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120417-0008 - Firefighters


Outside Meiji 1890s Unknown

Firefighters in happi coats perform acrobatic stunts on top of bamboo ladders. The ladder stunts were the main event of Japanese New Year celebrations. The demonstrations, called dezome-shiki, were intended to warn people of the dangers of fire, and to demonstrate the agility and courage of the firefighters.

Published in the British weekly illustrated newspaper The Graphic in 1891 (Meiji 24).

Original text: “The Japanese Fire Brigade. Japanese firemen at their exercises – from a drawing by a native artist.”

Kjeld Duits Collection
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