Kirino Toshiaki

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Kirino Toshiaki
Toshiaki Kirino 2.jpg
Native name
桐野 利秋
Other name(s)Nakamura Hanjirō (中村 半次郎)
Nickname(s)Hitokiri Hanjirō (Hanjiro the Assassin)
Born(1838-12-11)December 11, 1838
Kagoshima, Satsuma Domain
(now Kagoshima, Japan)
DiedSeptember 24, 1877(1877-09-24) (aged 38)
Kagoshima, Japan
Buried
AllegianceEmpire of Japan (former)
Satsuma Domain
Service/branchWar flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.svg Imperial Japanese Army (former)
Years of service1868–1876
RankBrigadier General
Battles/warsKinmon Incident
Boshin War Satsuma Rebellion
Spouse(s)Chōsa Hisa
Other workformer assassin

Kirino Toshiaki (桐野 利秋, December 11, 1838 – September 24, 1877) was a Japanese samurai of the late Edo period, and an Imperial Japanese Army general of the early Meiji era.

Biography[edit]

Kirino, also known as Nakamura Hanjirō (中村 半次郎), was renowned as one of the Four Hitokiri of the Bakumatsu. His sword style was Ko-jigen-ryū, a branch of the high-speed Jigen-ryū . Kirino's activities during the early to mid-1860s largely centered on Kyoto. During the Boshin War, as a senior commander of Satsuma forces, he was a high-ranking officer of the new Imperial Army. It was Kirino who was the representative of the imperial army at the surrender of Wakamatsu Castle, where he received the petition for surrender from Matsudaira Katamori, the lord of Aizu.

Kirino Toshiaki and his lover Murata Sato (村田さと) at Shijō Street, Kyoto, she was the daughter of Murata Kiseru store owner
Woodblock print by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi depicting Kirino (in Western-style uniform) in action during the Satsuma Rebellion

Kirino became a brigadier general in the early years of the Imperial Japanese Army. However, he joined the forces of Saigō Takamori during the Satsuma Rebellion, taking part in the march northward to Kumamoto. A lover of French Eau de Cologne, Kirino wore it even during his last battle at Shiroyama. Kirino remained with Saigō until the end, and was killed at the end of the rebellion. He was buried alongside with Saigō Takamori, Beppu Shinsuke, Katsura Hisatake, Murata Shinpachi, Shinohara Kunimoto, and Oyama Tsunayoshi among others at the Nanshu Cemetery, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan.

Kirino's wife, Hisa (ヒサ), the second daughter of Chōsa Koemon (帖佐 小右衛門), was a skilled martial artist. As seen in several contemporary ukiyo-e woodblock prints depicting the uprising, she also joined in its march to lead the women auxiliary troops. Unlike her husband, she survived, and lived until 1920.

Grave of Toshiaki Kirino

Cultural references[edit]

Kirino appears as a character in the history-themed Getsumei Seiki, by Kenji Morita. Kirino also appears as the Army Commander in the manga RED: Livin' on The Edge, by Kenichi Muraeda.

References[edit]

  • Mossman, Samuel (1880). Japan. London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington. p. 96.
  • "Information on the Satsuma Rebellion" (in Japanese). 3 October 2007.

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Nagano Ōgaku 長野桜岳 (1972). Kirino Toshiaki 桐野利秋. Tokyo: Shin Jinbutsu Ōraisha.