There have been professional fire fighters in Japan since the 17th Century. They were known as hikeshi. Unlike modern firefighters who seek to extinguish fires, the hikeshi’s main task was to pull down buildings near the fire so that the flames would not spread.
In early January Tokyo's Fire Department struts its stuff with a large exhibition known as Dezomeshiki which has parades, firefighting vehicles, and firefighting techniques. It's a 5-year old's dream come true! Professional firefighting in Japan goes back centuries starting with the hikeshi, acrobatic firefighters who are now one of the highlights of the Dezomeshiki. They scale bamboo ladders and perform acrobatics stunts.