~ Part 1 ~
Right, there will be dozen of facts, tales and
fictions about these adorable dudes ^_~. So take a nice seat and a cup
of herbal ocha (tea) or coffee, so you can relax meanwhile reading this
bio cause it'll be a long long story. Ja, Here it comes the almighty
Wolves from Mibu!
of all, Shinsengumi literally means " a Newly Formed Party"
(not as cool as you thought, ne?). But it's not the name from the beginning,
in fact there were many former names. The first name was Roushigumi,
and later was called as Mibumura Roushigumi (The Wanderers of
Mibu Village) by the daimyo of Aizu, Matsudaira Higo no Kami (Katamori).
At last, by the permission from the Emperor given through his aides,
Nomiya Shunkatsu and Asuka Igaten, they were officially
called as Shinsengumi. The nickname Miburo (Wolves from
Mibu) was given by the Japanese people (esp in Kyoto) because of Serizawa's
deranged habits (you'll know about it later). It was said that the Shinsengumi
killed more often than ate (what a bad comparison).
Let me begin in the year 1862, in Tama region
of Edo (the present-day capital, Tokyo). There was a kenjutsu dojo named
Shieikan, practicing the Tennen Rishin Ryuu. The
fourth master was Kondou Isami and among
the disciples were Hijikata
Toshizou, Okita Souji and
Inoue Genzaburou. These four were so close
like brothers, with Okita as the youngest and the strongest ^_~. Beside
the disciples, there were also many frequenters (who were usually take
meals in the dojo, like Sano in the Kamiya dojo), among them were Yamanami
Seisuke, Harada Sanosuke, and Nagakura
Shinpachi. There was a time when Kondou and Hijikata heard about
the formation of roushitai (band of wave samurai) in Kyoto, then they
went to Kyoto with a few other disciples of Shieikan (including all
the name that mentioned above), and Kondou entrusted Shieikan to Hijikata's
in the other place there was a guy from the Tengu Party who's
just about to be executed, Serizawa Kamo.
But his fate wasn't that ironic (though it'll be, later...) a man named
was looking for capable roushi to join his group. Kiyokawa's group was
meant to act as "bodyguards" of the Shogun Tokugawa Iemochi
when he got in Kyoto, professing a complete allegiance to the Bakufu.
Serizawa went with his fellows from the Tengu Party, namely Niimi
Nishiki, Noguchi Kenji, Hirayama Gorou, and Hirama
Juusuke (or Hirama Kinsuke). Serizawa
was a famous man due to the Tengu Party, he was assigned as one of the
23 Torishimaritsuki (director). Later on, they (the Kondou's group and
Serizawa's group) formed the Roushigumi, which's divided into
seven units and had the board of directors.
beginning, Kondou Isami was only an ordinary member of the 6th unit
of the Roushigumi. Three days after they left Edo, when he was helping
the Director Ikeda Tokutarou to find lodging in the Honshou post
town, Kondou accidentally had forgotten Serizawa. Though they had apologized,
Serizawa didn't heed them and made a huge fire in the very center of
the lodging (no, he's not a pyromaniac! though later he'll make another
fire). Eventually Koundou convinced Serizawa to stop the fire, although
before, Serizawa had already knocked down the government officer with
his famous iron fan (weight of 300 monme, or in modern measurement is
about 39,4 oz or 1,12 kg). From the very beginning Serizawa was a mess,
that's why Kondou's group didn't really like him.
They finally arrived in Kyoto on February 23,
3rd year of Bunkyuu (1863). Serizawa and his fellows lived in Yagi
Gennojou's estate, meanwhile Kondou's group were more often living
in Maekawa Shouji's estate (both located in Mibu village).
On the next day, they're called by Kiyokawa to assemble in Shintokuji
Temple. Kiyokawa was a sly bastard indeed, he might gathered a troupe
of roushi in the name of the Bakufu, But he wanted to train them to
be Ishin Shishi, professing Sonno Joui ("Revere the Emperor,
Expel the Barbarians!"). Few days later, Kiyokawa commanded the
Roushigumi to go back to Edo and serve the Emperor, but Serizawa, Kondou
and their fellows (13 dudes) refused to go. After a furious argument,
the Roushigumi departed from Kyoto without Serizawa, Kondou and their
men. Well it's commonly said that there were 13 people stayed in Kyoto,
but in Aizu records, there were 24 names came out. Now it's widely accepted
that the other men than Serizawa and Kondou's fellows were killed at
the moment. Kiyokawa
had planned with his new roushigumi, called Shinchougumi, to
attack the gaijin settlement at Yokohama, setting fire to the
building and killing the foreigners, so that the Bakufu's foreign diplomacy,
as well as their image, would plummet as low as it could get. The Bakufu
had news of this and then sent assassins. Kiyokawa himself was killed
on April 13, 3rd year of Bunkyuu by Sasaki Tadasaburou, a kodachi
master (think of Shinomori Aoshi?) who would be the chief of the Kyoto
Mimawarigumi (Shinsengumi's comrade ^_~), before he and his Shinchougumi's
plan was carried out.
of survived people in Roushigumi were (based on Nagakura Shinpachi's
Serizawa Kamo, Niimi Nishiki, Noguchi Kenji, Hirayama Gorou, Hirama
Juusuke (from Serizawa's group)
Kondou Isami, Hijikata Toshizou, Harada Sanosuke, Nagakura Shinpachi,
Okita Souji, Inoue Genzaburou, Toudou Heisuke, Yamanami Keisuke (from
reason that Serizawa and Kondou could oppose Kiyokawa was a secret alliance
with Matsudaira Katamori from Kyoto Shugoshoku (The Military
Commissioner of Kyoto, some sort of Police Department). Since then they
worked for Kyoto Shugoshoku, and by the daimyo of Aizu, Matsudaira
Higo no Kami, compromised to take care of the group, calling it
as Mibumura Roushigumi. Though they have alliance but they were,
indeed, quiet poor ;_; (in a manga, Kaze Hikaru by Taeko Watanabe, you
could see how poor they were so they should not eat rice since it was
only to be eaten in war, and plant veggies for their own food). It is
said that they frequently come door-to-door, demanding money(almost
look like a beggar if only they had no swords). They also had no money
to buy clothes, and even had to debt Kounoike Zen-emon (who later
gave Kondou a katana named Nagasone Kotetsu) to order their famous
good looking uniform ^_^.
de, there is a very interesting record about the uniform. In
some novels, dramas, tv series, movies or manga, the uniform was a light
blue haori with white-jagged mountain shape on the tip. But another
showed a light yellow haori with the same motif. The problem is, in
the original, Shinsengumi's uniform is described as being "asagiiro".
In Kanji there are 2 asagiiro, one meaning a "light yellow"
and the other means a "light blue". Well, it's uncertain which
is the right one, but one for sure it's flashy and fearful at the same
time (I think both are quite flashy).
And my fave, the Flag! It was red (as this page's background) with white-jagged
mountain shape stripes. On it was a white Kanji of " Makoto"
(it's my name ^_~) means Loyalty or Fidelity, which is the spirit of
samurai. Its size was 6 feet x 6 feet (or 1,80 m x 1,80 m) according
to Nagakura Shinpachi. However, this flag was more than just
a waving flag, since Shinsengumi was loyal to the Bakufu 'til the very
after recruiting roushi in Kyoto, Osaka and other neighboring cities,
gathering about 70 new members. And as the group became large, they
started to organize themselves. Here is the result:
Kyokuchou (Chief or General
Roushi, Shintou Munen Ryuu Menkyo Kaiden)
Niimi Nishiki Kinzan (Mito Dappan, Shintou
Munen Ryuu Menkyo Kaiden, trained in the dojo of Okada Sukezaemon)
Kondou Isami Masanobu (Masayoshi) (Edo Gyofunai
Dappan, Tennen Rishin Ryuu Master (Shihan), disciple of Kondou Shuusuke,
owner of Shieikan)
(Executive Officer or Vice Commander):
Yamanami Keisuke Tomonobu (Sendai Dappan, Hokushin
Ittou Ryuu Menkyo Kaiden at Chiba Shuusaku's dojo, the Genbukan, trained
again by Kondou Isami)
Hijikata Toshizou Yoshitoyo (Edo Gyofunai Dappan,
Tennen Rishin Ryuu Mokuroku (a status inferior to Menkyo Kaiden), disciple
of Kondou Shuusuke)
Okita Souji (Soushi) Kaneyoshi (Fusanaga) (Shirakawa
Dappan, Tennen Rishin Ryuu Menkyo Kaiden, disciple of Kondou Shuusuke
and Isami) Nagakura Shinpachi Noriyuki (Matsumae
Dappan, Shintou Munen Ryuu Menkyo Kaiden at Okada Juumatsu dojo)
Harada Sanosuke (Iyomatsuyama Dappan, Taneda
Houzouin Ryuu (a spear style) Menkyo Kaiden at Tani Sanjuurou's dojo)
Toudou Heisuke Nobutora (Edo Gyofunai Dappan, a bastard son
of the Isuzu's daimyo, Toudou Izuminokami, Hokushin Ittou Ryuu Mokuroku
at Chiba Shuusaku's dojo)
Inoue Genzaburou Kazushige(Edo Gyofunai Dappan,
Tennen Rishin Ryuu Mokuroku (some say he reached the Menkyo Kaiden) and
disciple of Kondou Shuusuke / Isami)
Hirayama Gorou (Mito Dappan, Shintou Munen
Ryuu Menkyo Kaiden at Saitou Yakurouu Tokushinsai dojo, the Renpeikan)
Noguchi Kenji (Mito Dappan, Mokuroku given
from Yurimoto Shouzou, a fabulous swordsman of Shintou Munen Ryuu)
Hirama Juusuke (Mito Dappan, Shintou Munen
Ryuu Mokuroku at Serizawa Kamo's dojo. A faithful man to Serizawa)
Saitou Hajime (Banshuu Akashi Roushi, master
of the Mugai Ryuu)
Ogata Shuntarou (Kumamoto Roushi, a scholar)
Yamazaki Susumu (Osaka Roushi, a master of
the Kadori Ryuu of Bo (staff))
Tani Sanjuurou (Osaka Roushi, Harada Sanosuke's
Matsubara Chuuji (Tadaji) (Osaka Roushi, Jiu-jutsu master
of the Sekiguchi Ryuu)
Andou Soutarou (Kyoto Itsugatsu Temple Dassou
Chouyaku Narabi Kansatsu Gata(Investigation and
Observation Responsibles (Spies)):
Shimada Kai (Oogaki Dappan)
Kawashima Shouji(Katsuji) (Osaka Roushi)
Hayashi Nobutarou (Osaka Roushi)
Kanteiyaku Narabi Konida Gata (Cleanup Operations
and Small Baggage/Luggage Responsibles):
Kishima (Kishida) Yutarou
Okan (Oseki) Yabee (Wada Uemura Dassou)
Kawai Kitarou (Osaka Roushi)
Sakai Hyougo (Osaka Roushi)
Menkyo Kaiden is the highest status a swordsman can achieve in kenjutsu,
it means that he had mastered every aspect of his ryuugi (swordstyle),
including the "ougi", hidden technique, and thus he can teach it to
others. Meanwhile Dassou can be translated as "refugee"
Famous Five Dreaded Articles of Shinsengumi Law
Soon after the formation of new Mibumura Roushigumi, they established
the law which is quite dreaded one! About the author, there is an ongoing
argument about it, in "Shinsengumi Shimatsuki" (by
Shimozawa Kan) it's said that it was devised by Kondou Isami, others
said Serizawa Kamo, meanwhile in "Moeyo Ken" (a very
famous novel by Shiba Ryoutarou) it was Hijikata who devised it. Despite
the mysterious author, here are those five articles:
ichijou: Shidou ni somuki majiki koto.
First Article: It's not allowed to deviate from the path proper to man.
Dai nijou: Kyoku wo dassuru kotowo yurusazu.
Second Article: It's not allowed to leave the Shinsengumi.
Dai sanjyou: Katte ni kinsaku itasubekarazu.
Third Article: It's not allowed to raise money privately.
Dai shijou: Katte ni soshou toriatsukaubekarazu.
Fourth Article: It's not allowed to take part in other's (other than Shinsengumi's)
Dai gojou: Watakushi no tousou wo yurusazu.
Fifth Article: It's not allowed to engage in private fights.
There were another
items that were red in the front of every Shinsengumi's members, here
some of the most famous ones:
ga moshi toushi shita baaiwa, kumishuu wa sono ba de toushi subeshi."
"If the leader of a unit is mortally wounded
in a fight, all the members of the unit must fight and die on the
"Hageshiki kokou ni oite shishou zokushutsusutomo
kumigashira no shitai no hoka wa hikishirizokukotomakarinarazu."
"Even in a fight where the death toll is high,
it is not allowed to retrieve the bodies of the dead, except the corpse
of the leader of the unit."
And the most dreaded
"Moshi taishiga koumuni yorazushite machi
de taigai no mono to arasoi, teki to yaiba wo kawashi, jibunga kizu
wo oite aite wo shitomekirazuni nigashita baai, ushirokizu no baai
no gotokimo seppuku wo meizuru."
"If a Shinsengumi member engage in a fight with
a stranger, be it on duty or not, if he is wounded and can't kill
the enemy, allowing him to run away, even in case of a wound in the
back (meaning a treacherous attack), seppuku is ordered."
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