Hikeshi , Edo era firefighters carrying their typical banner. A document from 1738 mentions a total number of more than 11,000 fire fighters - in relation to a total population of about one million citizens. In 1850 24,000 hikeshi - as they were called in Japanese - were employed to protect the city of Edo. The main task of the firemen was to isolate a fire by tearing down the neighboring houses. Among the population of Edo the firemen had a very special reputation, depending to which class a person belonged. On one side they were admired for their bravery. On the other side they were considered as wild red necks, rowdies and drunks.