“Though accustomed to toiling deep underground, all pray to the god Oyamazumi as they enter the tunnel.”

  • # Sumitomo’s Business Philosophy
A shrine above the entrance to No. 4 Tunnel is dedicated to the god Oyamazumi.
Photo courtesy of Hirose Memorial Museum

Jun Kawada who served as Director of Sumitomo Limited Partnership until 1936 was also admired as a poet and novelist. He composed this poem when he visited the Besshi Copper Mines in 1955 with his old friend Kageji Washio.

Something caught Kawada’s eye. The No. 4 Tunnel was the main artery for development of the Besshi Copper Mines at that time. Above the tunnel entrance, a small shrine dedicated to Oyamazumi, the god of the mountains and the ocean, is a focus for hopes and prayers for safety in the mines. All the miners made a gesture of respect toward this shrine and silently prayed in their hearts as they passed beneath, before boarding the wagons that would take them to their workplaces deep underground.

Despite long experience of working underground, the miners always approached their work with evident feelings of solemnity and composure. Impressed by their attitude, Kawada recognized their commitment to fulfilling their duties safely and their awe of the mountain.

Jun Kawada
Kawada was born in Tokyo in 1882. After graduating from the Faculty of Law of Tokyo Imperial University, Kawada joined Sumitomo Head Office in 1907, where he pursued a distinguished career in business, serving as Managing Director up to his retirement from Sumitomo in 1936. A spirit of romanticism is evident in his collections of poetry, which include Gigeiten, Kagero, and Sengaikyo.