Art & Design

Yamamoto Sakubei & the Rich Seams of Japan’s Coal Mining History

4 October - 15 November 2019

Open weekdays 9.30am - 5.30pm, closed weekends.

Embassy of Japan, 101-104 Piccadilly, London W1J 7JT

020 7465 6500

© Yamamoto Family. From the Tagawa City Coal Mining Historical Museum's collection.
Photograph by Hashimoto Masakatsu.



Yamamoto Sakubei worked in coal mines in the Chikuho region of northern Kyushu for over 50 years. Despite a limited formal education and no artistic training, he started to produce a series of diaries and annotated paintings which meticulously described what life was like in the mines in the first half of the 20th century.

Sakubei’s body of work is an invaluable resource which chronicles the transformations Japan’s coal mining industry went through during a period of great social and economic change in the country. His collection of paintings and diaries became Japan's first addition to UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register in 2011.

This exhibition highlights Sakubei’s importance in documenting the lives of miners, the folk traditions of northern Kyushu and Japan's industrial heritage.

Admission is free, but photo ID is necessary to gain entry to the Embassy.