A crowd of harbor workers load high quality Kyushu coal onto a U.S. army transport ship in Nagasaki.
As soon as ships entered Nagasaki Harbor, hundreds of men, women, girls and boys swarmed around them on coal barges, built temporary structures, and started to load the hungry ships with coal.
The spectacle was popular entertainment for the passengers. For hours and hours on end the coal loaders would work like an efficient piece of machinery often dressed in very simple clothing. In summer, many wore nothing more than loin cloths and head bands as protection from the burning Kyushu sun.
This wondrous scene intrigued every visitor that saw it and was mentioned or described in many a letter, diary and book. In Togo’s Country (1908), authored by Henry B. Schwartz who had lived in Japan since 1893, features a particularly evoking description1:
1 Schwartz, Henry B. (1908). In Togo’s Country, Some Studies in Satsuma and Other Little Known Parts of Japan. Jennings and Graham, 200-201.
Reference for Citations
Duits, Kjeld (). Nagasaki 1910s: Taking on Coal, OLD PHOTOS of JAPAN. Retrieved on January 29, 2022 (GMT) from https://www.oldphotosjapan.com/photos/814/taking-on-coal
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