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Matoi and Dragon

A matoi (纏 matoi, まとい) was a flag used in Edo period Japan by firemen (火消し hikeshi) to notify people of a fire near or within a building. It was taken up on a roof near the burning building by the matoi holder (纏持 matoimochi) and waved to draw the attention of other groups of firefighters, who would then hurry to the site of the fire to assist. Each different group of firemen in the Edo period had their own matoi to identify themselves. In modern Japan, the matoi is only used for ceremonial purposes.
The Japanese dragon was heavily influenced by the Chinese dragon. Like these other East Asian dragons, most Japanese ones are water deities associated with rainfall and bodies of water, and are typically depicted as large, wingless, serpentine creatures with clawed feet. 

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