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Japanese Fire Dept. Tobiguchi


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This is a Japanese Fire Department Tobiguchi (Hook) from the Edo period. Fire was a constant threat in Japan and an organized fire service was established during the Tokugawa shogunate (1603-1866) according to Jim Dawson in his book, "Swords of Imperial Japan 1866-1945". This hook style is shown by Dawson on page 325 of his book. The tobiguchi was used to tear into buildings during a fire and it became a symbol of the fire service in Japan. During the Meiji era fire services were the responsibility of the police and remained so until after 1948 in the Showa era.


The hook consists of a wooden staff, serving as the handle, strongly bound in iron bands. On one end was the heavy triangular iron hook used to tear down burning structures and near that hook is a flat belt hook for when the tobiguchi was thrust through the waist sash for hands free carrying. Some more modern tobiguchi will be found with rings instead of a sash hook. Some tobiguchi from the Meiji era will also be found in the form of swords but these are dress items and were not used for fire fighting.



Jap Fire tobiguchi.JPG

Jap Fire tobiguchi close.JPG

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