Ojika Island takes pride in having some of the oldest wooden buildings among the Goto Islands. Visitors, as well as locals, love the nostalgic scenery of the island that takes you back in time to “old” Japan. However, a large number of wooden structures increases the risk of a major fire occurring. As such, the island’s Fire Prevention Group made up of local volunteers together with the Sasebo Fire Department is always busy performing fire drills and raising fire safety awareness around the island.
In January our local heroes march down the town’s main street as a part of the fire prevention parade, which gathers crowds of spectators.
The parade takes place every year on the 6th of January.
Ojika’s Fire Prevention Group is made up from 10 divisions.
All divisions together with the female trumpet orchestra take part in the parade.
The parade gathers crowds of spectators who come to see their sons, husband, brothers, and fathers dressed up in the firefighter’s attire, marching with a serious expresionーtoday, they are everybody’s heroes.
Islanders take the fire and disaster drills very seriously. Isolated by the sea, islanders have only themselves to rely on in case of a disaster. That is why most of the men on the island volunteer for the Fire Prevention Group.
In case of a disaster or a fire, an announcement accompanied by a siren will be transmitted all over the island. Everybody will hold their breath, with volunteers stopping whatever they were doing and heading swiftly to the nearest fire station.
Once the fire was put down and the potential danger of a disaster had passed there will be another announcement, with the whole island feeling relieved.
The parade ends with each division spraying water into the sea with crowds cheering excitedly.