by Armen Bakalian

photograph

"Hijikata Toshizo- Born Tenpo 6 (1835), the 4th son of Hijikata Hayato Yoshiatsu, a wealthy farmer of Ishida Village, in Musashi Province's Tama District. Losing his father a few months after birth, he lost his mother at the age of 3, and so he went to live with his elder brother Tamesaburo (Hayato). Tamesaburo was blind, so the 2nd son, Kiroku, succeeded to the family headship. Out of 6 brothers and 2 sisters, Toshizo was the last. At age 11 he became an apprentice at the Matsuzakaya Clothing Store in Edo, but soon returned home, and lived with his sister Nobu, who had married Sato Hikogoro, the village headman of Hino-juku. While there, he studied kenjutsu at the Hino dojo and sold the family's special medicine, Ishida-sanyaku (a medicine for broken bones)" (Oishi 26)

"In Ka'ei 4 (1851), he began studying Tennen Rishin-ryu, but it was on the 9th of the 3rd month of Ansei 6 (1859) that he was formally inducted as a student of Kondou Shuusuke. According to the register of Ishida Village from Bunkyu 2, Toshizo's family had an income of 39 koku 7 to 8 go, was comprised of 12 people (9 men 3 women), and had one maid and one manservant. In the Tama district they were truly a rich family of high ambitions.

In Bunkyu 3, he joined the Roshigumi and went to Kyoto, where he became vice-commander of the Shinsengumi. It was as vice-commander that he returned to Edo, and became engaged to Okoto of the Shamisen-ya, who was a distant relative living it Totsuka Village (modern Shinjuku-ku). Unfortunately, it is said that they never married. He died on the 11th day of the 5th month of Meiji 2, in the Battle of Goryokaku. His grave is in Hino City's Sekidenji." (Oishi 27)

"The winter of that year[1], Kondou Isami took the name Okubo Takeshi, and Hijikata Toshizo took the name Naito Hayanosuke, and they were promoted to omemie-ijo [2] status." Ishin no Minamoto. Tokyo: Tokyo Daigaku Shuppankai, 1974, p. 29

[1] "That year" is Keio 3 (1867) [2] "omemie-ijo" means that they had the right to have a face-to-face, private audience with the Shogun. This is a status given mainly to senior hatamoto and daimyo.

Sources:

Ishin no Minamoto. Tokyo: Tokyo Daigaku Shuppankai, 1974, p. 29

Oishi Manabu, Shinsengumi. Tokyo: Chuko-shinsho, 2004, p. 26.