Tokyobling's Blog

Kawagoe Ladder Acrobatics – Harumatsuri

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on April 3, 2014

Of all the photographic subject available in this fantastic country few beats the ladder acrobatics for photogenics! These teams of gravity defying fire fighters are really something to see. I took saw the Saitama prefecture Kawagoe city team at the Kawagoe spring festival opening last week. In the old days samurai families tasked with fighting fires in the cities of Japan developed a technique of quickly and safely raising ladders using not much beyond bamboo, ropes and hooks. The bravest would then race up the ladder and quickly be able to locate the source of the fire and the direction it was likely to travel in. A low tech solution to problems faced by firefighters in many cultures. To keep their skill up the teams would practice on the ladders in a form of acrobatics that is now the “hashigonori engi” (梯子乗り演技). There are different traditions but most of them center on a dozen core positions centered around where on the ladder they are performed (up, middle or moving downwards). Most teams follow the traditional 69 positions although very few of them are every used be the individual teams. Can you spot the position called the “sea turtle”?

There are even some extremely scary looking two man positions that I have never seen in real life (not to be confused with bigger ladder teams where two or three men do their own routines on different parts of the ladder at the same time). I took so many photos of their three different performances on this day so I will a second bunch of photos for later. Enjoy!

kawagoe_harumatsuri_hashigonori_2014_9928

kawagoe_harumatsuri_hashigonori_2014_9941

kawagoe_harumatsuri_hashigonori_2014_9944

kawagoe_harumatsuri_hashigonori_2014_9976

kawagoe_harumatsuri_hashigonori_2014_9999

kawagoe_harumatsuri_hashigonori_2014_0004

kawagoe_harumatsuri_hashigonori_2014_0023

kawagoe_harumatsuri_hashigonori_2014_0039

kawagoe_harumatsuri_hashigonori_2014_0040

kawagoe_harumatsuri_hashigonori_2014_0052

kawagoe_harumatsuri_hashigonori_2014_0066

kawagoe_harumatsuri_hashigonori_2014_0073

kawagoe_harumatsuri_hashigonori_2014_0082

kawagoe_harumatsuri_hashigonori_2014_0140

kawagoe_harumatsuri_hashigonori_2014_0152

Advertisements

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Lilichan06 said, on April 3, 2014 at 8:38 am

    Great!
    I like it 🙂

    Like


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: