Traditional Sugar Mill, Ryukyu Okinawa

August 11, 2013

A short photo essay of the traditional sugar extraction process from sugar cane using a bullock driven crushing mechanism.

The low yield of this process surprised me. I wondered why 3 men and a bullock would engage in such a pursuit in exchange for such a tiny reward even if this is base din the past.
Ryukyu-sugarcane extraction--1

Ryukyu-sugarcane extraction--4

Ryukyu-sugarcane extraction--6

Ryukyu-sugarcane extraction--4

Ryukyu-sugarcane extraction--11

Ryukyu-sugarcane extraction--10

Ryukyu-sugarcane extraction--23

Ryukyu-sugarcane extraction--12

I wondered whether the price of sugar at that time was so high that it made their effort worthwhile.

Were these societies structured to value things other than efficiency?  Was this a way to create occupation?  The goal of governments with the goal of ‘jobs for all’ was so easily rejected by capitalism – yet is that not the need of the day in all the countries that are screaming about unemployment today?

After retiring at 30 something to raise my kids I have myself faced periods of struggle to simply ‘find an occupation’ ‘something to do with my time’ and ‘anything at all to feel productive’.

Maybe this occupation of walking the bull round and round in circles would be a fun thing to do!

At least I’d be gainfully occupied!

jm

Aug 2013

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