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Aizu Shinsengumi... And After the War

I'm not gonna repeat stuff that's already in Wikipedia. So this one is more about the other Shinsengumi members related to Saitou or Aizu. :)

Other Shinsengumi Members in Aizu

When Aizu Shinsengumi met their end, another division of Shinsengumi hadn't gone far, although not engaged in battles.

Shimada Kai's squad was stationed in Shiokawa Village near the borderline, north of Takaku Village.
Although they wanted to, they couldn't go back for Saitou's squad. Kayano Gonnohyoue lost Takaku Village and withdrawn to Shiokawa on the same day (9/5). Shimada's squad lingered for a few days but ran short of supplies. Above that, Shiokawa would soon become battlefield. On 9/9 they had to make a tough decision - leave while they still can.

I traced the name changes and found the locations nowadays (Shiokawa=福島県喜多方市塩川町, Nyoraidou=会津若松市如来堂), compared with old battlefield maps to make sure, and Google Map told me there's only 8 miles in between. *surprised* That didn't seem far. But no survivor reached Shiokawa. I guess it was quite chaotic in that area back then.

On 9/10, Nihonmatsu Clan, the neighbor east of Aizu and an ally in the Battle of Bonari Pass, also surrendered. On 9/11, Aizu troops successfully fended off enemy forces from Shiokawa. On 9/12, new government ordered all clans to launch an all-out attack on Aizu. If they stayed longer, they probably wouldn't have made it to Sendai in one piece.

Nakajima Nobori (中島登) and the Portraits of Comrades

Nakajima Nobori was one of those in Shiokawa. In his memorandum (中島登覚え書) he recorded what happened in Nyoraidou and the names of the ones there. After the war ended, during the bitter days in his imprisonment, he drew a series of portraits in memorial of the deceased comrades. Firstly a self-portrait, then Kondou, Hijikata, Saitou and those of Nyoraidou, and those who sacrificed in Ezo. Most were drawn in battle stance, and with brief description written beside. This collection is called Portraits of Comrades (戦友絵姿) and is still kept in Hakodate City Museum nowadays. This news tells about its replica on display.

Nakajima, Kondou, and Hijikata. (From right to left.)
Nakajima, Kondou, and Hijikata. (From right to left.)

He drew eight of the thirteen members of Aizu Shinsengumi.(Mouse over for names.)
Yamaguchi Jirou (山口次郎)Kumebe Masachika (久米部正親)Ikeda Shichisaburou (池田七三郎)Yoshida Shuntarou (吉田俊太郎)Kawai Tetsugorou (河合鉄五郎)Shimura Takezou (志村武蔵)Arai Hamao (新井破魔男)Takada Bunjirou (高田文二郎)

Tenmaya Incident (天満屋事件), Saitou Hajime, and Umedo Katsunoshin (梅戸勝之進)

Back when Sakamoto Ryouma was assassinated (about 10 months before the Battle of Aizu), Miura Kyutaro (三浦休太郎) was one of the main suspects. Fearing of revenge from Sakamoto's supporters, he asked for protection from Shinsengumi. Saitou's squad was assigned.

Sakamoto's Kaientai raided Tenmaya during Miura's banquet. Nakai Shougorou marched in and swung his sword at Miura. Saitou, sitting next to Miura, immediately drew and cut across Nakai's chest. (Without standing up! Saitou wasn't called a master of Iai for nothing!) Nakai's sword only managed to give a small cut on Miura's face. But as more of them break in, Shinsengumi was in disadvantage. With only 7 men in Saitou's squad, they were outnumbered, and they had to protect Miura who can't fight at all. Saitou immediately ordered to extinguish all lanterns since Shinsengumi had trainings in fighting in the dark. During the melee in darkness, while Saitou was busy fighting 2 to 3 opponents, another attacked him from behind and there was no way for him to avoid it. Umedo Katsunoshin saw it and bear-hugged the enemy, saving his captain from being backstabbed, but leaving himself defenseless.

After the battle, Umedo was one of the most seriously wounded. He received numerous cuts, including one across his face, and another on his left thigh that's bone deep. Shinsengumi did allow members incapable of fulfilling their duties to retire. Umedo, for his bravery and his being crippled from the wound, could leave with honor. But somehow he didn't.

With Saitou's arrangements, Umedo became Saitou's Shinsengumi's guidon bearer, an honorable position not required to fight. (Shinsengumi didn't assign the guidon to one specific member before.) From the Battle of Toba-Fushimi, to Kōshū-Katsunuma, and all the way to Aizu, Shinsengumi reorganized a few times, but Saitou always kept Umedo in his own squad and especially looked after him. (I thought this was fiction until I read it in Umedo's profile.) However, lastly in Nyoraidou, Umedo wasn't among those who sticked with Saitou to the end. Perhaps Saitou knew he couldn't protect Umedo any longer and made him leave with the others?

Umedo did reach Sendai safely, but didn't join the newborn Shinsengumi. He simply left, without telling anyone why or where he's going to. He was listed as "killed in action" in Nagakura Shinpachi's records (同志連名記), and also listed on Shinsengumi's cenotaph built in 1876. Against Saitou's wishes, looks like he didn't survive.

The Other Survivors in Aizu Shinsengumi

The five confirmed are: Kumebe Masachika, Ikeda Shichisaburou, Yoshida Shuntarou, Kawai Tetsugorou, and Shimura Takezou.

They left Aizu with Mito's Shoseitai (水戸諸生隊) and later met another old pal, Seiheitai. At then Seiheitai was led by Hayashi Shintarou, since Nagakura, Harada, and Haga all left. (Hayashi was one of the corporals who left Shinsengumi with Nagakura.) They participated in Mito's attempt in reclaiming Mito Castle, but weren't successful. Hayashi was killed in this battle. Kumebe suggested leaving Mito and founding a republic on Hachijō Island. Although they supported his idea, they failed to escape, and surrendered in Choushi on 10/14. They were released after one year of imprisonment.

After released, Kumebe Masachika joined the government army under an alias, and became a lieutenant.
Eight years later, Satsuma Clan rebeled again. Kumebe was there, fighting against Satsuma like eight years ago. Saitou also joined this civil war as a semi-captain of Metropolitan Police Department. I wonder if they got to meet each other. :)
Kumebe died of illness at the age of 70.

The other three did the same thing as most Shinsengumi members did: After 1 or 2 years of imprisonment, they returned to their homes, changed their names, and lived quietly. Mostly because how Shinsengumi was portrayed. *see previous post*

Ikeda Shichisaburou was the youngest among them, being only 18 years old back then. Surprisingly, he wasn't in Shinsengumi very long either. He joined in 1868, after Saitou left with Itou. One day this newbie Ikeda saw an unfamiliar man coming into the quarters, taking his shoes off at the entrance. Several members went to greet him. He wondered who that seemly important person was. At dinnertime there's announcement, "Vice Commander's Assistant, Saitou Hajime, was away for business trip, and will return to his original post starting from today." And he thought, "oh so that's Saitou Hajime!" Who'd have expected they'd be trusting their backs to each other in Aizu 10 months later? ;)
Shimazawa Kan had an interview with Ikeda, and wrote Ikeda's words in the third book of his Shinsengumi Trilogy.
Ikeda died on 1938, at the age of 90. He was the last Shinsengumi member to leave this world.

Today in Aizu

The cenotaph in Nyoraidou.When Aizu built a cenotaph in memorial of their Byakkotai, they also built one for Aizu Shinsengumi in Nyoraidou. On the back it reads, "in Boshin War, Shinsengumi Vice Commander Hijikata Toshizou came to Aizu's aid with a hundred soldiers in defending Shirokawa and Bonari Pass. Here in the fierce battle of Nyoraitou on 9/4, 13 members including the captain Yamaguchi Jirou sacrificed their lives after a great fight."

Grave of Fujita Family.

By his own wish, Saitou's grave was built in Aizu Wakamatsushi City, in Amida-ji Temple where most of the comrades who died in the War of Aizu were buried.
Mourning ritual is still held every year by decendents of his second son. A festival for Shinsengumi is also held at the same time.

There's also a cenotaph at Bonari Pass, a grave for Kondou Isami & Hijikata Toshizou, and museum in Aizu Wakamatsushi City too. The attitude towards Shinsengumi differs greatly between Aizu and Kyoto. Monuments in Kyoto showed hostility towards Shinsengumi (Shinsengumi killed many people here, blah-blah-blah), while Kyoto people still make big money by selling Shinsengumi souvenirs. *glare* (Kyoto did become a safer place with Shinsengumi's efforts. But they didn't care and still loved Chōshū more because Chōshū ronins spent a lot of money in their shops. Merchants. *shrug*) But monuments in Aizu really showed warmth and gratitude.

These are all in Japanese. For websites, please Google the site name (since Japanese don't like to see their sites directly linked to).

1) 新選組日記, 木村幸比古, ISBN: 978-4569630083 - This is a "translation" of Nagakura Shinpachi's and Shimada Kai's journals. (Translated from classic Japanese to modern Japanese.)
2) 新撰組顛末記, 永倉新八, ISBN: 978-4404036001 - Nagakura Shinpachi's memorandum.
3) 幕末維新新選組, 新選社, ISBN: 978-4921132873 - Lists, timetables, and background information.
4) 新選組全隊士徹底ガイド, 前田政記, ISBN: 978-4309407081 - Profile for every member of Shinsengumi.
5) 新選組 斎藤一 - A website dedicated to Saitou Hajime, with amazing amount of detailed info and reference. Those English info about Saitou mostly came from here. XD Too bad Infoseek ceased webservice so the site is gone now.
6) 幕末会津藩 会津部屋分室「呆嶷館」 - A website dedicated to Aizu. Very detailed background information, names, and timetable. It's a great help. Most books about Aizu were published 20 years ago and are very hard to get now.
7) 幕末会津藩サイト~数にも入らぬ我が身ながらも~ - A website dedicated to Aizu. This site is filled with photos of Aizu. Historical places, festivals, food, or just simply showing how beautiful Aizu is.
8) 史料で見る戊辰戦争 - A website that collects battlefield journals written during Boshin War, by people from different troops. Very valuable first-hand information, but difficult to read since it's in classic Japanese. ^^;


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 29th, 2010 08:13 pm (UTC)
As always, thank you so much for this! I've been pretty confused recently, having been reading online and having also got Romulus Hillsborough's "Shinsengumi: The Shogun's Last Samurai Corps", by the hostilty towards Shinsengumi, so it's interesting to read they were seen differently in Aizu.

I find it quite easy to separate the characters I know and love in Hakuouki from their historical counterparts, to me they're almost entirely different entities save for the names and the spirit of certain events (and they're certainly easier to like!), but I still didn't like to think of the historical Shinsengumi as being universally reviled. I also didn't like the assertion I've read in some places that the 'new' interest and fondness (for want of a better word) for all things Shinsengumi is just a modern romanticization of a gang of brutal, arrogant and power hungry thugs.

Wow, that turned into quite a little rant!
Nov. 30th, 2010 12:23 am (UTC)
Thanks so muc for sharing this!
The information is so wow!
I love their history, they are just so amazing!
Nov. 30th, 2010 12:25 am (UTC)
Wow! This is an amazing amount of information and boy oh boy do I appreciate it! Thank you. You mention that the attitude towards the historical Shinsengumi is hostile in Kyoto. I wonder if dramas and animes that feature the Shinsengumi don't do as well in that area?

It's sad that Hijikata had no direct descendants but did any of his brothers have surviving descendants? I also have a nice warm feeling knowing that Saitou's line lives on in the modern day. ♥
Dec. 1st, 2010 01:39 pm (UTC)
You're welcome~♪
It's been more than a hundred years. Meiji Government abolished all clans and set prefectures instead. Without clans, the 400 years of hatred among clans (mostly between the pro-Tokugawa and anti-Tokugawa ones) were also washed away.
The hatred were kept in the monuments built shortly after the war. But I don't think there's much personal hatred now.

There were books written after interviewing descendants of the Hijikata family.
Ishida Powdered Medicine, their secret formula not given to outsiders, were still being made and sold until after WWII. XD
Hijikata Youko, the present curator of Hijikata Toshizou Museum, is a descendant too.
The sister closest to Toshizou, Toku, also had descendants. She's married to Satou Hikogorou (佐藤彦五郎), one of the main supporters of Shinsengumi ever since they leave Tama. When searching for Shinsengumi info, I came across a reference of a book written by Satou's great-grandson.

Shinsengumi was also loved in Tama, Kondou's & Hijikata's homeland. In the Battle of Kōshū-Katsunuma, those new soldiers Shinsengumi recruited were friggin useless and only good at escaping. The only exception was Kasugatai (春日隊), the youngsters Satou recruited from Tama. The bravery of Kasugatai was no less than the original members of Shinsengumi.

Years later, Shiba Ryoutarou visited Tama when writing his novel about Hijikata Toshizou. He asked a villager where's Hijikata family's house. He got asked back, "which Hijikata? Almost every family in this village is Hijikata." (Peasants didn't have family names. In modern days, when family names were required by the government, they usually make one using the place they live, or borrow the name of someone famous in their area. So they all picked Hijikata as their name! XD) Anyway, Shiba said "Hijikata Toushizou's house", feeling a little awkward. But the villager happily answered, "oh, the landlord's house! I'll show you the way." Shiba was quite surprised by their attitude towards Hijikata Toshizou. It's like he's a still neighbor among them. :)
Dec. 3rd, 2010 01:11 am (UTC)
That's interesting that the villagers' attitude towards Hijikata Toshizou. The landlord's house! I was smiling very big with that. ^_^

Also, thanks for the link about the Meiji Government abolishing the Han system. I'm off to read that now!
Nov. 30th, 2010 04:55 am (UTC)
gahhh *drowling*
Thx so much for writing all this for us. I don't have the time to read it yet but i bookmark it!!

ps.i couldn't help reading the beginning and as a mini note, the reading of 武家 is "buke"! (i somehow feel bad telling this to master fujita!! lol)
Nov. 30th, 2010 11:04 am (UTC)
I wouldn't be able to find information like these by meself, so you have my utmost gratitude for it. Thank you so much!

It makes me go "what" a bit on part where you said monuments in Kyoto showed hostility towards Shinsengumi. I mean, those monuments were built for them, no? Or at least to remembering them, yet they bad talked about them on it? Whut?

It's so nice to read how they are treated differently in a better way in Aizu, somehow it gives me a warm feeling knowing they do get the adoration which they deserve.
Dec. 1st, 2010 12:05 pm (UTC)
You're welcome~♪
The monuments in Kyoto were mostly built for the event, or for "the other side". For example, the one in Aburanokouji was for Itou Kashitarou. The most ridiculous was the one at Tenmaya, "Nakai Shougorou sacrificed here". What the @#$#%? Sacrificed? He wouldn't have died if they didn't crush into Miura's party, randomly killing suspects without any evidence! And on that night Shinsengumi had one member killed on the spot, plus another died the next day from gunshot. But their names weren't on the monument.
That just reminded me. Kaientai even brought guns. If Shinsengumi didn't extinguish the lights right away ... *shudders*
(They didn't dare to shoot in the dark. That Shinsengumi member was shot when chasing Kaientai during their retreat.)

Yep it feels so warm. Q_Q When putting these data together I feel the urge to visit Aizu more and more. Oh and Kondou's & Hijikata's hometown too. People there were also very supportive of Shinsengumi. :)
Dec. 1st, 2010 03:24 pm (UTC)
The hell? They made a monument of the event yet they didn't include Shinsengumi's fallen members there? How come? That is like so unfair. D:
Guns vs Swords... as much I want to call it cheating, it's perfectly understandable situation in that era. And there is no rules in war anyway. :/

I read your reply about Kondou's and Hijikata's hometown. Yeah, it feel so warm too. And I couldn't help but lol to know the town is full of Hijikatas everywhere. xD
They sure very fond of Toshi, eh? :)
Nov. 30th, 2010 11:30 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for these info! I feel that I learnt even more than in my introduction to Japanese Studies class ^^; (which didn't even mention the Shinsengumi in the history segment -__-")

I really like the alternative portrayal of the Shinsengumi that the Aizu gives, which is so different from what is commonly said (and your evidences given makes this a convincing perspective haha) And somehow, all the historical references you have been mentioning really makes Hakuouki so much more real to me, rather than just another fictional story. Kudos to the series for the dedicated sticking to the historical facts xD
Apr. 19th, 2012 04:51 pm (UTC)
This is why I am so disappointed with Hekketsu-roku. The historical background got completely lost, the relations and the changes weren't shown at all...They just offed everyone and made a pseudo-tearjerker ending.

But this helps. This helps a lot.

And the entire issue of the ending, of the survivors, what was after that...it's just so interesting, so fascinating. I'm especially interested in Seiheitai it figures, it really does and I would die of sheer happiness if they translated Roshi Bunkyu Hokoku Kiji into english. Or at least Tenmatsuki. *sigh*
But as that seems nowhere near a realization, I have to rely on you the internet. ^^"

Thank you for this.

And I know I'm two years past due date, but I have this fetish of re-reading older posts to renew forgotten knowledge. That, and the next kiss is set in Meiji, during the time Shinpachi's in hiding and I'm collecting informations about his later yeras. v_v I'm such a wretched busybody.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )