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The Wolves of Mibu
~ Shinsengumi Profiles ~
 


Name : Kondou Isami Masanobu (Masayoshi)
Rank : Souchou (Commander or Counselor)
D.O.B - D.O.D : 1833 - April 25, 1868
Origin : Edo Gyofunai (a dappan)
Ryuugi : Tennen Rishin Ryuu (shihan/master)
Dojo : Shieikan
Katana : Nagasone Kotetsu length 2' 3" 5

Was born as a son of a rich peasant, his birthname was Miyakawa Katsuta. Then at age 16, he was adopted by the former master of Shieikan namely Kondou Shuusai and became the forth master of Tennen Rishin Ryuu. Among the pupils were Hijikata Toshizou, Okita Shouji, and Inoue Genzaburou. These people later on will be the members of Shinsengumi, he himself finally became the Commander of Shinsengumi till the very end. According to most sources, he was a rigid man, lighthearted, and loyal to the moral codes of samurai. He had a wife, and his daughter, Tamako, was born just before he went to Kyoto. After the utter defeat of the Shinsengumi in the Boshin War, he was captured by the Kangun (emperor loyalist army), which had become the "legal" government army after the resignation of Tokugawa Yoshinobu. The situation took a complete reverse, since then on Shinsengumi are outlaws. Then on April 25, 1868 he was decapitated in Itabashi at age 35.

Hijikata ToshizouName : Hijikata Toshizou Yoshitoyo
Rank : Fukuchou (Vice Commander or Executive Officer)
D.O.B - D.O.D : 1834 - May 11, 1869
Origin : Edo Gyofunai (a dappan)
Ryuugi : Tennen Rishin Ryuu (mokuroku)
Dojo : Shieikan
Katana : ? length 2' 8"

"Kawaiiiii!", that's probably the first expression when people saw him (esp girls ^_^). Well, looks might be deceiving, Hijikata was undoubtedly charming but he was indeed a very dreadful guy. Hijikata was also a son of a peasant, it's said that when he was a kid, he resembled with Sano; loved to fight and brawling all the day (he really has the guts ^_^). Then his elder sister married with a household of a decent name, then his brother-in-law arranged him to become a door-to-door medicine seller, selling the Ishida Sanyaku. It was then that he met young Kondou and became one of the disciples of Shieikan along with Okita and Inoue. Ishida Sanyaku was later on frequently used in Shinsengumi for battle wounds and broken bones. Nicknamed "The Demon of Shinsengumi", he was a real dreadful, strict, no mercy and obedient to bushido. The Hirazuki was his original invention that became Saitou's most deadly move. A master of strategist and tactician who stretched the prowess of Shinsengumi to its maximum. Though it was uncertain who made the dreaded law of Shinsengumi, but it was strongly possible that Hijikata was the author.
Though Shinsengumi was in the end of their life and many of the members had fled and died, Hijikata didn't and never wanted to give in. After the defeat of Shinsengumi in the Boshin War and the death of Koundou, he joined Enomoto Takeaki "Hokkaido Republic" in order to continue fighting the new government of Meiji. However he was shot to death in a battle in Hakodate at age 35 and his death marked the end of Shinsengumi. To respect his loyalty, there was a series of telephone card in Japan that displayed his picture on it. Till this very day, Hijikata fans are keep on increasing, I guess he is kind a man that most girl dreamed of: cool, strong, gentleman and good-looking ^_~.

Name : Okita Souji (Soushi) Kaneyoshi (Fusanaga)
Okita SoujiRank : Kumichou Ichibantai (Captain of the 1st Troop)
D.O.B - D.O.D : 1844 - May 30,1868
Origin : Shirakawa (a dappan)

Ryuugi : Tennen Rishin Ryuu (menkyo kaiden)
Dojo : Shieikan
Katana : Kikuichi Norimune, length about 2' 4" 2 or 72 cm

My goodness, what the hell I have to say about this guy ^_^ He's so famous and loved by many (especially girls). There are many sources said that he's a damn good looking one, but the research proved that IT'S NOT TRUE (well I personally think that the look of someone is relative, depends on your tastes and sexual preferences, desu ne?). Maybe it's because of Okita's nature that he was kind, gentle and having a good sense of humor so he always looked nice and cheerful. Was born with name Soujirou Harumasa, the son of Okita Rintarou, a low level of samurai and poor family indeed. After his parents' death, Okita was raised by his only sister, Mitsu. Since of monetary crisis, at age 9 he was sent as uchideshi to Shieikan (a kenjutsu dojo in Tama region, Edo) belonged to Kondou Shuusuke, and was trained Tennen Rishin Ryuu by the 4th master, Kondou Isami Masanobu. 3 years later he defeated a kenjutsu master in his hometown, Shirakawa. Okita was a child prodigy in kenjutsu, he could yield shinai (bamboo-sword), bokken (wooden-sword) and katana equally well (COOL!!!). He was an accomplished swordsman by age 15.
Around month of July 1862 (age 18 years old) Okita taught kenjutsu by himself in some dojo around Edo.

He was known as a gruff and impatient master, his disciples feared him worse than Kondou Isami (goodgod! he could be scary too). In the same year he suffered his first bad disease, measles, which was a plague at the time. According to some sources, he's the strongest among the men in Shinsengumi, but it's debatable anyway (esp for those Saitou lovers since it's said that Saitou was stronger than him). Another tale said that his sword-skill surpassed even masters from other schools along with his own comrades. Famous for his Sandanzuki, the 3-piece-thrust delivered pretty fast at the opponent's neck to the left shoulder, and then across the right shoulder, This awesome thrust was improvised based on Hiratsuki which is created by Hijikata Toshizou. After the establishment of Shinsengumi, Okita realized that he suffered TBC (tuberculosis), an incurable disease at the time (what a tragic). He often coughed up blood after a heavy battle, but he tried not to let his comrades know it. However, there was a shocking event when Okita suddenly fell faint during the Ikedaya Jiken. A lot of sources said that he coughed up amount of blood before, but it's uncertain what caused him fainted. It could probably caused by the cold night and the vicious battle (no one knows, wish he still alive so we can ask it straightly to him). However, this incident made Hijikata and Kondou Isami felt grief, they treated Okita as their own lil brother (since they've been together since the Shieikan days). They finally agreed that Okita's disease shouldn't be widely known for the sake of the other member's morale.

Although he was feared for his obvious swordskill and rank in Shinsengumi, Okita was actually a nice guy, he often caught playing around with the kids (probably he wanted to make up his lost childhood when he spent it off in dojo). It's said that he loved making jokes, laugh out loud ^_~ and act like a kid rather than being serious-faced. But of course in a battle he could be serious too. However since knowing his incurable disease, his smile was never been sincere (of course so, who could be happy when he knew his death is nearby).
After the famous Boshin War, Okita was sent to a tuberculosis hospital in Edo. It was unbelievable that he could still laughing and made jokes though his body was left nothing but skin and bones. When he was in the hospital he kept asking about Kondou Isami. But when the news of Kondou's death reached Edo, no one told Okita about it. The tragic ended when he finally passed away in May 30, 1st year of Meiji era (1868). Right before he died, he ran after a black cat and tried to kill it (My... he's certainly hopeless at the time). Okita's ashes were buried in the Senshouji temple, Roppongi. There you could only see it through a fence near the back.

Name : Nagakura Shinpachi Noriyuki, Sugimura Yoshie
Rank: Kumichou Nibantai (Captain of the 2nd Troop)
D.O.B - D.O.D : 1839 - January 1915
Origin : Matsumae (a dappan)
Ryuugi : Shintou Munen Ryuu
Dojo : Okada Juumatsu's

There ain't much clues about this guy, too bad, since he wrote a lot of memoirs about Shinsengumi, and it became one of the most important sources. He deserted his han only to come to Kyoto. After the Meiji Government was set up, he was granted pardon to return to his han, and change his name into Sugimura Yoshie. When Okita fell sick, Nagakura sometimes commanded both the Ichibantai and Nibantai. In the 15th year of Meiji (1882), he went to Hokkaido and became a kendo instructor in a prison there. Nagakura resigned after several years, and built some graves for his former comrades in Shinsengumi. He later wrote the memoirs of Shinsengumi entitled Jitsureki Dan which later issued as Shinsengumi Tenmatsuki. Nagakura passed away in January 4th year of Taisho (1915) at age 76.

Hajime SaitouName : Hajime Saitou, Yamaguchi Jirou, Fujita Gorou
Rank : Kumichou Sanbantai (Captain of 3rd Troop)
D.O.B - D.O.D : January 1, 1844 - September 27, 1915
Origin : Banshuu Akashi (a roushi)
Ryuugi : Mizoguchi Ittou Ryuu
Katana : Nihontou (Japanese sword)
Height/Weight : 183 cm / 71 kg
Blood type : O

This man history was a mysterious as his personal life. The only strong evidence of his existence is his name that frequently came out in battles of Shinsengumi. His name "Hajime" literally means "the first", it was assumed that he was born in January 1. Saitou was born in Kanda Kogawa district of Edo. His family was samurai who served a noble namely Harima. In his family he was the youngest offspring, with one oniisan and one oneesan. By the promotion of Aizu han, Saitou joined with Shinsengumi as Yamaguchi Jirou at age 21. Then he became Hijikata's assistant. His famous sword forte was a single left-handed thrust, it was said that it 's much more deadly than Okita's Sandanzuki. Saitou, Okita and Nagakura was believed to be the 3 strongest swordsmen in Shinsengumi. His jobs were mostly killing the deserted member or those who tried to soil the goodname of Shinsengumi. Some of his victims were Itou Kashitarou and Co. also Takeda Kanryuusai.

In the year 4 of Keiou (1868), he led Shinsengumi in a guerilla against the loyalists (emperor army) in Aizu.

August 21, 1868 : Shinsengumi was defeated in Bonari War and forced to retreat to Wakamatsu Palace in Aizu.
September 4, 1868 : he led his troop again in a very furious battle. In that battle, almost all of his troops were dead, the remained members finally refuge to Hokkaido, and this time was led by Hijikata Toshizou. 6th year of Meiji (1873) : he married with Takagi Tokio, a daughter of an important official of Aizu. Who became the middle man was, indeed, the daimyo of Aizu, Matsudaira Katamori. He had children namely Tsutomu, Tsuyoshi and Tatsuo. Year 1877, as Fujita Gorou he joined with the sword-policemen in Seinan War, the war of Saigou Takamori's rebellion against Meiji government in Satsuma. After the war's over, Fujita Gorou was recorded as a spy who directly responsible to Police Commissioner, Kawaji Toshiyoshi.
In his late age, he became a kendo trainer in a certain dojo. And after his official duty's over he worked as a guard in Tokyo museum. He spend most of his late period to contemplate. Fujita died on September 28, 1915 at a ripe age 72 because of intestines cancer. His big family who lives in Tama, Tokyo till this very days still refuse to talk with the press. Many of Shinsengumi's secrets data they kept, and many more people who threat their lives if those data were published. Gosh, I think the mystery of Shinsengumi will not be revealed soon or later ;_;.

Name : Harada Sanosuke
Rank : Kumichou Juubantai (Captain of the 10th Troop)
Origin : Iyomatsuyama (a dappan)
Ryuugi : Taneda Houzouin Ryuu - spears style (menkyo kaiden)

He was kind a brat, who loved to brawl, short-tempered and simply loved a fight. He was a master of spearstyle. According to Watsuki-sensei, before he joined with Kondou he was the servant of some bushi (warriors), and this lowly status caused him to have a weak side at times. However he really took care of his underdogs, a responsible and manly captain. He was also a man who didn't like to fuss, and did things the way he saw it. The fact is, the members of Shinsengumi frequented the brothels (just like any other men at that time, it's common anyway). But they seldom attached themselves to the girls, meaning to take them as their legal wives. However, Harada married his girl, what a surprising deed (considering to his rough personality). After the furious argument with Hijikata and Kondou, he broke up with Shinsengumi then went to Edo and joined the Shougitai (the same troop which Yahiko's late father also took part). Harada died in Ueno War, but according to other sources, however, he survived and stowed-away to Manchuria, China, where he became a bandit.



Acknowledgments:

  1. Chibi Watsuki for his permission and his Watsuki Nobuhiro's Rurouni Kenshin website, also the complete profile of Souji Okita and Saitou Hajime. Arigatou, Chibi Watsuki-san.
  2. Serizawa Kamo's Biography where I got most of the infos, Arigatou Serizawa-san (*bow*).
  3. Shinsengumi Fansites where I gathered all of these precious data. Domou Arigatou Gozaimashita. Gomen ne, I can't name you all one by one T_T.
  4. Every single boys and girls in the universe who loyally serve Shinsengumi.

 

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