The Costume Museum Kyoto Japan Costume History in Japan
The Edo Period  
155 - The fire dress of commoner.
The Costume Museum Kyoto JapanThe Costume Museum Kyoto Japan
The Costume Museum Kyoto Japan

1 sashiko-zukin
2 sashiko-zukin-no-tarenuno
3 sashiko-hanten
4 hara-ate
5 obi
6 sashiko-tebukuro
7 tobikuchi
8 momohiki
9 kontabi
10 waraji
In the Edo era, there were many fires at "the Edo of a consumption-centered city" in which population crowded. Since there were too many fires, they said "A fire and a quarrel are the flowers of Edo." The fire-fighting organization was constituted by the daimyo and the "hatamoto", the direct vassal of a shogun, for the fire of the samurai residence. For the townspeople, it was the principle to take charge of fire-extinguishing activities by themselves. At first, the organization called the "Daimyo Hikeshi(=Daimyo Firefighters)" was made by daimyo. After that, the "Sada-bikeshi" firefighters was organized by the "hatamoto" , the direct vassal of shogun as the core members in the first year of Ganji period [1658]. More after that, the fire-fighting organization by townspeople was made by Ohoka Tadasuke, an "Edo-machi-Bugyo", the town magistrate. Although a part of the fire-fighting organization changed after that, by the principle, the towns of the west of the Sumida River were divided into 47 small groups at intervals of about 20-cho; and the each group was named and in the order of the Japanese alphabet "i", "ro", "ha". Moreover, in the area which is east of the Sumida River, the fire-fighting organization was divided into the 16 small groups. As for a "matoi" and a "nobori", which the firemen used as the marks of each group, the original designs of them were defined. The small groups of "i", "ro", "ha" were organized to 10 large groups; the 16 small groups in the east area of the Sumida River were organized to the large groups called "South", "Middle", and "North." . The each group of the "machi-bikeshi (=fireman of town)" was under the town magistrate's supervision; the cost of the each group of firemen was paid by the autonomous organization of the "machikata (=men of a town)". Only the small pump called "ryudosui (=water which a dragon vomits)" was used for fire-extinguishing activities. Destruction of the house which is burning was the main fire-extinguishing methods. Therefore, the specialists of the building construction called "tobi-ninsoku" was mainly employed. There were two kinds of "tobi-ninnsoku" firefighters: one is the "joh-gakae ninnsoku" fighters who were always prepared for the fire, and the other onw is the "kaketsuke ninsoku" fighters who were employed only at the time of the fire for some limited allowance. Among the each group of the "tobi-ninsoku" firefighters, there were some classes: the "tohdori", the "matoi-mochi (=markholder)", the hashigo-mochi (=ladder-holder)", and the "hira (=bottom)". These people were supplied with a the small sum of salary, a "hanten" coat, a "matahiki" pants, a "zukin" hood, etc. from a neighborhood. The figure in the photo wears a "sashiko-no-zukin" hood, a "sashiko-hanten" coat, a "sodeguchi-sashiko shitagi" underwear and "sashiko-tebukuro" gloves for holding a "tobiguchi" tool for fire-fighting. For the bottom, he wears a "hara-ate" protector, a pair of "matahiki" pants, indigo-blue "kon-tabi" socks and a pair of "waraji" sandals. The letter dyed on the "sashiko-no-zukin" hood shows that the fighter is the member of the Fourteenth Group. According to the arrangement plan of the fourth year in Kaei period, the mark shows that he is the resident of the town called "Nakanogoh" in the east side of the Ohkawa Bridge built over the Sumida River, and belongs to the North Group.
The Costume Museum Kyoto JapanThe Costume Museum Kyoto Japan