Photographic Database of Ashio Copper Mine in 19th Century of Japan

Sunday, 15 February 2015
Exhibit Hall (San Jose Convention Center)
Mitsutaka Fujita, Hosei University, Machida-shi, Japan
We built "Photographic Database of Ashio Copper Mine" on the Internet in Japanese and English.  Stored photographs were taken in 19th century and they are historical materials for technography in Japan and other countries.  To use for historical materials, all photographs were added the location, era, and work descriptions of the scene of each photograph.  These added data were based on interviewing workers at the times, literature references, some experts of the mining industry.  The database is opened to all people, so photographs are used for environmental educations in schools.  The photographs are very important to understand the situations at the times because the existing facilities have been demolished every year.  To improve the consciousness of environmental conservation, the databese can be helpful to know the Japanese industorial history and the attendant environmental disruption. The photographs were taken by Ittoku ONOZAKI, a photographer employed by Furukawa Mining Industry, a developper of Ashio Copper Mine.  In early 19 century, photographs were rare and expensive.  Ittoku ONOZAKI had recorded not only the processes of the copper workings and refining in the Mine but also events and customs of people in Ashio-town. Those original photographs (more than 2,000 photographs) were collected by Satoshi ONOZAKI, a grandchild of Ittoku ONOZAKI, an expert of the mining industry.  He want to show as many people as possible the photographs to prevent environmental disruption from ever happening again.  Computerization of printed photos can prevent damage and deterioration almost permanently. Ashio Copper Mine had been operated from 1610 to 1973.  It had contributed to modernization and economic development  of Japan.  The Mine and its surroundings were called “the Mining Capital of Japan”, producing 40% of Japanese copper.  The refined copper was exported to other countries, earning foreign currencies.  Unfortunately, Ashio Copper Mine caused environment-related issues by smoke-emitting and industry sewage.  Plants around the Mine died of sulfurous acid gas in the smoke, and the environment is not recovering today.  "Science and technology" has two sides, yin-yangedly.  By accessing our database and seeing photographs, we hope that the two sides will be understood, and the ways of secure sustainable growth and development will be selected for all of the world, especially developing countries with their abundant nature.