About 280 years
ago, when Tokyo was still known and called Edo,
forty-eight groups of firefighters in each town.
Each group was named after the forty-eight letters that form the
In those days, the Japanese houses were made of woods, paper, and
Once a fire started in one place,
the flying sparks could easily and
instantly start a fire on the house next door.
As a result, the firefighters played a critical role in order to protect
the town from fire.
To avoid the spread of fire and rescue the victims,
jumped into the blazing fire and broke down the flaming houses.
The town people considered the firefighters heroes for their courage,
humanity, and a sense of justice.
Each group had their own matoi,
a sign that was used to indicate that
they are the ones that would extinguish the fire.
Every time a fire started,
each forty-eight groups competed with each
other to put their matoi up first on the place.
They were proud to put up their own matoi faster than any other group.
Among many groups, me-gumi (group me) was outstanding.
Lead by Tatsugoro whom was respected among everyone, they were always
the fastest to put up the matoi.
Consisted of the energetic and vigorous young men,
firefighters of the town of Edo, me-gumi is now coming here…