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Battle of Aizu

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  • Bakufu loyalists Vs. Emperor loyalists
    • Date: 1868/int.4/20-9/24"
    • Location: Aizu
    • Japanese:会津戦争(Aizu Senso)
Boshin War
Toba-Fushimi -

Koshu-Katsunuma - Utsunomiya castle - Ueno - Hokuetsu - Aizu - Hakodate

Orange:Main units of the imperial troops.Yellow:Small units of the imperial troops.

Contents

Shirakawaguchi

int.4/20, Aizu troops occupied Shirakawa castle. A Chôshû samurai Sera Shûzô who stationed the castle then was assassinated in Fukushima same day. int.4/25, the imperial troops attemted to take over the castle but were defeated. int.4/28, reinforcement of the imperial troops were arriving near Shirakawa. They started attacking the castle in the early morning of 5/1. The imperial troops were about 700, Bakufu loyalists side were 2500 to 3000. However, Aizu troops lost commanders early and they had to retreat. According to Ichiji Masaharu's journal, the death toll of Bakufu loyalists side was about 700, Emperor loyalists side was only 10.

Nihonmatsu

7/29, about 2000 Imperial loyalist troops crossed the Abukuma river to attack Nihonmatsu castle. Nihonmatsu han had only 300 soldiers, including the Nihonmatsu Shonentai. Aizu han sent the Denshutai to help Nihonmatsu han but they were outnumbered. Lord Niwa Nagakuni escaped to Yonezawa han, and his chief vassals set fire on the castle and commited Seppuku.

Bonari pass

Aizu han had built 3 batteries on the pass and about 700 soldiers stationed(Aizu han, Nihonmatsu han, Sendai han, Denshutai, Shinsengumi). 8/21 early morning, one battery had fallen. Aizu troops weren't able to find enemy troops quickly because of dense fog. About 2000 Emperor loyalist troops broke through the pass in the evening. They secured Juroku bashi next day.

Katamori and his vassels. Women of Buke families in Aizu also fought in the battles.

Siege of Aizu-Wakamatsu castle

Unfortunately, main troops of Aizu han were at Nikko-guchi when Emperor loyalist troops reached Juroku bashi. Lord Matsudaira Katamori had to send Byakkotai to block them. 8/23 Emperor loyalist troops entered Wakamatsu town which made the towners panicked. More than 200 family members of Aizu han retainers commited suicide to avoid getting captured. 8/26,Yamakawa Okura unit returned to the castle from Nikko-guchi. Emperor loyalist troops had secured North-East sides of the castle wall already. 8/28, Yonezawa han surrendered. Reinforcemnts of Emperor loyalist troops were arriving to Wakamatsu town one after another, it increased to more than 30,000. Inside of the castle was full of injured people. 9/14, Emperor loyalist troops launched an all-out attack. 9/22, Aizu han surrendered. When the castle fell, there were more than 1000 women,children and elderlies.

Aizu-Wakamatsu castle right after Boshin war

Aftermath

Matsudaira Katamori confined himself until 1872. Aizu Matsudaira clan was reassigned to Tonami han the north edge of Honshu. Aizu han Karô Saigo Tanomo and some retainers joined Enomoto Takeaki's Bakufu loyalist troops and fought against Emperor loyalists in Hakodate.

Battle of Aizu in fiction

Books

  • Aizu Shikon (会津士魂) Saotome Mitsugu
  • Rakka wa eda ni kaerazutomo (落花は枝に還らずとも) Nakamura Akihiko
  • Shurisama yuki wa (修理さま 雪は) Nakamura Akihiko

Television

  • Byakkotai (白虎隊) NTV 1986
  • Byakkotai (白虎隊) EX 2007

Research books

  • Aizu Senso Zenshi (会津戦争全史) Hoshi Ryoichi
  • Aizu Rakujo (会津落城) Hoshi Ryoichi
  • Aizu Bushido (会津武士道) Hoshi Ryoichi
  • Aizu han wa naze choutekika (会津藩はなぜ「朝敵」か) Hoshi Ryoichi
  • Onnnatachi no Aizu senso (女たちの会津戦争) Hoshi Ryoichi
  • Aizu han Vs Choshu han (会津藩VS長州藩) Hoshi Ryoichi
  • Bakumatsu Aizu hanshi meimeiden (幕末・会津藩士銘々伝) Kobiyama Rokuro, Majima Isao
  • Aizu Senso (会津戦争) Gakken Rekishi Gunzo Series

References

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