Japan Kimono
The Art of Kimono
hikeshibanten history

For over one hundred years, Japanese firemen (hikeshi) wore thick, woven coat referred to as a Hanten Fireman’s Coat.

There were three kinds of hikeshi beginning in the Edo Period (1603).
Those in charge of protecting the Shogun’s castle and samurai residences were known as Jobikeshi and they were part of the samurai class.

The Daimyo-Bikeshi had the highest honor as they were chosen amongst the leading samurai by their lords. They protected important public buildings including rice warehouses.

However, the true heroes of the masses were the Machi-Bikeshi.
The Machi-Bikeshi defended the houses and buildings of the common people.

These specialized garments were soaked in water to protect them when fighting the fire.

Each different group of firefighters was member of an agricultural cooperative or guild, and wore a jacket, called “shirushi-banten”, (jacket with inscription), especially made for each group.

This jacket has an inscription on the front lapels meaning “fighting spirit for working”.
The round symbol identifies the fire station/district.
The designs are dyed .

You will find this vest in our hikeshibanten page

On public events /festivals, these coats are also worn as a mark of masculinity and pride.