Saitō Hajime in 1897
|Native name||斎藤 一|
|Birth name||Yamaguchi Hajime|
|Other name(s)||Yamaguchi Jirō, Ichinose Denpachi, Fujita Gorō|
February 18, 1844|
Edo, Musashi Province
|Died||September 28, 1915
Tokyo, Empire of Japan
|Buried at||Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan|
Saitō Hajime (斎藤 一?, February 18, 1844 – September 28, 1915) was a Japanese samurai of the late Edo period, who most famously served as the captain of the third unit of the Shinsengumi. He was one of the few core members who survived the numerous wars of the Bakumatsu period.
- 1 Early years
- 2 Shinsengumi Period
- 3 After the Meiji Restoration
- 4 Detailed timeline
- 4.1 1844
- 4.2 1846
- 4.3 1862
- 4.4 1863
- 4.5 1864
- 4.6 1865
- 4.7 1866
- 4.8 1867
- 4.9 1868
- 4.10 1869
- 4.11 1870
- 4.12 1871
- 4.13 1872
- 4.14 1873
- 4.15 1874
- 4.16 1875
- 4.17 1876
- 4.18 1877
- 4.19 1878
- 4.20 1879
- 4.21 1881
- 4.22 1882
- 4.23 1885
- 4.24 1886
- 4.25 1887
- 4.26 1888
- 4.27 1890
- 4.28 1894
- 4.29 1896
- 4.30 1897
- 4.31 1898
- 4.32 1899
- 4.33 1904
- 4.34 1907
- 4.35 1908
- 4.36 1909
- 4.37 1912
- 4.38 1913
- 4.39 1914
- 4.40 1915
- 5 Saitō in fiction
- 6 Notes
- 7 External links
Saitō was born in Edo, Musashi Province (now Tokyo). Very little is known about his early life. He was born Yamaguchi Hajime (山口 一?) to Yamaguchi Yūsuke (山口 祐助?), an ashigaru of the Akashi Domain, who had bought the rank of gokenin (a low-ranking retainer directly serving the Tokugawa shogun). He had an older brother named Hiroaki and an older sister named Katsu. According to the published records of his family, Saitō left Edo in 1862, after accidentally killing a hatamoto. He went to Kyoto and taught in the dōjō of a man named Yoshida, who had relied on Saitō's father Yūsuke in the past. His style of swordsmanship is not clear. According to a tradition of His descendants, His style comes from Ittō-ryū. His style is considered to be Mugai Ryū that originates from Yamaguchi Ittō-ryū. He is also considered to have learned Tsuda Ichi-den-ryū and Sekiguchi-ryū.
The same age as Okita Sōji and another member named Tōdō Heisuke, the three shared the distinction of being one of the youngest in Kondō Isami's group and being among its most gifted swordsmen. As a member of the Shinsengumi, Saitō was said to be an introvert and a mysterious person; a common description of his personality says he "was not a man predisposed to small talk." Saitō was an unusually tall man at 5' 11". He was also noted to be very dignified, especially in his later years. He always made sure that his obi was tied properly and when he walked he was careful not to drag his feet. At rest he always sat in the formal position, called seiza, and he would remain very alert so that he could react instantly to any situations that might occur.
He was, however, known to be very intimidating when he wanted to be. Along with his duties as Captain of the Third Squad in the Shinsengumi, he was also responsible for weeding out any potential spies within the Shinsengumi ranks. Members had to constantly be mindful of what they said around him.
His original position within the Shinsengumi was assistant to the vice commander (副長助勤 fukuchō jokin?). His duties included being a kenjutsu instructor. Despite prior connections to Aizu, his descendants dispute that he served as a spy. His role as an internal spy for the Shinsengumi is also questionable; one common example being that he is said to have been instructed to join Itō Kashitarō's splinter group in 1867, to spy on them. However, this is disputed by Abe Jūrō, who did not believe he was a spy. It is probable that he also monitored other intelligence and enemy activity. His controversial reputation comes from accounts that he executed several corrupt members of the Shinsengumi; however, rumors vary as to his role in the deaths of Takeda Kanryūsai and Tani Sanjūrō.
In the reorganization of the ranks in late 1864, he was first assigned as the fourth unit's captain. At Nishi Hongan-ji in April 1865 he was assigned as the third unit's captain. Saitō was considered to be on the same level of swordsmanship as the first troop captain Okita Sōji and the second troop captain Nagakura Shinpachi. In fact, it is rumoured that Okita feared his swordskill. Together with the rest of the Shinsengumi, he became a hatamoto in 1867. After the outbreak of the Boshin War (1868–1869), Saitō took part in Shinsengumi's fight during the Battle of Toba-Fushimi and the Battle of Kōshū-Katsunuma, before withdrawing with the Shinsengumi's survivors to the Aizu domain.
Due to Hijikata Toshizō being incapacitated as a result of the injuries sustained at the Battle of Utsunomiya Castle, Saitō became the commander of the Aizu Shinsengumi around May 26, 1868 under the name Yamaguchi Jirō (山口 次郎?) (which he had used since late 1867). After the Battle of Bonari Pass, when Hijikata decided to retreat from Aizu, Saitō parted with Hijikata and continued to fight with the Aizu army until the very end of the Battle of Aizu. This parting account was recorded in Kuwana retainer Taniguchi Shirōbei's diary, where it was recorded as an occurrence also involving Ōtori Keisuke, whom Hijikata requested to take command of the Shinsengumi; thus the said confrontation was not with Hijikata. However, questions regarding this parting remain, especially considering the conflicting dates.
Saitō, along with the few remaining men of the Shinsengumi who went with him, fought against the imperial army at Nyorai-dō (a small temple near Aizuwakamatsu Castle), where they were severely outnumbered. It was at the Battle of Nyorai-dō that Saitō was thought to have been killed in action; however, he managed to get back to Aizu lines and joined the Aizu domain's military as a member of the Suzakutai. After Aizuwakamatsu Castle fell, Saitō joined a group of former Aizu retainers who traveled southwest to the Takada Domain in Echigo Province, where they were held as prisoners of war. In the records listing the Aizu men detained in Takada, Saitō is on record as Ichinose Denpachi.
After the Meiji Restoration
Saitō, now known as Fujita Gorō (藤田 五郎?), traveled to Tonami, the new domain of the Matsudaira clan of Aizu. He took up residence with Kurasawa Heijiemon, the Aizu karō who was an old friend of his from Kyoto. Kurasawa was involved in the migration of Aizu samurai to Tonami and the building up of the settlements in Tonami (now Aomori Prefecture), particularly in Gonohe village. In Tonami, Saitō met Shinoda Yaso, the daughter of an Aizu retainer. The two met through Kurasawa, who was then living with Ueda Shichirō, another Aizu retainer. Kurasawa sponsored Saitō and Yaso's marriage on August 25, 1871; the couple lived in Kurasawa's house. It was also around this time that Saitō may have become associated with the Police Bureau. Saitō and Yaso moved out of the Kurasawa house on February 10, 1873 and started living in the Ueda household. When on June 10, 1874 he left Tonami for Tokyo, Yaso moved in with Kurasawa and the Kurasawa family records last entry of her is in 1876. It is unknown what happened afterwards. It was around this time Saitō (Fujita Gorō) began to work as a police officer in the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department (TMPD).
In 1874, Saitō married Takagi Tokio. Tokio was the daughter of Takagi Kojūrō, a retainer of the Aizu domain. Her original name was Sada; she served for a time as lady-in-waiting to Matsudaira Teru. The marriage is believed to have been sponsored by the former Aizu karō Yamakawa Hiroshi and Sagawa Kanbei as well as the former lord of Aizu Matsudaira Katamori. Saitō and Tokio had three children: Tsutomu (1876–1956); Tsuyoshi (1879–1946); and Tatsuo (1886–1945). Tsutomu and his wife Nishino Midori had seven children; the Fujita (Saitō) family continues to the present day through Tarō and Naoko Fujita, the children of Tsutomu's second son Makoto. Saitō's third son Tatsuo was adopted by the Numazawa family, Tokio's maternal relatives (another family of Aizu karō) whose family had nearly been wiped out in the Boshin War.
During his lifetime, Saitō shared some of his Shinsengumi experiences with a select few, these included Aizu natives Yamakawa Kenjirō and Takamine Hideo, whose houses he frequented. He would drink sake with Yamakawa and Takamine and tell stories of his past. However, he did not write anything about his activity in the Shinsengumi as Nagakura Shinpachi did. During his life in the Meiji period, Saitō was the only one who was authorised by the government to carry a Katana despite the collapse of the Tokugawa rule. Saitō assisted Nagakura and Matsumoto Ryōjun in setting up a memorial monument in honor of Kondō Isami and Hijikata Toshizō.
Saitō worked for Ochanomizu University in later years, as well as for the Tokyo Higher Normal School and Tokyo Education Museum, jobs he secured thanks to his friendship with Takamine Hideo. Takamine also relied upon Saitō's skill as an appraiser of swords, and gave Saitō permission to freely enter his art warehouse.
- 2-Jan He is born in Edo to an Akashi feudal soldier named Yamaguchi Yuusuke who bought "Gokenin-kabu", which allowed Yuusuke to be a direct vassal to the Tokugawa Shogunate
- 15-Apr Takagi Tokio who becomes his second wife is born
He kills a "Hatamoto", a direct retainer of the shogun and escapes to Kyoto. In the Yoshida dojo in Kyoto he learns Shoutoku Taishi Ryu. He changes his name from Yamaguchi Hajime to Saitō Hajime. While going back and forth to Kondō Isami's dojo, the Shieikan, Saitō says that he gave an unsigned Kotetsu to Kondō.
January - He trained with Kondō and company at the Shieikan gym.
- 5-Feb Kondō goes to the Koishikawa Denzu-in Temple and submits a list of names for Shogunate's recruitment of Roshis.
- 8-Feb Departs with Serizawa Kamo who was the group leader of forerunner group from Koishikawa Denzu-in Temple of Edo, however there is another theory that he is already in Kyoto.
- 23-Feb Saitō who later joined the Roshigumi who entered Kyoto uses Nanbu Kamejirō's home for lodging.
- 10-Mar Saitō and others submit a petition to the Daimyo of Aizu, Matsudaira Katamori to allow the Roshi to remain and conduct business.
- 12-Mar The residual applicants of the Roshigumi who remained in Kyoto becomes a subordinate in the Aizu clan and Saitō is included.
- 15-Mar Saitō and 20 names visit the Shugoshaku Yashiki (Protection Employment Mansion) to have an audience with Katamori but the Daimyo was absent.
- 22-Mar Saitō in an 18 name joint signature submit the Shougun Touki Nantei (Opposition) petition to Itakura Katsukiyo
- 25-Mar Along with Shiro Honda, an Aizu feudal soldier they visit Mibu Kyougen (Mibu drama play)
- 8-Apr He attends a funeral service of Yagi Gennojou.
- 16-Apr After receiving an audience with Matsudaira Katamori in the clan mansion, a contest demonstration was held in front of the Daimyo (Gozenjiai) where he was matched against Nagakura Shinpachi Noriyuki.
- 17-Apr In the capital Inoue Matsugorou held a feast for Saitō and company.
- 21-Apr He goes to Osaka to act as a guard to the Shogun and stays at the Kyoya.
- 25-May Submits to the Tokugawa bakufu the Kusai Minato Nitsuite Petition. Saitō starts his position as group leader (Kumigashira)
- 2-Jun Receiving an information of a quitting Roshi, Saitō of the Mibu Roshigumi goes to Osaka to apprehend.
- 3-Jun It arrested the quitting Roshi and after was on a boat, but Saitō gets a stomach ache and they disembarked on land where a local wrestler and some other party of Roshi caused the confused fighting incident.
- 10-Jun A farewell sake party is held for Inoue Matsuguou who is returning to Edo.
- 18-Aug Acted as a guard in the imperial residence at Sakaichou of Kyoutogosho and also the South Gate. Saitō and the Roshigumi receives official appointment as Shinsengumi by the Bukedenzou.
- 21-Aug Saitō a Shinsengumi was given authorization for "city control".
- Aug (end of) Saitō and company arrest a burglar at Shijou Horikawa rice shop.
- 18-Sep A feast is held in the corner shop in Shimabara. Serizawa Kamo's Shinto funeral was conducted.
- 25-Sep The Shinsengumi corps including Saitō receives imperial grant money from the court because of their assignment to the Imperial Palace South Gate defense on August 18. Saburo Echigo who is a Choshu Spy that is a Shinsengumi Taishi, Mikura Isetake and company planned an assassination attempt on Nagakura's life and others while they were going to Gion to visit a brothel, it was not carried out because they with Saitō.
- 26-Sep Saitō subjugated/attacked Mikura Isetake, Arakida Samanosuke and Kusunoki Kojuurou. Mikura Isetake a Choshu spy is killed
- 2-Jan He goes to Osaka to act as a guard to the Shogun and the Tokugawa family.
- 8-Jan He enters the castle of Shogun Iemochi in Osaka providing security.
- 14-Jan He goes from Osaka to Fushimi as guard and escort to the Shogun.
- 15-Jan Acts as guard to Shogun Iemochi in his entry to Nijoujou (castle in Kyoto).
- 11-Mar Enjoys the hanami (cherry blossom viewing) in Chibeniman Murasaki-rou of Shimabara.
- 7-May When the Shogun Iemochi returns to Edo, it guards along Osaka.
- June Saitō starts in the duty of Fukuchō Jokin (sub-leader assistant).
- 5-Jun He is with Hijikata Toshizou's group that arrives later to the Ikedaya. Saitō slays the group who plotted to overthrow the Shogunate receiving 17 ryo afterwards as merit award. In this Ikedaya incident, he used his sword Ikeda Kishimaru Kunishige.
- 6-Jun He returned to Mibu headquarters by daytime.
- 26-Jun Saitō of the Shinsengumi and company goes to the front upon receiving the request of Kamatori to face the Choshu Army who was proceeding to the capital.
- 19-Jul A battle ensues at Hamaguri between Choshu and the Shogunate, known as the Kinmon no hen incident or the Hamaguri Rebellion.
- 20-Jul He and others head for Tennozan Hill, stayed in Fushimi overnight.
- 21-Jul It climbs the Tennozan with Kondō and Nagakura to subjugate the enemy troops that fled.
- 23-Jul He goes to Osaka and attacks the Choshuu clan's storehouse.
- 24-Jul After the hunt in Osaka, he returns to the capital by the Sanjuu Ishifune (boat) of Hachiken-ya.
- 25-Jul Takes the responsibility of patrolling the city under the control of the Osaka magistrate.
- 4-Aug Saitō receives the 17 ryo as reward money for participation in the Ikeday incident back in June 5.
- Aug (end of) With six people including Nagakura and Harada, they submit a petition against Kondō Isami's despotism to Aizu. Saitō and the others were not punished but one other loyal retainer took the responsibility.
November - The Gougun record was created and Saitō was drawn up as the Yonbangumi-chou (4th group head).
- 17-Nov It receives the award from the Shogunate for their service in the Hamaguri Rebellion (Kinmon no hen Incident) which occurred on July 19.
Feb (end of) - Along with Hijikata and Inoue, he negotiated the move of the headquarters to Nishi-Hongan-ji. March Was appointed as kendo instructor. March (early) Headquarters is moved to the Nishi-Hongan-ji.
- 21-Mar Goes to Edo with Hijikata Toshizou and Itou Kashitarou for new Taishi recruitment.
- April The Shinsengumi Taishi register of names, "Ibunroku" is drawn up.
- 5-Apr Saitō and company arrive at Edo.
- 27-Apr They leave Edo with 52 new recruits.
- 9-May They stay at the Kusatsu-ya.
- 10-May Arrives in Kyoto.
- May "Hensei Omote" is drawn up and Saitō is now head of the 3rd troop and is still a Kendo instructor.
- 22-May The Shogun and Tokugawa family are guarded from Osaka to Nijo Castle in Kyoto.
- 24-May Guards the Shogun Tokugawa Iemochi to Osaka goinb by way of Fujimori (Fuji forest).
- July "Eimeiroku" was drawn up it recorded those who came from Edo. September Inoue Genzaburou wrote to Matsugorou that Saitō and the other executives were safe. In the second "Kougunroku" (record) he is recorded as head of spear troop.
- 4-Oct The Shogun goes to an opening of a port in Hyougo and he was an escort/guard.
- 3-Oct (note: unsure if this date is a typo but presenting it as it is)Matsudaira Katamori persuades the Shogun to abandon his resignation and Saitō and the others guard the trip to Nijo Castle.
- 28-Sep Takeda Kanryūsai plans to escape and a sake party is held.
- 25-Dec The Imperial Prince Nakagawa gives 20 silver ryo to the Shinsengumi Taishi.
- 3-Jan Saitō is invited by Itou Kashitarou and they drink all night with Nagakura for several days in a corner shop in Shimabara.
- 4-Jan Kishin (penitence/punishment) was ordered when they returned to the Headquarters. January Upon approaching Sanjou Oohashi (Shijoo) bridge, Saitō and others cross swords with Totsukawa country samurai Nakai Shougorou and Tosa feudal retainer Nasu Sakari (Sakai?).
- 10-Mar Itou who was scheming to separate from the Shinsengumi offers that he be accompanied by Saitō or Nagakura to Kondō.
- 13-Mar Itou's faction to which Saitō now belonged as a spy (debatable theory) was ordered to guard Emperor Komei's Imperial Mausoleum. Ito discusses with Kondō and Hijikata, and the two accepted Itou's separation/independence.
- 20-Mar Saitō who joins the Imperial tomb guard, searches for lodgings and transfers to Sanjou Juanji.
- 21-Mar Saitō then moves to Gojou Zenritsuji.
- 1-Apr Tani Sanjuurou was killed with a knife/sword. There is a theory that Saitō killed Tani.
- 8-Jun The Kodaiji faction (Itou's faction) moves from Koudaiji to a sub-temple, Kodaiji Tsukishin-in.
- 22-Jun Takeda Kanryūsai assassination and it is said that Saitō killed him.
- Jun (end of) Saitō who had transferred to the Imperial Mausoleum guard is not recorded in the register of names of those who transferred from the Shinsengumi. The Imperial Mauseleum Guard serves under the magistrate Toda Yamatomori Tadashi and gets the support of the Satsuma Domain.
- 14-Oct The Kodaiji party visits the Yanagihara mansion to ask for the punishment of Hironori (Hirosuke?) of Choshuu. Saitō reports to Kondō the visit to Yanagihara mansion of the Kodaiji party, the secret talk with Okubo Toshimichi and the assassination attempt to Kondō's life.
- 10-Nov Saitō leaves the Koudaiji faction and returns to the Shinsengumi headquarters in Fudou village. Kondō who doubted the assassination of Sakamoto Ryoma left Saitō in the vicinity to help guard Miura Yasutarou from Kishuu-han. Saitō starts using the false name Yamaguchi Jirō. In "Kyoto Yori Aizu made Ninzū" it is recorded that Yamaguchi Jirō (Saitō) is once again acting as Fukuchō Jokin.
- 18-Nov The main force of the Kodaiji faction including Ito was assassinated. Kondō points out to the Shinsengumi the return of Saitō who at that time was guarding Miura.
- 7-Dec Although Saitō was guarding Miura with nine people at the Tenma-ya, the remnants of the Umi Tasuku-tai applies a night attack. Saitō was able to protect Miura without dying by the help of Umedo Katsunoshin another Shinsengumi Taishi, who saved his life. The dead in that attack included Nakai Shougorou who had fought Saitō in Sanjou Obashi bridge before. In the Shinsengumi side, Miyagawa Nobukichi dies. This is the Tenma-ya incident.
- 9-Dec Because of the Tenmaya event and the Aburanokouji scandal, the abolition of the Shinsengumi became clamorous and the whole unit underwent re-organization and group name as Shin Yuugekitai (New Commando unit - Kizu is unsure if this is a new official name for the Shinsengumi).
- 12-Dec Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu goes from Kyoto to Osaka and orders the defense of Nijo castle.
- 13-Dec The confrontation between the Mito Clan and the Shinsengumi is caused because Yoshinobu ordered the guard of Nijo castle to the Mito clan. Since the new group name of the Shinsengumi has become Shin Yuugekitai, Saitō and the others refused to become the subordinate of the Kyoto Mimawarigumi.
- 14-Dec According to Hisashi Nagai, they leave Kyoto and head to Osaka's Kitano Tenmangu for encampment.
- 16-Dec They are ordered to patrol Fushimi and stays at the Fushimi magistrate place.
- 25-Dec Owari feudal soldier Arakawa and others asked for retirement because the Fushimi magistrate place was requested of Saitō and the Shinsengumi.
- 28-Dec 185 ryo was distributed to all the members of the Shinsengumi Taishi including Saitō as an extra allowance.
- 3-Jan Higo feudal retainer Sakurada Soushirou and others demand the withdrawal of the Shinsengumi from Fushimi. The fight of Toba-Fushimi and Boshin war breaks out because the Satsuma Domain bombarded the Gokounomiya (place) Kyuuboku (old government army)
- 4-Jan Saitō and the Shinsengumi fights the new government army along the Toba highway. It is because the Yodo han refused the entrance of the old Shogunate troop into the castle fortress.
- 5-Jan A fierce battle happened in the embankment of Yodogawa and many Shinsengumi are killed and wounded, they withdraw to Hashimoto.
- 6-Jan Saitō and Nagakura take their positions at the side of Yawata mountain and fights with the Satsuma soldiers. The burning of a home in Yawata was not complete, Saitō sends out a scout to for communication however Hijikata and the Aizu soldiers had already retreated. Saitō who returns to the camp in Hashimoto was surrounded by the New Government Army, however he is able to overcome their forces and escape to Osaka.
- 7-Jan Although Saitō's Shinsengumi enters the Castle of Osaka, the foot of the castle wall was on fire and they were forced to withdraw to the Hachiken Kyouya Chubee house. Eventually at Osaka castle the Shinsengumi Taishi of Saitō were provided with 155 ryo.
- 9-Jan Nagakura and the others embark on the Jundō Maru (Jun'ugo Maru) sailing in Tempozan sea towards Edo.
- 10-Jan The others including Kondō and company embarks on Fuji-san maru (Fujimaru) sailing in Tempozan sea towards Edo. It is not recorded where (what ship) Saitō embarked on.
- 12-Jan Jundō Maru enters Shinagawa
- 15-Jan Fujimaru enters Shinagawa and 63 people stays at the Kamaya. The wounded soldiers including Kondō heads for the medicine clinic of Matsumoto Ryoujun. Saitō stays first at the Kamaya but then proceeds to the medicine clinic.
- 18-Jan Allowance is paid to the Shinsengumi who took encampment in the Kamaya.
- 19-Jan Saitō receives treatment for a slight injury in the clinic at Izumibashi (Matsumoto Ryoujun).
- 27-Jan Saitō and the rest who received treatment at the clinic in Izumibashi, with the exception of Kondō and Okita, moves to the medicine pavilion.
- 28-Jan Saitō whose treatment for his injury ended, moves to Ukyounosuke's home in Kaji Hashikado.
- 12-Feb Kondō Isami and the Shinsengumi receives instructions to guard Tokugawa Yoshinobu who was going to Edo castle.
- 13-Feb Allowance money was paid to the Shinsengumi Taishi like Saitō and company because they acted as Yoshinobu's guards.
- 15-Feb Saitō and other Shinsengumi Taishi acts as a guard to former Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu.
- 25-Feb Saitō and company finishes the duty of acting as Yoshinobu's guards.
- 27-Feb Saitō and the Shinsengumi received 2,394 ryo from the Tokugawa bakufu for their dispatch in Koushuu.
- 28-Feb The Shinsengumi is ordered for departure for the front for the pacification of Koushuu and an allowance was provided.
- 50 ryo was paid to Shinkichi Miyagawa who was under Saitō's command when he was killed in the Tenma-ya store incident of miura of the Kishuu clan.
- 1-Mar Shinsengumi was renamed to Koyou Chibuntai when they sent their troops from Edo to Koshuu. Saitō's position in the Kōyō Chibuntai was Fukuchō Jokin. The Koyou Chibuntai along with Saitō stays at Shinjuku Naito.
- 2-Mar Kooyou Chibuntai puts up at two separate lodgings in Hachioji and Fuchu.
- 3-Mar On this day they encamped at Yose inn.
- 4-Mar They encamped at Koma-umakai (Komaka?) inn. Saitō and the others hears the news that Itagaki Taisuke has led the New Government Army's successful entry into Koufu castle. Saitō who heard the invasion of Koufu castle, doesn't want to fight along with Nagakura and Harada if there were no reinforcements from those who lived in the vicinity. Kondō and Hijikata requests assistance from the Aizu han to send Aizu soldiers as reinforcements.
- 5-Mar Saitō of the Koyou Chibuntai is in battle formation in Katsunuma. Saitō defends the Kannonzaka bypass in between Tsuruse and katsunuma. The Koyou Chibunta was in a desperate fight at Kashio, Kond Isami had Saitō and his group pull out towards Edo because the reinforcements they requested from Aizu and nearby village did not arrive. The effect of this is described and they are pushed back to Hachioji.
- 9-Mar Saitō of the Kōyō Chibuntai moves backward to hachioji.
- 10-Mar Saitō of the Kōyō Chibuntai headed to Edo as it was unlikely the reinforcements would arrive anymore, they passed through Hino at night time because the New Government Troops had used local allies in the Koshuu area.
- 11-Mar Saitō's Kōyō Chibuntai arrives in Edo.
- 12-Mar Nagakura, Harada and two others Saitō Hajime and Ogato Shuntarou remained, while kumebe Masachika took the injured soldiers of the Shinsengumi to Aizu. Saitō at this time is not included in this group of injured soldiers brought to Aizu.
- 13-Mar The remaining Shinsengumi soldiers gather at Gohei Shinden Masako house. It has been recorded in the story "Kondō Isami in Ayase-son", in the past of Kaneko "at 35 Yamaguchi who seems to be a good natured man and samurai of 6 years". It's not certain whether it talks about Saitō as the age is different by one year and the name does not come out.
- 2-Apr They leave Gohei Shinden and setup encampment in Nagareyama.
- 4-Apr Since Kondō Isami surrendered to the New Government Army the previous day, the remaining Shinsengumi squad in Nagareyama disarmed itself and went to Aizu.
- 28-Apr The Shinsengumi encamped in Aktasu inn going by way of Shirakawa from Nagareyama.
- 29-Apr The Shinsengumi and Hijikata arrives and joins Aizu. At this time there is no proof that Saitō was participating in both.
- repeat month 5-Apr Matsudaira Katamori has an audience with the Shinsengumi, Saitō as one of the Captain's of the Shinsengumi is ordered to go to the front, to Shirakawa district.
- 6-Apr Saitō leads the Shinsengumi and departs from Aizu Wakamatsu to the front and encamps at Akatsu inn.
- 21-Apr The Shinsengumi goes to the front aiming for Shirakawa Castle from Sandai.
- 22-Apr Shinsengumi encamps at Shirakawa Komine Jouka inn.
- 23-Apr The Shinsengumi defends the Shirasaka Kanmon (Shirasaka barrier).
- 25-Apr The New government army attacks the Shirasaka barrier.
- 26-Apr The Shinsengumi defends the Shirasaka barrier from the Shirakawa attack of the New Government Army.
- 29-Apr Shinsengumi defended the Shirasaka barrier and took the place of Sendai soldier. They took a rest at a two storied building at Shirakawa Jouka Nikaidate, encampment was done at Wakimoto Yanagi-ya (Yanagi inn).
- 1-May The Shirakawa Komine castle was captured by the attack of the New Government Army. The Shinsengumi group that was commanded by Saitō was defeated at the Kurokawa battle and they stayed at Seishidou lodging.
- 2-May They leave the Seishidou inn, encampment in Sandai.
- 26-May The Shinsengumi could not recover Shirakawa Komine castle and they withdraw to Kamigoya (Kamikoya) village for encampment and the New Government Army captures Shirakawa.
- 27-May While they head to Ooyachi village from Shirakawa Komine they met the New Government Army and engage in war but since there were no support soldiers, they retreat to Makinouchi. Recently in Sandai, Saitō's name appears as a coomander of the Shinsengumi Taishi in "Aizu Sandai Hisashi Jinja Meibo" (comment: Unsure of exact name but translates to "Aizu Sandai member list of names").
- 3-Jun When the Aizu feudal lord Matsudaira makes an official business trip to Yoshinori, Saitō and company returns from Sandai to have an audience with him. Saitō and company receives 25 ryo as war funds.
- 6-Jun Saitō who leads the Shinsengumi goes to the front departing to Oohira-kuchi.
- 12-Jun Saitō's group is once again defeated as it tries to recapture Shirakawa Komine from Hata village.
- 16-Jun He returned from Hata village to Fukura, staying at Senjuin lodging.
- 25-Jun The battle to re-capture Shirakawa Komine castle is done but it is unsuccessful.
- 1-Jul Although the Shinsengumi goes to war from Hata village and invades the Tenjin mountain to capture Shirakawa Komine castle, they are beaten by the New Government Army and withdraws from Hatori to Fukura to re-organize the preparations.
- 7-Jul It went to war from Fukura to Moriya-machi (Moriya town).
- 8-Jul It went from Moriya-machi to Naganuma encamping there to rest.
- 25-Jul The fight to recapture Shirakawa Komine castle is done and it loses for the 7th time, they leave. The sending of troops to Shirakawa ended substantially.
- 29-Jul Saitō and the Shinsengumi soldiers had planned to send more troops from Moriya-machi to the Kooriyama area, but many clans/feudal lords in Ou (Tohoku area) had pledge allegiance to the New Government side so the dispatch of troops was called off.
- 1-Aug Saitō's Shinsengumi pulls out from Moriya towards Sandai
- 18-Aug Saitō's Shinsengumi joins the Denshuu Daiichi Daitai and Kaiten-tai in Sandai moves Ishimushi-kuchi and stays overnight at Inawashiro Jouka (comment: Jouka can be translated to near the castle or at the foot of the castle wall)
- 19-Aug They stay at Kijikoya village at Kiji Koyamura lodging
- 20-Aug They go to Bonari Touge (Bonari Pass)
- 21-Aug Saitō arranges for three cannons for the defense of Masaiwa in Bonari-touge. Instense firefight between both armies occurred here. The situation of the Shinsengumi is recorded at this time as "The war and tear on the 21st, total of Yamaguchi Jirō's Shinsengumi, officer, infantryman, leads 120 or more to Shougunzan". It is described in "Wakamatsu-ki Soukou" ("Account draft of Wakamatsu") Because the New Government Army made a surprise attack at the rear of the Shinsengumi whose view was obstructed by fog, Saitō retreated to Inawashiro district. Although Saitō meets Kuroda Denta a Nihonmatsu Taishi, at Tanima Hosomichi and both head towards Aizu, he separates in response to the attack of the New government army. Afterwards, Saitō enters the vicinity near the Wakumatsu castle by way of Juurokubashi.
- 22-Aug Shirobee Taniguchi describes in his diary with regards to the motive of the Old Shogunate army not staying at Aizu thus, "Now that Aizu's fall is imminent, it is not in the spirit of Makoto to abandon it" Those Shinsengumi who followed Saitō after this stayed at Shukuyashiki's Saitō-ya. The other Shinsengumi who did not go with Saitō stayed at Tenneiji lodging.
- 23-Aug Saitō and the remaining Shinsengumi who stayed with him tried to enter the Aizu castle by the north side but could not because the gate was closed. At this point the Aizu clan shut all the castle gates of the castle and the New government troop had surrounded the vicinity around the castle, the south gate with its stone wall only consisted of wooden gate became the target. However the Shinsengumi who remained unfamiliar with the geography and did not know the existence of the southern gate. The situation of the Shinsengumi at this time "It suddenly drew near the enemy, a riot happens in the city and the soldiers are scattered around Shiokawa vicinity, from "Wakamatsu-ki Soukou".
- 5-Sep While guarding Nyoraidou, Buddha temple, the New Government Army came and the battle became fierce, the Shinsengumi that Saitō led decreased and got scattered
- 23-Sep Saitō says that although he was fighting together with Sagawa Kanbee at Minamiadzu the Aizu han surrenders. The Aizu clan's military magistrate Asaba Chuunosuke informs that the conflict was finished. Sagawa Kanbee's fight outside the castle ended. The New Government Army considers in Shiokawa the punishment of Saitō and others who fought outside of the castle.
- 4-Jan Saitō who fought outside the castle is assigned to the Takada penitence group and prays at Amida-ji Temple.
- 5-Jan Aida Kakuzaemon, an Aizu feudal soldier finishes writing "Kaihan Hokuetsu Takada Kishin jinmei" which records Saitō's false names "Saitō Hajime koto Ichinose Denpachi". The Takada penitence group which includes Saitō divides into six going to Takada from Aizu, towards Joetsu city and they are penitent in Higashi honganji Temple in Teramachi.
- 2-Sep Saitō and others were permitted the right to bear a surname and carry a sword by the Meiji government. The Meiji government pardons the crime of Saitō and others who fought in the Boshin war.
- 8-Apr Onogi, an Aizu retainer records in "Echigo Takada Tsumemeisai yuujin Chou" Saitō's false names "Saitō Hajime koto Ichinose Depanchi" Saitō Hajime uses the false name Fujita Goro. June He goes by land to Tonami by winter time and resides with Kurasawa Hiejiuemon who acted as small councilor of the Tonami clan.
August - Tokio Takagi becomes Kurasawa's adopted daughter.
- 25-Aug Saitō marries Shinoda Yaso who is a daughter of an old Aizu feudal retainer. He acted as bodyguard for Matsudaira Kataharu who was the feudal lord of Tonami when he goes to Tokyo for the abolition of clans and establishment of prefectural system. It is said that at this time two haori coats were received.
- 29-Jan The Tonami draws up the Jinsaru (Kansoku) register of Gonohe village where Saitō was currently residing. March The Jinsaru census is concluded. In the Jinsaru register Shinoda Yaso and Fujita Goro (Saitō) living at 132 residence. Tokio Takagi went to Tokyo.
- 10-Feb Saitō moves from Kurasawa's mansion to Shichirou Ueda's house which was where Yaso originally lived in.
- 10-Jun Saitō left Yaso in Gonohe and went to Tokyo. (divorced with Yaso or Yaso's death? There is a problem with the family records overlapping in years. It is uncertain whether this is a mistake or a doctored document) Sagawa Kanbee and Yamakawa Hiroshi served as the lower go-between of Saitō and Tokio's marriage. It is assumed that Matsudaira Katamori served as the higher sponsor. The arrangement of the marriage and marriage itself it said to be between fall up to spring of 1875.
- 1-Jun Katsu dies. She was Saitō's older sister who married Souma Toshiaki a doctor of the Mito Tokugawa family. Helps Matsumoto Ryoujun, Nagakura Shinapchi and others in erecting a stone monument for the Shinsengumi at Jutoku-ji temple boundary in Itabashi Tokyo.
- 20-Jul Fujita Yaso moves into Kurasawa Hiejiuemon's house, the last record of Yaso found in the family register.
- 15-Dec Eldest son Tsutomu is born. The godparent is Yamakawa Hiroshi who served as the councilor of the Tonami clan, a principal retainer of the old Aizu clan.
- 20-Feb Entered the Metropolitan Police because of the Satsuma Rebellion (Seinan War) which had started on Feb 17. There he was appointed by the Assistant Police Inspector. Upon departure for the front (of the Seinan war) he was enlisted under the Hagihara-tai.
- 8-May Saitō who belongs to the Bungo Kuchi Keishi Choubotai is in the gathering in front of the Metropolitan Police department which sailed from yokohama port to Kyushu in the evening. A photograph is said to have been taken at this time (the photo where he is sitting at the right hand edge). Saitō had served as semi-captain of the second troop.
- 20-May Visit in the Kobe port.
- 21-May Arrives and disembarks at Saganosekikou. Encampment at Tokou temple.
- 22-May It arrived at Oita-cho via Tsurusaki. The encampment lodging was centered at Takechou Kiya Kengorou (place?).
- 23-May The members marched towards Imaichi.
- 24-May Was included in the advance party going to Kamitsutsumi village, then the attack forces captured Okashiro castle.
- 25-May They proceeded to Takeda-kuchi and crosses Oosakatouge (Osaka peack) to battle Saigou's troops. Later they capture Houshi-yama (mountain) and proceeded to the foot of the mountain to a town in a private house lodging for encampment.
- 27-May The Hoshi mountain was protected as a back-up. The government sent troops (with the exception of the 2nd platoon) fought against Saigo's troops from the front and fell into trouble. The 2nd platoon which included Saitō made a detour and attacked Saigo's army at the back and they were made to retreat back towards Hoshi mountain.
- 28-May It passes Kaguchi and arrives at Kamikaguchi to Edmura government office.
- 29-May Okashiro is captured.
- 30-May The government troops march with the exception of Saitō's 2nd Platoon.
- 31-May Okashiro was defended and it started in the duty of being at post in Sonawa.
- 1-Jun Saitō's 2nd platoon marches to Utaeda to the Metropolitan Police recruitment corps. The Metropolitan Police enlistment corp asks for assistance from the Choshuu han. Yoshisuke's troops arrive at Rokkayama.
- 6-Jun Encampment is done in Nakatsu.
- 7-Jun It advances to Hisabe village and encampment is done.
- 21-Jun Appointed as sentry to Komanaki-touge (Komanaki peak) and marches to Fusube field.
- 23-Jun Leaves Shigeoka and went to Kurosawa village.
- 24-Jun Encampment at Todoroki Koshi inn.
- 25-Jun Although it went to war at Todoroki touge taking base at Maruichi ridge's Satsu, since there were no reinforcements they retreated.
- 28-Jun In the first ten days of the next month, it went into a fierce battle with Saigo's army around Shigeoka.
- 12-Jul The second platoon advance to Mikawauchi as a forerunner towards Todoroki Koshiguchi. At 2 AM Saitō leads the group from the right, starting from Morisaki village and progresses to Fukuhara passing Yakio touge, engages Saigo's army into battle and drives them away. Saitō progresses to Takatoko-yama and attacks Saigou's military encampment, here he receives a gunshot wound. Because of this he is sent to Saikioohashi Houtai-jo (Saeki Oohashi bandange facility) in Dainichi temple at Saeki Jouka.
- 28-Oct Triumphant return from Kyushu to Tokyo.
- 30-Mar Was appointed as Probationary Assistant Police Inspector (Keibu Shiho) by the Metropolitan police (Keishi) department.
- 4-Aug Was appointed as Assistant Police Inspector.
- 4-Oct Second son Tsuyoshi was born.
- 8-Oct He was awarded 100 yen and a medal, "The Order of the Blue Paulownia" (for services rendered in the Seinan war).
- 9-Jan From the Department of the army it is appointed to Gyougakari and receives a monthly salary of 15 yen.
- 9-Sep Is dismissed from the appointment of the Department of the Army.
- 11-Nov Is appointed as a Police Sargeant by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department with the salary of 12 yen.
- 26-Nov In a kendo tournament sponsored by the police headquarters Tomiyama Madoka, a police sergeant and Fujita Goro (Saitō) fights the result was a draw.
- 7-Dec Salary becomes 15 yen.
Jul - Promoted as Assistant Police Inspector.
- 7-Feb The salary becomes 18 JPY.
- 29-Mar Midori Nishino who marries Saitō's eldest son tsutomu is born.
- 1-Jul Third son Tatsuo is born.
- Tatsuo (Saitō's youngest son) is adopted to the Namuzawa family, as Namuzawa Shichiro's son.
- 1-Nov Saitō is appointed as Police Inspector.
- 23-Jan Saitō who was working for the Aso Police Station wins over Watanabe Yutaka in a kendo tournament sponsored by the Metropolitan Police Department.
- 2-Apr Saitō retires from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department (TMPD). With Hideo's assistance he gets work as a museum guard in Tokyo Education Museum with the salary of 12 JPY.
- August - Yukiko who is the daughter of Saitō's elder brother (Hiroaki) dies.
- 13-Jan A permanent change of registered domicile is done from 269 Gonohe, Sannohe-gun Aomori to 17, Wase-cho Fukushima.
- 31-Mar For professional diligence in duty 10 JPY is granted.
- 23-Apr Monthly salary becomes 15 JPY.
- 29-Dec For professional diligence in duty 12 JPY is granted.
- 27-Feb Retires from the Tokyo Educational Museum. Visits Yamakawa Hiroshi frequently and is said to say he wanted his bones to be buried beside the fallen Aizu soldiers at Amitabha temple.
- 13-Apr Receives 30 JPY because he had worked for the Tokyo Normal School for seven years or more (the Tokyo Educational Museum was an affiliate of the Tokyo Normal School). After retiring he then worked for the Tokyo Women's Normal School as a general clerk and person in charge of accounting.
- 1-Jun Souma Toshiaki, Saitō's brother in law (Katsu's husband) passes away. Hide-ko Fujita an expert in the tea ceremony from Gonohe goes to Tokyo at 23 and lodges in the Saitō house (Fujita house).
- October - Tokio plants cherry blossoms in Amida-ji Temple for those killed in action during the Aizu war.
- While currently residing in Tokyo, Tokio becomes a promoter for purchasing graves for the Aizu dead. She contributes 250 sen (a sen is hundredth of a yen).
- 27-Feb Saitō retires from the Tokyo Women's Normal School.
- 9-Feb Saitō's grandchild is born, the son of Fujita Tsutomu.
- 12-Nov Tokio's name appears in the "Aizu Association Bulletin" for being promoter for purchasing graves for Aizu people killed in war.
- 26-Jan The Amida-ji Temple grave purchase was recorded in "Aizu Association Bulletin". Saitō himself contributes 10,000 yen
- 28-Sep Saitō leaves the Teikoku Taigaku Miura Naika Byoutu (Imperial University Miura Internal Medicine hospital ward), he dies of a stomach ulcer.
Saitō in fiction
Saitō has become a better-known figure among young anime fans in the West since several anime and manga series used him as a character. The popular Rurouni Kenshin series portrays him as somewhat of a rival character, Saitō Hajime, once a mortal enemy of former imperial assassin and protagonist Himura Kenshin, and eventually an uneasy ally. As portrayed in Rurouni Kenshin, Saitō is very tall and plain-looking compared to the other characters and has a cold and quiet disposition, following some of the very few descriptions of his personality in real life. He is also harsh, sarcastic, resorts coolly to violence, and maintains an attitude of unflappable superiority in all situations. This Saitō chain-smokes instead of drinking, claims to tend to want to kill people whenever he drinks, and is fond of soba. In Rurouni Kenshin, Saitō is granted special permission as a specialized police lieutenant to carry a katana. The Gatotsu sword technique that he uses in the series is similar to the description of his original sword technique, but is purely fictional, and not entirely accurate to real swordfighting. The real left-handed thrust is used, in most sword styles, as a surprise maneuver. It is executed as a tsuki or thrust while stepping through, releasing the right hand at the last moment, leaving the left holding the end of the hilt. The grip-change and the step grant an extra foot or more of reach, completely changing the spacing of the fight, but it must be done suddenly to be most effective. The "Aku Soku Zan" motto he lives by (悪即斬, most literally, "Kill those who are evil immediately,", translated as "Slay Evil Immediately" in the English dub and as "Swift Death to Evil" in the VIZ manga) is most likely fictitious, though it does encompass a common sentiment of the Shinsengumi during the Bakumatsu.
In Peacemaker Kurogane, another historical manga and anime that tells the story of Ichimura Tetsunosuke who joins the Shinsengumi to avenge the deaths of his parents, he appears as the captain of the third troop and is rather laidback and mystical (like a shaman), with a perpetually sleepy expression.
He also appears in Kaze Hikaru, in which he is portrayed as a quiet and serious character, who was friends with (and bears a striking resemblance to) the main character's older brother.
Saitō is the protagonist in the manga Burai, a fictional story about the Shinsengumi during the late Tokugawa shogunate.
In 2000, Saitō were the main theme of an entry of the International Obfuscated C Code Contest (a programming contest where the goal is to produce creatively obfuscated C code). The source code of this program depicts an anime portrait of Saitō in ASCII Art. When executed, it writes the source code of a second program, which source code writes "aku" in ascii art. This second program is perfectly valid and can be compiled and then executed. Its output is a third program, which source code writes "soku" in ascii art. When executed, this third program writes a fourth valid program, which source code writes "zan". When executed, the fourth program writes the second program back (the one depicting "aku"). This loop of executions thus writes "aku soku zan", Saitō's motto.
In the 2003 Japanese film When the Last Sword Is Drawn (Mibu gishi den), Saitō is played by Kōichi Satō. At first, Sato portrays Saitō as a cold, dark, uncaring captain of the Shinsengumi. However, Saitō changes as a man through his interactions with Kanichiro Yoshimura (played by Kiichi Nakai) during the last years of the Shinsengumi.
A Kenshin series look-alike named Keiichiro Washizuka was featured in The Last Blade series of games. Again, he was characterized by a cold and quiet persona, along with a fierce loyalty to the Shinsengumi. His appearance was consistent with the Saitō featured in the Rurouni Kenshin's Trust and Betrayal OVA, and fights with a series of "sliding charge" attacks resembling the Gatotsu.
Saitō Hajime is also shown in later episodes of the anime "Shura no Toki: Age of Chaos" and recently, "Hakuōki Shinsengumi Kitan." He is also shown in the continuing series of this anime, "Hakuouki Hekketsuroku". In these two series, Saitō is portrayed as a quiet character, who is a master at sword fighting. Saitō is also in the prologue of Hakuouki Shinsengumi Kitan and Hakouki Shinsengumi Hekketsuroku called Hakuouki Reimeiroku. In all three series, Saitō is portrayed as the only left-handed member of Shinsengumi and of the all the characters. Being a left-handed samurai is also "strange", from the reaction of the character Ibuki Ryunosuke at the end of episode one (Hakouki Reimeiroku) where viewers are first introduced to Saitō's character. Kondō also points out later in the series how being a left-handed samurai is advantageous because there are no "known" ways of counter-attacking a left-handed attack.
Actor Yosuke Eguchi portrays Saitō in the 2012 live-action adaptation film of Rurouni Kenshin.
- Itō, "Takada kinshin kara Tonami zaijūroku," p. 145
- Itō, "Shinsengumi kessei made," p. 40.
- Akama Wako,Shinsengumi Saitō Hajime No Nazo(Japanese),Sinjinbutuouraisha,pp.52-57
- Name reading as per Tōdō, p. 198.
- Kikuchi, "Saitō Hajime no Aizu-sensō," pp. 126-130.
- Itō, "Takada kinshin kara Tonami zaijūroku," pp. 137-138.
- Itō, "Saitō Hajime nenfu," p. 238
- Nagaya, p. 36
- Itō, p. 238
- Nagaya, p. 36.
- Itō, pp. 238-239
- Tōdō, pp. 194, 198, 204
- Itō, "Saitō Hajime nenfu," p. 238.
- Tōdō, p. 198.
- Itō, p. 242.
- Don Yang (2000). "dhyang entry to IOCCC'00" (C source code).
- "Explanation of the dhyang entry to IOCCC'00" (plain text). IOCCC. 2000.
- Kikuchi Akira (2003). "Saitō Hajime no Aizu-sensō," pp. 110–135 in Shinsengumi Saitō Hajime no Subete. (Tokyo: Shin Jinbutsu Ōraisha).
- Itō Tetsuya (2003). "Saitō Hajime nenfu," p. 223-243 in Shinsengumi Saitō Hajime no Subete. (Tokyo: Shin Jinbutsu Ōraisha).
- Itō Tetsuya (2003). "Takada kinshin kara Tonami zaijūroku," pp. 136–149 in Shinsengumi Saitō Hajime no Subete. (Tokyo: Shin Jinbutsu Ōraisha).
- Nagaya Yoshie (2003). "Saitō Hajime no shūhen (shutsuji to sono kakeizu)," pp. 27–37 in Shinsengumi Saitō Hajime no Subete. (Tokyo: Shin Jinbutsu Ōraisha).
- Shinsengumi Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Shin Jinbutsu Oraisha, 1978.
- Tōdō Toshihisa (2003). "Saitō Hajime kanren jinbutsu jiten," pp. 193–206 in Shinsengumi Saitō Hajime no Subete. (Tokyo: Shin Jinbutsu Ōraisha).
- Yamamura Tatsuya (1998). Shinsengumi Kenkyaku-Den. Tokyo: PHP Interface. ISBN 4-569-60176-6
- 幕臣取り立て at www.geocities.jp
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