http://www.3-hajime.com/dekigoto10.html (this was translated by someone other than me)
I think I got these translations here:
but Im not remembering anymore
I just love those ‘u’ s
Im still not sure if they are necessary or not
anyway this is all stuff I grabbed from the net, I hope I remembered to include the site addy. Most of this info is NOT in English, its all in Japanese so *shrug* people have to translate it and I have depend on them. This is what I have collected thus far.
(yes Im ignoring the existence of that crappy hillsobough book, because he is a shitty writer. He left things out, important things, his information was lacking, and biased, if I ever see the words penchant for violence again… it will be too soon. In the way he went about writing this book he betrayed the people who allowed him to interview them AND he made gross errors. I was so disgusted with this book that I refused to allow it in my home. I mean that stuff I posted here earlier was damn accurate and even though the writer didn’t have a good opinion of the shinsengumi Im cool with her because of her accuracy and writing style. but this guy ! Oh and there is no way Im going to post page numbers and examples because my historian friend did that and next thing you know hillsboros lawyer is contacting the web server bitching about plagiarism and defamation of character. I apologize if my noticing your massive errors now constitutes as definition of character – you totally suck. And what’s worse is that its the only ‘history’ book IN ENGLISH about the shinsengumi and it sucks…its horrible)
oh yeah – I didn’t write any of this
A Few Thoughts
This question has plagued me for a while. Actually I wasn’t too keen with the idea that he was a spy sent by Aizu to watch the Shinsengumi, when I first heard about it more than a year ago. Of course as a fan of both Saitou and the Shinsengumi, it was one of those things that didn’t sit well, however it wasn’t only until recently that with the rebuilding of this site that I stumbled upon a probable answer.
As most fans of Saitou would know, Shizuko Akama is considered an authority researcher on Saitou Hajime. In one of her books she eluded that Saitou was probably sent by Aizu as a spy into the Shinsengumi, I believe the term that came out was “Metsuke”. While glossing over kanji characters in the book “Shinsengumi Hyakuwa” by Suzuki Tooru, in the chapter which discusses Saitou taking over the Shinsengumi troops as Yamaguchi Jirou, in the “memo” Suzuki I believe quotes Akama and discusses Saitou as a spy. In this memo, he states that to his regret this turned out quite different as it was made clear that he was not a spy by the descendants testimony and the document presented. It also should be noted that Suzuki does say in addition, the probability of Saitou being an Aizu Clan Retainer cannot yet be thrown away (disputed).
Although I can probably cite a few reasons why the family would deny he was a spy, I dare not in this case as I believe the closest we’ll get to the truth is by the accounts of Saitou’s descendants themselves. And of course, I do prefer it this way that he did not spy on the Shinsengumi because I’m a fan of both.
NOTE About the passages below: Those in bold and red are what’s commonly accepted as “true” and has circulated on the WWW.. The paragraphs with an asterisks are my questions, comments, feelings, etc.
Saitou Hajime was born on January 1, 1844 or January 2 since it is thought of that he was born sometime midnight. His parents are Yamaguchi Yuusuke and Masu. He had an older brother named Hiroaki who later on worked various job in the Meiji in Finance, the tax bureau and District Court secretary in Fukushima, he had a daughter named Yuki. Saitou had an older sister named Katsu who married Toshiaki Soma (had children with him) but she died in the 8th year of the Meiji.
His father left the family business to his sister (perhaps sold?) and goes on to buy the title samurai and stocks. He was a low ranking samurai, a common foot soldier and taught kendo to children of low ranking samurai in the dojo’s by the Aizu-han spread in Edo (modern Tokyo) There is “talk” that his father was involved in information gathering for a certain intelligence group.
Note on Yuusuke’s teaching, he probably didn’t. I made a mistake on reading a translation. It is said that Saitou was taught Ittou Ryu and that it was probably “kindness” to teach a son of a low ranking samurai.. However the case is still in point, that the disparity in socially conscious groups is very much apparent.
*Here’s my thoughts on this… Let’s take first the buying of the title, let’s have a reality check, people born into a certain class usually thinks themselves better than those who buys the title. I would think that early on this would be an issue especially for the young Saitou if this was known, and I believe it was known. Why? His father was assigned to teach children of low-ranking samurai as “recognition” for his work. So I think, yes his father was recognized and also recognized not on par with the other samurai. How would something like this affect Saitou? Maybe it will make him, -want- to be someone, someone skilled and of course I think he would be aware of the prejudice and disparity. As for Saitou following after the footsteps of his father… I’d rather not comment, although it’s not impossible… and certainly makes quite a “cool” idea that the son follows the footsteps of his father. But I don’t even know what this intelligence group is and in what capacity his father worked there (if he indeed worked as that). I do not think a man like Yuusuke would be too involved in “intelligence affairs” because clearly he is still considered at the bottom of the pecking order for various reasons.
Saitou after his genpuku studied Itto-ryu in one of the Aizu dojo in Edo. He studied many sword styles including the Tennen Rishin Ryu and also combat techniques like Jujuitsu. He is master of the Mugai Ryu.
*Makes sense since his father was a teacher anyway. We don’t know when his father died so for all I know it could be his father who got him in or it could be some other acquaintance of his father. The Tennen Rishin Ryu I think is a given since he later on was in the Shinsengumi. The Jujuitsu is a staple training I believe in the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. The Mugai Ryu is what is said in countless of websites, where he learned it I do not know but probably while he was also training in one of the Aizu dojos.
At 19 Saitou Hajime killed a man.
*Who? We don’t know but it is probably a son of someone influential that he is forced to flee Edo. If his family was so influential at this point, I wonder why they were not able to do anything… Was it because it was dishonorable and they disowned the son? And I’ve read also that he was sent to a few friends of his fathers. Perhaps he even went to Aizu at one point, how else did he get the position spy for the Daimyo in the Shinsengumi? There are theories that his growing up days were turbulent, perhaps he was involved in gangs like the Mafia (as we saw in NHK), but then we have to ask where did that come from and we do not know. It probably came from the fact that he killed a man. Since we don’t know why, it can’t really support any of the gang theory. But the mere fact he killed opens up many possibilities (most of which isn’t too pretty) of his adolescent days. Was he a bad sheep? Or was it all just an accident?
On March 4, 1863 joined the Shinsengumi. Early on the Shinsengumi had stayed in the Yagi house, but eventually moved out. Saitou is “said” to have stayed at the Maekawa’s and visited the Yagi house frequently.
*It is generally believed that Saitou knew Kondou and the others before Kyoto, this perhaps helped him get into the Shinsengumi relatively easily with a “rank” too. But who told the Aizu-han that he was a good fit in the group and could move unnoticed and unhindered? I still wonder if he was indeed the Daimyo’s spy but that’s probably my leanings because the Saitou that I knew which stems from fandom and RK was very loyal to the Shinsengumi. If he is a spy of the Aizu han then his loyalties lie with Aizu first and foremost (perhaps at least in the beginning but later on there are things that could indicate that he was indeed more of an Aizu loyalist)
On 1864, the Ikedaya incident. In August that year, joins Nagakura and a few others to complain about Kondou’s big-headedness to the Daimyo.
*The Ikeda-ya incident made a “name” for the Shinsengumi. It is not really after this incident that they were taken seriously by the Bakufu. It is commonly thought that the Shinsengumi were a bunch of wannabees. But can you really fault people who wanted to move up the ladder when they are stricken with a society that is divided by the classes? Much of the romanticism in the fandom of the Shinsengumi also stems from this, the common man or the masses can relate to this want. No wonder there’s so many novels out there about their hardship and triumph and of course downfall. But they represented inspiration, even if perhaps the view itself wasn’t accurate.
*Some say he was Hijikata’s “internal” spy and was slipped inside the complaint group to know who perpetuated it. My only answer to this is –maybe-. Was he really an inside spy trusted by Kondou and Hijikata? Where did that come from? If you ask me, Saitou’s involvement with the complaint is sincere, considering he is also the Daimyo’s spy. It was a good cover up and a support to his reports to the Daimyo, by letting the others like Nagakura take the lead.
As an “internal spy” for the Shinsengumi, Saitou is thought of to have assassinated Takeda Kanryuusai and Tani Mijuro.
*Since I have my own doubts about this, all I will say is I’m not convinced especially since I still wonder if he was indeed an inside spy for the Shinsengumi. There are various accounts on who –did- kill Takeda and Tani’s death has different accounts.
Left with Itou Kashitarou’s group that split from the Shinsengumi but eventually went back to the Shinsengumi. The Shinsengumi then, found out the plot to murder Kondou. Is connected to a Geisha in Shimabara named Aioi Tayu who eventually moves on to Gion.
*I believe this is fact. However the stories surrounding the circumstances baffle me. Some say he left to spy on the group on orders by Hijikata and thus was able to foil the plot to muder Kondou… And there’s an account by Abe Juro (one of Ito’s men) that he did truly go with Itou, that he was fickle/dirty with women so he got into trouble by stealing money for a woman in Shimabara (I would think Aioi) and went back to the Shinsengumi because he was in trouble, which would also explain how the Shinsengumi found out the plot against Kondou. Perhaps he used the information he got as a bargaining tool to go back into the Shinsengumi. So he was either a great spy or a tattle-tale. You choose.
Later on leaves the Shinsengumi and takes on the name Jiro Yamaguchi.
*It is usually believed that this is connected with the code “Hatto”. Where a deserter of the Shinsengumi is ordered to commit seppuku. If you think about it, the Hatto is enforced strictly and it is common knowledge I would think to the others that Saitou deserted. Perhaps with his help to foil Kondou’s murder (whether he was a spy or not), he was asked to leave and changed his name only to be later called on during the Toba-Fushimi war by Kondou to join them. Perhaps his order to leave the Shinsengumi for a while, and then later on be called back using the new name was the way Kondou/Hijikata could get him back in again and circumvent the usual punishment. After all, in a war you need all the men you can get.
Kondou eventually gets captured under an assumed name. Hijikata goes back and tries to rescue him, is unsuccessful but is able to get a hair or head and bury it. Hijikata goes back to Aizu and fights there and eventually decides to move to Hokkaido (where he’ll meet Enamoto a genius who was in the Navy).
*Where is Saitou in all this? From what I know Saitou has no involvement in trying to rescue Kondou. Clearly during the time the Daimyo of Aizu could’ve tried to rescue Kondou, but we must remember that Aizu by now was walking a tight rope between the court, so perhaps could not take an active part in rescuing the Kyokuchou. Considering that Saitou’s loyalty was probably with Aizu, I do not think he would really participate in anything that would get Aizu into trouble. Was he asked by Hijikata to go to Tokyo and rescue Kondou? I do not know although I’ve read in some Japanese sites that he was, but I think that was entirely speculation as well. But we do know that Hijikata and Saitou decided to split. Some fans theorize that there was a big fight between Hijikata and Saitou because of this… I think that’s all drama… After all Hijikata did leave a few of his Shinsengumi men to Saitou so they can defend Aizu. I would think even if they fought, Hijikata would’ve seen that Aizu is one of their last stronghold and it was in their best interest (for those fighting in Hokkaido – Goryokaku) to let Saitou fight in Aizu. Through all these questions though, only one thing is apparent to me.. Saitou’s loyalty is with the Aizu han, which makes sense since he worked for the Daimyo, his father was adamant on being a samurai and probably thought very highly of Aizu.
*When I first read/heard of this… It did disillusion me somewhat. I had always firmly believed that Saitou’s loyalty was to the Shinsengumi but most of the info did not point to that. In fandom and in fiction, Saitou is shown as very loyal to the Shinsengumi (like NHK and RK). But we must remember we are dealing with real people here, perhaps RL Saitou in time felt brotherhood in the Shinsengumi but Japanese people are very loyal to their clans first. If you remember, the price of deserting your clan (han), is death. So you can see how important a clan was… And since I think since Saitou was not really from a samurai lineage by birth, perhaps he felt that extra need. Who knows, maybe even his father was a big part of this.
Eventually the Shinsengumi and the Bakufu lost the war. Aizu also lost and the castle burned. People like Saitou was captured and deemed prisoners of war. He is eventually released because of good behavior and then starts to wander up north. He ends up, like a lot of Aizu people in Aomori and starts using the name Ichinoue Denpachi.
*I have not much to say here. My only question I guess is what made him migrate to Aomori? Perhaps just to be with Aizu people, but then again why wander first and go to a barren wasteland? Did someone keep tabs on the ex-POW? But it really isn’t such a problem for me.
In Aomori on August 25, 1871 he is married to Shinoda Yaso. (Forgot to add: edit on 02/19/2006: The family records show “Fujita” however there is a problem with the family records overlapping in years. It is uncertain whether this is a mistake or a doctored document.) Before meeting Yaso who was living in the Ueda house, he was staying at Kurosawa and was working for him. Kurosawa is also the one who adopted Tokio into his family (we don’t know when Tokio had started living with the Kurosawa or what happened to her own family). After 2 years, 1873, Saitou and Yaso moves out of the Kurosawa house and moves to the Ueda house. In 1874 Takagi Tokio is sent to Tokyo and Saitou eventually follows and marries her in June 10, 1874. Prominent people were the go-between in this marriage. Yaso dies in 1876.
*To be honest this is also one of the parts that are controversial to me. Why? Because my vision of Saitou is largely derived from RK, but I must continuously remind myself that this is real people in difficult circumstances. As we see, Saitou marries Tokio while he was still married to Yaso. We do not know when Saitou meets Tokio, they could’ve been acquaintances already but the fact is by the family records, Saitou marries Yaso first. It seems that the marriage was working since it did go on for a few years. The question is why did Saitou and Yaso moved out of the Kurosawa house? Were they thrown out? Or did they leave on their own? What happened in the Kurosawa’s house that Tokio also stayed in? If Saitou had moved out with Yaso, then I think that he was staying by his wife side. I tend to think that Saitou had honorable intentions towards Yaso and that it was not a marriage of convenience… Why? Because Yaso was his senior by four years for one. As a single man living in the Kurosawa, he would have had a house he belonged in and people who can testify where he is and what he is doing. So that throws out the notion of it was dangerous for Saitou being single (which I still debate whether living single during the time was suspicious for other neighbors in the refugee settlement). Something had happened in the Kurosawa house that eventually led the couple to move out. Perhaps to distance themselves. Now we could play devil’s advocate and say there was flirting going on between Saitou and Tokio but I think that notion is more for the romantic fan of the couple. I tend to think that he moved out because perhaps staying there was making his already sick wife (Yaso) experience something she shouldn’t. Perhaps rumors that he was cheating or flirting a bit too much? But if we can say that of Saitou, we might as well say it of Tokio. Perhaps Tokio also had her eye on the guy? Either way, they do move out and the mere fact that Saitou moved Yaso out and went with her, makes me think that she was his priority during the time. If Saitou was acting in a dishonorable manner, I doubt the Ueda house would let him stay there with Yaso who was an original inhabitant there. So why in the end did he marry Tokio while still married to Yaso? Why such high officials were the go-between? Tokio during this time was still un-wed when she should be on her way. Did she somehow picked out Saitou knowing having have heard of his contributions during the war and actually seeing how he was in the Kurosawa while still with Yaso and suggested it to Teruhime? They would make a great couple after all, a lady in waiting to the princess and a war hero. Did the go-betweens agree? I sincerely doubt it was Saitou who asked that he be divorced from his sick wife Yaso. Perhaps there was pressure for him coming from the outside to divorce his wife Yaso and marry Tokio instead. Tokio presented many connections and was younger than Yaso. So is Saitou just a jerk? Maybe since we do have accounts that he was fickle with women… But then again how do you explain him moving out with Yaso to settle in someone elses house? And why did he not marry Tokio right away if it was indeed “hot love”? Remember he did not follow Tokio right away when she moved to Tokyo. It was several months. I do not think it was a willful marriage on his part to be frank. But then again who really knows? The union is unnatural in my eyes and all I know is that Yaso died in 1876 and life went on for the Fujitas. Perhaps eventually Saitou thought, it was for the good of the clan but it still leaves a weary feeling on me and makes me doubt the usual happy and loving portrayals of Saitou and Tokio in fiction. The real man had something happen to him in Aomori, whether by his hand, Tokios, Yaso’s or the people around them. I feel sad. Hell this and the countless other not happy circumstances, probably enforced his drinking… The real guy drank heavily and if you asked me was a functioning alcoholic. Either way, I feel sorry for his first wife.
In June 1, 1875 his sister Katsu dies. In December 15, 1876 his first son Tsutomu is born.
*I always wondered what was his relationship with his siblings especially after he killed that man. There are accounts that he was thrown out of the house of course, so it makes me wonder what was the relations later on. If he even visited Katsu.
*It’s interesting to note that it is a full two years after his marriage that he has a son. So this rules out the hot love theory again. Some would say it was hard to bear healthy children during the time, but then we should have record of them losing a child or something. Perhaps he was so busy with his line of work but during this time Tokio was still a house wife. I still think love wasn’t a full factor at this time. But it is natural that a man eventually has a son to the wife he comes home to. It must be weird to have received news about his first wife (who I really think is his first love), but at least his son was born and that certainly should’ve made him happy. Perhaps this is the point where he closes the chapter on his first wife and decide to move on with Tokio. After all what can you do with a dead woman?
Joins the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department (TMPD), unknown date. He becomes a Police Inspector there and went up in rank quite fast. He also was involved in the Seinan war (Southwestern rebellion headed by Saigo). During the Meiji restoration he starts using the name Fujita Goro which was given to him by the Daimyo.
*We do not know when he joined the TMPD nor how. He could’ve been one of those people who were recruited by Kawaji (you remember his name from RK?) the Chief of Police who hails from Satsuma. During the restoration, samurai virtually loss their place in society and had a hard time finding jobs. This caused unrest which eventually led to the Seinan war, that he fought in. If you ask me this was a good idea by the Meiji to recruit not only their people but also from the opposing sides to get jobs in the government. In a way I look at it as damage control –and- also unifies the supposed disposed off classes. Go on and read on the Seinan war in SHQ and other sources. The only thing to note here is that joining the military was a good move on Saitou’s part since it did help him go up the ladder quickly than the others. Of course there’s the small question of who is advising him on his career moves. As I’ve mentioned before, Saitou is known to be a –good- drinker and in my eyes a functioning alcoholic. Having spent many years with alcoholics (don’t ask), I can attest that some of them were workaholics and did great work… Oh and yes, it is said that RL Saitou values his new name Fujita highly, again we see he thinks highly of Aizu or at least Matsudaira Katamori. It is also said that when he was asked for a burial name (it is religious Shinto tradition to adopt a name) he refused to get another one. I wonder if he finally got tired of all the name changing or it’s another proof that he values the name Fujita highly.
In 1886, third son was born and adopted into the Namuzawa family. His name was Tatsuo Namuzawa. The Namuzawa was a prominent clan Retainer who also was a cousin of Tokio, they had no heir.
*Another thing that doesn’t sit well with me but this is probably just me applying my modern values and personal experience to the situation. We do not know of the couple’s true feelings about having to give up their third son… However, considering the big gap between Tatsuo and Tsuyoshi (who is the second son), it can be theorized that the couple had a son purely out of request. Again this shows the loyalty of the Fujita’s to their clan, to save a lineage of a prominent retainer of the Aizu clan they –had- a kid. I do not know if anyone objected, but if anyone did, I would place my bet first on the father only because it was most probable that the Namuzawa approached Tokio first since they are related. Of course in the end it had to be a decision on both their parts. I just plainly did not like this decision.
On 1891 he retired from the TMPD. He then became a museum guard and later on a teacher in the school that Tokio worked in.
*Not much to say here only that you should go on and read more about his life in the Meiji. I personally do not think there is a lot of controversy here. I mean they are at a point where life is getting some form of normalcy. The Meiji era presents a time of change, in thought, technology and science, and more open to the west. We can all fantasize on how the couple adjusted to the times. How they kept in contact with other Aizu people, how Saitou kept in contact with his family, other Shinsengumi and Nagakura etc. I certainly think it is a nice slow down for the Saitou and Tokio, it’s believed that the couple were hard workers and with Saitou’s position in the TMPD it is believed that they probably did not see each other a lot while he was working… It doesn’t take a genius to see that.
Tatsuo finds out he is adopted from an aunt and is –not- happy about it. After Fujita Goro dies on Sept 28, 1915, Tokio sends a letter to his son.
*Well duh! I can tell you now that I believe Tatsuo’s reaction to this was dead on accurate and –normal-. Come on.. All your life you are led to believe one thing and then find out another. Whether Goro and Tokio was sorry in the end, although is important, does little to the situation. The fact remains that Tatsuo was given up and felt probably betrayed his whole life when this little revelation came about. Although the decision was borne (probably) out of loyalty to the clan, one can’t deny that on a personal level, especially in the son’s case, no one wants to feel they existed because of that. I still wonder why Tokio waited to send a letter (well I don’t know the contents of the letter) after his father dies. What the heck is in that letter? Why wait until Goro is dead? What did he do this time? I think the letter was done out of guilt to be honest. So it leads me to believe, that perhaps Goro wasn’t happy with the arrangement for his son.
Correction: Tokio sent the letter a month before Goro dies. Hmmm… Now let’s change our thinking. Who requested the letter be sent? Was it a plea for Tokio to Tatsuo to see his ailing father? Again the question of guilt comes into the scene. Was Tokio feeling guilty? Was Goro guilty? Did the son reject it? Still not such a pretty picture but things like this are usually a bloody mess when kept in secret.
So as you can see there are more questions than there are answers with regards to history Saitou and the people around him. I will bring again the idea that history is a debatable topic and that no one can really tell us what the truth is except the people themselves. The best most people can do is get close to what happened and even then the findings (no matter how meticulous) are filtered through ones own set of values and personal opinions. This is why most historians are advised to distance themselves and tell things as plainly as possible. BUT I am not a historian… Only a person who’s done her share of reading, translating and conversing with other people
How were Saitoo Hajime’s life attitudes? These are based on the stories of his descendant and people who knew him in life.
Saitoo Hajime’s life attitudes were exactly like samurai
1. Even when it was very hot, he never bared his one shoulder or (1) wound a towel around his neck.
2. When he wore shoes, he always wore them decently, and never walked with dragging his shoes.
3. When he sat down, he always (2) sat on his heels , he never sat cross-legged or sideways.
4. He always used clean loincloth. It was changed everyday. It was very white, starchy, no wrinkle, and dried in the sun. It was as if ironed well.
5. Usually, he was extremely quiet.
6. He liked to drink. When he drank with Takagi Morinosuke or Yamakawa Kenjiroo, he often talked about the Boshin War sadly, angrily, and excitingly.
7. When he worked for the Women’s Teacher’s College, he regulated the traffic around the gate in a rainy day.
They show that he was very neat and quiet.
(1) This towel around his neck must be used to wipe his sweat.
(2) Seeza, Japanese formal style of sitting.
When he died…
(September 28th, 1915)
Saitoo Hajime died of stomach ulcer as Fujita Goroo in Septermber 28th in 1915 (Taisyoo 15). He was 72 years old. He was a neat and quiet swordsman. The way he died was very impressive. While he liked to drink and talk about the Boshin War with Takagi Morinosuke or Yamakawa Kenjiroo, he was suffered from stomach ulcer in his last year. When no medicine worked any more, he realized his time was near and had his family carry his body to tokonoma (alcove). There he sat on his heels on Japanese cushions. Since he was hard to breathe because of phlegm in his throat, Midori who was a wife of his first son, Tsutomu, had to remove this phlegm with chopsticks with cotton around them without break. However, his stormy life finally ended.
This behavior in his death shows his awareness as Mugai style swordsman.
There are two Mugai style swordsmen who died in the same way. One is Kimata, the Second of Mugai style who was adopted by Tsuji Gettan. Tsuji Gettan was the person who started the Mugai style. The other is Morishita Gonbee who was from (1) Tosa and one of leading students of Tsuji Gettan. These two persons also died with sitting on their heels in the same way as Saitoo did. It showed his strong will to continue to challenge himself until his death. His way of death is the most salient example to show Saitoo Hajime’s life.
(1) Today’s Koochi prefecture
Family and Relitives
Family and Relitives
She was the first wife of Saitoo Hajime. According to the Jinshin family record made in March 1872 (Meiji 5), she was 31 years old at that time. Counting backward, she was born in 1842 (Tempo 13). However, considering the fact that Fujita Goroo was recorded to be 27 years old, and she was 4 years older than him, she was born in 1840 (Tempo 11). She was the first daughter of Shinoda Uchizoo who was a samurai in Aizu. After her older brother died in (1) Kinmon no hen, and her father died of disease, she loved with other brothers. Later, they moved to Tonami. In Tonami, first she lived at the house of Ueda Shichiroo who was a son of Ueda Hachiroouemon, but later moved to the house of Kurasawa Heijiuemon who was a counselor in Tonami clan. Fujita Goroo also lived at Kurasawa’s house. They got married interceded by Kurasawa on August 25th in 1871. Later, they moved to Ueda Shichiroo’s house on February 10th in 1873. On June 10th, 1874, Fujita Goroo went to Tokyo. After seeing him off, she went back to Kurasawa’s house. However, this was the last record, and nobody knows how she lived after this. Therefore, everything, such as the year of her death or the place of her grave is unknown.
(1) Political change in 1864, the war between Aizu and Satsuma vs. Choosyuu
Saitoo Hajime’s second wife. She was born on April 15th in 1846 (Kooka 3). She was the first daughter of a couple, Takagi Kojuuroo and Katsuko. Her real name was Sada, and served for a princess, Teru, as a teacher of writing. Niijima Yaeko talked about Tokio in her reminiscence talking. When the castle was besieged during the Aizu War in 1868 (Keioo 4), both Tokio and Yaeko stayed in the castle. “After entering the castle, women were first taking care of injured people. However, I heard in the evening that we would sortie at night so that I started to cut my hair in order to join the fighting. When I had a trouble in cutting my hair, the sister of Takagi Morinosuke, Tokio helped me cut my hair.” This time, Tokio’s younger brother, Morinosuke, was a member of group organized by younger boys in the castle. After the war, Tokio moved to Tonami with other samurai of Aizu. In 1874, Tokio got married with Saito Hajime through an upper-matchmaker, Matsudaira Katayasu and lower-matchmakers, Yamakawa Hiroshi and Sagawa kanbee. She had the first son, Tsutomu on February 15th in 1876, and the second son, Tsuyoshi on October 4th in 1879, and the third son, Tasuo, on July 1st in 1886. In 1907, Tokio planted cherry blossoms with ten women from Aizu at Amida Temple in Aizu in order to remember people killed during the Aizu War. In the next year, she called for women from Aizu to donate money to build graves for war dead. Tokio also became a promoter, opened an account at Yasuda Bank, and donated 2 yen 50 (1) sen. There was an article about Tokio in (2) “Dai Nihon Fujinroku” made in March 1908. “Fujita Tokio, birth year 1846, a wife of Fujita Goroo who is a clerk of Tokyo Women’s Teacher’s College, a house master of women students’ dormitory, and the address is 30 Masago-cho, Hongoo-ku,” a house master of women students’ dormitory means that she let women students stay at her house under the permission from the school. Her address is today’s 4-14 Hongoo, Bunkyoo-ku in Tokyo. She lived there until she died.
(1) 1 sen = 1/100 yen
(2) The record of Japanese Women
Saitoo Hajime’s brother-in-law. He was born as the first son of Takagi Kojuuroo in September 15th, 1854 (Ansee 1st). Tokio’s younger brother. His name in his childhood was Goroo. Later, he changed his name as Morinsuke. In Meiji period, he worked as a prosecutor in Shizuoka, Hokkaido, Fukushima, and so on.
Saitoo Hajime’s father. The birth year is unknown. According to “the history of Fujita family,” He was from lower samurai’s family in Akasi. He handed over patrimony to his younger sister, and he went to Edo. He served Suzuki as a lower samurai at Kanda, Ogawa-machi. Later, he saved some money, and bought stocks. He got married with a farmer’s daughter, Masu, and had Hiroaki, Katsu, and Hajime. The information about his address in Akashi, his sister, and his sister’s family is all unknown. Hiroaki’s resume is reserved in Fukushima Local Curt. His birthplace was Motoiida-machi, Toyochima-gun, Musashikoku, and this address seems to correspond to his address in Edo. The year of his death and the place of his grave are unknown.
Saitoo Hajime’s mother. Everything is unknown except that she was a farmer in Kawagoe.
Saitoo Hajime’s older brother. The first volume of (1) “Tokyo Kyooikushi Shiryoo Taikee” inserts Hiroaki’s application to open the school. According to this, he was 38 years old in 1873 (Meiji 6). Counting backward, he was born in 1836 (Tempo 7). However, his resume reserved in Fukushima Local Curt showed that he was born on June 1st in 1843 (Tempo 14). Considering the age difference between brothers, the possibility that he was born in 1843 is higher. According to his resume, he was known by the name of Kimata, and he worked for the Department of the Interior in 1874 (Meiji 7). Later, he worked for the Ministry of Finance and tax office. Then, he worked as a counselor of Higashishirakawa-gun in Fukushima, and a counselor of Fukushima Local Curt. According to the book, “the history of Fujita family,” he worked as a registrar in Fukushima Local Curt. He retired in 1898. After this, there is no information about this. According to the record of the Ministry of Finance, his address was Imagawasyooji, Kanda, Tokyo city. Furthermore, the application he wrote in order to open the school said that his address was 1-1 Imagawasyooji, the second small ward of the fourth big ward. It also recorded that his family was under the protection of Suzuki Shigesuke who was a samurai in Tokyo. Since Ogawa-machi adjoined Imagawasyooji, Suzuki, who was described in “the history of Fujita family” and Saitoo Hajime’s father, Yuusuke served for, seems to be the same person as Suzuki Shigesuke above. The year of Hiroaki’s death and the place of his grave are unknown.
(1) Tokyo Educational History Resources
Sooma Katsu (Hisa)
Saitoo Haime’s older sister. She was born in 1842 (Tempo 13). Later, she got married with Sooma Tshiaki, and had four children, such as Teru and Toshikazu. The first child, Teru was born on October 7th in 1863 (Bunkyuu 3), which means that she got married before 1863. Later, she changed her name to Hisa. She died on June 1st in 1875. She was 33 years old. Her grave is at Ryoosenin temple at Syoonan-cho, Higashikatsuchika-gun, Chiba-pre.
The first daughter of Hiroaki who is an older brother of Saitoo Hajime. She was born in 1869 (Meiji 2). She was an elementary school teacher, but she died of disease. Due to her death, Yamaguchi family was extinct. The information about the Yamaguchs and the place of family graves is unknown.
Saitoo Haime’s brother-in-law. He worked for Kasama clan as a doctor, but later he opened his own hospital at Iida-machi in Tokyo around 1862 (Bunkyuu 2). He went back to his hometown, Tega village in Chiba prefecture, and worked as a doctor in his last year. He died in 1899 (Meiji 32).
2. People in Aizu
He was born on December 29th, 1835 (Tempo 6). He was a 6th son of Matsudaira Yoshitake who was the lord of Takasu clan in (1) Mino. Matsudaira Katataka, the lord of Aizu clan, adopted him. He named himself as Hoozan Yoodoo. He became the lord of (2) Higo. Later, he inherited Aizu in 1853 (Kaee 5). He became a councilor of Bakufu in 1861 (Bunkyuu 1). In 1862, he was commanded to work for the guard of Kyoto. Although his followers opposed him taking this job, he got this job and went to Kyoto. He succeeded with a political change to sweep away the group of (3) Sonjoo with a support of soldiers from (4) Satsuma, (5) Kuwana, and (6)Yodo on August 18th, 1863. Accompanied by Shinsengumi, he forced the reign of terror in Kyoto. However, the emperor, Koomee trusted him. He took a strong line with the conquest of Choosyuu, and objected Tokugawa Yoshinobu’s (7) Taisee Hookan. When he lost in the Toba and Fushimi War in 1868 (Keioo 4), he insisted on fighting in Ego. However, his opinion was turn away, and he lost to new Meiji government. His land was confiscated, and he was restrained in Tottori. In 1872, he was released, and later became the chief priest of Nikko Tosyogu shrine. He died in 1893.
(1) Today’s Gifu prefecture
(2) Today’s Kumamoto prefecture
(3) A political group who aim to respect emperor and drive out of the foreign force.
(4) Today’s Kagoshima prefecture
(5) A part of today’s Mie prefecture
(6) A part of today’s Osaka
(7) To return the right to govern from Edo Bakuhu to emperor.
He was born on September 5th in 1831. When he was a child, his name was Masaru. Later, he named himself as Kiyonao. His father was Aizu’s samurai, Sagawa Naomichi, and his mother was Toshiko. When his lord, Matsudaira Katayasu, was appointed as a guard of Kyoto, he went to Kyoto with him. Soon after he became a (1) Monogashira, he was promoted to be (2) Bugyoo of Kyoto school. He fought accompanied by a group which was formed with sons of Aizu’s samurai in the Toba and Fushimi War. He fought bravely, gained fame as a brave person. After returning to Aizu, he became a military Bugyoo, and insisted on continuing the war against emperor’s army. However, after he lost, he was imprisoned in Tokyo. Later, he was released, and he lived quietly in Aizu. When a dispute on (3) Seikan arose, with the government’s request, he went to Tokyo accompanied by about 300 followers and became a chief inspector. He served in the Seenan War, and died a heroic death in 1878. His evaluation is, “he was a respected person as Saigoo was in the west of Japan.” He was a type of traditional samurai leader.
(1) The name of post
(2) The name of post
(3) The movement to attack Korea
He was born on November 6th in 1845 (Kooka 2). Brother of Oyama Yutematsu and Yamakawa Kenjiroo. He was known by the name of Yoshichiroo. Another name as a poet was Toryuushi. He became an aide of Matsudaira Katayasu, and dealt with difficult problems. He was chosen as a member of dispatch to Russia, Germany, and France in order to settle the border in (1) Karafuto. Thorough this visit, he realized a mistake of (2) Jooi. After he returned, he intended reformation of system. However, the Boshin War arose, and the Aizu castle fell to the Meiji government army. Later, he took care of young lord, Matsudaira Katayasu, and made efforts to govern Tonami. He served as the Chief of Staff during the SeinanWar in 1878. Then he became a high school teacher, a member of Congress, and a major general of army. He died in 1898. He wrote “Kyoto Syugosyoku Shimatsu” and anthology, “Sakurayamasyuu.”
(1) The island in the north of Japan. Russian territory today.
(2) The idea to drive out of the foreign force.
He was born on July 17th in 1854 (Ansee 1). Younger brother of Yamakawa Hiroshi and Oyama Sutematsu. During the Boshin War, he joined (1)Byakkotai, but due to his age, he was discharged. He went to the United States in 1871, and studied civil engineer at Yale University. After returning, he taught at Tokyo Kaisee University first, and became the first professor of physics in Tokyo University. He made “Dictionary of English, Germany, and France in physics terms.” He used an X ray for an experiment for the first time in Japan. Later, he engaged in development of educational administration and science administration. He became a president of Tokyo University, Meiji Technical College, Kyuusyuu University, Kyoto University, and Musashi High School. He also became a member of Congress and worked for Privy Council. He died 1931 (Syoowa 6).
(1) Army group organized by boys in teenagers.
He was born on May 11th in 1834 (Tempo 5). He was from (1) Satsuma. He had other names, such as Seenoshin or Ryuusen. He was the first son of Satsuma samurai, Kawaji Toshiai, and Etsuko. He was in full activity in the Kinmon No Hen and the Toba and Fushimi War. Because of this activity, Saigoo Takamri came to know him. After Meiji government arose, he became a president of Tokyo Fuzoku University. When the Meiji government started a new police system, he became an inspector and made efforts to organize the administration of police. His goal was “to make the whole country in peace and to protect people’s health.” In short, he intended to build the administration of police. With the recommendation from Saigoo, he went to Europe to see the system of police in European countries. He returned in 1873. Then he insisted to divide police from administration. Based on the police system in France he learned in Europe, he wrote (2) “Kengi Sooan,” which described the blueprint of the system of police and administration. His idea was embodied in the achievement that Okubo Toshimichi founded the Department of the Interior and the National Police Agency. Kawaji aimed to concentrate the power of police in the center and to expanse the function of the national police. The Tokyo police department became a stronghold of policemen from Satsuma, and his philosophy was almost achieved. During the SeenanWar, the Tokyo police department was abolished, but he served as a commander, and commanded the army organized by policemen. He died on the way to return to Japan from overseas in 1879. He devoted whole his life to the establishment of the police system.
(1) Today’s Kagoshima prefecture
(2) Suggested draft
Mystery – What Was The Information of Saitoo Hajime after (1) Kooyoo Chinbu Tai Lost at Katsunuma?
Since Edo Bakuhu ordered Shinsengumi to suppress (2) Kooshuu on February 28th, 1868 (Keioo 4), Shinsengumi changed its name as Kooyoo Chinbu Tai and sent troops.
Saitoo Hajime participated in the war, and commanded one troop. He held the field at Kannonzaka between Tsuruse and Katsunuma. Although his troop fought bravely, support arms did not arrive, and he had to withdraw his troop.
Kondoo Isamu returned to Edo on March 11th to resurge Shinsengumi. He first sent injured soldiers and one troop to take care of them to Aizu on March 12th. He collected the rest of soldiers at Goheeshinden and started to recruit new members on March 13th. Kondoo Isamu arrived at Goheeshinden on March 14th, and Hijikata Toshizoo also arrived there on March 15th. By recruiting more soldiers, the number of the troop became 227 people, and Shinsengumi was finally resurged. Shinsengumi changed the main field from Goheeshinden to Nagareyama in (3) Shimoosa, and started western training for the preparation for the fight in Aizu on April 1st. However, the new Meiji Government found their movement, and attacked them. Due to the sudden attack of the main field, Kondoo Isamu surrendered to the new Meiji Government.
Because of this defeat, the rest of Shinsengui departed to Aizu with disarming on April 4th.
The main troop arrived in Aizu on April 28th.
Instead of Hijikata Toshizoo who was injured and left the troop, Saitoo Hajime was commanded to be the captain of Shinsengumi on (4) April 5th, leap day.
There is no information of Saitoo Hajime between the defeat of Kooyoo Chinbu Tai at Kannonzaka and the assumption of the captain.
When did Saitoo Hajime leave for Aizu?
There are two possibilities.
One is that he leaded about 30 people who consisted of injured soldiers and one troop, and left for Aizu on March 12th.
The other possibility is that he leaded the troop who disarmed and left Nagareyama for Aizu on April 4th.
According to “(5) Rooshi Bunkyuu Hookoku Kiji,” it says “Saitoo Hajime went to Aizu with taking care of injured and sick soldiers.”
If the article is true, Saitoo Hajime leaded about 30 people who consisted of injured soldiers and one troop to take care of them, and who left for Aizu on March 12th.
However, there is a following paragraph in (6) “Kikigaki Shinsengumi Hiwa” by Saitoo Saburoo. When Shinsengumi stayed at Goheeshinden, they were divided into small groups and hid in various places. The Kaneko family was one of the families who offered houses for Shinsengumi. A daughter, Kaneko Sugine said:
“The samurai was a very tall guy, and his height might be (7) 165 or 168 centimeter. He had beard all over his face, and he looked very strong. However, contrary to his appearance, he had a sweet and beautiful voice. Moreover, he looked very nice. His age might be 35 or 36, and his name is Yamaguchi something…”
Kaneko Sugine talked about three members who stayed her house, and she testified that one of their names might be Yamaguchi.
It is possible that this samurai was Yamaguchi Jiroo (Saitoo Hajime) because this man was tall, looked strong, and called himself Yamaguchi.
However, the age of 35 or 36 is different from his actual age in about 10 years.
If this man was Saitoo Hajime, it means that he was at Goheeshinden, and after moving to Nagareyama, he led the disarmed soldiers to Aizu.
Comparing these two resources, “Rooshi Bunkyuu Hookoku Kiji” more clearly indicated Saitoo Hajime. Therefore, the possibility that he led the injured soldiers to Aizu seems to be higher.
However, there is a problematic sentence in “History of Fujita Family.” It says:
“After the Sinsengumi’s defeat at Koohu (Koosyuu), Saitoo Hajime led the new soldiers and arrived in Aizu. There, they cooperated with the troop in Aizu.”
The whole story after his defeat at Katunuma was unclear, but this sentence suggests that he led the new soldiers and went to Aizu.
However, what does the new soldiers indicate?
When Shinsengumi lost at Katsunuma and returned to Edo, the number of the members was only 60 or 70 people.
Later, due to the recruitment of new soldiers, the number of soldiers finally became 227 at Goheeshinden.
In short, Shinsengumi collected new soldiers at that time for their resurgence.
I guess that “the new soldiers” in the sentence mean the new soldiers who joined Shinsengumi at that time.
They could not leave for Aizu with the injured soldiers because they needed training.
Then, the new soldiers stayed at Goheeshinden, and moved to Nagareyama. After the defeat, they disarmed and moved to Aizu. If Saitoo Hajime led these soldiers, he also stayed at Goheeshinden and Nagareyama.
Considering the situation of Shinsengumi at that time, it is difficult to conclude that Saitoo led about 30 people who consisted of the injured soldiers and one group to take care of them. He was an executive next to Kondoo Isamu and Hijikata Toshizoo. The only sub-class captains left at that time were only Saitoo Hajime and Ogata Syuntaroo.
These theories are my personal guesses form the passage of “the new soldiers.”
But, I believe that it is possible that after the defeat at Katsunuma, Saitoo Hajime went to Goheeshinden and moved to Nagareyama. Due to Kondoo’s surrender to the Meiji New Government army, instead of Hijikata Toshizoo who was busy to rescue Kondoo, Saitoo Hajime might lead disarmed Shinsengumi and go to Aizu.
(1) Another name of Shinsengumi
(2) Today’s Yamanashi prefecture
(3) Today’s Chiba prefecture
(4) This year was leap year. Because of the Japanese old calendar which has 13 months in leap year, it seems that there were two April in 1868.
(5) Rooshi (samural) Bunkyuu (the name of an era) Report Article
(6) A dictation about Shinsengumi secret stories
(7) It said 5 syaku and 5 or 6 sun. I think this is about 165 or 168 centimeter. This is not tall at all, but maybe, this time, the average might be about 160, so it might be true.
Mystery – Did Saitoo Hajime Kill Tani Sanjuuroo
The captain of Shinsengumi 7th group, Tani Sanjuuroo suddenly died at (1) Gion Ishidanshita on April 1st, 1868. According to one theory, Saitoo Hajime, who secretly received an order from Kondoo Isamu, killed him. Is it true that Saitoo Hajime killed Tani Sanjuuroo?
According to Shibozawa Hiroshi’s “The Story of Shinsengumi,” Tani Sanjuuroo helped Tanaichi do (2) hara-kiri, who was a member of Shinsengumi and he was blamed for “non-preparation as a Samurai.” However, Tani behaved shamefully this time. He failed to cut his head because he could not cut the vital part. He was embarrassed and repeated his failure many times. Finally, Saitoo Hajime, who was there to watch them, could not wait and helped him. After this event, Tani lost his reputation in Shinsengumi, and he was killed one month later. It was a story of Tani’s downfall in “The Story of Shindengumi.” The story from Shinohara Yasunoshin was added to this episode. He told that the fatal injury of Tani’s death seemed to be caused by a left-handed swordsman and it might be Saito Hajime who was secretly ordered to kill him by Kondoo.
However, there is a question.
Tanaichi did hara-kiri on January 10th, 1867, and it was after 9 months later of Tani Sanjuuroo’s death. Therefore, it is impossible for him to help the hara-kiri.
Furthermore, Tani had a great skill of swordplay. Even if it was not Tanaichi who did hara-kiri, it is difficult to imagine that Tani failed his first swing and behaved shamefully when he helped hara-kiri. Tani’s father was a teacher of swordplay of (3) Tyokushinryuu at (4) Biccyuu Matsuyama. Tani was also an instructor of Tyokushinryuu, and experienced many fights such as in the Ikedaya affair or Zenzaiya affair. These facts suggest that he was a well-skilled swordsman.
Therefore, this episode that includes his help of hara-kiri and his downfall might be Shibozawa Hiroshi’s creation. He got this inspiration from the passage in Nishimura Kanehumi’s “Shinsengumi Shimatsuki.” This passage was about Tani Sanjuuroo’s death, and said, “His death might have the reason.”
Then, what caused Tani Sanjiiroo’s death? Although the truth is ambiguous still now, one of strong possibilities is that he was died by a stroke. However, Shinohara Yasunoshin’s testimony in “The Story of Shinsengumi” was based on his actual observation of Tani’s fatal injury. According to this testimony, someone killed him. In this story, Shinohara said, “a trivial samurai could kill him if he was drunk.” In short, Shinohara was confident that someone killed Tani. Hence, we cannot deny the possibility that someone killed Tani. However, this whole story in “The Story of Shinsengumi” might be someone’s creation. Everything is not trustful.
Moreover, if Kondoo Isamu ordered someone to kill him, it is strange that his younger brothers, Syuuhee and Mantaroo could stay in Shinsengumi more than 1 year after that. If their older brother was killed, they would not stay in such a dangerous group.
With all information, I personally believe that the reason of Tani’s death was disease. Even if he was killed, Saitoo Hajime must not be involved.
Although there is no enough information, I will continue this survey to find the truth.
(1) Place’s name in Kyoto
(2) At hara-kiri, there is always one person who has a role to cut the person’s head to prevent from his suffering until his death.
(3) The style of swordplay
(4) It was located in today’s Okayama prefecture.
Mystery – How Was The Community of People Who Were Shinsengumi?
After the Meiji era started, the former Shinsengumi members seem to have communicated each other in various ways.
Although Saitoo Hajime did not talk a lot about events while he was in Shinsengumi, did he communicate with other former members?
There were some certain people he communicated with.
First, it was Nagakura Shinpachi who had been a captain of the second group.
At the beginning of the Meiji era, Nagakura Shinpachi made every effort to erect the memorial monument for Kongoo Isamu and Hijikata Toshizoo at (1) Itabashi with Matsumoto (2) Ryoojun. The name of Saitoo Hajime is written on the back of the memorial monument.
It says: A promoter: Matsumoto Ryoojun, Nakakura (Nagakura), and Saitoo.
It means that Saitoo was also concerned with erecting this monument.
In short, Saitoo, at least, kept company with Nagakura Shinpachi in the Meiji era.
The next one is the communication with Kondoo Hoosuke.
It is not clear if Saitoo Hajime actually met Kondoo Hosuke in the Meiji era.
However, according to the letter which Kondoo Hoosuke wrote to Takahashi Masatsugu in 1906 (Meiji 39), it seems that he exchanged letters with Saitoo.
Furthermore, according to the story of Hieda Toshiya written by Shibozawa Hiroshi, Saitoo Hajime communicated with Ikeda Shichisaburoo, and he talked to him about the actual fight at the Tenmaya Affair. This story is very famous.
Last, Torii Kason interviewed Shimada Kai about Saitoo Hajime in 1890 (Meiji 23). Torii answered with Saitoo’s address: “Saitoo lives at Yanagihara-machi 3 in Tokyo.”
All these stories seem to be more trustful than other historical records or books.
Personally I believe that Saitoo Hajime often communicated with other members.
Through the communication with Shimada Kai, Saitoo might be meet Nakajima Nobori. He might meet other members through Nagakura Shinpachi and Kondoo Hoosuke.
I am still not sure about this fact, but I think he kept company with other former Shinsengumi members who survived in the Meiji era.
(1) Place’s name in Tokyo
(2) I am not sure how to read his name in Kanji characters.
Mystery – Was Saitoo Hajime Left-handed?
In most stories that talked about Shinsengumi, Saitoo Hajime always holds his sword with his left hand.
These scenes are very common for everybody who is interested in Shinsengumi.
Namely, many people believe that Saitoo Hajime was left-handed.
However, is it true that Saitoo Hajime was left-handed?
From the beginning, where did this story come from?
The description that Saitoo Hajime was left-handed, and he was good at a trust from left side first appeared in “The Story of Shinsengumi” by Shibosawa Hiroshi. This episode was about when someone killed Tani Sanjuuroo. It says:
“It was one month after his failure of helping hara-kiri, early night, in April 1st, 1866 that someone killed Tani Sanjuuroo at Gion-ishidanshita. Having received an urgent report from patrol soldiers, Shinohara and Saitoo went out for investigation. Tani was thrust into from his chest to his back with one cut, and died clinging to the wall of the small restaurant. He took a half-sitting posture with a straight back showing his teeth. His hand hardly reached to his sword at all. With laughing, Saitoo said, ‘Mr. Shinohara, (1) this great teacher of spear received such a great thrust.’ Shinohara also laughed and said, ‘this thrust was from the left side. The suspect must be a left-handed as you are, ha, ha, ha.’ Saitoo said, ‘please do not say as if it was me.’ With laughing, both put the dead body into a basket palanquin and left there.”
This description shows that Saitoo Hajime was left-handed and good at a thrust from left side.
However, there is no description that Saitoo Hajime was left-handed except for this.
Also, this episode itself deferred from many truths; hence, it must include creation, and it is not trustful.
If this episode was true, is it possible to know which handed the suspect was only by watching the injury?
As far as I know, a swordsman who is either right-handed or left-handed, he has to put his right hand on the guard of a sword.
If a left-handed man tries to put his left hand on the guard of a sword, he must carry his scabbard on his right waist.
Otherwise, he cannot leap his sword from its scabbard.
However, as a samurai’s rule, it is never allowed.
It is determined that he must carry his scabbard on his left waist.
When we were child, we were taught to use our right hands even if we were left-handed in writing or eating.
We keep his custom still now. Needless to say, it is clear that these customs were much more strongly observed even in confusion at the end of the Edo shogunate than now. Also, we can imagine that samurai must have been more observant of samurai’s rules or customs.
Thus, I think the whole story that Saitoo Hajime was left-handed was created from the episode of Tani Sanjuuroo’s mysterious death in “The Story of Shinsengumi.”
Therefore, without other trustful resources, we should not conclude that Saitoo Hajime was left-handed.
(1) This comment is very ironic. He made fun of him because he died with a thrust although a teacher of spear should be good at a thrust.
Mystery – Did Saitoo Hajime Kill (1) Hatamoto?
“The history of Fujita family” says:
“When Yamaguchi Hajime was 19 years old, he killed a samurai of Hatamoto at Koishikawa Sekiguchi. Therefore, he escaped to Kyoto with a recommendation letter of his father and stayed at Yoshida’s house. Yoshida had been taken care by Hajime’s father, Yuusuke, and he had an ashram in Kyoto.”
I like to examine this description.
First, we have to consider whether this event actually happened or not.
Only resource that talked about this event is “The history of Fujita family.”
It is difficult to judge its reliability because this is the only one resource, but murder is not small event even for Shinsengumi, Saitoo Hajime.
Much more, he was in his teens and even before being a member of Shinsengumi.
If it was true, such a big event must strongly leave in his memory.
“The history of Fujita family” supports its reliability.
Although the whole story was ambiguous, only two parts, the Aizu War and the murder of Hatamoto, were clearly described.
This dictation was written by Midori, wife of Hajime’s son, Tsutomu. Saitoo Hajime told this story to Tsutomu in his last year, and Tsutomu told to Midori in his late years.
In short, although Midori wrote down what Tsutomu told her, Saitoo Hajime originally told this story to Tsutomu.
Therefore, “The history of Fujita Family” is based on Saitoo Hajime’s memory.
If Saitoo Hajime clearly remembered this even in his last year that he killed Hatamoto and he was 19 years old at that time, it is possible that he really killed Hatamoto.
Now, if Saitoo killed Hatamoto, was he pursued as a criminal?
According to “The history of Fujita family,” after having killed Hatamoto, Saitoo hid at an ashram of Yoshida who was a friend of his father in Kyoto.
After this, there was no information about Saitoo till he entered Shinsengumi (Mibu Rooshigumi) in Kyoto. He seemed to stay at the ashram and work there as a teacher of swordplay.
However, according to “Rooshi Bunkyuu Hookoku Kiji,” Saitoo Hajime applied for recruitment of Rooshigumi in February in 1863 (Bunkyuu 3) with other Samurai in (2) Shieekan.
In short, he should be in Edo around January in 1863 (Bunkyuu 3) and practicing at Shieekan in Edo.
With these two resources, there are three possibilities.
One is that after murdering Hatamoto, Saitoo Hajime escaped for Kyoto because he was pursued as a criminal, and he hid at Yoshida’s ashram.
The second is that after murdering Hatamoto, once he went to Kyoto to hide himself, but since he found that he was not pursued as a criminal, he went back to Edo.
The third possibility is that he murdered Hatamoto in December in 1862 (Bunkyuu 2). He had intended to apply for the recruitment of Rooshigumi, but he was afraid to be caught as a criminal and left for Kyoto. Then, Saitoo joined Kondoo and other members who came to Kyoto 5 or 6 months after this.
One question here is whether Saitoo Hajime was pursued as a criminal or not.
If we account the “Rooshi Bunkyuu Hokoku Koji” trustful, he returned to Edo around January in 1863 (Bunkyoo 3) after the murder of Hatamoto.
The fact that he returned to Edo in less than one year indicates that after the murder, he was not pursued as a criminal.
Without other resources such as the record of the court or a note, it is unnatural that he was pursued as a criminal. Moreover, he returned to Edo in less than one year and he returned to Edo again to recruit new members in 1865 (Keioo 1). Thus, he returned to Edo twice soon after the murder of Hatamoto.
Therefore, we can deny the first possibility because he might not be pursued as a criminal.
The difference between the second possibility and the third possibility is whether he returned to Edo or he stayed in Kyoto till he entered Shinsengumi (Mibu Rooshigumi).
Personally I feel that the second possibility is unnatural and too busy. If it is true, it means that he escaped for Kyoto after the murder of Hatamoto and retuned to Edo because he found he was not pursued as a criminal. Then, he applied for Shinsengumi in Edo, and once separating from Shinsengumi, he went to Kyoto earlier than other members.
More than this possibility, it seems to be natural that he could not apply for Shinsengumi because he murdered Hatamoto, and he left for Kyoto promising with Kondoo that he would join him in Kyoto later.
With these ideas, my personally opinion is that Saitoo Hajime intended to apply for Rooshigumi with other members in Shieekan, but because he murdered Hatamoto with some reasons, he escaped for Kyoto changing his identity.
However, the criminal of the murder was not found; therefore, he was not pursued as a criminal.
(1) The name of samurai rank. It usually indicates samurai who serve directly for the Edo shogunage. They were different from samurai who served for a clan such as Satsuma or Choosyuu.
(2) The name of Kondoo Isamu’s ashram.
A Document of Fujita Family
Fujita Goroo (Saitoo Hajime) talked about the history of Fujita family to his first son, Tsutomu. Tsutomu had his wife, Midori dictate this story right before his death in order to report the history of his family and the life of Fujita Goroo. That is “A Document of Fujita Family.” The following is an extract from “A Note of Shinsengumi” by the Group of 31 people (Group’s name).
The History of Fujita Family
(A property of Fujita family)
Fujita family was from Yamaguchi family at (1) Akashi in Harima. Yamagushi family was from Sasaki family in (2) Koosyuu. They served for the lord, Akashi as low class samurai. However, Yamaguchi Yuusuke (Goroo’s father) had the strong will to succeed and left Akashi for Edo when he was 21 years old. Therefore, his younger sister inherited Yamagushi’s patrimony.
Yamaguchi Yuusuke served for Suzuki who lived around Kanda as a low class samurai. Later, he became a high-class samurai and bought stocks. He got married with Masu who was a farmer at Kawagoshi. They had the first son, (3) Kimiaki, the first daughter, Katsu, and Hajime (Saitoo Hajime, Yamaguchi Jiroo, or Fujita Goroo).
Kimiaki worked for the Ministry of Finance as an officer. He worked at tax office. Later, he became a counselor of a court, and lived at Fukushima prefecture as a tax officer.
Katsu got married with Sooma family and had a son, Toshikazu and a daughter, Teru. However, she died of disease early in life.
Toshikazu graduated from the Chiba Teacher’s College, and worked as a teacher in Chiba prefecture. When he retired, he moved to Tega village in Inaba County and lived till his death. His second daughter graduated from the same college and worked as a teacher. His son, Kazuo also graduated from the same college, and worked as a teacher in Tokyo.
Kimiaki had a daughter, Yukiko, but she died when she was 25 years old in August, 1894 (Meiji 27). Due to her death, Yamaguchi family was over.
When Yamaguchi Hajime was 19 years old, he killed a samurai of Hatamoto at Koishikawa Sekiguchi. His father’s friend, Yoshida opened an ashram in Kyoto. Yoshida was the person who Yuusuke took care of long time ago. Hajime visited him in Kyoto with his father’s letter, and hid there. Hajime was good at swordplay and sometimes taught it to students instead of the teacher, Yoshida.
When he was 21 or 22, he heard that Kondoo Isamu formed Shinsengumi, and Hajime joined it.
Saitoo Hajime was one of 12 sub captains of Shinsengumi. He retained the confidence of Kondoo Isamu.
He killed Serizawa Kamo and Itoo Kinoenetaroo under the command of Kondoo.
He sprinted as a member of Shinsengumi at the Toba Fushimi War, and he worked as a chief of guard to protect Kyoto.
His position was something like that of today’s inspector.
When he lost the Toba Fushimi War, he led a group which consisted of some Shinsengumi members and injured soldiers from Osaka to Tokyo.
After Shinsengumi lost at Koofuguchi, he left for Aizu leading new soldiers of Shinsengumi and cooperated with Aizu.
Hijikata Toshizoo and some other members insisted that they should leave for (4) Sendai and cooperate with the army of Enomoto Takeaki in (5) Hakodate because they thought it was impossible to reorganize the situation of Aizu. However, Saitoo Hajime could not desert Aizu and stayed there with other members insisting that Shinsengumi could not exist without Aizu.
In April, since (6) the west army moved to north along the (7) Osyuu Street, the Aizu army decided to fight at (8) Shirakawaguchi. They arrived at Futsugyoo checkpoint. At this time, they were 74 people from Shinsengumi and about 100 people of fugitive soldiers from Bakufu army.
One farmer reported that the west army was coming from Shirasakaguchi, they set two cannons on the both left side and right side of the road. When their enemies appeared, these cannons started to fire. The enemy retreated to Shirasaka. However, when they fought at Tenjinyama on May 5th, the Aizu army lost and had to retreat.
They fought around Mt. Kanekatsu in May, and the Aizu army lost again.
On August 21st, the Aizu army moved from the Hahanari pass to ( ), they were attacked from both right and left sides by the west army. Then, they retreated to the Hahanari pass. There were only 7 people left at the fort at the Hahanari pass at that time.
When Saitoo Hajime fought at the Wakamatsu Castle, he led a few soldiers and continued guerrilla activities.
After the Wakamatsu castle fell to the enemy, Saitoo Hajime lived under close guard of the west army with the lord of Aizu.
He moved to south in Aizu around 1870 or 1871, and lived with a little supply of rice from the Meiji Government.
He returned to his father’s house in Tokyo in 1871 and spent a vagrant life with other people who were dissatisfied with the new government.
(1) Today’s Akashi in Hyoogo prefecture.
(2) I am not sure where it is.
(3) I read his name Hiroaki before. The Chinese character is a little different from the previous statement, and it seemed his name is Kimiaki here. I am not sure which way of reading is correct or not.
(1) In Miyagi prefecture.
(2) In Hokkaido.
(3) The army of the Meiji Government
(4) The main road from Tokyo to the northern Japan.
(5) This place is called the gate to the northern Japan.
A Transition of Position
What is a transition of Saitoo Hajime’s position in Shinsengumi? From this transition, this examines his role in Shinsengumi.
When He Was The Member of Shinsengumi
2. The name of position
1. June in 1863 (Bunkyuu 3) – formation of the organization
2. Fukuchoo Jokin
3. An assistant of sub-captain. A main member of Shinsengumi
1. June 5th in 1864 (Genji 1) – Ikedaya affair
2. Hijikata tai zoku (belonging to Hijikata troop)
3. Under the command of Inoue Genzaburoo, he cut into (1) Ikedaya. He received reward, (2) 17 ryoo for his activity.
1. November in 1864 (Genji 1) – from (3) “Koogunroku”
2. Kumi-cyoo (group leader) of the forth troop
3. Because of the possibility of the war against (4) Choosyuu, Shinsengumi reformed their army for the preparation for the war. Saitoo Hajime was appointed to be the group leader of the forth troop.
1. March in 1865 (Keioo 1) – reformation of the organization
2. Captain of the third troop
3. There were 10 troops, and he led the third troop among them. Two assistant captains assisted the captain, and each assistant captain led five soldiers. In short, he was the captain to lead 12 soldiers.
1. March in 1865 (Keioo 1)
2. Teacher of (5) heavy swordplay
3. When Shinsengumi reformed their organization, they appointed teachers for each field. Saitoo Hajime was appointed to be a teacher of heavy swordplay.
1. September in 1865 (Keioo 1)
2. Captain of the spear troop
3. In order to deal with the war against Choosyuu, Shinsengumi organized the army again. The number of soldiers for the war was 193 people. Since it was the golden years for Shinsengumi, the army for the war was much larger and stronger than the previous army. They showed their overwhelming power in many fights. Saitoo Hajime was appointed to be the leader of spear troop with Inoue Genzaburoo.
1. Leap day, April 5th in 1868 (Keioo 4)
2. Captain of Shinsengumi
3. During the Aizu War, Saitoo Hajime was appointed to be a captain of Shinsengumi. He replaced Hijikata Toshizoo who had to concentrate on the cure of his injury.
(1) The name of inn where the affair occurred.
(1) Ryoo was the currency of that time.
(2) The literal translation is the record of army.
(3) Today’s Yamaguchi prefecture
(4) It seems swordplay that needs power.
At The Seenan War
1. In 1877 (Meiji 10) – at the Seenan War
2. Half captain of the second small police troop conscripted from (1) Bungo
3. At the SeenanWar in 1877, Fujita Goroo (Saitoo Hajime) led the second small
police troop as an inspector. This troop was under the third large group whose captain was chief inspector, Hagiwara Sadayori.
(1) Today’s Oita prefecture
Thus, after being the member of Shinsengumi, Saitoo Hajime always played an important role as a main member of the organization. While Shinsengumi was appointed to be the main samurai group of Bakufu around June 1867 (Keioo 3), his name was not on the Shinsengumi record. He withdrew himself from Shinsengumi at that time to be a guard of the emperor’s house with Itoo Kinoenetaroo. However, if he was still the member of Shinsengumi at that time, he must have left his name on the record. Overall, Saitoo Hajime always played a very important role in Shinsengumi.
People of Fujita Family
This introduces family members of Fujita.
In the Meiji era, Saitoo Hajime changed his name to Fujita Goroo. This was the start of the history of Fujita family.
Fujita Goroo’s wife. She was born as the first daughter of Takagi Kojuuroo and Katsuko on April 15th, 1846 (Kooka 3). Takagi Kojuuroo served for Aizu as a (1) Metsuke.
Her real name was Sada, and served for a princess, Teru, as a teacher of writing. Tokio was her nickname when she served for Teru, but she used it as her real name later.
During the Aizu War in 1868 (Keioo 4), she shut herself in the castle with other Aizu samurai. At that time, Yamamoto Kakuma’s younger sister, Yaeko (later, wife of (2) Niijima Joo), also stayed with her. She talked about her in her reminiscence talking of this time.
“After entering the castle, wives were taking care of injured people in the afternoon. However, I heard in the evening that we could sortie at night so that I started to cut my hair to join the fight. When I had a trouble in cutting my hair, the sister of Takagi Morinosuke, Tokio, helped me cut my hair.” (“The Aizu and Boshin War” by Hiraishi Benzoo)
After the furious battles, the castle fell in the enemy, and Aizu surrendered to the enemy. She moved to Tonami with other samurai of Aizu and spent poor life there.
Later, Tokio got married with Fujita Goroo around 1874 (Meiji 7), and had three sons, Tsutomu, Tsuyoshi, and Tatsuo.
In October, 1907 (Meiji 40), she planted cherry blossoms with ten women from Aizu at Amida temple at Nanokamachi in Aizu in order to remember people who were killed during the Aizu War.
In the next year, she called for women from Aizu to donate money to build graves for war dead. She also became a promoter, opened an account at Yasuda Bank, and donated 2 yen 50 sen.
There was an article about Tokio in “Dai Nihon Fujinroku” made in March in 1908 (Meiji 41).
“Fujita Tokio, birth year 1846 (Kooka 1), a wife of Fujita Goroo who is a clerk of Tokyo Women’s Teacher College, a house master of women’s dormitory, and the affress is 30 Masago-cho, Hongoo-ku.”
A house master of women’s dormitory means that she let women students stay at her house under the permission from the school. 30 Masago-cho, Hongoo-ku was the address of that place. She lived until she died in 75 years old.
(1) The role of samurai in Edo period to regulate the behavior of Hatamoto or other samurai.
(2) A famous politician, thinker in Japan.
He was born as the first son of Fujita Goroo and Tokio on February 15th in 1876 (Meiji 9).
After the graduation of Furitsu 4th junior high school, he went high school and military school. Then, he became a soldier.
He belonged to the Wakamatsu troop, and participated in the war of Japan Sea on the warship, Mikawa.
Later, he got married with Nishino Midori, and had 7 children, Motoko, Minoru, Ritsu, Kyooko, Susumu, Kazuko, and Tooru.
He lived at Masago-cho, Hongoo in Tokyo, and started to build a new house at Yayoi-cho, Nakano-ku in 1923 (Taisyoo 12). However, when he started this, (1) Kantoo earthquake occurred. When he started again, he built a basement, and he dug a well there. He always stored additional water, Miso, sugar, preserve food, and so on there. His neighbors talked about him that he was just like a soldier.
However, this house was burned down during the World War 2, and after the war, he moved to Hagikubo.
Later, he nursed himself at his third daughter, Kazuko’s house. Her husband was a doctor of internal medicine.
In his last year, immediately before his death, Tsutomu let Midori dictate what he heard from his father, Goroo 1956 (Syoowa 31). This is the important record, “The History of Fujita Family.”
He left this precious record, and died with Midori and her husband at his side in 1956 (Syoowa 31).
(1) A big earthquake that hit Tokyo area in 1923.
He was born as the second son of Fujita Goroo and Tokio on October 4th in 1879 (Meiji 12). He spent most of his years in foreign countries.
He married with Asaba Yuki (Yukiko) who was a granddaughter of Aizu’s (1) Karoo, Tanaka Tosa in 1879 (Meiji 12), and had two sons and two daughters.
His first son, Hideki was an ensign of navy managing engineering during the war, and he worked at the department of architecture in Yokohama City Hall after the war.
The second son, (2) ( ), and the second daughter, Takako, were adopted to Asaba family because Asaba family was in danger of extinction.
He died in a new year in 1946 (Syoowa 21).
(1) The highest position of samurai under the lord.
(2) I am not sure how to read his name. The possible ways to read is Tooe, Suberu, Mamoru, and so on.
Although he was born as the third son of Fujita Goroo and Tokio, there was no description in the family record.
The reason for this is that he was adopted from Numazawa Kohachiroo and Kuni immediately after his birth. Numazawa Kohachiroo was the thirteenth head of the Numazawa family which inherited Karoo position in Aizu.
Numazawa Kohachiroo’s mother is Numazawa Michiko who was an older sister of Tokio’s mother, Takagi (maiden name was Kimoto) Katsuko. Michiko killed herself with her mother-in-law and daughter during the Aizu War. Therefore, Numazawa Kohachiroo and Tokio are cousins.
Since there was no child between Kohachiroo and Kuni, Numazawa family was in danger of extinction. They had asked Fujita Goroo and Tokio to adopt their child if it was a boy. They had asked them even when Tatsuo was not born yet.
Fujita family accepted this, and soon after the birth of boy, Numazawa family adopted him out.
Both Fujita family and Numazawa family firmly kept this secret, and Tatsuo grew up without knowing this truth at all.
When he was a college student, he asked about his birth to his aunt, Ibuka Saku because he had questioned his birth for a long time. When he knew the secret of his birth, he listened this story with crying.
Later, he got married with Tazu, and had children.
This story is the one that Prof. Akama Wako heard from Numazawa Eiko who was the second daughter of Tatsuo and Tazu.
She was born as the second daughter of Nishino family on March 29th in 1876 (Meiji 9). Nishino was a good family in Sakata, and Nishino family was one of 36 families which contributed to build Sakata town. Nishino was a wealthy merchant family and ran rice companies and ship companies.
When her father asked her which fortune or education she wanted, she wanted to receive education. She went to the Women’s Teacher College and became a teacher of science.
When she was a college student, she boarded at Fujita family where Tokio was a housemaster. Tokio liked Midori very much, and she wanted her to get married with her son, Tsutomu. Tokio asked people to mediate between her and Nishino family. She sent people to ask his son’s marriage with Midori many times. Finally, she had Nishino family agree with their marriage.
Midori was the fifth alumnus at the Women’s Teacher’s College. After the graduation, she got married with Fujita Tsutomu and had seven children.
When Fujita Goroo suffered from stomach ulcer in his last year, Modori took care of him with Tokio.
Also, Midori dictated Tsutomu’s story in his last year in 1956 (Syoowa 31) that he heard from his father, and formed “The Fujita Family.”
According to the story of her descendants, she was a quiet and sophisticated person.
Fujita Yuki (Yukiko)
She was born as the first daughter of Asaba family which had run a delivery company in Yokosuka.
Her mother was a daughter of mistress of Tanaka Tosa who was a Karoo in Aizu. She got married with Ishikawa Sakae around 1881 or 1882 (Meiji 12, 13). However, Ishikawa Sakae went missing. It is said that he went to the United States.
Later, she got married with a person from Asaba family, and had two daughters and one son. The first daughter is Yuki (Yukiko).
Yuki got married with Fujita Tsuyosi in 1914 (Taisyoo 3), and had two sons and two daughters. Among them, the second son and the second daughter were adopted to Asaba family because they were in danger of extinction.
Captain of the Third Unit
Born – 1844 in Edo [Tokyo]
Died – September 28, 1915 in Hongo, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo.
Imina – unknown
Childhood Name – Yamaguchi Hajime
Other Names – Yamaguchi Jiro
Kaimyo – none
Saito’s real family name was “Yamaguchi”. He took the name “Saito” when he fled Edo for killing a man, but the reason for his choice is not known. It is also unknown why he retained his childhood name of “Hajime”. Tradition has it that he was given that name because he was either born of the first or second day of the New Year or else during the first month of the New Year in 1844. His “imina” or “hidden name” is unknown.
When he returned to the Shinsengumi after having briefly left them to join Ito Kashitaro’s group (some say as a spy), the terms that Kondo and Ito had made in regards to their proposed split should have made it impossible for him to regain entry. Saito got around this problem by changing his name to “Yamaguchi Jiro” and gaining entry as a “new member”, but with his old rank of captain. He retained this name up until the time Aizu surrendered in September of 1868.
Upon surrendering to the imperial army, Saito gave yet another name to obscure his identity. Kondo’s execution had made it painfully clear that the life of anyone who had been very high up in the ranks of the Shinsengumi was in real danger if caught. Saito called himself “Ichinohe Denpachi” and continued to go by it until the clan’s move to the Shimokita peninsula area..
Aizu became the Tonami clan and moved to their new “home” in 1870. Saito was allowed to go with them as he had become a member of the clan. At this time Matsudaira Katamori gifted him with a new name, “Fujita Goro”. For this reason Saito always took great care with his new name and would not allow for it to become associated with any sort of scandal. He used it for the rest of his life.
Before his death, Saito’s family consulted him about what he should be called for his kaimyo. His reply was, “I have had many names until now. Therefore other names are not desired anymore.” And so he was buried without one, something which rarely happens in a Buddhist temple.
Physical Description –
Saito is said to have had a red or “ruddy” face from heavy drinking. He gave the impression of being taller than his real height, which was already quite impressive. Estimates put him at about 173cm (5’8″). He had long, tufted eyebrows and very sharp eyes.
When it comes to his weight, there seem to be two opposing opinions. Some witness statements say that he was a “thin” man. Others claimed that he “grew heavy” in his later life and that he was “hefty” as a youth. Probably the discrepancies are caused by the circumstances in his life at the particular time each witness was commenting about. As a youth he probably was “hefty”, but the war and then years of hardship might would have caused him to lose a considerable amount of weight, making him appear “thin”. Later on in his life of course he began to regain weight and so “grew heavy”.
The characteristic most Shinsengumi fans are familiar with is the fact that Saito was supposed to be left-handed. However the sole source of this information is Shimozawa Kan and his work has recently fallen under the suspicion that much of it was fabricated.
Personality Quirks and Traits –
Saito was known to be a hard drinker. It is claimed that the gastric ulcer which finally killed him was caused by his fondness for liquor.
For the most part, he was a taciturn sort of person. Only when discussing the Boshin War with Takagi Morinosuke or Yamakawa Hiroshi later in his life did this ever change. At those times he would speak of the past sadly, angrily, or excitedly.
He was also noted to be very dignified, especially in his later years. He would not bare a shoulder or place a towel about his neck even in very hot weather as some men did. He always made sure that his obi was tied properly and when he walked he was careful not to drag his feet. At rest he always sat in the formal position, called “seiza”, and he would remain very alert so that he could react instantly to any situations that might occur.
After the war, he picked up the rather amusing habit of changing and washing his fundoshi (loincloth) every day. It is said he took great care to slap all of the wrinkles out of it before he would hang it out to dry.
Family History –
Saito’s father was Yamaguchi Yusuke, who was born an ashigaru (foot soldier) of the Akashi clan in the Banshuu, Harima [Hyogo]. The year of his birth and death are both unknown. The senior Yamaguchi was said to have a very strong will. At the age of 21 he handed over all of the family’s affairs to his younger sister and left for Edo. He served there as a lower samurai for someone named “Suzuki” (possibly Suzuki Shigesuki) in Kanda, Ogawa, Edo. After saving some money he was able to buy “Gokenin-kabu”. It appears that he may have settled in the Hongo area and that he was involved in work similar to what Saito would later do for the Shinsengumi. (“Gokenin” was a rank of shogun’s direct vassal. Occasionally poor or childless samurai would sell their rank to those of a lower class.)
All that is known about Saito’s mother is that her name was Masu and that she was the daughter of a farmer from Kawagoe.
His oldest sibling was his sister, Yamaguchi Katsu, who was born in 1842. She later married a man named Soma Toshiaki, who had been the chief doctor of the Mito clan. Around 1862 however he opened his own hospital in Edo [Iida, Tokyo]. Katsu must have wed him around this time because their eldest daughter, Teru, was born on October 7, 1863. The couple’s oldest son, Toshikazu, was born October 4, 1866 and he later graduated from the Chiba Teacher’s School. Katsu had two more children, one boy and one girl. At some point after this she changed her name to “Hisa”. She died on June1, 1875 and was buried at a temple in Chiba prefecture, which is where her husband was from. He returned there to work in his home village of Tega as a doctor one year before his own death in 1879.
Saito’s older brother, Yamaguchi Hiroaki, was born June 1, 1843. He was very good at mathematics and later worked for the Department of the Interior in 1874. He then worked for the Taxation Bureau of the Ministry of Finance, retiring as a junior official. Next he was a law clerk in the court at Fukushima, finally retiring completely in 1898. He lived in Kanda, Tokyo and his family was under the protection of one Suzuki Shigesuke, who was probably the man his father had worked for. Hiroaki may have been known by the name “Kimata” during the years he worked for the government. His daughter, Yukiko, was born in 1869. She became an elementary school teacher, but died of illness when she was only 25, making the Yamaguchi family line extinct.
Saito (who was then going by the name Fujita Goro) married a woman named Shinoda Yaso on August 25, 1871 while living in Gonohe with the Tonami clan. (The new name of the Aizu clan, which had been exiled to what is now the northeastern area of Aomori prefecture.) The marriage did not last long, ending in June of 1874 when he moved back to Tokyo without her. The reason for their split is unclear.
His next wife was Takagi Tokio, who he married sometime just after arriving in Tokyo in June of 1874. The marriage may have even been planned before he ever left Gonohe. The former daimyo of Aizu, Matsudaira Katamori, served as the higher go-between, with Sagawa Kanbei and Yamakawa Okura (later Hiroshi) served as the lower go-betweens. Saito was 31  when he married Tokio, who was two years younger than him.
Fujita (Takagi) Tokio was born on April 15, 1846. Her original name had been Takagi Sada, but when she taught writing to the Aizu princess, Teru, her nickname had been “Tokio”. Later on she adopted this as her real name. During the war she helped to defend the castle in Aizu, mostly giving medical treatment to those who were injured. After the war, when the clan was forced to move, she became the adopted daughter of Kurasawa Heiemon. After returning to Tokyo and marrying Saito (Fujita Goro) she worked as a housemaster for the Women’s Higher Normal School (or Joushi Takashi), which was a school for future teachers. As a housemaster Tokio allowed with the school’s permission for young women to stay in the Fujita home as they attended classes there. In her later years Tokio participated in many efforts to honor those who had died in the Aizu war. For this reason the family was awarded the plot at the Amida-ji Temple in Aizu where they were buried. Tokio passed away at age 75.
The couple’s eldest son, Fujita Tsutomu, was born on February 15, 1876. He went on to graduate from Military school and became a soldier himself. Soon after he finished school he fought in Manchuria and seems to have been in Okinawa when the war ended. Around 1917 he was part of the “Wakamatsu” regiment and was on the warship “Mikawa” during the War of the Japan Sea. Through his mother’s efforts he was married to Nashino Midori. The couple had seven children: Motoko, Minoru, Ritsu, Kyoko, Susumu, Kazuko, and Toru. Tsutomu was building a new home in 1923 when the Great Kanto Earthquake struck and demolished everything. After this he began to store extra supplies for future emergencies. World War II saw his home devastated again. Toward the end of his life he lived with his daughter, Kazuko, who was married to a doctor. Tsutomu passed away in 1956.
Fujita Midori, the wife of Fujita Tsutomu, was born on March 29, 1876. She was the second daughter of a wealthy merchant family from Sakata. They owned rice and shipping companies. At the Women’s Higher Normal School Midori studied science while boarding with the Fujita family. Tokio liked her at once and made repeated requests to the girl’s family for her to marry Tsutomu. The two were eventually married after her graduation. Midori was the one who tended to Saito when he was dying.
Fujita Tsuyoshi was Saito’s second son and born on October 14, 1879. He spent many years living abroad. In 1914 he married Asaba Yukiko (Yuki), who was the granddaughter of former Aizu “karo” (clan elder) Tanaka Tosa and his mistress. Yuki was born in 1879. Her family ran a delivery service in Yokusuka. The couple had two sons and two daughters. Their eldest son was Hidaki. The younger son and daughter were adopted by the Asaba family.
Saito’s youngest son was born on July 1, 1886. Even before his birth Tokio’s cousin, Numazawa Kohachiro, had already asked to adopt the child. He was named Numazawa Tatsuo and for many years the truth that he was actually the son of the Fujita family was hidden from him. However he eventually became suspicious and when he was in college he asked a relative about his birth. Naturally he was very upset when he found out the truth, but he seems to have maintained contact with his real parents afterwards. He later married a woman named Tazu and had a daughter, Eiko.
Takagi Family –
Takagi Tokio’s father was Takagi Kojuro. He was a metsuke of Aizu with a fief of 300 koku. Her mother, Katsuko, was originally from the Kimoto family. Tokio had a younger sister named Tami, who was born in June of 1847. However she died at the age of two.
Tokio also had a younger brother, Takagi Morinosuke. He was born September 15, 1854 and his childhood name was “Goro”. He worked in the public prosecutors’ offices of such places as Shizuoka, Hokkaido, and Fukushima as a Chief Public Prosecutor. One of his daughters, Hatako, later married Sagawa Kanbei’s son, Naoaki. Saito appears to have taught kendo to Morinosuke’s sons.
Takamine Hideo was a cousin of Tokio’s and the person responsible for helping them get their jobs with the schools. He was something of a scholar and became principal of the Higher Normal School in 1879. He became principal of the Women’s Higher Normal School in 1897 at age 44.
Numazawa Kachiro was another cousin and he was married to a woman named Kuni. His mother, Michiko, was the older sister of Tokio’s mother. The Numazawa was an important Aizu family as they had been “karo” (clan elders) there before the war. Since Kachiro’s wife could not have children, the family was in danger of extinction. For this reason the Fujita family allowed them to adopt their youngest son, Tatsuo.
Before the Shinsengumi –
At 19 Saito is thought to have killed a “Hatamoto” (a direct retainer of the shogun) at Koishikawa Sekiguchi in Edo. For this reason he was forced to flee to Kyoto and change his name to “Saito Hajime”. Before he left, his father gave him a letter addressed to an old friend of his named Yoshida, who owned a dojo. It appears that Yamaguchi Yusuke may have done this person some sort of favor in the past and so Yoshida was willing to take Saito in to repay him. While there Saito served as an assistant instructor. (It is not known for certain, but this man may have been one Yoshida Katsumi, who taught Shotoku Taishi Ryu.) This possibly took place around December of 1862, only a couple of months before the rest of the Shieikan members were to travel to Kyoto with the Roshitai. At any rate it seems the matter was quickly forgotten and Saito later had no trouble visiting Edo.
Martial Skills –
Ryu – Either Mugai Ryu or Itto Ryu
Rank – Saito is referred to as a “master”.
According to the Fujita family, Saito learned Itto Ryu (probably Mitzoguchi Itto Ryu) at the Aizu clan mansion in Edo. This kindness was extended toward him because of a service that his father was supposed to have preformed. If true, then it shows that he had strong links with the clan long before the Shinsengumi came under its service.
However it is claimed that there are police records which show his sword style was actually Mugai Ryu. The truth of the matter is currently uncertain. In additon, Saito seems to have had some acquaintance at least with a form of Taishi Ryu (possibly Shotoku Taishi Ryu), since he worked as an assistant instructor of a Taishi dojo for a man named Yoshida after fleeing to Kyoto.
Even Nagakura seems to have either been unable or unwilling to shed any light on the subject. During the Meiji era, he visited the Shieikan dojo and briefly helped Kondo’s nephew teach. One of the students asked him about Saito’s sword style and his reply was, “Since I and Saito-kun seldom talked, I do not know it.” What truly makes this statement bizarre is that Nagakura apparently knew Saito for some time even before they formed the Shinsengumi. While one could possibly believe that they were too busy in Kyoto and perhaps too weary of fighting to discuss swordsmanship, it is hard to think that he would not have at least noticed Saito’s style while at the Shieikan.
According to both Kojima Shikanosuke and Nagakura, Saito spent at least some time at Kondo’s Shieikan dojo before they went to Kyoto. Saito also confirmed this when he told the story of how he bought Kondo a sword which resembled a Kotetsu from a second-hand shop called the Yotsuya. It was to thank Kondo for lessons he had received at the Shieikan.
Rumor has it that Saito was good with a left-handed thrust. However this is based on the assumption that he was actually left-handed, a theory now under question.
As for other skills, it is suggested that Saito’s jujutsu style was Sekiguchi Ryu.
His Sword –
Long Sword – Sesshu sumi Ikeda Kijinmaru Kunishige – 2’3″1
The “Kijinmaru” element of the sword’s name means “demon”. Kunishige was the swordsmith and the blade was forged sometime in the Tenwa era, which lasted from 1681-1683 or there abouts.
Shinsengumi Years –
Saito appears to have joined the Mibu Roshi around March 5, 1863. Because of the connection he supposedly had to the Shieikan, he was made a captain in the group right away and continued in this position at least until Kofu. For a short time after that he actually led the Shinsengumi in the Shirakawa castle area while Hijikata recovered from an injury he received in a previous battle. Saito’s part in the group came to an end when he and others chose to remain in Aizu rather than go with Hijikata to Sendai. At the height of the Shinsengumi he was Captain of the Third Unit and a teacher of kenjutsu.
While the group was in Mibu, he seems to have most often stayed at the house of one Nanbu Kamejiro. (The group was fairly spread out around the village at the time.) However he was at the Yagi house often enough for the youngest son to recall him quite well.
Saito was one of the strongest swordsmen in the group, along with Okita and Nagakura. In fact it is rumored that even Okita feared his skill and that Saito was rarely ever wounded despite all of the dangerous jobs he performed.
He is primarily remembered for his role in dealing with “difficult members” of the group and yet there is much debate over whether or not many of those stories have any truth to them. For instance, he is said to have killed both Takeda Kanryuusai and Tani Sanjuro. However the dates and circumstances of Takeda’s death seem odd, while Tani was officially said to have died of a stroke and his supposed murder ties into the tale about Saito being left-handed. And Abe Juro never believed that Saito joined Ito’s group as a spy for Kondo and Hijikata. For all these reasons, it is difficult to determine exactly how big a role he actually did play in such affairs.
Saito remained with the Shinsengumi all the way to Aizu. But when Hijikata decided to go to Sendai, he was unwilling to abandon Aizu and so they parted ways. From there he became part of the clan and shared in their exile to the Shimokita peninsula area in what is now Aomori prefecture.
Later Life –
Saito left Gonohe in Aomori prefecture on June 10, 1874 and went to Tokyo, where he would live for the rest of his life. Shortly after his arrival he married Takagi Tokio and the two of them settled down in the Hongo area, now a part of the Bunkyo Ward.
It is unclear exactly when and how Saito became part of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. There is some evidence that he may have in fact been connected with the police as early as 1871 or 1872. Another possibility is that he entered the department with help from Sagawa Kanbei in 1874. In 1873, Saigo Takamori pulled out of the Meiji government with many of his supporters. Left with a severe shortage in manpower, the police department contacted Sagawa and managed to convince him to bring men from the Aizu clan to help. As bitter as they were over their defeat in the war, poverty made many willing to work for the Meiji government and he was able to round up 300 volunteers. Perhaps Saito was one of them or else when he decided to go to Tokyo, he contacted Sagawa about a job.
The first clear record of Saito’s being with the police was when he was made an inspector on February 20, 1877 at age 34  and given permission to carry a sword. That same year the Southwestern Rebellion broke out, so on May 18, 1877 he left for the front. There he served in the Bongo Police Troop under Chief Inspector Hagiwara Sadamoto. Saito himself had 107 men under his command in the second small group of this police troop.
On July 12, 1877 in the Miyazaki prefecture, Saito’s men, who had split up from the other half of the group, followed a main road over the Fukuhara pass and met the enemy at Yakio. They began to push the foe toward Mt. Takayuka, where the other group was already fighting with the rebels. It was here that Saito was shot. Unfortunately there are no details on how badly, but it forced his men to withdraw to Yakio for a bit. However they soon rejoined the fight and drove off the enemy, capturing two cannon in the process.
Saito returned home on October 28, 1877. It took an entire year, but he was eventually award 100 yen and a medal, “The Order of the Blue Paulownia”, for his service. He continued to serve with the police in various ranks and eventually became a Chief Inspector on November 1, 1888, at the age of 45 . He retired from the police force in April of 1891 at the age of 48 .
At this time Tokio’s cousin, Takamine Hideo, helped him to get a job as a guard for the Tokyo Educational Museum, which was associated with the Higher Normal School, which taught students who wanted to become teachers. During this time he taught kenjutsu to the school’s clubs. It is said that his students could not even graze his fingers.
Takamine was principal of the school while Saito was there and he had a shed where valuable swords and works of art were kept. It was always kept locked and the only person he allowed to have free access to the building was Saito. Apparently the former Shinsengumi captain had a good eye for swords and was able to repair them, so his opinion was often sought.
Saito retired from this job in April of 1899 and then became a secretary or clerk at the Women’s Higher Normal School. (It would become the Tokyo Women’s Higher Normal School in 1908, one year before he retired.) He handled the schools finances and general affairs. On rainy days he would direct the jinrikisha (rickshaw) traffic which would become very heavy at such times. He retired from this job in 1909.
As one might guess, Saito made sure his own sons knew how to use a sword. One of them later recalled a year they found “unbearable” because Saito kept popping out at them unexpectedly to try to beat them with a shinai. He would always get angry with them because they were invariably caught off-guard and shout “Shidou fukakugo!” (Unprepared for the way of a man!)
Saito did not have an easy time of it in the Meiji era. He reportedly told a grandson that many people had sought his life after the restoration, putting him in much danger.
It is known that Saito kept contact with the other former members of the Shinsengumi. He contributed to the monument that Nagakura had built at Itabashi. He also kept in touch with some of the people in the Tama area. The family of Sato Hikogoro for instance left records of things that Saito had told them about the Shinsengumi during the Meiji era.
He eventually developed a gastric ulcer which led to his death. While he was ill, his daughter-in-law, Midori, was the one who cared for him. Toward the end she had to remove phlegm from his throat with carefully wrapped chopsticks so he could breath. When the medicine no longer worked he realized that his time was near and refused to stay in bed. He had his family help him to get up and change into white clothing, then was assisted to the main room where he sat seiza before the tokonoma. (He sat in the formal sitting position before the alcove, which is considered to be a place of honor.) At 1:00 am he is said to have suddenly glared and died. Saito passed away on September 28, 1915 at the age of 72  and was buried at the Amida-ji Temple in Aizu, which was now called Fukushima.
The manner in which he met his end shows that while the Meiji government could regulate “the old ways” out of sight, but they could not regulate them out of people’s hearts.
Love Life –
Saito is connected with at least two women before he married Takagi Tokio.
The first was while he was with the Shinsengumi in Kyoto. She was known as Aioi Tayu and she was from the Kikyo-ya in Shimabara. She later became a “geisya” in Gion and he was supposed to have visited her often. Abe Juro would recall this years later and said that Saito was “untidy” with women. He never believed that Saito spied on Ito and his followers for Kondo and insisted that Saito had stolen money from Ito in order to visit this woman, which was the reason for his sudden departure from the group. Others say this was a clever ruse to keep Ito from suspecting what he had really been up to.
The other affair was a bit more serious, because he actually married the woman. In 1870 the Aizu clan moved north to the Shimokita peninsula area [Aomori prefecture] and became the Tonami clan with permission from the government. Saito, now Fujita Goro, moved with them and was settled in Gonohe. He lived in the house of Kuraswa Heiemon, who was one of the last advisors of the Aizu clan and was serving as a vice-counselor of the Tonami clan. Saito apparently worked as a clan clerk or secretary at that point.
At that time there was a woman named Shinoda Yaso living in the house of Uedo Shichiro. She was the daughter of an Aizu retainer named Shinoda Naizo and was born in either 1842 or 1840. Her family appear to have had a rough time of it even before the move. Her older brother had been killed during the Kinmon no Hen incident and her father later passed away of illness. After that she lived with her other brothers.
At some point she moved from Uedo’s house to the Kurasawa house where Saito was living. Things begin to get a bit tricky at this point, because Kurasawa had adopted Takagi Tokio when the clan moved to Tonami! Obviously she was not Fujita-san’s first choice and he married Yaso through Kurasawa’s help on August 25, 1871.
For unknown reasons Saito and Yaso moved back to the house of Uedo Shichiro on February 10, 1873. Then on June 10, 1874 he suddenly went back to Tokyo alone. Yaso is said to have “seen him off”. Shortly after he reached Tokyo he was married to Takagi Tokio, so it would appear that he divorced Yaso for some reason. (There were any number of things that might have been behind this decision. Yaso might have been sick or unable to have children. Or it could have been outside interference from members of the Aizu clan.)
The last record of Yaso is that she moved back to the house of Kurasawa on July 20, 1876. It is speculated that she might have died that year.
The Left-handed Killer –
The story of Saito being left-handed seems to come from Shimozawa Kan and is tied in with the episode of Shinsengumi captain Tani Sanjuro’s sudden death. The supposed story goes that Tani failed to make a clean cut when he served as a second to a member who had to commit seppuku. (This story appears to be false, because Tani died before the person named committed seppuku.) One month later, on April 1, 1866, he was found dead at Gion-ishidanshita, the stone stairway that leads up to the famous Gion Shrine (also called Yasaka shrine).
An urgent report came into the Shinsengumi headquarters from patrol soldiers about the incident.. At the time it happened to be raining. Saito and Shinohara Tainoshin had just returned from someplace and were already wet, so they were sent out to investigate. As the story goes, Tani had received a thrust to his chest that went all the way to his back and had died clinging to the wall of a small restaurant in a half-sitting position. His sword had never been unsheathed.
Shinohara laughed and said that the thrust had come from the left side, so the suspect “had to be as left-handed” as Saito. In his turn, Saito asked Shinohara not to please not say that as if it were him who had done the deed. Both of them laughed and they put the body into a palanquin and took it back to headquarters.
Unfortunately, this is the only description of Saito saying that he was left-handed. Shimozawa says the source of the story is some sort of journal that Saito kept called the “Muroku”, but no one else has ever claimed to see such a document and its existence is now a matter of debate. And until its is proven one way or another, whether or not Saito was truly a left-handed swordsman will also continue to be a mystery.
Back to index.
Mystery – Was Saitoo Hajime at Shieekan?
When Shinsengumi was formed, the people who were called “Kondoo family” were such as Kondoo Isamu, Hijikata Toshizoo, Okita Sooshi, Inoue Genzaburoo, Yamanami Keesuke, Toodoo Heesuke, Nagakura Shinpachi, and Harada Sanosuke, and they were all concerned with Shieekan.
They played an important role from the beginning of the Shinsengumi’s formation.
However, the connection of one officer to the Shieekan is questionable. This is Saitoo Hajime.
Prof. Akama Wako wrote the followings in “Shinsengumi sub-captain Saitoo Hajime.” According to “The history of Fujita family,” since Saitoo Hajime killed Hatamoto with some reasons, depending on acquaintances, he escaped for Kyoto. He worked there as a teacher of swordplay. He knew that Kondoo was forming Shinsengumi there, and he had contact with his to join it.
As long as referring this description, there seems to have no connection between Saitoo Hajime and Shieekan.
However, some resources indicate that Saitoo Hajime had some connections with Shieekan.
First, Kojima Tamemasa, who was a supporter of Shinsengumi and whom Kondoo Isamu respected for, wrote a book, (1) “Ryooyuushiden” in 1873 (Meiji 6). It says:
“Kondoo Isamu, (omission) promising with his friend, Tsuchikata Yoshitoyo, went to Kyoto with his followers, Okita Husayoshi, (omission) Yamanami Tomonobu, (omission) Inoue Kazushige, (omission) Nagakura Shinpachi, and Saitoo Hajime.”
According to this, Kondoo Isamu applied for the recruitment of Rooshigumi in Edo in 1863 (Bunkyuu 3), and he went to Kyoto with Hijikata Toshizoo, Okita Sooshi, Yamanami Keesuke, Inoue Genzaburoo, Nagakura Shinpachi, and Saitoo Hajime.
The author of this book, Kojima Tamemasa was a senior student for Kondoo Isamu at Shieekan. When Kondoo Isamu inherited teacher’s position from his foster father, Syuusuke, and while he taught swordplay to his follower at Shieekan, Kojima Tamemasa taught Kanji there. It means that he knew well about the people in Shieekan.
Kojima Tamemasa put Saitoo’s name in his book though he did not put other famous people, such as Harada Tamemasa or Toodoo Heesuke. This suggests that although the list of Rooshigumi did not put Saitoo Hajime’s name, Kojima believed that Saitoo Hajime was one of the important people in Shieekan.
Moreover, this “Ryooyuushiden” was written in 1873 (Meiji 6), which is close to the actual event. This record must be reliable, and it is possible that Saitoo Hajime had a strong connection with Shieekan.
Next, I will examine “Rooshi Bunkyuu Hookoku Kiji,” which was written by Nagakura Shinpachi around 1876 (Meiji 9) who was one of main members of Shinsengumi, the captain of the second group, and lived till 1915 (Taisyoo 4).
It says, “At that time, Kondoo Isamu opened his ashram at Yanagimachi, Kagayashiki at Ichigaya, and taught his students swordplay. After the practice, he always discussed politics with his followers. His followers are: including Kondoo Isamu, Yamanami Keesuke, Hijikata Toshizoo, Okita Sooshi, Nagakura Shinpachi, Satoo Hikogoroo, Otsuki Ginzoo, Saitoo Hajime, Toodoo Heesuke, Inoue Genzaburoo, Satoo Fusajiroo, Nakamura Takichi, Okita Rintaroo, and so on.”
According to this, Kondoo Isamu who lived at Yanagimachi Kagayashiki Ichigaya opened his ashram and practiced swordplay everyday. After this practice, he discussed national affairs and worried about the future with his followers. The followers who participated in this discussion were Yamanami Keesuke, Hijikata Toshizoo, Okita Sooshi, Nagakura Shinpachi, Satoo Hikogoroo, Otsuki Ginzoo, Saitoo Hajime, Toodoo Heesuke, Inoue Genzaburoo, Satoo Fusajiroo, Nakamura Takichi (Taroo), and Okita Rintaroo.
Nagakura Shinpachi who was the main member of Shieekan admitted Saitoo Hajime as one of the main members of Shieekan.
Next, I will examine (2) “Kikigaki Shinsengumi” by Satoo (3) Akira, which was based on “Ri-in Shiwa” by Satoo Hitoshi who was father of Satoo Akira. Satoo Hitoshi was a grandchild of Satoo Hikogoroo who was a supporter of Shinsengumi, studied Tennen Rishinryuu with Kondoo Isamu under Kondoo Syuusuke, and was a landowner of Hinosyuku.
According to this, Saitoo Hajime changed his name to Yamaguchi Goroo in his late years, and worked at the Teacher’s College in Ochanomizu as a teacher of Kendoo. Saitoo Hajime talked about Kotetsu when he met uncle, Honda Taian in Taniyasu village and Kobayashi Sensyuu in Asakawa town, and when Satoo Toshinobu visited him. (4) Saitoo Hajime said, “when I learned swordplay at Kondoo’s ashram at Yanagimachi, Kohinata, Koishikawa, I presented to my teacher with a sword that I bought at a secondhand store in Yotsuya because he seemed to love the sword very much. Even though the sword is nameless, he thought it was similar to Kotetsu, and he treasured it.”
If Saitoo Hajime truly talked this, he must have had a strong connection with Shieekan.
Furthermore, Abe Takaaki talked in (5) “Shidankai Sokkiroku.”
“Okita Sooshi was the first follower of Kondoo Isamu, and he served for him well. The next one was Saitoo Hajime, and the third one, who belonged to a different group, was Nagakura Shinpachi.”
It means that Saitoo Hajime’s style of swordplay was Tennen Rishin Ryuu as same as Okita Sooshi’s was.
It also suggests that he had a strong connection with Shieekan, and he was one of the followers who studied Tennen Rishin Ryuu.
Considering all these descriptions, the time he joined Mibu Rooshi gumi, and the background information, overall we can conclude that Saitoo Hajime had a strong connection with Shieekan.
(1) The literal translation of this title is “the record of two heroes.”
(2) The record of dictation about Shinsengumi.
(3) I am not sure how to read his name in Kanji. It might be Akira…
(4) This is the exactly same as Fujita Goroo (Telling 2) I translated before.
(4) The literal translation of this title is “the record of historical talk.”
Departure to the SeenanWar
May 18th, 1877 (Meiji 10)
In 1877, Saigoo Takamori, who lost the (1) Seekanron and quit being a politician, raised a riot against the Meiji Government with people who had been the (2) Shizoku and had dissatisfaction at the new system. At that time, most of policemen consisted of people from Satsuma. However, since most of them went back to Satsuma with Saigoo, the Meiji Government hurriedly recruited new policemen. Therefore, many samurai who had served for Edo Bakuhi were also recruited. Not only the samurai in Aizu or Kuwana but also the members of Shinsengumi were recruited, and they formed the Shinsen Ryodan. When Kitino Toshiaki, who was in the side of Saigoo, heard this name, he was surprised that he thought Shinsengumi still existed and it was coming to attack them. However, Saitoo Hajime was not in this group. He served as an inspector, and he was in the (3) Bungo police troop. Hagiwara Sadamoto commanded this group, and Saitoo Hajime commanded 107 people in the second small group of the big group as Fujita Goroo. He attacked the enemy in Mikawautchi (Usuki county in Miyazaki prefecture), and robbed two cannon in July 12th. He was also injured by shot this time. The details appeared in the article of the Tokyo Nichinichi newspaper on August 23rd, 1877.
(1) The movement to Korea
(2) The samurai class
(3) Today’s Oita prefecture
Tokyo Nichinichi Newspaper
Reporter, Oba, who reported in Bungo from July 1st to 7th, mailed this article.
This is a report in the front in Bungo. They set a position for the attack of Mikawauchi. On July 12th, all soldiers around there went to Mikawauchi. The forth policemen army was divided into two groups. One group attacked the enemy from the front, and the other attached them from their back. The enemy, about 30 people, gave up fighting, and ran away. Taking advantage of this victory, the loyalist army took over the fort in Mikawauchi. When they advanced more toward Mt. Toribira, the enemy attacked from the side. The loyalist army fought bravely and finally reached at the top of the Mt. Toribira. On the top of the mountain, the enemy, about 20, was waiting, but when they found the army coming, they ran away. Mt. Toribira is the important point in Mikawauchi mountain range. Therefore, the loyalist army set their base there. The soldiers were arranged around the base, and walls were built at 5 places. The enemy, about 150 people, competed them by building walls on right and left side of the base. There was only one who was injured in the loyalist army at that time. In the afternoon, they advanced to Shiomidani, but there were only two or three walls left. They advanced more and reached to Fudoozaka, but they only saw two or three walls on Mt. Oetsu. They had not encountered any enemy so far; therefore, they stopped to move and had their soldiers prepare for defense. The army in Todoroki also started Morizaki at 3 o’clock and reached to Marushio. They were divided into two groups. One group, commanded by Fujita Goroo, joined to another army troop and advanced along the main road. The other group, commanded by Yuusa Masato, also joined to another army troop advanced to Hiramine along the bypath. They attacked the enemy at the Tsuruwa pass and reached to the top of Mt. Takayuka. A little while before this, Fujita Goroo accompanied by soldiers crossed the Fukuhara pass and reached to Yakio. There, they defeated the enemy. They continued gun fighting on the way to move to Takayuka. There, Fujita Goroo was shot. Therefore, they withdrew the army to Yakio for a while. However, the other group had already been attacking the enemy, so again they moved back to Takayuka and started to fight. The enemy gave up fighting, and ran away. On 14th, the third small troop commanded by Sonoda inspector, arrived at Kurosawa village. This troop joined other troops around Mikawauchi, and guarded the area from the enemy’s attack. At 3:30 on 16th, the army started to attack the enemy around the Rikuchi pass. At 4:00, they defeated the enemy there, and started to attack the enemy’s walls on right and left side. Since there was the roar of cannon from Tsushimabata around 4, the second police army was sent to there. However, the enemy was too strong for them to defend. At last, the soldiers as well as the police troop retreated to Kuzuharaura. When they started to build a wall and prepare for defense there, they received that the army regained the fort at Tsushimabata. Therefore, they returned Tsushimabata and arranged the defense line there. There were 16 men killed and 24 injured in the army. There were 2 killed and 3 injured in the police troop. At 2 a.m. on 17th, with cooperation with selective soldiers from the main road and Tenguyama, the army hided secretly behind the wall. Fortunately, it started to rain. The enemy never seemed to dream that the loyalist army was hiding behind a wall. Therefore, when the army suddenly attacked the fort together, the enemy was panicked and ran away. The army attacked them running from the behind and shot two or three soldiers. Then, they moved to attack the walls on the right and left side. The enemy from Hatayama attacked the army, and the loyalist army from Ohara came to support them, and attacked them from their side and defeated them. Continuously, they attacked a fort at Nukagaeshi and reached to Yuugauchi. It was 9 a.m. in the morning. The army set the front on the top of the Rikushi pass in Rikuchi village, and built walls for firm defense. On the day, there were 17 or 18 casualties in the army. They captured three people and some weapons from the enemy. On 23rd, the Sonoda troop joined the Hagiwara troop, and they changed their names as the 7th, 8th, and 9th troop. On 30th lieutenant colonel, Nozaki became a commander to direct the soldiers from the left side of the Rikuchi pass to the seaside, and major Oku became a commander to direct the soldiers from the right side of the Rikuchi pass to Ohara. On August 2nd, the army was arranged for the attack at Ichioguchi. The 6th small police army with artillery (which was borrowed from battleship Nisshin) and the infantry army were arranged for the attack at Matsuoyama. Their role was supportive attack. The 2nd small police army was arranged for the attack at the Odakachi pass. The 1st small police army became the reserved army. It was arranged to wait at the Odakachi pass in order to respond depending on the situations. The 5th small police army and the infantry army were arranged for the attack at Mt Akagi. The 3rd police army was arranged for the attack from the Takazare pass to Mt. Matsuo. 40 soldiers among the infantry army were arranged for the attack at a wall in front of Mt. Akagi. At 4 a.m. the 6th small police army and the infantry army went down Tsushimabata through woods in order to attack the enemy at Mt. Matsuo. They secretly hided behind walls and waited the time of attack. The day did not break, and it was not bright. They started to fire cannon to the fort on Mt. Motsuo.
I inserted contents told by various people as far as I know. Nevertheless, their testimonies are precious resources because they knew Fujita Goroo in life.
Fujita Goroo (Telling 1)
It is not self-seeking, but how many people could write even their names among the group of about 250 masterless samurai who were gathered in (1) Edo and went to Kyoto? Although each of them was a great fighter with a sword or a spear, they did not have education at all. Therefore, a trivial person such as Kiyokawa could easily deceive them. However, Serizawa and Kondoo were stronger not only in fighting but also in wits. Especially in a tight corner, we could not do anything without Kondoo, and Serizawa also gave in to him. Thus, when we were about to fight with Kondoo, somebody remonstrated, “Saitoo, you are good at swordplay, but you cannot be in the same way in learning. Even samurai sword, the soul of samurai, is also (2) a set of a long sword and a short sword, isn’t it? Furthermore, we have to learn not only Chinese letters but also European languages in future. At least, we should be able to write down our own names,” – who said this? Maybe, Takeda Kanryuu said this. It was determined that we, seventeen people, were left in Kyoto, and (3) Mr. Aizu – Matsudaira Katayasu – and I am sure of the truth that soon after he started to take care of us, Serizawa or Kondoo was commanded to be the role of record.
This telling by Saitoo Hajime is extremely rare. Although it is not sure when and to whom he talked, it is one of the important resources.
(1) The old name of Tokyo
(2) This is a metaphor that one is not enough.
(3) He was called like this because he governed Aizu (Fukushima prefecture) at that time.
Fujita Goroo (Telling 2)
When I learned swordplay at Kondoo’s ashram at (1) Yanagi-machi, Kohinata, and Koishikawa, I presented to (2) my teacher with a sword that I bought at a secondhand store in Yotsuya because he seemed to love the sword very much. Even though the sword is nameless, he thought it was similar to (3) Kotetsu, and he treasured it
Saitoo Hajime told about Kotetcu that Kondoo Isamu loved when he met Honda Taian from Taniyasu village and Kobayashi Sehsyuu from Asakawa town. At that time, Saitoo Hajime worked at teacher’s college in Ocha-no-mizu. According to this passage, Saitoo Hajime seems to have had the freedom of (4) Shieekan before joining Shinsengumi. Moreover, Saitoo Hajime told this story to Satoo Toshinobu when Satoo visited Saitoo.
(1) The address of Kondoo’s ashram
(2) The teacher here is Kondoo.
(3) The name of the famous sword that Kondoo Isamu loved.
(4) The name of Kondoo Isamu’s ashram
Fujita Goroo (Telling 3)
The entire sword was made of iron, and there was a sculpture on the guard of sword. There is no inscription, because it seems to have been worn out. The length may have been about 2 feet and 3 inches.
We do not know when and to whom Saitoo Hajime discussed this. Since this is also about Kondoo Isamu’s Kotetsu, it is possible that he was talking this at the same time as that of above passage.
Abe Juuroo’s telling in (1) Shidan Kaisoku Kiroku
Saitoo Ichiroo/Jiro (Saitoo Hajime) was one of our comrades. Although the “Junnan Rokkoo” said that he was a spy sent by Kondoo, it was not true. Saitoo Ichiroo was only good at (2) Yuikenjutsu, and he got along with Kondoo because he also did not care about (3) Kinnoo or the nation. Saitoo Ichiroo was untidy with women. He was familiar with a woman in (4) Shimabara, and since she became a (5) Geisya in (6) Gion later, he often visited her in Gion. At that time, we lived in Takadaiji. Because of this woman, Saitoo Ichiroo escaped from us. However, one of our members, Itoo (7) Kinoenetaroo, had an idea for the case of emergency. There was a man called Mizuno Yataroo from (8) Noosyuu. He was a very strong and good man, and he used to command three thousand men. Needless to say, he supported Kinnoo. We correlated with him, and in the case of emergency, we accepted his offer to send soldiers. Mizuno offered us financial support as well. On that occasion, Itoo Kinoenetaroo left 50 yen in a drawer of his desk, and we all went out. While we were absent there, Saitoo Ichiroo carried out this money, and he did not return. He was such an untidy man, so he spent all this money for the woman in Gion, and he could not come back. Hence, Saitoo Ichiroo visited Kondoo Isamu, and told him everything about our secret. Then, Kondoo was surprised at this. Since he felt that he could not leave us anymore, he decided to attack all of us. It was the night in November 18th. I was not there because Itoo sent me to (9) Yamato as a secret detective. While I was not there, Itoo received an invitation letter for dinner from Kondoo, and he visited his house. Kondoo seemed to give him the full treatment. However, on the way Itoo went home, four people were waiting for him around Shichijoo. All four were Kondoo’s followers. Oishi Kuwajiroo, Niyagawa Shinkichi, and other two were not clear. They suddenly appeared, and attacked him from behind. Even when Itoo was injured, he fought with his own sword. However, it was four vs. one, and he fought to death. (The following is omitted)
The survivor of Takadaiji party, Abe, affirmed that Saitoo Hajme was not a spy, which shows Saitoo’s cleverness as a spy and his reliable character for the job.
(1) The name of the record
(2) The name of the style of swordplay. Both Kondoo Isamu and Saitoo Hajime used this style.
(3) The idea to aim to build the emperor-centered nation
(4) A famous place for prostitute
(5) A kind of prostitute
(6) A famous place for prostitute
(7) Or Kooshitaroo
(8) Today’s Gifu prefecture
(9) Today’s Nara prefecture
Yamakawa Kenjiroo’s telling
Saitoo Hajime, later Yamaguchi Jiroo, often visited me and talked this Tenmaya’s story. Since Saitoo Hajime felt that his enemy would come on that night, he was drinking with wearing a chain mail. However, when he got drunk, he was annoyed at his chain glove. Furthermore, he felt it was too hot. He tried to take off the chain mail, but he could not do it easily. While he was trying to take off his chain around his hand, many people were crushed into his room. Therefore, he was lucky, and the chain mail became very useful then. He said:
“In a real fight with real swords, people cannot think how to knock down their enemy. We just fight off one’s head (react—do not “think”). While I rampaged around in this evening as in the usual fight, one of enemies said, ‘he is wearing something. Don’t cut him, but thrust with sword.’ Therefore, I thought if they started to thrust me with sword, I would wait for it.”
This is the story that Shibozawa Hiroshi heard from Yamakawa Kenjiroo who was still in life and 77 years old at that time.
Tsuchida Keiko’s telling
Mr. Fujita Goroo often visited my parents’ house, the Takamines. He liked drinking very much, and he always drank when he visited us. He was very taciturn, tall and thin. He was dignified, and his attitudes did not deny our expectation. At that time, my father was the principle of the teacher’s college, and Mr. Fujita Goroo was working as a regulator there. When it rained, the school became very crowded because many (1)jinrikisha which came to pick up students went into the school gate. In such a rainy day, I often saw him directing the drivers of jinrikisha in order to regulate traffic. (The following is omitted.)
Tsuchida Keiko was a daughter of Takamine Hideo who was called as an Aizu’s prodigy and later became a genius scholar. Also, she was mother of Tsuchida Kuniyasu who was the Superintendent General of police.
(1) Rickshaw, a vehicle pulled by men
Kobayashi Tochiko’s telling
Uncle, Goroo had long and tufty eyebrows and sharp eyes. He was quiet, and looked taller than his actual height. He regularly came back to Fukushima to visit his family’s grave. He often stayed at my father, Takagi Morinosuke’s house, and he and my father excitingly talked about (1) the Boshin War with drinking. All boys in my relatives learned how to play kendo from uncle, Goroo. I knew he had been the member of Shinsengumi. He used to work for the police, and had chances to work for the royal family. Once he was commanded to guard Syooken queen mother, and he often talked me about this. He praised her beauty, as “I have rarely seen such a beautiful lady like her.” (The following is omitted.)
Kobayashi Tochiko was the 6th daughter of Takagi Morinosuke. Takagi Morinosuke was a younger brother of Saitoo Hajime’s wife, Tokio.
(1) The war between the old Edo shogunate and the Meiji government (1867-8)
Fujita Natsuko’s telling
Fujita Goroo retired the police department and became a guard of the Tokyo Educational Museum in affiliation with the Tokyo Teacher’s College in Meiji 24 (1891). His wife, Tokio worked as a housemaster of the Women’s Teacher’s College all the time. Of course, she could work under the protection of Yamakawa Hiroshi who was the first principle of the Tokyo Teacher’s College. However, the truth was that Takamine Hideo recommended both Fujita Goroo and Tokio to get these jobs. When Takamine Hideo was 26 years old, he became a principle of the Tokyo Teacher’s College in Meiji 12 (1879), and when he was 44 years old, he became a principle of the Tokyo Women’s Teacher’s College in Meiji 30 (1897). Also, he was a cousin of Tokio. According to my mother-in-law, Midori’s story, there was a magnificent shed in his homestead, and it was full of treasures such as swords or arts treasures. Although the shed was always locked, only Goroo was allowed to enter this freely. Since Goroo was good at judging swords, he was often asked to judge or repair swords.
Fujita Natsuko was a wife of Fujita Minoru who was a grandchild of Goroo. Mother-in-law, Midori, was a wife of Tsutomu who was a son of Goroo.
Yagi Tamesaburoo’s telling 1
I have never seen that Yamazaki Joo (Yamazaki Susumu) uses a stick, but he was good at Nagamaki which was like (1) Naginata with a short handle. I have seen that he rampaged with shaking this Nagamaki. As a competitor of him, Saitoo Hajime, who was a masterless samurai from Bansyuu Akashi, often confronted at him. Kondoo also liked Saitoo Hajime. I don’t know his style of swordplay, but he was very good at it. He was one of the five greatest swordsmen in Shinsengumi.
This shows that Saitoo Hajime had an excellent skill in swordplay.
(1) A kind of Japanese spear
Yagi Tamesaburoo’s telling 2
The people who stayed my house were 13 people: Serizawa Kamo, Kondoo Isamu, Yamanami Keesuke, Hijikata Toshizoo, Nagakura, Shinpachi, Okita Sooshi, Noguchi Kenji, Harada Sanosuke, Inoue Gensaburoo, Toodoo Heesuke, Hirama Shigesuke, Hirayama Goroo, and Saeki Matasaburoo. I heard that Niimi Nishiki, Kasuya Shingoroo, and Saitoo Hajime, who stayed Nanbu Kamejiroo’s house, always stayed and slept at my house. I remember these 13 people and Saitoo Hajime, but I don’t remember Niimi and Kasuya at all.
It seems that Saitoo Hajime made a strong impression for Yagi Tamesaburoo. If we assume that this telling is trustful, although Saitoo Hajime is known to have stayed at Nanbu Kamejiroo’s house when he joined (1) Rooshi Gumi, the truth that he stayed Yagi’s house suggests that he was more familiar with members of Shieekan, such as Kondoo Isamu.
(1) The name of samurai group
Nakajima Nobori’s writing
Yamaguchi Jiroo 27 years old
He was a follower of Tokugawa, but later joined Shinsengumi in Kyoto and played an important role. He was a great person, and he was not only good at swordplay but also famous for his good personality. He left many achievements in fighting in Aizu; hence, he was promoted to be a captain. He fought only with 13 people together surrounded by more than 300 people of enemy at Nyoraidoo in September 4th. He could not cut his way through the enemy, and at last he died gracefully. His bravery should be honored.
This is a note of the part of Yamaguchi Jiroo in (1) “Senyuu Esugata” written by the member of Shinsengumi, Nakajima Nobori. According to this, Yamaguchi Jiroo was killed in the war at Nyoraidoo.
(1) The figures of fellow soldiers
The song of Sagawa Hatako
This smell, this shape, an old man is stirred with an old sword alone.
This song is in a songbook, (1) “Shinobugusa,” by Sagawa Hatako. She sang this song in memory of Fujita Goroo in life. Hatako was a daughter of Takagi Morunosuke, and a wife of Naoaki who was a son of Sagawa Kanbee. She was a niece of Fujita Goroo.
(1) It means secret or memory.
The diary of Taniguchi Shiroobee
After Shinsengumi arrived in Aizu, we continued to fight. Many friends were already dead, and only 14 were left. Now, we should endure and conquest this difficulty. Even if we see the castle falls to the enemy, we won’t give up our will.
This is the word of Saitoo Hajime during the fight at Shiokawa. After he arrived in Aizu, he became the captain of Shinsengumi, and continued fighting. Thus, he insisted on fighting in Aizu and rejected escaping to Sendai. This utterance shows his special feeling for Aizu and convinces the reason why he lived half his life as one of Aizu citizen.
Hieta Toshiya’s telling 1
Later in Meiji period, I heard this story (Tenmaya affair) from Saitoo Hajime. Then, he said, “I did not know when the enemy would come, so I was drinking with a chain mail on. But, when I got drank, I felt too hot. I was annoyed at the chain, so I tried to take off it. I tried to take off the parts on my instep and middle finger, but I could not remove it easily. I tried couple of times, but still I could not. When I gave up taking off it and hold the glass again, the enemy crushed into the room. The enemy was quite clever because there was no light and it was a small room. While I rampaged around crazily, I felt that the enemy’s sword touched me twice or three times. But, since I did not feel any pain, I continued to fight. Then, I heard somebody shout, ‘he is wearing something. Cutting does not work. Thrust, thrust at him.’ While I thought, ‘God damn you, common,’ the war was already over. Thank to this chain mail, I was not injured at all. That is a very useful thing. I heard that you had never fought with real swords. In a real fight, it is impossible to make a plan as I attack the first enemy in this way, and the second enemy in that way. All we can do is to lose ourselves in cutting and thrusting, and after the enemy has fallen on the ground, you think you are lucky for the first time. In short, if you know how to shake a sword quickly, you are enough to do swordplay, and this quickness determines who gets the victory. In the Tenmaya affair, I didn’t even know where and how I knocked down my enemy. Moreover, I didn’t know how many enemies there were.”
Hieta Toshiya’s telling 2
Saitoo Hajime is from Bansyuu Akashi, and was a right hand of Kondoo Isamu. He was a captain of the third party, but once he falsely withdrew from Shinsengumi, and work as a spy in the group of (1) Goryooeji of (2) Gesshin-in. Soon after we arrived at the station in Horikawa, I found somebody taking off his shoes at the back door. Since some members bowed to him or took care of him, I wondered who he was. In the evening, at dinner, a notice was put on the wall. It said, “Captain, Saitoo Hajime, who traveled for an official purpose, came back today. His position is restored as before.” Therefore, I thought that the man I saw a short while ago was Saitoo Hajime. His swordplay was excellent.
(1) The group who guarded the royal family’s house.
(2) The name of place
From “Shinsengumi’s account”
Saitoo was the first or second best swordsman in Shinsengumi, and he had a habit of killing.
This was Nishimura Kanehumi’s impression of Saitoo Hajime. Nishimura described his impression like this in the section of assassination of Takeda Kanryuusai in “Shinsengumi’s account.” Of course, there was a prejudice. However, this judgment may be natural because Shimsengumi was known to be wild and rough, and Saitoo Hajime was one of the best swordsmen in Shinsengumi. Importantly, this also valued his skill as a swordsman.
Mystery – Was It Saitoo Hajime Who Killed Takeda Kanryuusai?
It is said that Takeda Kanryuusai was killed because he was detected to be a spy of Satsuma clan. It is also said that Saitoo Hajime killed him. Is it true?
Generally accepted opinion is that Takeda Kanryuusai was assassinated on June 22, 1867 (Keioo 3). Before this assassination, Shinsengumi held farewell party for him, and they invited Saitoo Hajime and Shinohara Yasunoshin to the party, who left Shinsengumi to be a guard of Emperor’s house. Since Kondoo Isamu ordered these two persons secretly to assassinate Takeda Kanryuusai at the party, they killed him.
Here, there is a question.
Why did Kondoo captain and Hijikata sub-captain order Saitoo Hajime who had left Shinsengumi to assassinate him? This selection of assassin is certainly true if we consider Saitoo Hajime’s trustful character and his skill of swordplay. However, considering the politics in Shinsengumi, it is difficult to think of this selection. There must have been other people who were trustful and had a good skill of swordplay. I wonder why Shinsengumi dared to give this order to the persons who had left Shinsengumi. The other question is that Shinohara Yasunoshin was chosen to support Saitoo Hajime. Shinohara Yasunoshin was the person who Itoo Kinoenetaroo (Kooshitaroo) strongly trusted, and they were close friends. If Shinohara Yasunoshin received this order of assassination, did Itoo Kinoenetaroo (Kooshitaroo) let him go? Since Itoo Kinoenetaroo (Kooshitaroo) always opposed that the member of Shinsengumi assassinated the other member, it is difficult to believe the fact that he let his friend join this assassination.
With these questions, I personally think that Saitoo Hajime did not kill him.
Then, who assassinated Takeda Kanryuusai? It might be other Shinsengumi members who received the order from Kondoo captain and Hijikata sub-captain, but there is no enough evidence, so I cannot affirm this.
Although it is not clear if this fact is true or not, I continue the survey and want to wait for the new resources for this fact.
The war of something or other
Mystery – Did Saitoo Hajme Participate in the War of (1) Aburakooji
The trigger of the War of Aburakooji was that Shinsengumi assassinated Itoo Kinoenetaroo (Kooshitaroo), and using his dead body as decoy, they attempted to sweep away all members of Itoo group. Did Saitoo Hajime participate in the War of Aburakooji?
It is said that Nagakura Shinpachi told in his late years that Saitoo Hajime had killed Hattori Takeo at the War of Aburakooji. There is no wonder if Saitoo Hajime killed Hattori Takeo because he had such a great skill of swordplay, and if Kondoo ordered him to participate in the war as a precious military strength. Moreover, Kondoo sent a letter to Miura Yasutaroo in (2) Kisyuu. It said, “Dear Mr. Miura Yasutaroo, while it is getting colder, how have you been? I would like to thank you for taking care of Yamaguchi Jiroo (Saitoo Hajime), when he hid at your place. Now I have some business with him and I borrowed him without your permission. I am sorry for not asking you at all, but I will visit you soon to apologize and thank you. I will tell you details then, but not I am planning in order to sweep away the riot in (3) Kantoo area. You will hear about this by the beginning of the next month. Although you may hear of misleading news, but please not bend your ear to those. Sorry for disturbing you with my bad writing because I hurried writing to you. Sincerely, November 18th, Kondoo Isamu.” This letter includes Kondoo’s gratitude to Miura that he helped Yamaguchi hide at his place as well as his apology that Kondoo borrowed Yamaguchi without Miura’s permission. The date, November 18th was exactly the same day of the War of Aburakooji started. If the content of the letter was true, it is possible that Kondoo let Saitoo return to Shinsengumi in order to have him join the war.
However, Nagakura Shinpachi wrote in his book that Harada Sanosuke killed Hattori Takeo. Moreover, there is no information or evidence in various resources that Saitoo Hajime participated in the War of Aburakooji.
With all the information, we still have no idea whether it is true or not.
However, I personally believe that Saitoo Hajime might participate in the war because of his skill of swordplay (though I am completely not sure whether Saitoo Hajime killed Hattori Takeo or not.)
Although there is no enough information, I will continue my survey, and I hope that new resources can be found soon.
(1) The name of street that the war occurred.
(2) Today’s Wakayama prefecture.
(3) Today’s Kantoo (Tokyo area).
Posted by Shemsu Radha at 1:08 AM
Labels: Japanese History, Shinsengumi
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