This Section is for those that do not know much about the actual organization : Shinsengumi.
Continue reading to find out about the history behind our linkshell and the original members of this factual group.
The story all begins in Japan in 1853. Under the current regime, Japan had been isolated from practically all other
countries for some 300 years. But a visit from America's Naval Officer Commodore Perry, accompanied by a few warships, changed
Japan's history forever. These massive warships created doubt and fear into the minds of many Japanese, leading to believe
that their country was vunerable to foreign powers.
A revolutionary movement began in the streets of Kyoto, Many a samurai abandoned their masters and left for the
capitol becoming Roshis(masterless samurais) in the process. These roshi's were seperated by two different faction.
One was those loyal to the Bakufu which was Japan's governement. They believed in the slogan "Sonno-Joi" (Rever
the Emperor, Dispel the Barbarians). The other was Ishin Shishi (Imperialists) who sought for a change in the government.
They wanted Japan to be more open to foreigners and learn from them.
"It was an era where 100 people may hold 100 different arguments and you can't say who's wrong" - Watsuki
The Bakufu decided that it would be to their advantage if they took such roshis without any stand yet into their
service, rather than letting them roam about the capital. Hence, Roshi-tais (bands of wave samurais) were formed and roshis
enlisted under respective Bakufu samurais, where the entry requirements were usually Kenjutsu matches.
During these times there was the Shieikan, a kenjutsu dojo in the district of Tama near Edo. The master, Kondou
Isami (hence, the website) taught the swordstyle Tennen Rishin Ryuu. There were several students, the more important being:
Hijikata Toshizou, Okita Souji and Inoue Genzaburou. These four were like brothers, with Okita being the youngest and rumored
the strongest. There were also many men who visited the dojo and had their meals there, the known ones being: Yamanami Seisuke,
Harada Sanosuke and Nagakura Shinpachi.
Hearing of the Roshitais in Kyoto, Kondou and Hijikata left for the city with a few disciples (including all mentioned
above) leaving the dojo under the care of Hijikata's elder brother.
In Kyoto, they were enlisted under Kiyokawa Hachiro.Thirteen roshis, including Kondo and disciples, were appointed
"Roshigumi" ( Guardians of Kyoto)
by Matsudaira Katamori, the Daimyo of Aizu ( now Hukushima ).
Now, although Kiyokawa acted in public like a pro-Bakufu, he was actually on the other side. What he wanted to
do was gather a group of roshis in the name of the Bakufu, but to train them to be Ishin Shishi. He planned with the other
Ishin Shishi to attack a foreign settlement at Yokohama under Bakufu control. They were to set fire to the buildings, killing
the foreigners. This was so the Bakufu's foreign diplomacy, as well as their image, would plummet as low as it could get.
The Shogunate heard news of this, however, and sent assassins to elimainate Kiyokawa on April 13, 3rd year of Bunkyu.
After that, Kondo and disciples insisted on supporting the Bakufu, and they set up the Shinsengumi, with 13 members.
Under the new leadership of Kondo Isami and Hijikata Toshizo,
Acting upon orders from the Kyoto Shugoshoku, an official appointed to maintain peace in Kyoto (1835-69), the Shinsengumi was a special police troop vowed to protect Kyoto with their swords, patrolling
the streets of Kyoto and keeping the peace. Ishin leaders like Katsura Kogoro, Kido
Koin and Takasugi Shinsaku set up the Kiheitai to plot the downfall of the Bakufu. Radical
actions of the Ishin Shishi, such as setting fires to the gaijin's abodes made the Shinsengumi very suspiscious of other roshi
in Kyoto. One would be cut down at once if he could not produce a satisfactory identity
when questioned by the Shinsengumi members.
Their favorite combat style was many-against-one(or a few), and this became more evident as the size of the Shinsengumi
increased. If the first layer of Shinsengumi members surrounding suspicious persons got cut down, further layers of members
will converge on them, until they are totally exhausted and cut down.
(A quote from two of my many favorite samurais' regarding these tactics)
"But isn't that a coward's way, to have many on one?" "Well, their main aim was to ensure the peace of Kyoto, so
the method's not so important to them."
As the group's name struck admiration nationwide, it's size increased so rapidly and large (300 strong at its peak)
that a more thorough, detailed committee was called for.
Captain: Kondou Isami
Vice Captain: Hijikata Toshizo
Military/Strategy Advisor: Itou Kashitarou
Captains of the 10 battle/patrol troops:
1st: Okita Souji (instructor in Kenjutsu)
2nd: Nagakura Shinpachi
(instructor in Kenjutsu)
3rd: Saitou Hajime (instructor in Kenjutsu)
4th: Matsubara Tadaji (instructor in Jujitsu)
5th: Takeda Kanryuusai (instructor in military strategies)
6th: Inoue Genzaburou
7th: Tani Sanjyuurou (instructor
in spearing skills)
8th: Toudou Heisuke
9th: Suzuki Mikisaburou
10th: Harada Sanosuke
Head of sentries/spies: Yamazaki Susumu
One of the major incidents involving the Shinsengumi was the Ikeda-ya Incident in 1864. The Ishin Shishi had planned to set Kyoto on fire, and in the midst
of chaos assasinate the important members of the Bakufu. The
Shinsengumi received news and raided the Ikeda-ya and killed most of the Ishin Shishi involved, thus prevented a disaster. The Shinsengumi became heroes overnight.
The Shinsengumi was also involved in the defense of the imperial palace in the Hamaguri Gomon Incident.
Although the Shogun surrendered to the Emperor to prevent unnecessary loss of lives, the Shinsengumi remained loyal to the Shogun even into the early
Meiji era. There the Shinsengumi fought against the imperial forces in the Boshin War in 1868.