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Ikuno Silver Mine's History

The silver mine of Ikuno was found in 807 (Heian era). In 1542, during the Muromachi period, the governor of Tajima, Suketayo Yamana, begun the exploitation of the silver mine of Ikuno. Under the power of Nobunaga Oda and Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the Bakufu of Edo appointed magistrates to oversee the mine. Afterward, governors were appointed and soon, the silver mine of Ikuno reached the peak of its activities. 



After, the mine of Ikuno came under the direct control of the government in 1868 (first year of Meiji era), a French engineer called Jean-François Coignet was appointed to modernize and mechanize the mine. By numerous advanced facilities as new tracks or capstans, remarkable innovations have been made.











The mine was declared an Imperial Estate and placed under jurisdiction of the Imperial office of the Imperial Household Ministry in 1889. After, in 1896, the Ikuno’s mine was sold off to the Mitsubishi Company and became one of the leading producing mine in Japan. The mine closed in 1973 and the long story of Ikuno Mine came to its end.

 At the close time, the deepest and longest shaft measured more than 350 km and reached a depth of 880 meters. During the long activity of the mine, more than 70 types of minerals have been extracted.

Paintings of Ikuno Silver mine :

Painting representing a shaft.
The shafts of the mine was so narrow that miners had to walk crouching.

Two officers controlled the mine activities day and night.
The extracted minerals were checked in order to pay taxes.
In the center of the painting, the miners are preparing ladder which was used in the shaft.


Representation of the forge.
The miners polished the metal in five steps.
Chronology:
 807  Discovery of Ikuno Mine
 1542  Discovery of silver and starting of the exploitation.
 1578  Nobunaga Oda place a prefectural governor at Ikuno
 1582  Honnoji Incident. Hideyoshi Toyotomi place a prefectural governor at Ikuno
 1600 Tokugawa Ieyasu come to power and place a magistrate at Ikuno
 1716  Abandon the magistrate and place a prefectural governor
 1868 The Meiji government took the management of the mine.
Modernization of the mine by the French engineer, Jean-François Coignet
 1876 Accomplishment of the road of Ikuno Mine between the harbor Shikama in Himeji and Ikuno
The Inauguration of the Ikuno Mine was held with Hirobumi Ito, prime minister
 1879 Start the exploitation of the mine of Mikobata.
 1885 Accomplishment of the road using for the transportation of the ores between Mikobata et Ikuno
 1889  The mine was declared an Imperial Estate
 1895 Opening of the Bantan railroad linking the harbor Shikama in Himeji and Ikuno.
 1896 The Ikuno silver mine was sold off to Mitsubishi Company
 1970 Rock burst: The tunnel collapsed suddenly by the pressure of the bedrock.
 1973 Interruption of the production in the shaft because of the drain and deterioration of the mineral ores. The mine was forced to stop its activities
 1974 Opening of the historical site of Ikuno Mine 
 2004 Demolition of the Mikobata processing site
 2011  Opening of the cultural museum of Ikuno Mine



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