hokutan Akama coal mine 43°33′11″N 142°02′53″E / 43.553°N 142.048°E / 43.553; 142.048 Akabira Hokutan 1938 1973
25 Takane coal mine 200.000 Ashibetsu Takane 1938 1967
26 Mitsui Ashibetsu coal mine 1700.000 Ashibetsu Mitsui 1939 1992
27 Mitsui Oku Naie coal mine 460.000 Naie Mitsui 1947 1966
28 Mitsubishi Minami Ōyūbari coal mine 43°01′44″N 142°05′24″E / 43.029°N 142.090°E / 43.029; 142.090 Yūbari Mitsubishi 1966 1990
29 Hokutan Yūbari Shin coal mine 42°59′02″N 142°01′01″E / 42.984°N 142.017°E / 42.984; 142.017 Yūbari Hokutan 1970 1981
30 Hokutan Shimisuzawa coal mine 43°00′14″N 142°01′16″E / 43.004°N 142.021°E / 43.004; 142.021 Yūbari Hokutan
31 Yuya coal mine 200.000 Utashinai Yuya 19** 1965

References[edit]

  1. ^ Glenn T. Trewartha, Japan a Physical, Cultural & Regional Geography, p.90.
  2. ^ Kodama Kiyoomi (児玉清臣), Sekitan no gijutsushi (石炭技術史), p.19.
  3. ^ Yoshioka Hirotaka (吉岡宏高), Shoninsha no tame no tankõkōza (初任者のための炭鉱講座).
  4. ^ Kasuga Yutaka, Transfer and Development of Coal-Mine Technology in Hokkaido, pp. 11-20.
  5. ^ Laura E. Hein, Feuling Growth, p.32.; Richard J. Samuels, Rich Nation, Strong Army, p.74.
  6. ^ Satō Manami (佐藤真奈美), Hokkaidō Yūbarishi ni okeru chiikisaisei (北海道夕張市における地域再生), p.37.
  7. ^ Hokkaidō Shinbun Sorachi 'Yama' Shuzaihan (北海道新聞空知「炭鉱」取材班), Sorachi Tankōisan Sanpō (空知炭鉱遺産散歩), pp.34-199.; Hokkaido Government Sorachi Subprefectural Office (空知支庁), Sorachi Tankōisan to Kankō (空知炭鉱遺産と観光).
  8. ^ Hokkaidō Shinbun Sorachi 'Yama' Shuzaihan (北海道新聞空知「炭鉱」取材班), loco citato.
  9. ^ Hokkaido Government Sorachi Subprefectural Office (空知支庁), opere citato.