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  • Japanese:火消し(Hikeshi)

Firefighters in Edo period.

Hôsho Bikeshi

Daimyô Bikeshi

  • 1643, Iemitsu appointed 16 Daimyô to form firefighter units "Daimyô Bikeshi"(大名火消し). However the Hikeshi only worked for protecting Edo castle, Daimyô mansions and Samurai houses.

Jô Bikeshi

  • Shogun Ietsuna ordered 4 Hatamoto to form firefighter units "Jô Bikeshi" (定火消し) after Great Meireki Fire in 1657. They set fire stations in Iidabashi, Ichigaya, Ochanomizu, and Kôjimachi. Two initial jô-bikeshi fire brigades later expanded to ten, overseen by the wwakadoshiyori, and based at firehouses arranged in an arc across the north and west of the city (the direction from which winds blew which were the most dangerous for spreading a fire to the castle).[1]

Machi Bikeshi


  1. Katô Takashi, "Governing Edo," in James McClain (ed.), Edo & Paris, Cornell University Press (1994), 63.