Hijikata Toshizo

Hijikata Toshizo (May 31, 1835 – June 20, 1869)

Hijikata Toshizo, Vice Commander of the infamous Shinsengumi, was born in Hino, in modern day Tokyo on May 31, 1835, and was raised by his older brother and his wife, as Hijikata’s father, a wealthy farmer, died just before his 6th child’s birth. His mother died only a few years after. He would later become a salesman for his family medicines and potions.

 

Hijikata Toshizo, Vice Commander of the infamous Shinsengumi, was born in Hino, in modern day Tokyo on May 31, 1835, and was raised by his older brother and his wife, as Hijikata’s father, a wealthy farmer, died just before his 6th child’s birth. His mother died only a few years after. He would later become a salesman for his family medicines and potions.

Self taught in swordsmanship, he later entered training in the Tennen Rishin Ryu school’s dojo in Hino, and through this came into contact with Kondo Isami, later the commander if the Shinsengumi, a special police force formed to protect the shogun against anti-bakufu movements.

The Shinsengumi originated with Kondo Isami, Serizawa Kamo, Niimi Nishiki and Hijikata as a deputy leader. The Shinsengumi’s reputation became that of a renegade band of thugs when Serizawa and Niimi began extorting money from the merchants of Kyoto, drinking, gambling and fighting at whim. It was Hijikata who ordered Niimi’s seppuku for his crimes, while Serizawa was assassinated.

This left Kondo Isami as commander of the Shinsengumi, with Hijikata Toshizo and Yamanami Keisuke as vice-commanders. The force increased to 140 followers. Hijikata, it appears,

acted as a police force within the police force, ensuring Shinsengumi regulations were strictly enforced, that traitors and deserters were forced to commit seppuku, and any violators were severely punished. His fervor earned him the nickname, Oni-no-Fukucho, or Devil Vice Commander.

Hijikata took over leadership of the Shinsengumi in May 1868, when Kondo Isami surrendered to the Imperial forces and was executed. Despite believing the Tokugawa had little chance of ever returning to power, he still fought for their cause, leading his men against the new Imperial government forces. He led them to Aizu, and later Sendai before becoming the Vice Minister for Military Affairs of the newly formed Ezo Republic, occupying the star shaped fortress, the Goryokaku in Hakodate, Hokkaido in October, 1868.

Hijikata Toshizo died aged 34 fighting the Battle of Hakodate. The mounted Hijikata was shot in the lower spine and was killed on June 20, 1869, a week before the Goryokaku fell to the Imperial Army, and the Ezo Republic surrendered to the Meiji Government. It is not known where his body was buried.

By | 2018-05-22T12:38:54+00:00 11月 28th, 2017|g-m, The Samurai Heroes|0 Comments

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