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Saito Hajime

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  • Born: 1844
  • Died: 1915
  • Ranks: Shinsengumi Captain, Aizu Shinsengumi Commander
  • Original name: 山口(Yamaguchi Hajime)
  • Other name: Fujita Gorô
  • Japanese: 斎藤 一 (Saitou Hajime)

Contents

Shinsengumi

Saitô Hajime

Saitô Hajime was born as a son of Gokenin in Edo. He killed a Hatamoto when he was around 18 and he had to flee Edo. He joined the Mibu Roshigumi in Kyoto in 1863. In 1865, he became captain of the 3rd unit of the Shinsengumi. When Itô Kashitarô's group formed the Goryô Eji, Saito joined them as a spy and discovered their plan of assassination of Kondô Isami which resulted in Ito Kashitaro's assassination by the Shinsengumi (Incident at Aburano Koji).

Boshin War

He participated in the Battle of Toba-Fushimi, and the Battle of Koshu-Katsunuma. Then he went to Aizu with several members. (Kondô Isami and other members went to Nagareyama) He was named the commander of the Shinsengumi instead of Hijikata Toshizo who was wounded. After they lost the Battle of Bonari pass, Hijikata decided to go north to join Enomoto Takeaki's Bakufu troops. According to Saitô Hajime's grandson, Saito said "The Shinsengumi has benefitted greatly from Lord Matsudaira Katamori. I refuse to leave Aizu. I will die with them rather than leave." Saitô and around 20 other members stayed in Aizu and held a siege in Nyoraidô, but were defeated. In September, 1868, Aizu surrendered. Aizu samurai and families were expeled to Tonami.

Meiji

Saito married Takagi Tokio in Tonami, sponsered by former Lord Matsudaira Katamori, the former Aizu han Karô Yamakawa Hiroshi and Sagawa Kanbei. (Saito had a prior marriage with Shinoda Yaso but details are unknown) Saito was given the new name Fujita Goro by Matsudaira Katamori. Later they moved to Tokyo, where Goro was hired by the Police department (1872). In 1877, he was sent to Kyushu (Seinan War) as a member of the Battô tai with many other former Aizu han samurai. It was compared to a "revenge" of the Boshin war. In 1891,he retired from the Police and worked at schools until 1909. In 1915 he died of stomach ulcer.

According to Fujita Goro's grandchild Fujita Minoru, sometimes Goro was assaulted by strangers who seemed to be the surviving members of the Goryo Eji after the Meiji restoration. Unlike Nagakura Shinpachi, Goro didn't talk about the Shinsengumi very much.

Kenjutsu

Saito is believed to have learned Mugai Ryu and Itto Ryu.

Saito Hajime's Sword

Name

Saito changed name 4times.

  • 1.Yamaguchi Hajime (Original)
  • 2.Saitô Hajime (After he killed a Hatamoto)
  • 3.Yamaguchi Jiro (After he escaped from Goryô Eji)
  • 4.Ichinohe Denpachi (When he moved to Tonami)
  • 5.Fujita Goro (When he married to Tokio)

Saito in Fiction

Books

  • Meiji Burai Den(明治無頼伝) Nakamura Akihiko
  • Shinsengumi Sanbantai Kumicho Saito Hajime (新選組三番隊組長 斎藤一) Kikuchi Michito

Research Books

  • Shinsengumi Fukucho Jokin Saito Hajime (新選組副長助勤 斎藤一) Akama Shizuko
  • Shinsengumi Saito Hajime no Nazo (新選組・斎藤一の謎) Akama Shizuko
  • Shinsengumi Saito Hajime no Subete (新選組・斎藤一のすべて ) Shinjinbutsu Oraisha
  • Shinsengumi Kumicho Retsuden (新選組組長列伝) Shinjinbutsu Oraisha
  • Shinsengumi Meimeiden2 (新選組銘々伝2) Shinjinbutsu Oraisha

References

  • Shinsengumi Zentaishi Tettei Guide (新選組全隊士徹底ガイド) Maeda Masaki
  • Shinsengumi Taishi Den (新選組隊士伝) Gakken
  • Shinsengumi (新選組) Sekai Bunkasha
  • Shinsengumi 100 Wa (新選組100話) Suzuki Toru
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