Japan Hikeshi (Firemen) Preserving Foundation

 Japan Hikeshi Preserving Foundation is the leader responsible for the preservation and guidance of future Hikeshi.

What is Hikeshi?
The history behind Hikeshi is dated as far back as the Edo Tokugawa Shogunate era. In 1650, the Japanese government appointed two Direct Retainer of the Shogun as the first "Hikeshis", they are the founders of "Jyobikeshi" Association.
Furthermore, in 1717 the rein of Shogun Yoshimune, there were two new associations formed. Eleven hereditary feudal lords were appointed the task of organizing the "Daimyobikeshi (Hikeshi for the castles)" and the other one which had a slower start was called "Machibikeshi (Hikeshi for the town)." Till then, the "Jyobikeshi" and "Daimyobikeshi" were responsible for the Edo Castle and Old Samurai residences. The daily fire needs were accommodated by the ordinary construction workers turned Hikeshis, this was supported by the local residents' association.


Hashigo (Ladder)
Most of the houses built in this era were built of two stories high, therefore, anything taller than that could over look the city. When heading towards a fire if one got lost, he would prop up his ladder and climb to the top and find his way there.

Matoi (Flag)
(1) Even though each association has their own Matoi, when a fire occurs they all rampage with their flags and race to be the first to be at the scene of the fire. They then climb to the roof of the burning house and wave their Matoi notifying the fire fighters the location. Every available hand will gather and help.
(2) The Matoi was also used as a point of reference to clear a path stopping the fire from spreading.
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Order -Miniature of "Matoi"
>>Please place an order here.<<

Other Firefighting Tools
Tobiguchi (Fire Hook): A long stick with a big steel hook on the end used for hooking and pulling on things.
Ryudosui (Pump): A hand pump designed to shoot water from a wooden container when a lever is pushed.
Kiyariuta (Kiyari Song): This is a customary song that everybody sings while carrying large heavy logs, large stones, shrine bells, decorated floats and even while splitting rocks. This song is quite distinctive because it has no set beat. This song has progressed and is even sung at festivals and happy occasions. The construction workers in the Kanto area sing the Kiyari during events.

Nihonhikeshihozonkai Outline
Non-profit organization
Establishment date: 1935
Main Office: 9-6-30 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0052 Japan
Telephone: 03-3402-0351    Fax: 03-3403-1370
e-mail:hikeshi@nihonhikeshihozonkai.org      http://www.nihonhikeshihozonkai.org
Chairman: Tenreiin, Shoken

Copyright (C) 2003 Nihon Hikeshi Hozonkai. All Rights Reserved.