Year. Month. Day
Year. Month. Day
1861 (Bunkyu 1)

Kondou Isami succeeds the Tennen Rishin school, Okita Souji begins giving lessons 

Kondou awarded shinan menkyo (highest rank of Tennan Rishin),
Kondou Shusuke retires, Kondou becomes the fourth master of
Tennen Rishin , Okita appointed head of the dojo. "It was also
around his twenty-seventh year..."
that Miyagawa Katsugoru
changed his name to Kondou Isami. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi
24 & 29)

July 5 British Legation in Tozenji/Edo attacked (Japanese guards killed and Laurence Oliphant wounded) "some ronins attacked the house occupied by the English...The vassals of the Bakufu and the troops of the Koriyama clan who acted as guards to the temple repelled the assailants, and a large numver of the ronins were killed...two of the English were wounded by the ronins." (Yamaguchi 21) "The English Minister was angry and said such ruffians only existed because the Japanese Government could not rule its own country...he retired with the French and Dutch representatives to Yokohoma, in order to prepare for an attack with troops. The Bakufu made ten thousand apologies, and the affair...was peaeably settled" (Yamaguchi 21)
Henry Heusken (Hendrik Heusken) murdered 
1862 (Bunkyu 2)
Princess Kazu, younger sister of Emperor Komei, marries
Shogun Iemochi. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 103)
Katsu Kaishu is appointed vice-commissioner of the Tokugawa Navy (which was still under construction sort to say…) (
Shogunate sends mission to Europe "Envoys were despatched this year to England, France, Russia, Holland, Prussia and Portugal for the first time" (Yamaguchi 23)

Ando Nobumasa, senior member of Tokugawa councilers attacked at one of the entryways to Edo Castle; he lives but is forced to retire due to sustained injuries.

1.30-2.28 "' the Minister Ando Tsushima-no-kami was going to the castle, a number of ronins attacked him in front of the Sakashita Gate...[he] escaped with a wound on his shoulder...ronins were killed, and a document was found on each of them...'the Minister Ando, inheriting the ideas of the Chief Minister Ii Kamon-no-kami, has made friends of the barbarians...has placed in confinement honourable and loyal Court nobles. He has abused the influence of the Bakufu in order to bring the Mikado's sister to Yedo, and, worst of all commanded learned Japanese scholars to collect precedents for the deposition of the Emperor, his intention being to depose the Son of Heaven.' the Bakufu at once deprived Tsushima-no kami of his office as Minister." (Yamaguchi 23-24)


"...samurai deserted from their clans in daily increasing numbers. They allied themselves with ronins in all parts to raise the cry of 'honour the Mikado and expel the barbarians'" (Yamaguchi 24)

The house of Shimazu published a proclamation to its retainers approving the policy of supporting the Emperor but forbade its retainers from allying themselves with ronin. (Yamaguchi 24)

Teradaya Sakamoto Ryoma and Miyoshi Shinzo (Satsuma samurai) are attacked while staying at the Teradaya in Fushimi (Hillsborough Ryoma 354)
Takechi Hanpeita and Tosa Loyalist are ordered back to Kochi by the daimyo at the same time that he (Lord Yodo) is returning home. Lord Yodo is pissed with the loyalist and plans to put an end to them (Hillsborough Ryoma146)
3 of Hanpeita's men ambush and kill Tosa retainer Yoshida Toya
(Hillsborough Ryoma 79- 80)
Ohara Saemon-no-kami came to Edo to inform the Shogun that he must enter Kyoto with all his daimyos to determine the opinion of the country, plan the expulsion of the barbarians and promote the efficiency of the administration. (Yamaguchi 30)
Ito Gumpei a retainer of Matsudaira Tamba-no-kami, assigned to guarding the English, killed two of the foreigners before committing suicide. (Yamaguchi 28-29)
Shogunal council decides to create the post of Kyoto Shugoshoku (Protectorate)
Saigou Tanomo and Tanaka Tosa (senior retainers of Aizu) leave in a blind rush to get to Edo and dissuade Matsudaira Katamori from accepting the title of Protector of Kyoto (Kyoto Shugoshoku). (Rekishi to Tabi 11) Saigou and Tanaka arrive on July 25.
Aizu refuses Shugoshoku office
Matsudaira Katamori accepts the position of Kyoto Shugoshoku.
1862 summer
The system of alternate attendance where daimyo, their wives and children had to reside in Edo, was abolished due to the great financial costs. Edo which had relied on this system suffered an economic blow. (Yamaguchi 31)
1862.8.7 intercalculary month
Nagai Naoyuki appointed Kyoto city magistrate.
1862. 8.21

Aug. 21: Richardson Incident- Satsuma retainers cut down Richardson, an Englishman, at Yokohama for not stepping aside for the procession of Daimyo of Satsuma. His 3 other companions were unharmed(Mori 283) By the 1870s American journalist Edward H. House will examine the details of this incident and dispute the biased British account.

Nagai Naoyuki arrives in Kyoto, takes up his post as city magistrate.
Dr. Willis arrives in Japan and serves as physician and chancellor to the British Legation
"At the end of 1862...For the for the first time in its history, the Tokugawa Bakufu officially recruited suppress the renegades. To this end, the Bakufu proclaimed a general amnesty,
even incarcerated criminals deemed worthy were set free to enlist."(Hillsborough Shinsengumi 12-13)
Ryoma Sakamoto and Miyoshi Shinzo (Satsuma samurai) are attacked while staying at the Teradaya in Fushimi (Hillsborough Ryoma.354)
Matsudaira Chikaranosuke appointed commander of the as-yet unnamed Roshi unit.
Matsudaira Chikaranosuke gives a register of the names of Roshigumi to Sugiura Seiichiro, as well as another register to roju Itakura Katsukiyo.

Matsudaira Katamori of Aizu becomes Kyoto Shugoshoku roughly translated as Head of Kyoto Security. "His appointment had been engineered by [Tokugawa] Yoshinobu and Kiei to strengthen their hand in Kyoto." (Teruko Craig in Remembering Aizu by Shiba Goro page 10) He arrives with a thousand armed samurai including Yamakawa Hiroshi (also read about him on Saitou Hajime's page)

Udono Kyuou chosen as the Roshigumi unit commander. Same day, Matsudaira Katamori arrives in Kyoto. The Kyoto city magistrates, yoriki, and doshin, all stand on the east side of the bridge to greet him.

1863 (Bunkyu 3) [return to the top]
Yoshinobu arrives in Kyoto, sets up residence at Higashi-Honganji temple.

Roshigumi arrive in Kyoto 
Kiyokawa Hachiro reveals his plan for the group to support the emperor

"They (Roshitai) arrived in Kyoto and had heated discussions, and upon hearing of the coming of Englishmen, some decided that they would turn around and go back to Edo to act as the vanguard of the anti-foreign (Jo-i) cause, while others wanted to stay in Kyoto and guard the Shogun. Udono and the commanders tried to rein these men in, but they were unable to stop them. Finally, Udono decided to acquiesce and led the majority back eastward. Those who remained-- 20 or so in number-- applied to our lord for patronage. These men are what is now remembered as Shinsengumi. (Kore wo SHINSENGUMI to iu)." (Yamakawa Hiroshi 87 v.1) translated by Tokugawa Hirotada

"...the group divided, the great majority, whose tribulations we note later, returning to Edo with Kiyokawa, where they were entitled the Shinchogumi. Those few who stayed in Kyoto, including Kondo, were assigned to patrol duty under Katamori and became known, in fame or notoriety as the Shinsengumi." (Totman 49)

Serizawa Kamo
The commander of the Roshitai (the nominal one)....Serizawa gave his 'courtesy' name "Udono Kyuuou". Now, the "ou" in this is a suffix given to old men-- which Udono was (e.g. later in life, Nagakura Shinpachi was "Sugimura Yoshie-ou"). For those interested, "Udono" means "Lord Cormorant" and "Hato" (or the "Kyu" of "Kyu-ou") means "Dove". Go figure. No wonder he was a figurehead. His real name was Udono Nagamochi. (or so the kanji appears) (Yamakawa Hiroshi 87 v.1) translated by Tokugawa Hirotada

"Shinsengumi's code of conduct was strict, and they were known for their determination and fierce courage. Neither fire nor water stopped them, and soon, they recruited more men, standing ready to assist for the Shugoshoku many, many times." (Yamakawa Hiroshi 87 v.1) translated by Tokugawa Hirotada

Katsu Kaishu, Sakamoto Ryoma, and others, aboard the warship Jundo-maru, enter Shinagawa Harbor and head to the Katsu residence.
For Matsudaira Shungaku's trip to Kyoto, Katsu Kaishu again commands the Jundo-maru. On board are Sugiura Seiichiro, Matsumoto Ryojun, Arai Ikunosuke, and also Sakamoto Ryoma.
Roushitai (Roshigumi) leaves Edo (Mori 283)

Roshigumi leaves Edo

"...the Roshi Corps left Edo for Kyoto as an advance guard of the
shogun's entourage." (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 15)


Heads of 3 Ashikaga shoguns' statues decapitated and displayed on the Sanjo riverbank.
[NOTE: Same place where Kondou Isami's severed head was displayed. Also, could the 3 wooden heads symbolize the triumvirate that was rising in Kyoto politics-- Shungaku, Katamori, and Yoshinobu?]. Same day, the Roshigumi arrives in Kyoto.

The Roshi Corps arrives in Kyoto and sets up headquarters at
Shintokuji Temple in Mibu. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 16)

Roshigumi ordered to return to Edo.
Tokugawa Iemochi arrives in Kyoto (Mori 283)
Shogunate ordered to take charge of the Roshigumi men that remain in Kyoto. Kondou/Serizawa and their 17 men submit petition to Aizu. Before this the Roshigumi departure from Kyoto was delayed twice.
Roshigumi FINALLY leaves Kyoto
1863.3.15 to 17
17 of the Roushigumi (who stay behind in Kyoto) become formal Aizu samurai they will be later known as the Shinsengumi
Roshigumi arrives in Edo
Kiyokawa Hachiro killed by Tokugawa swordsmen including
Sasaki Tadasaburo after they discovered his plan to attack foreign settlement at Yokohama. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 18)
not certain on this date
"Gozen Shiai" (something like "Lord's Matches")
Matsudaira Katamori watched Roshigumi (Shinsengumi) sword practice
Hijikata v. Todo
Nagakura v. Saitou
Hirayama Gorou v. Saeki Matasaburou
Yamanami v. Okita
(info from "Saitou Hajime and the Sword" (Saitou Hajime to Ken), by Yamamura Tatsuya from the book Shinsengumi:Saitou Hajime no subete
Bobardment of Kagoshima (Satsuma Domain) by the British Fleet over the killing of an Englishman 
1863 Spring
Ryoma recruits an estimated 100+ men for Katsu Kaishu’s upcoming private Naval Academy in Kobe (Hillsborough Ryoma 146)
May 1863 Katsu Kaishu asks Ryoma to visit the Chief Political Advisor of Fukui (Lord Yokei Shanan) to ask for a loan for the Naval Acadamy (Hillsborough Ryoma151); He is successful in getting Lord Shungaku to invest 5000 ryo (Hillsborough Ryoma153)
not certain on this date

American ship fired at in Shimonoseki strait by Choushu (Hillsborough Ryoma 154)

"On the evening of the tenth, two Choshu warships fired upon an
unsuspecting American merchant vessel in the [Shimonoseki]
strait." (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 36-37)

*However, the site has the attack on night/morning June 25-26, as recorded by the officers onboard the Wyoming.
On another note, I think (not entirely sure) that Hillsborough wrote at the beginning of his book that he “translated” the dates from the Lunar calendar to the Gregorian one (which I believe is also a bit faulty). I found this site that talks about the Gregorian calendar if it’s of any help . has it as July 11

Shogun issues May 10th as the last day to expel all foreigners; Choushu rebels begin attaching foreign ships after this date
French dispatch ship is fired at in Shimonoseki strait by Choushu (Hillsborough Ryoma 154)
Kondo and Serizawa petition to keep the shogun in Kyoto. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 37)
Dutch ship also attacked in Shimonoseki strait by Choushu (Hillsborough Ryoma 154)
Shonai takes charge of Roshigumi in Edo now called the Shinchogumi ???. Remember the Roshigumi who stayed behind in Kyoto are now the Shinsengumi.
1863.7.16 ?
American warship “Wyoming” enters Shimonoseki strait and opens fire on the Choushu cost in retaliation to Choshu’s earlier attack on their ship. Choshu lose this battle. (p.159)
*again, has a different date, July16
1863 summer
Concerned for the safety of Princess Kazu, "The emperor had
secretly issued an imperial edict to Satsuma to restore order
in his capital. Satsuma, of course, subsequently formed its
alliance with Aizu to oust Choshu from Kyoto." (Hillsborough
Shinsengumi 103)
Katsu Kaishu’s private Naval Academy finally opens its doors with the help of Ryoma Sakamoto (Hillsborough Ryoma 155)
French attack Shimonoseki with 2 warships, land & burn the surrounding villages of Shimonoseki, also in retaliation to Choshu’s attack on their ship. The French occupy the city for a day before leaving late in the evening. Choshu is devastated, they lose 2 of their 3 warships. (Hillsborough Ryoma 160)
Takasugi Shinsaku forms the Kiheitai (Extraordinary Corps) (
1863.6. mid
Shogun boards the Jundo Maru back to Edo. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 37)
British dispatch a squadron of 7 warships from Yokohama to Kagoshima in Satsuma Han hoping to set thing straight about the murder of Richardson
The British fleet arrives in Kogashima and demand that Richerdson's murderer be punished for their actions; Satsuma authorities claimed they couldn't be held responsible because Edo had provided westerners with information and costumes about Japanese traditions were now followed by Richardson and company
Frustrated, the British take command of 3 Satsuma steamers recently purchased from westerners; Satsuma warriors open fire upon the British; The British retaliate by setting the steamers on fire and opening fire on the coastal town, setting it ablaze. After the battle a peace treaty was reached in Edo between the British and Satsuma; British and Satsuma eventually become allies (Hillsborough Ryoma 177- 179)
1863.6. end
Minakuchi official files complaint with Aizu about Serizawa's behavior. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 52)

Serizawa Kamo fights with a sumo wrestler  

Serizawa Kamo kills sumo wrestler after being insulted. Later that night Serizawa and several other Shinsengumi members fight sumo wrestlers that came to challenge them. Five wrestlers killed and several others wounded. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 46-47)

Mibu Roushigumi officially known as the Shinsengumi
Nakaoka Shintaro begs Hanpeita to disband the Tosa Loyalist Part and leave Tosa, but Hanpeita refuse; Nakaoka abandones all hope and leaves Tosa fleeing to Choushu (Hillsborough Ryoma 189)
Serizawa Kamo orders Yamato'ya's storehouse in Osaka be set
on fire after his demand for money was refused. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 54-55)

August 18th Hamaguri Gomon/Gate Incident

Aizu and Satsuma troops "...seized the Nine Forbidden Gates of the palace, barring entrance by the Choshu men. Fourteen hundred armed Loyalists, including one thousand ronin, assembled at Sakaimachi Gate, which thus far had been Choshu's to guard..."Choshu banned from Kyoto. Members of Shinsengumi including
Hijikata aided Aizu and Satsuma. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 38-39)

Aizu and Satsuma join forces in protecting the Imperial Palace from the uprising Choshu extreamists. (Hillsborough Ryoma 181)
Choushu attacks one of the gates of the Imperial Palace, but to no avail. Emperor Koime orders Chushu to retreat, and Choushu does in order to not be branded as “Imperial Enemy” (Hillsborough Ryoma 181)
Four Choshu men sent by Katsura Kogoro to Mibu headquarters as assassins asking to join the Shinsengumi after leaving their clan.Kondo accepts them and tells Nagakura and others to "be on
guard." "Near the end of September, Kondo discovered the truth about his four new recruits." Kondo ordered Nagakura, Okita, Todo, Harada and others to kill them. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi p.43-44)
Katsu Kaishu secures 2 warships from the Tokugawa fleet for his navel academy (Hillsborough Ryoma 191)
Hanpeita is arrested by decree of the Tosa Daimyo who is still bitter and believes that Hanpeita and group murdered his relative, Yoshida Toya
September 7 Niimi Niishiki dies
September 16th Serizawa Kamo assasinated 
Kondo Isami attends meeting with representatives of several hans and urges them to act together as one nation to expel the foreigners. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 62)
Takeda Kanryusai joins the Shinsengumi. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 75) We are not sure if Takeda entered before or after hatamoto status was offered
Shinsengumi offered hatamoto status. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 63)
December 28 Noguchi Kenji commits seppuku 
Emperor Komei names Matsudaira Katamori, Hitotsubashi Yoshinobu, and Matsudaira Yoshinaga (Shungaku) as chogi-sanyo (Imperial Advisors). (Subete 249)
"The Kiheitai [of Choshu] sank the Nagasaki-maru, a Bakufu steamship which had been lent to Satsuma. Choshu claimed...that it had mistaken the ship for a foreign one and attacked it according to the joi wishes of the Emperor" (Craig Choshu in the Meiji Restoration 219) Matsudaira Katamori [Aizu] in early 1864 proposed that the shogun ought to command a force to march on Choshu---the expedition never happened.
1864 [return to the top]

This is a diagram of Shinsengumi on the march

The Shinsengumi marched in a line, however the author of this document had to conserve space on the pages and squeezed in the map on 2 pages. Follow the red line.

In the front is an officer, followed by a standard bearer (the circles are people). Then comes the cannon squad in front, followed by the corporal, then Todo Heisuke's unit on the left and Tani Sanjuro's unit on the right, then a rifle squad, then 3 units, then Nagakura on the left and Okita on the right, then a 3-dimensional field standard, then Hijikata (the big circle), surrounded by other officers, then a spear unit, then 3 rear-guard units. (translated by Shimazu Masayoshi (Hirotada Tokugawa) from

Shogun Iemochi visits Kyoto for a second time to discuss expelling
the foreigners and possible punishment for Choshu with feudal lords. Agreement could not be reached and talks broke down in March. (Hillborough Shinsengumi 72)
Katsu Kaishu is promoted to the post of Naval Commissioner and received the honorary title Awa-no-Kami, Protector of the Province of Awa. (
France, Great Britain, United States, and Holland begin gathering for joint bombardment of Shimonoseki in the port of Nagasaki (Hillsborough Ryoma 198); Katsu Kaishu is sent by Bakufu to persuade the foreigners from attacking Choushu
Yoshinobu appointed inspector-general of the forces protecting
the emperor in Kyoto. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 101)
Katsu Kaishu is successful in persuading the foreign nations to not attack Shimonoseki (Hillsborough Ryoma 202)
Uchiyama Hikojiro, Tokugawa magistrate in Osaka, assassinated by the Shinsengumi's Kondo, Okita, Harada,
Nagakura and Inoue. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 69)
Shinsengumi arrests two men who tell them of Choshu's plan to kill Matsudaira Katamori and burn the Imperial
Palace. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 72)

June 5 Raid on Ikedaya (Ikedaya-Jiken) Shinsengumi kills Miyabe Teizou, Matsuda Juusuke, Yoshida Toshimaro and other individuals

Shinsengumi raid Masu'ya, arrest Furudaka Shuntaro, discover a weapons stock, and "incriminating documents."
Furudaka interrogated at Mibu headquarters and confessed their plan. Around 10pm Shinsengumi raid Ikeda'ya.
Kondo, Nagakura, Okita, and Todo are the first to enter. Miyabe Teizo commits seppuku. Yoshida Toshimaro is killed, possibly by Okita at Ikeda'ya. Mochizuki Kameyata, student of Katsu Kaishu and friend of Sakamoto Ryoma, commits seppuku rather than be captured. Fighting continued through the night.
The Shinsengumi returned to Mibu the next morning. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 75-80)

"Literary [activist] Maki Izumi...would lead a movement of patriots and rule the country. Through his devoted commitment to action in the 1860s, Maki tried to initiate political events that might lead to the elevation of this new-style emperor." (Harootunian 249) "After extremists were driven from Kyoto in late summer of 1863, they sought to retrieve their lost opportunity. This effort was planned by Maki Izumi, but when the restorationist coup against shogunal officials in Kyoto came off prematurely, violence exploded after the Ikedaya incident of July 28, 1864 (Ikedaya was a shipping agency of the Satsuma han, where Maki and his followers fought with troops from Satsuma sent to dissuade them from acting.) (Harootunian 253)

Aizu rewards Shinsengumi for Ikeda'ya 600 ryo and other items. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 82)
Tosa official Asada Tokitaro wounded by Aizu samurai Shiba Tsukasa at Akebono-tei after Shiba mistook him for a Choshu rebel. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 84)
Shiba Tsukasa commits seppuku at age 21, regretful that Aizu-Tosa relations may be damaged. Asada Tokitaro commits seppuku, shamed that he did not fight Shiba Tsukara who
wounded him. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 85)
Choshu sends forces to retaliate for Ikeda'ya. By the end of June
more than 2000 men were gathered in Saga, Fushimi, Yamazaki,
and Yawata ready to battle. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 88)
1864 July
Imperial Court orders Bakufu to punish Choshu for attacking
the palace. This was arranged by Edo, who was hoping to
take advantage of Choshu's misfortunes. (Hillsborough
Shinsengumi 100)
Sakuma Shozan, Bakufu advisor and teacher of Katsu Kaishu,
assassinated in Kyoto by a ronin from Higo. (Hillsborough
Shinsengumi 179)
Choshu forces begin their march to the Imperial Palace at 8pm.
(Hillsborough Shinsengumi 89)
Furudaka Shuntaro executed at Rokkaku Jail. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 91)
Choushu forces begin gathering in Osaka and are ready to march into Kyoto in retaliation to the massacre at the Ikeda-ya (Hillsborough Ryoma .232); fearing an all out attack with Choushu, the Emperor declares July 17 as the final day for Choushu forces to retreat (Hillsborough Ryoma 234)
Choushu forces attack the Forbidden Gates at the Imperical Castle (Hillsborough Ryoma 238) by the end of the day Choushu forces were forced to retreat as they were severely outnumbered; Choushu is branded “Imperial Enemy”. Even though the fighting ended that same day, much of Kyoto burned for the next 3 days (Hillsborough Ryoma 240)
Great Britain, France, United States, and Holland attack Choushu in Shimonoseki; they consisted of 17 warships caring 288 cannons and over 5000 troops. They destroy all Choushu forts in a signal day (Hillsborough Ryoma 247)
*** take discrepancy on this one, it makes me question the previous entry of April 6 with Katsu Kaishu actually succeeding in stopping the attack... or, I guess it could mean that Katsu stopped them for the time being and then the foreign nations decided “what the heck, lets bomb their asses anyways”***
Bakufu ordered twenty-one domains to prepare their armies for
an expedition against Choshu. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 100)
Choushu signs peace treaties with all four countries (Hillsborough Ryoma 247)
1864.8.20 ?
Hamagurigomon no Hen Kinmon Incident (Battle of Hamagurigomon) (Subete 249)
Edo issues a decree to 21 Han to prepare their armies for a military Expedition against Choushu (Hillsborough Ryoma 247)
1864 August end of
Nagakura, Harada, Saitou, Shimada, and two others send a letter to the Lord of Aizu expressing their discontent with Kondou. The Lord of Aizu [Matsudaira Katamori] calls a meeting with Kondou and the group to settle the dispute. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 96)
Bakufu begins investigating the background of the students in Katsu Kaishu’s Naval Academy in Kobe (Hillsborough Ryoma 263)
Kondou, Nagakura, Takeda, and another corpsman leave Kyoto
for Edo. Kondou had received permission from the Lord of Aizu
to go to Edo to urge the shogun's council to send Iemochi to
Kyoto to meet with the emperor regarding the delay in carrying
out the order issued to punish Choshu. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 101-102)
Kondou arrives in Edo. He is told that the shogun will not go to
Kyoto. During his stay Kondou enlists more than fifty new recruits
including Itou Kashitaro. Kondou also visits Matsumoto Ryojun.
Kondou leaves Edo on Oct 15 and arrives back in Kyoto on Oct 27.
(Hillsborough Shinsengumi 101-102)
Sakuma Ikujiro (son of Sakuma Shozan) joins Shinsengumi to
avenge his father's murder. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 98)

Katsu Kaishu is ordered to return to Edo, he is dismissed from his post, put under house arrest and his stipend is reduced to a minimum. The Naval Academy is closed

(fall) Katsu Kaishu dismissed from his post as navy commissioner and
put under house arrest in Edo for "aiding enemies of the Bakufu."
(Hillsborough Shinsengumi 114)

-Mid Nov. 1864 under the order of the Bakufu, 15000 men from different Han gather at the Choushu border ready to attack. Saigo Takamori comes up with a plan to prevent the expedition against Choushu (Hillsborough Ryoma 267)
*** actually, I think that Hillsbourgh credits Ryoma for telling Saigo what to do/write to Bakufu officials in order to prevent the attack***

Itou joins Shinsengumi. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 117)
Takasugi Shinsaku invades government offices in Shimonoseki with less then 80 men & sets up a base of operations there, he was meet with little resistance. Takasugi then marches east to the Port of Mitajiri, capturing 3 warships.
War on Mito domain
Choshu "forts at Shimonoseki were captured and destroyed by a four-nation fleet in retaliation for its having fired on foreign ships. Later in the same year, Choshu troops were defeated by Aizu and Satsuma forces when they tried to recapture the Kyoto Palace." (Teruko Craig in Remembering Aizu by Shiba Goro page 11)
Matsudaira Sadaaki (brother of Matsudaira Katamori) of Kuwana becomes Kyoto Shoshidai. (Subete 249)
Masuya/Furutaka captured and totured by Hijikata
1865 [return to the top]
Takasugi’s army (now an est. 3000) march into Shimonoseki to crush the Conservatives. By mid Jan. the army drove government troops all the way back to Hagi and pounded them from the rear with the 3 captured warships; Takasugi wins the battle (Hillsborough Ryoma 269)
Yamanami Keisuke commits seppuku for leaving the Shinsengumi, age 33
August Shinsengumi awarded $ for Ikedaya
Hierachy of the Shinsengumi rearranged
1865 spring
Ryoma Sakamoto and followers found Japan’s first joint shipping company, the Kameyama Company (Hillsborough Ryoma 316)
Bakufu issues orders to domains to send troops west for a second
expedition against Choshu. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 109)
9 foreign warships enter Osaka Bay to demand that the Shogun pay for damages caused to them by Choushu (Hillsborough Ryoma 326)
"Choshu was forced to surrender to a twenty-four-domain bakufu army. The severed heads of the domain elders responsible for its radical policies were forwarded to the bakufu army headquarters. " "A civil war in Choshu returned the radicals to power in that domain."(Teruko Craig in Remembering Aizu by Shiba Goro page 11)
Bakufu Chief Inspector Nagai Naomune, and nine Shinsengumi
members including Kondou, Itou, Takeda, and Yamazaki travel
to Hiroshima Han. Nagai was sent to question Choshu
representatives regarding their intentions to honor the peace
agreement from the previous year. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 109)
"Shinsengumi leader Kondo Isami, who had gone to Hiroshima...returned to Kinai and reported to his superiors under Katamori that Choshu men were resolved to fight regardless of what han leaders might do." (Totman 190) 
1866 [return to the top]
Bakufu Senior Councilor Ogasawara Nagamichi (Lord of Karatsu),
Nagai, Kondou, and other Shinsengumi members including Itou
and Shinohara Yasunoshin travel to Choshu. Ogasawara brought
orders from Edo that the Lord of Choshu and his heir be confined
to their residence and that their domain be reduced by 100,000
koku. The orders were refused. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi
Sakamoto negotiates military alliance between Satsuma and
Choshu. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 113)
Bakufu orders the daimyo of Choushu, his heir, and the lords of 3 Choushu branch houses to Hiroshima, the orders are ignored and Choushu buys a warship from Thomas B. Glover (Hillsborough Ryoma 382)
Okubo Tochimichi writes to Backufu officials that Satsuma Han wants no part in the upcoming 2nd expedition into Choushu (Hillsborough Ryoma 381)
Bakufu officials are sent out to Dazaifu, they are ordered to kidnap the 5 Banished Nobles and return them to Edo to be held as hostages. In order to prevent such an act, Okubo Tochimichi orders 30 expert swordsmen to confront the Bakufu officials and take any means necessary to keep the Nobles in Dazaifu; Okubo later dispatches 30 more Satsuma troops and a cannon. He is successful in keeping the 5 Banished Nobles in Dazaifu (Hillsborough Ryoma 381)
Shogun Iemochi leads troops from Edo to Kyoto for a second
punitive expedition against Choshu. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 111)
Shibata Hikosaburo deserts Shinsengumi after "...extorting money for personal use." He was pursued, brought back to Kyoto and forced to commit seppuku. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 41)
Katsu Kaishu is summoned by the Bakufu and reinstated to his former post by Tokugawa Yoshinobu in order to mandate a peace agreement between Satsuma and Aizu before Aizu attacks a Satsuma estate in Osaka (Hillsborough Ryoma 386 &
Choushu attacks Bakufu forces in Kokura (right across the strait of Shimonoseki); they are victorious (Hillsborough Ryoma 402)
on the eastern front, the commander of Hiroshima orders his forces to withdraw, hoping Choushu would do the same. Unfortunately, Choushu advances into a Bakufu stronghold and drives the Hiroshima forces out. Later, the two Han would make an unofficial truce
Bakufu forces finally attack Choushu, they capture the island of Ohshima; Takasugi rushes to the island and after a week of fighting recaptures the island on June 14 (Hillsborough Ryoma 392)
Takasugi’s forces attack Kokura a 2nd time successfully. They attack a 3rd time a few days later but are defeated by Kumamoto samurai

Shogun Iemochi dies (Mori 284) Tokugawa Yoshinobu becomes Shogun

Shogun Iemochi dies at Osaka Castle. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi

1866.7 end
Bakufu forces attack Choushu in Hiroshima but are unsuccessful
Commander of Kumamoto withdraws from battle taking his army home; other Han soon follow his lead
Vice Commander of all Tokugawa forces, Ogasawara Nagamichi secretly abandons his headquarters in Kokura and fless to Nagasaki with the warship “Fujisanmaru”
Choushu forces attack Kokura a 4th time; without their commander, the Kokura army burn down their castle and engage in gorilla warfare in the nearby mountains/hills. Choushu wins the battles and takes control of the Shimonoseki strait.
Reps. from Choushu and Hiroshima meet to strike a deal. Hiroshima promises to close the Choushu-Hiroshima border if Choushu forces withdraw from the land they ceased during the previous attacks on Hiroshima (Hillsborough Ryoma 407)
Katsu Kaishu was dispatched to Miyajima (Island of the Shrine) in the domain of Hiroshima to meet representatives of Choshu. Before departing he told Lord Yoshinobu, "I'll have things settled with the Choshu men within one month. If I'm not back by then, you can assume that they've cut off my head." It’s said that Yoshinobu secretly wished that Kastu would be killed by Choushu officers (Hillsborough Ryoma 419)
Katsu Kaishu meets with Choushu emissaries, both parties agree to call back their armies as a sign of good will (Hillsborough Ryoma 426)
Katsu Kaishu returns to Kyoto and had a fallout with Tokugawa Yoshinobu (Hillsborough Ryoma 428)
***if I remember correctly, Yoshinobu wanted to attack Choushu again even after the peace treaty and Katsu was upset because he pretty much stuck his neck out for nothing (I’d be pissed too)***
Thirty four Shinsengumi men sent to stop vandalizing of Bakufu bulletin boards near the Sanjo Large Bridge. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 67)
Katsu Kaishu submits his resignation to Prime Minister Itakura; at the beginning of Oct. he returns to Edo (Hillsborough Ryoma 429)
Itou and Shinohara Yasunoshin inform Kondou of their decision
"to secede" from the Shinsengumi. They told Kondou they had
formed relations with Satsuma and Choshu to get information
from them. To get their full trust they must appear to officially
leave the Shinsengumi. Kondou was suspicious and ordered
Saitou to go with them to serve as his spy. (Hillsborough
Shinsengumi 118)
"Tokugawa Yoshinobu, the former inspector-general of the forces protecting the emperor in Kyoto, was conferred by the emperor...the fifteenth and last Tokugawa Shogun." (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 115)
Keiou 2
Emperor Komei dies (Mori 284)
Shogunate unable to suppress Choshu "A desperate Choshu, armed with superior weapons, single-handedly defeated a second bakufu expedition in 1866" (Teruko Craig in Remembering Aizu by Shiba Goro page 11)
1867 [return to top]
Emperor Komei dies. There is a theory that he was poisoned by an anti-bakufu clique.
Keiou 3
Emperor Meiji ascends to the throne. (Mori 284)
Goto Shojiro established the Institution for Development and Achievement in Kochi, Tosa. The institution was opened to all citizens of Tosa Han
"...several Shinsengumi absconded from Kyoto because of their resentment at orders to adopt firearms. Three days later a serious confrontation occurred in the city between about two hundred pike-carrying city patrols (Mimawari) and perhaps a battalion of infantry (hohei) armed with rifles. After several hours of tension the deployed forces were quieted and no serious damage was done...The Shinsengumi was one of the most vigorously loyal patrol groups in Kyoto, and its men were fiercely proud of their function and capacity." (Totman 359) This is an example of the preference for more traditional weaponry.
Itou and twelve others, including Suzuki Mikisaburou, Shinohara
Yasunoshin, Toudou Heisuke, Hashimoto Kaisuke, and Saitou (as
Kondou's spy), "secede" from the Shinsengumi. The group
received imperial orders to join the Guard of the Imperial Tomb
for Emperor Komei. Itou left ten allies with the Shinsengumi
to give him information and to occasionally "...stir up trouble
among the rank and file." Miyakawa Nobukichi (Kondou's
cousin joins the Shinsengumi. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 119)
Ichimura Tetsunosuke and Tatsunosuke join the Shinsengumi. [Discrepency] Our friend Bunneh informed us that in Nanae Kurono's popular PEACEMAKER IMON Vol. 1 when the story begins in March 1864 Ichimura Tatsunosuke was already and accountant with the Shinsengumi when Tetsu became Hijikata's page.
March 10th Itou Kashitaroo leaves the Shinsengumi with followers
1867.3. 2nd week of
Kameyama Company (Ryoma Sakamoto’s company) makes a written charter for Tosa Han in which Tosa would financial back the Company but at the same time let them be independent from the Han, in return the Company would act as Tosa’s Auxiliary Naval Force (Kaientai)(Hillsborough Ryoma   457); by early April the charter is signed by both parties and all the Tosa ronin of the Kameyama Company are official pardoned by Tosa daimyo (Hillsborough Ryoma   464)
1867 spring
Shinsengumi move headquarters from Mibu to Nishihonganji
Temple. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 112)
Takasugi Shinsaku dies of tuberculosis (Hillsborough Ryoma   469 &
the Kaientai sets out on their maiden voyage aboard the “Irohamaru” to Osaka and on the night of the 23rd are accidentally rammed and sunk by a much larger ship from Kii Han (Hillsborough Ryoma   475)

Ryoma meets with Captain Takayanagi to settle the matter of the “Irohamaru” (Hillsborough Ryoma   487); The Kaientai wins the court case against Kii Han (p.488). Soon afterward Kii officials submit a report to the Magistrate of Nagasaki claiming that the “Irohamaru” didn’t have its lights on the night of the accident and refuse to pay for the sinking of the “Irohamaru” (Hillsborough Ryoma 489)

Kii Han agrees to pay Sakamoto 83,000 ryo in exchange for Sakamoto dropping a suit he filed against them in a court of
international law. Sakamoto had chartered a ship that he was using to transport 400 rifles that was run down and sunk by a ship owned by Kii Han. Sakamoto was seeking compensation and he publicly ridiculed Kii with a jingle he wrote and sang. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 132-133)

Tosa official Goto Shojiro and Kii official Takayanagi arrange to have Kii Han withdraw it’s report to the Magistrate of Nagasaki, Kii finally agrees to pay for the losses suffered by the Kaientai (Hillsborough Ryoma   491)
Sakamoto prepares a plan to prevent civil war. "While Ryoma's allies in Satsuma and Choshu promoted their agenda to
crush the Tokugawa by military force...Ryoma's plan, a bold attempt to lay the cornerstone of democracy in Japan, urged
the shogun to restore the emperor to his ancient seat of power. It called for the establishment of two legislative houses of
government - an upper and lower - to be filled by men of ability among the feudal lords, court nobles, and representatives
of the Japanese people at large. It stated that governmental measures should be decided by the councilors based on
public opinion." Sakamoto presented his plan to the Lord of Tosa through Gotou Shoujirou. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi
Itou's group becomes known as the Kodaiji Faction headquartered
at Gesshin'in, a subtemple of Kodaiji. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi

All members of Shinsengumi granted hatamoto status. Kondou
given direct access to the shogun. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi

Five days after being granted hatamoto status the Shinsengumi
move their headquarters to newly constructed quarters at
Fudou-dou Village. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 121)

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

*"That year" is Keio 3 (1867)
*"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.

Itou's ten remaining allies with the Shinsengumi decide
to leave the corps because, they said, they did not join to be
Tokugawa retainers. The ten requested to join Itou's Guard of
the Imperial Tomb, but because of a previous agreement with
Kondou and Hijikata to not accept defectors, Itou old the ten
to get permission from the Lord of Aizu. Four leaders of this
group waited for hours at Aizu headquarters. Members of the
Shinsengumi came to Aizu hq, including Inoue Genzaburou and
Oishi Kuwajirou and killed the four. Official Shinsengumi report
said they committed seppuku. The remaining six members were
expelled from the corps. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 119-120)
Tosa and Satsuma make an unofficial union
two British sailors are found dead in Maruyama district of Nagasaki. Rumors had it that a Tosa man from the Kaientai killed the two. The British demand the Tokugawa Magistrate in Osaka to investigate. The incident is later called the Icarus Affair (Hillsborough Ryoma   518)


Shinsengumi as Tokugawa Retainers
1867.7.23 or 22

Takeda Kanryuusai rumored to be killed by Saitou Hajime (with Shinohara?) however he may have died of a stroke

Takeda Kanryuusai killed by Saitou. The Shinsengumi found
" out Takeda had been visiting the Satsuma estate. When Kondou
confronted him with this, Takeda said he was just trying to get
their new information. Kondou pretended to approve and told Takeda to go to the Satsuma estate, but as it was dangerous to travel alone
at night Kondou sent Saitou and another man along. Takeda
was killed when they reached a secluded spot. (Hillsborough
Shinsengumi 122-123)

the British ship “Basilisk” arrives in Tosa’s Susaki Port to investiage the Icarus Affair in Nagasaki; Aug 14, Bakufu officials arrives to deal with the British (Hillsborough Ryoma   528) In early Sept. it was decided that none of the Kaientai were involved in the Icuras Affair. The murderer wouldn’t be known until two years later
***if I remember correctly, I think it was Fukui man who committed the murders***
Ryoma Sakamoto is finally official pardoned by Tosa and no longer a considered an outlaw
1867 fall
Tetsunosuke Ichimura joins the Shinsengumi. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 173)
Gotou Shoujirou meets Kondou at the home of Bakufu Chief Inspector Nagai Naomune. They discuss the political situation in Japan. Kondou requests to see the petition Gotou is
submitting to the shogun. Gotou does not show him. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 128-129)
Oct. 9,1867 Goto Shojiro meets and talks with Kondou Isami of the Shinsengumi while visiting Nagai (Shogun's right hand man); Kondou asks for a copu of the memorial submitted to the Bakufu by Saigo Takamori, Goto complies and gives him a copy a few days later (Hillsborough Ryoma 570-572)
Kondou Isami reported to Matsudaira Katamori that "the main rumor spoke not merely of join Satsuma-Choshu plotting but also indicated that 'Tosa ronin' and 'Nakatsugawa ronin' were involved. Their plans reportedly envisioned armed seizure of Nijo castle, the Shinsengumi barracks, and Katamori's headquarters. The putsch was to occur on 10/15." (Totman 382)

Choushu is officially pardoned by the Imperial Court and no longer considered “Imperial Enemies” (Hillsborough Ryoma   582)

Iwakura Tomomi receives imperial decree from Nakayama
Tadayasa that exonerates the Lord of Choshu and his heir
from their "Imperial Enemy" status. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 129)


Choushu, Satsuma, Tosa, and all other “loyal” Han are authorized by the Imperial court to attack and destroy the Bakufu (Hillsborough Ryoma 582). Later that same day, Komatsu (Satsuma councilor) got the Shogun’s “Relinquish of Power” officially issued by the Imperial Court, which annulled the preivious day’s issue for loyalist to attack Bakufu. This pretty much saves Kyoto from being invaded by loyalists (Hillsborough Ryoma   593)

Imperial approval given to Iwakura Tomomi for his plan for Satsuma, Choshu, and other domains to attack the Tokugawa.
This was "essentially a Tokugawa death warrant, which called for the destruction of the Edo regime, the punishment
of the 'traitor' Yoshinobu, and the deaths of the Lords of Aizu and Kuwana." (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 129)


Yoshinobu announces his abdication and restores rule to the
emperor. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 127)

1867.10.14 estimate
While watching Nakayama's house Shinsengumi see Satsuma and Choshu samurai entering. Kondou orders Shinsengumi
to arrest or kill the men as they leave. Men snuck out the back carrying imperial decree which became useless when Yoshinobu abdicated. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 130)
Many domains faced the problem of either listening to head of their domain or to Tokugawa Yoshinobu "Kondo Isami wrote a friend in Edo that men there should hasten to Kyoto and, with a zealous resolve to die for their lord, smash the opposing daimyo and nobles and thereby restore Tokugawa fortunes." (Totman 393)
Itou and Toudou (former members of the Shinsengumi) visit Ryoma Sakamoto in his Kyoto hideout to worn him that his life is in danger
Sakamoto and Nakaoka are attacked at Sakamoto's Kyoto hideout. Sakamoto is killed. Nakaoka dies two days later.
Items were left at the scene that implicated the Shinsengumi. Iwakura Tomomi and Okubo Ichizo are also suspects. In
Feb 1870 Imai Noburo confesses that he and six others of the Mimawarigumi, including Sasaki Tadasaburo, committed the
murders. "...neither his [Imai] testimony nor the subsequent investigation and research have yielded conclusive evidence
as to the true identity of Ryoma's assassins. The incident must therefore be classified among the most tragic unsolved crimes
in Japanese history." (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 131, 180)

"Mimawari [Mimawarigumi] discovered and killed two influential Tosa men plotting with other radicals. More deadly to the tranquility of Kyoto than rumors, reports, and incidents was the turning of the gentle old city into an armed camp of unfriendly forces assembled and ready for war." (Totman 395) Ryoma Sakamoto is assasinated and Nakaoka Shintaro is attacked (and soon dies from his wounds) very likely by the Mimawarigumi or his fellow revolutionaries (which means there is a whole list of factions). Not the Shinsengumi, however there are theories which do insist on their involvement.

Kondou invites Itou to meet with him under the guise of providing
money that Itou had requested. Saitou had informed Kondou of Itou's plan to kill Kondou and his officers, set fire to
Shinsengumi headquarters, and take command of Shinsengumi to use them to fight against the Tokugawa. When Itou left the
meeting around 8pm Shinsengumi members including Oishi Kuwajiro, Miyakawa Nobukichi, and "probably" Saitou Hajime
were waiting for him. Itou was killed. Kondou had arranged for the Kodaiji Faction to be informed of Itou's death expecting
them to come to recover his body. Around 2am seven of the Kodaiji Faction came including Shinohara, Suzuki, and Toudou.
Waiting for them were "probably between thirty and forty" Shinsengumi members including Nagakura, Harada, Oishi,
Shimada, and Saitou. Three Kodaiji Faction members were killed including Toudou. The other four escaped to the
Satsuma estate. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 124-125)
Itou Kashitarou at age 32, Toudou Heisuke at age 23, Hattori Takeo killed in ambush by the Shinsengumi
Okubo Ichizo, political leader of Satsuma, writes to Iwakura Tomomi. "I have heard that without a doubt it was the
Shinsengumi who killed Sakamoto....Kondo Isami is the prime suspect." (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 131)

Tenmaya Inn Affair

Miura Kyutaro, a high-ranking Kii official, is attacked by Nakai Shogoro and fifteen other of Sakamoto's comrades in his room at the Tenman'ya inn. Seven Shinsengumi members were with Miura as protection including Saitou, Oishi Kuwajiro, and Miyagawa Nobukichi. Miura escaped slightly wounded. Miyagawa and another Shinsengumi member were killed.
Saitou and two others were wounded. Nakai was killed.
(Hillsborough Shinsengumi 133-134)

Yoshinobu, Lord of Aizu, and Lord of Kuwana leave Nijo Castle
and go to Osaka Castle. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 136)

Okita Souji escapes death and Kondou Isami is shot in the shoulder by the remaining Itou party members

Kondou shot in the shoulder by Shinohara Yasunoshin on his way back to Fushimi from Nijo Castle. Badly wounded, Kondou escapes. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 140)

Shinsengumi set up headquarters at the Fushimi magistrate's
compound. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 139)
Kondou goes to Osaka for treatment from Matsumoto Ryojun.
(Hillsborough Shinsengumi 140)
Emperor Komei dies at his palace in Kyoto. His cause of death
was said to be smallpox, but he may have been poisoned.
(Hillsborough Shinsengumi 115)
1867.12 late
Pro-Tokugawa troops surround Satsuma's estate in Edo and demand that the Satsuma men who committed arson and
looting against Bakufu supporters be turned over to them. Satsuma refused. Tokugawa troops open fire "knowing well
that this would trigger a war in Kyoto." (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 136-137)
Tokugawa Yoshinobu becomes the 15th and last shogun. He is
given the title "commander in chief of the expeditionary forces
against the barbarians" by the emperor. (Hillsborough
Shinsengumi 115)
Takasugi Shinsaku dies of tuberculosis
Yoshinobu decides to leave Kyoto and go to Osaka with Katamori. "Kondo Isami, who insisted on the need to retain the castle [Nijo Castle], was left with some Shinsengumi men." (Totman 402) Shogun Keiki restores political power to the imperial court (Hane 491)
Yoshinobu/Katamori/Sadaaki leave for Osaka. Shinsengumi assigned guard duty at Nijo, they annoy Mito. (From "Saitou Hajime no Subete," p. 96-97,,
Nagai Genba (Naoyuki) leaves for Osaka, takes Shinsengumi with him. Temporary headquarters at Osaka Tenmangu Shrine. [western calendar January 7 1868] (From "Saitou Hajime no Subete," p. 96-97,,
Shinsengumi ordered to duty at Fushimi-bugyosho. Yoshimura Kanichiro and Yamazaki Susumu go ahead to Fushimi.
Shinsengumi arrives in Fushimi

Kondou shot by Abe Juurou and Goryoeji survivors, barely manages to make it to Fushimi. Sent to Osaka, cared for by Matsumoto Ryojun (Yoshinobu's doctor). Thus, Hijikata Toshizou is left in command of the Shinsengumi at the Battle of Toba-Fushimi.

"On the 17th, a messenger arrived from Nagai Genba-no-Kami (Nagai Naoyuki), in the castle at Nijo, in Kyoto, summoning Kondou Isami. On his return from there, Kondou, on horseback and accompanied by four soldiers including Shimada Kai, traveled in the pitch black of nighttime darkness. At Matsubara, Itou Kashitarou's younger brother Suzuki Mikisaburou, Shinohara Tainoshin, Abe Juro, and Naikai Jiro lay in wait, and when Kondou's group passed them, they opened fire on him.

There was a shout- 'You, villain!' Kondou and the others looked about in confusion, and a single bullet struck Kondou in the right shoulder. Though struck, Kondou spurred his horse on and dashed off in the direction of Fushimi. Two people left behind- Ishii Kiyonoshin and Isami's servant Hisakichi, were slain in a hail of bullets and blades. Shimada Kai and the others managed to miraculously escape to Fushimi unharmed. It was soon heard that there were former soldiers of Shinsengumi who hated their commander, and who attacked him. However, they didn't escape after what they did, and because they killed Ishii and Hisakichi, they took the bodies and left them at a temple in Fushimi. Kondou was sent to Osaka Castle to recover from his wounds, and Hijikata was left in command of the Shinsengumi." [translated by Hirotada Tokugawa]

--Nagakura Shinpachi. Shinsengumi Tenmatsuki. Tokyo: Shin Jinbutsu Oraisha, 2003, p. 157.

"Aidzu had occupied the castle of Yodo, a few miles south of Kioto on the direct road, with 500 of his own troops, and 300 of the Shinsen-gumi, a recenty raised body of Tokugawa infantry, had also proceeded thither, while all along the road small detachments were stationed." (Satow 305)
By this year 12 domains ordered or permitted men to go abroad (Choshu and Satsuma sent a total of 37 combined). The bakufu also sent Yoshinobu's brother abroad.
Appraisal: The state of affairs at the end of 1867... "Satsuma-Choshu coup of late 1867...Katamori (of Aizu)...had supportted the Tosa proposal, by which the Bakufu would have disappeared in name while retaining much of its old influence. Under these circumstances politics would still have been open enough to offer scope for the ambitions of men like Katamori. Satsuma and Choshu, however, had changed the character of the political game entirely by depriving the Tokugawa of their lands, their strenth, and , consequently their rolse as counterpoise to the Court. Since the Court itself was now firmly in the grip of the south-westerners, there was no longer any place for...the five kobugattai brokers..." (Bolitho 15-16) one of which was Matsudaira Katamori. Aizu was to be eliminated.

1868 [return to top]

Umemori's summary of the Boshin war is both accurate and concise. The following is a summary of his major points:

The Boshin War was neither a "revolution" nor "coup d'etat", but rather a "civil war" between two different regions . "The most severe conflict emerged along the geographical boundary between the West and East, not along the lines of class or status distinction." (Umemori 51). Albert Craig, who studied Choshu-han's motivations wrote, "the Meiji Restoration was not a revolution, not a change in the name of new values---such as liberte, egalite, and fraternite in the French Revolution. Rather…a change carried out in the name of old values. ..It was a change brought about unwittingly by men who before 1868 had no conception of the eventual social ramifications." (Craig 360)

Over time, American scholars especially those who published before World War II felt that the "revolution" in Japan was parallel to the one which established the United States. Similarly, British researchers, who are sympathetic to the constitutional monarchy system supported the ascension of the rightful ruler, the emperor, to political prominence. A combination of researcher bias (they tend to approve of trends which they believe move towards their own systems) and the many difficulties they faced in collecting and reading data in Japanese have contributed to added confusion in studying this chaotic period. If the entire era has been misinterpreted then surely a controversial group such as the Shinsengumi would also risk being victims of both bias and the revisionist pen.

The Bakufu fell due to a complex combination of foreign pressure, internal disunity, domainal conflict and economics.

During the conflict, the self-named kangun or Imperial Army marched with fake Imperial Banners.

Satsuma and Choshu Alliance established (from the work of Sakamoto Ryoma, Katsura Kogorou and Saigo Takamori) bears fruit.

Battle of Toba-Fushimi and start of Boshin War.

Civil war breaks out in Toba-Fushimi. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 141)

Yamazaki Susumu (wounded) drowns? during retreat at age 33 or 34

Just before noon with both sides holding up well against each other, Satsuma and Choshu display the imperial banner. "The
Satsuma and Choshu men broke out in cheer, their morale bolstered, while their Tokugawa foes seemed suddenly robbed
of their fighting spirit. At that moment the Satsuma gunners ceased firing and charged the enemy with drawn swords. The
Tokugawa side sttempted to counterattack but were forced to retreat by an all-out charge of the entire imperial force."
(Hillsborough Shinsengumi 142)
Yoshinobu and the Lords of Aizu and Kuwana leave Osaka Castle
and travel to Edo aboard the Tokugawa warship Kaiyo Maru.
(Hillsborough Shinsengumi 142)
Saitou Hajime and Nagakura Shinpachi guard the rear of the retreating shogunate army
On Toba-Fushimi "The best bakufu battalions, the hohei and French-trained forces had weapons as good s those of the insugents, but the battalions of jutai, yugekitai, and other mixed with mixed firearms or miscellaneous arms were decidly inferior. And other units that were in the thick of it at first, notably mimawari [Mimawarigumi], Shinsengumi, and many Aizu men, used pikes rather than firearms. While the pikemen turned in some performances...they and the swordsmen tired more easlity than the riflemen...It appears that the insurgents were substantially more successful in having their best weapons at the right place at the right time." (Totman 433)
"After lunch, Sir Harry, Willis and I went down to a Tempozan, the chief to call on his colleagues, Willis to attend to the wounds of some Aidzu men who had been brought down from Kioto, where they had fought against the imperialists...I went to make friends with some of the Aidzu wounded, who were waiting for boats to put them on board of Tokugawa ships. They asserted that they would have beaten the enemy if they had been properly supported, but Todo had turned traitor at Yamazaki (on the right bank of the river, nearly opposite Yodo) which was the most important point of the defence, and Keiki's general Takenaga had gone over the enemy at Yodo itself. Moreover the drilled infantry were useless; if one man ran the rest followed like a flock of sheep (as we should say). They estimated the Satsuma force at the low figure of 1000, but said the skirmishing of the enemy was very good, and they were armed with breech-loaders. Keiki had run away, they knew not whither...the Tokugawa warhsip "Kaiyo-maru" which left at noon. Keiki is believed to be on board of her." (Satow 314-315)
Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu attacked Kyoto "Yoshinobu had earlier offered to return the reins of government to the emperor, but his vision of imperial rule was of a council of daimyo, which he would control by reason of his vast lands. When it was announced that he would lose his lands. When it was announced that he would lose his lands, Yoshinobu, who had withdrwan to Osaka castle, sent an army of 15,000 to recapture the court." 1,600 Aizu troops join the bakufu troops. (Teruko Craig in Remembering Aizu by Shiba Goro page 10)
Kondou and Hijikata board the Tokugawa warship Fujisan Maru
to Edo. The wounded (including Saitou) and Okita (ill with
tuberculosis) traveled with them while the rest of the Shinsengumi
traveled aboard the Jundo Maru. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 143)
Ex-shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu was presented with plans for military action and plans to salvage the regime "Others, such as men of Kuwana and Aizu, lobbied unsuccessfully to get him to act. Some, such as Kondo Isami of the Shinsengumi, were refused audience." (Totman 439) 
Aizu samurai injured in Kyoto were moved to Osaka and treated by Dr. Willis.


February 8th edict "ordered that Yoshi-nogu (the ex-Tycoon) should be proceeded against, in consequence of his having practised deceit upon the Imperial Court, committing open rebellion and resorting to arms." "Aidzu, Kuwana and others, being confederates in the rebellion were declared traitors and deprived of office and rank." (Black vol 2 169-170)
Imperial court orders Sendai to attack Aizu. Sendai refuses and later joins Yonezawa and other northern domains to form a loose alliance known as the Ouetsu Reppan Doumei (many English language texts simply call it the Northern Alliance).
Tokugawa Yoshinobu "..and other officials visited Aizu and Shinsengumi wounded at their hospital quarters, consoling them and thanking them for their brave service." (Totman 439-440) 
Saitou is treated for an injury at a hospital at Izumibashi 
1868.1 end
Shinsengumi set up headquarters at the Edo estate of a former
Jan Tokugawa official. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 145)
Hijikata obtains "state-of-the-art breech-loading rifles" for the
Shinsengumi. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 143)
1868.2.4 (lunar? gregorian?)
Katamori yields the position of clan lord to his 14 year old son, Nobunori. (Noguchi 168)
1868.2.22 (unsure)
"On the twenty-second day of the second month of Keio 4 [1868] Katamori returned to Aizu" (Shiba 41). Katamori "stated that he was willing to submit to the authority of the emperor's government, and protested that he had never opposed the court but had simply fought in self-defense against Satsuma and Choshu and had wrongly been labeled 'an enemy of the court'...Satsuma and Choshu leaders...ignored his appeals." (Shiba 12) 

Yoshinobu moves from Edo Castle to Daiji'in in Ueno.
(Hillsborough Shinsengumi 145)

Yoshinobu enters voluntary kinshin confinement at Ueno Kan’eiji. (Mori 35)

1868.2.15-28 (lunar? gregorian?)
Saitou guards the former shogun Yoshinobu
1868.2.16 (lunar? gregorian?)
Matsudaira Katamori returns to Aizu

Shinsengumi (now renamed Koyochinbutai - Pacification Corps) see "When the Shinsengumi became the Koyochinbutai"
leave Edo for Kofu Castle. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 148)

Koyochinbutai and ordered to suppress uprisings in Kofu. Fighting at Yose, Komagai, Hishiyama, Kashiwabi and retreat to Hachioji (Hachiochi).

On the Western calendar, Sagara Souzou was arrested on March 24, 1868
Sagara Souzou executed on March 26 [information from Sagara Souzou Historical Information]
Shinsengumi march through heavy snowstorm toward Kofu.
(Hillsborough Shinsengumi 150)
1868.3.5 (lunar? gregorian?)
Arisugawa no Miya Orihito enters Sunpu Castle (Mori 285)
Shinsengumi receive word that Kofu Castle has been taken by
imperial forces led by Itagaki Taisuke of Tosa. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 150)
Shinsengumi reaches town of Katsunuma five miles east of Kofu.
They construct a barrier and set up their cannon. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 151)
Katsu Kaishu sends letter via Yamaoka Tetsutaro to Saigo
Kichinosuke (Saigo Takamori) in Sunpu. Letter said Yoshinobu and his retainers have pledged loyalty to the emperor and imperial government and that old government and new government must work
together in peace to deal with foreign powers. Saigo trusted Katsu and replied that shogun's castle, weapons, and warships
must be surrendered to new government and shogun's troops leave Edo. This would allow the House of Tokugawa to
survive, Yoshinobu's life to be spared, and war to be avoided. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 153-154)
Battle of Katsunuma. At noon Shinsengumi are attacked by
imperial troops. After two hours of fighting Shinsengumi scatter
and retreat to Edo. Shinsengumi - Eight dead and more than
thirty wounded. Imperials - One dead and twelve wounded.
(Hillborough Shinsengumi 151)
1868.3.8 (lunar? gregorian?)
French naval men massacred at Sakai. Yamaoka Tesshu meets with Saigou Takamori in Sunpu.(Mori 286)
former Shinsengumi travel through Hino at night and go to Edo
1868.3.10 (lunar? gregorian?)
Yamaoka returns to Edo, presents Katsu Kaishu with a list of 7 Imperial orders. (Mori 286)
Kondou and Hijikata leave Edo with 100+ Shinsengumi members.
They set up temporary quarters at the Kaneko family estate
northeast of Edo. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 155-156)
Katsu Kaishu and Saigo Kichinosuke meet. Katsu accepts Saigo's
terms. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 154)
Attack on Edo Castle called off. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 154)
1868.3 mid
Nagakura, Harada, and several others leave Shinsengumi to
March join their allies in Aizu. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 154)
Kondou changes his alias from Okubo Tsuyoshi to Okubo Yamato.
(Hillsborough Shinsengumi 148)
Shinsengumi leave Kaneko estate and set up headquarters in
Nagareyama on April 2. Shinsengumi now at 227 members.
(Hillsborough Shinsengumi 156)
Takamine Hideo appointed page to Matsudaira Katamori
Staff Officer Kagawa Keizo of Mito, commanding 300 imperial
troops ordered to suppress the opposition in Utsunomiya Han,
receives word that an armed unit has set up camp in
Nagareyama. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 156)
Two hundred imperial troops surprise Shinsengumi in
Nagareyama during training. Kagawa and Vice Staff Officer
Arima Tota of Satsuma order Kondou to go with them to their
camp at Koshigaya. They suspect that suspect that the man who
calls himself Okubo Yamato is really Kondou Isami. (Hillsborough
Shinsengumi 156-157)
By the spring of 1868, government armies had accepted the surrender of Edo and consolidated their grip on eastern Japan; by early summer they were advancing toward the northeast. The strategy of their commanders was to pick off one by one. This was feasible because the alliance had no plan for joint military actions." (Teruko Craig in Remembering Aizu by Shiba Goro page 13)
" the Mikado, the Great I am of all the Japs, is in the hands of Satsuma...Satsuma, came to the conclusion that the Tycoon [Shogun] had done wrong and ought to be deposed and he rule instead---hence he declared war, captured the Mikado (who is quite a boy) and compelled him to issue proclamations declaring the Tycoon at fault and asking him to yield to Satsuma. The Tycoon said no!---hence the civil war is in full blast" (Boyer 39-40)
1868.4.4 (leap month? or conversion error)

"the Japs have done some tall fighting lately...It appears that one Northern Prince, Aidzu [Aizu] by name...have acknowledge the power of the Mikado as being in the right, declares that he has a contract for fighting, and fighting it shall be to the bitter end. The Mikado has declared him an outlaw. Thus far Aidzu has flogged the troops of Satsuma in every engagement. From all accounts the cause of Aidzu is not a bad one. We all are anxious to see him win the day and replace the Tycoon in power." (Boyer 48)

[editorial commentary by James A. Barnes] Aizu "was certainly not the only great lord who stood by the Shogun...he remained...a thorn in the side of Satsuma. [Aizu] has 'been restrained thus far from actively participating in the strife' Van Valkenburgh had written Secretary Seward...Ordered to attack and subdue [Aizu], the Prince of Sendai had replied in a memorial...'a sentence being passed one who never had a trial.' (Boyer 48)

1868.4.4 (lunar? gregorian?)
Hijikata Toshizou joins forces with Ootori Keisuke, forming the last army of the Bakufu; retreated to Aizu after loss at Utsunomiya see [Hijikata Toshizo at Utsunomiya Castle]
1868.4.4 (lunar? gregorian?)
Ikeda Osumi no Kami Nagashige (7000 koku hatamoto) becomes commander of the Shogitai. (Mori 286) Harada fights with the Shogitai
1868.4.5 (leap month? or conversion error)

[Boyer will mention some numbers in the following entry. The numbers are probably not accurate]

"Some say that Satsuma's army are north of a certain pass and that Aidzu is in possession of that pass. If so, why, Old Satsuma's men will be in a perfect Thermopylae trap. The other day Aidzu's men fell on 800 of Satsuma's troops and cut them all to pieces. Only 32 excaping. Later in the day he captured 300 of Satsuma's men and cut them all to pieces. Aidzu now has several of the Northern princes to help him. Satsuma is getting hard up for chow chow [food]. The Northern Army has more money, men and food than the Southern or Mikado crowd. The Mikado is trembling in his boots, and well he might. this figthing by contract, as Aidzu calls it, rather astonishes the Mikado. Go in, Aidzu, say we all of us. Everyone is an Aidzu man now." (Boyer 49)

[editorial commentary by James A. Barnes] "The Northern group was believed by the Americans to have by far the greater assets. The American Minister explained (accurately or inaccurately) to Secretary Seward that the Shogun had no debt, the treasury was sound, and there were no more taxes until the next November, when the rice crop would be harvested...the Southern daimyo had not money with which to pay the army, once provided from Tokugawa funds...Satsuma, heavily in debt for ships and war materials and one of his islands rumored to be mortgaged to British merchants, might, he continued "become insolvent" unless he could maintain the controlling influence he had succeeded in assuming...the chief of the Tokugawa...unless...stripped of his assets, would "remain the most powerful personage in his Empire". In spite of the sympathies of most Americans for Aizu and the Shogun as well, the Resident Minister urged "strict neutrality" (Boyer 49) [excerpt from Van Valkenburgh to Seward, Yokohama June 4, 1868 Despatches, Japan, 10 No. 50]

Kondou is taken to Itabashi for questioning. Former Shinsengumi
member Kano Michinosuke (seems to be a survivor from Itou's group) positively identifies Kondou.
(Hillsborough Shinsengumi 160)
Hijikata goes to Edo to see Katsu Kaishu, tells him what has
happened at Nagareyama, and asks for his help in getting a
pardon for Kondou. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 160)
A messenger arrives at Itabashi with a letter seemingly written
by Katsu Kaishu requesting that Kondou's life be spared. "No
firm evidence exists to prove that Kaishu actually wrote the
The messenger was arrested and the request was denied.
(Hillsborough Shinsengumi 160-161)
Hijikata Toshizo meets with Matsudaira Katamori (daimyo of Aizu)
Kondou's trial begins in Itabashi with representatives from
Satsuma, Choshu, Tosa, Hikone, Mito, and others. (Hillsborough
Shinsengumi 161)
Yoshinobu returns to Mito. Edo Castle officially turned over to
imperial government. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 162)
Hijikata and Shimada Kai join 3000+ oppositionist troops and
leave Edo. Hijikata is chosen to lead one of the three units
and they go north to Utsunomiya. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 162)
1868.4.19 (lunar? gregorian?)
Senior councilors of 25 domains of northern Japan meet in Shiroishi (the Sendai domain’s 2nd castle), form Ou-reppandoumei ([Mutsu-Dewa] Northern Alliance). (Mori 286). Aizu will join the Northern Alliance.
Shinsengumi are driven from Utsunomiya by imperial forces.
During the fight Hijikata is shot in the foot. Shinsengumi march
to Aizu. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 162)
Kondou executed by Yokokura Kisoji. Witnessed by Miyagawa
Yugoro (Kondou's 17 year old nephew). (Hillsborough
Shinsengumi 163-164)
1868.4.27 (lunar? gregorian?) estimate

Shinsengumi sent to help Bakufu forces in Shirakawa [conflicting info] Saitou Hajime (Yamaguchi Jiro) arrive at Shirakawa around April 22 (lunar? gregorian?) ***April of 1868 is a leap month

April 22-29 Saitou arrives at Shirakawa Castle and fight at Shirasakaguchi pass (located 30 miles south of Shirakawa castle). Troops from Sendai (ally of Aizu) later arrive however they too suffered defeat (series of retreats)...attempts to take Shirakawa continues until May 26

1868.4.26 (lunar? gregorian?)
April 26 Arisugawa-no-miya enters Edo (the city falls under Imperial control). The imperial edict that that Yoshinobu's life is spared is read.
Kondou's headless body is brought to Ryugenji Temple for
burial. His head is displayed for three days at Itabashi then
brought to Kyoto. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 164-165)
Opposition forces reach Aizu-Wakamatsu. Hijikata's foot
wound treated. Shinsengumi (about 130 members) under
the command of Saitou (now using the name Yamaguchi
Jirou). (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 167)
"While at Higashiyama Onsen (hot spring) letting his foot wound heal, Hijikata built a grave for Kondou Isami at Tenneiji." translated by Shimazu Masayoshi from
1868.4.29 (lunar? gregorian?)
Tayasu Kamenosuke (later known as Iesato) succeeds to the Tokugawa main house. (Mori 286)
Aizu, Yonezawa, Shonai, Sendai, and 21 other domains in
northern Japan form an alliance to fight the imperial forces.
(Hillsborough Shinsengumi 167)
1868.5.3 (lunar? gregorian?)
Ou-reppandoumei formally established. (Mori 286)
1868.5.6 (lunar? gregorian?)
domains of northern Echigo province formally declare their stance, making the alliance the Ou’u-reppandoumei ([Mutsu-Dewa-Echigo] Northern Alliance). (Mori 287)

1868.5.15 (lunar? gregorian?)

Battle of Ueno. Destruction of the Shogitai. (Mori 287)
1868.5.17 (lunar? gregorian?)
Harada Sanosuke dies at age 28 after the Shogitai's last stand at Ueno Hill in Edo (some say he escaped to China)
[Meiji 1/5/21]
July 10 Kido Takayoshi "Glover came to visit. It seems that an English warship came in from Hyogo yesterday; and he told me the news which it brought. For one thing Aizu men have slipped into Kii province to hide, he says, and Tosa and Choshu troops have gone in search of them" (vol 1 page 56)
Okita dies of tuberculosis at a private residence in Edo at
age 25. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 167-168)
1868.6 early
[editorial commentary by James A. Barnes] "Early in June, the Minister repated to Seward the rumor that Sendai, ordered to attack, sent to the front artillery, small army, blankets, and other supllies needed by Aizu and then opened fire with blank cartridges. "Aidzu in this manner," he contined, "became well provided and Sendai is now supposed to be powerless to repeat the attack." (Boyer 48) [excerpt from Van Valkenburgh to Seward, Yokohama June 4, 1868 Despatches, Japan, 10 No. 57 Seward to Van Valkenburgh, Washington Setp 3, 1868, Diplomatic Instructions, Japan 104, No. 63, 260-261]
1868.6.4 (lunar? gregorian?)
Saitou Hajime meets Matsudaira Katamori
1868.6.21 (lunar? gregorian?)
(IMPERIAL ARMY MOVING NORTH) Kawai Tsugunosuke meets with Iwamura Seiichiro of the Imperial army, at Jigenji, a temple two miles away from Nagaoka-han’s southern border. Kawai delivers a letter from Lord Makino of Nagaoka begging for Imperial troops to not enter the domain. Negotiations break down after less than half an hour. (Bolitho, Echigo War, 272)
1868.7 early
Hijikata well enough to rejoin troops on the front lines, but not well enough to fight and has to retreat. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 167)
1868.7.17 (lunar? gregorian?)
July 17 Edo’s name changed to Tokyo (Mori 287) [discrepancy see Sept 3]
1868.8.21 (lunar? gregorian?)

Battle of Bonari Pass in Aizu (with many Shinsengumi). Itagaki Taisuke lead Choshu and Satsuma samurai from Nihonmatsu (located northeast of Aizu Wakamatsu) into the Bonari Pass, seized inawashiro and crossed the Nippashi River.

The Battle of Bonari Pass was the beginning of the action that culminated in the Sat-cho army reaching the walls of Aizu-Wakamatsu. Northern forces put up stiff resistance there but were eventually routed. One of the unit commanders was Oshima Torao, who was shot in the rear end (buttocks) as he retreated. Just as Oshima resigned himself
to death, Saitou and the Shinsengumi appeared, and covered the retreat of
Oshima's unit with small-arms fire. (translated by Hirotada Tokugawa from page 194 of "Saitou Hajime Kanren Jinbutsu Jiten", by Todo Toshihisa,in "Shinsengumi Saitou Hajime no Subete")

1868.8.22 (lunar? gregorian?)
Saitou and Hijikata meet at Inawashiro Castle. They stayed at Saitou Inn (Saitoya) in Wakamatsu. Thirty-seven members of the Byakkotai were sent out to halt Itagaki Taisuke's advance. Twenty of these teenagers were separated from the main group.

Imperial forces attack Aizu-Wakamatsu. The castle falls after
a month of fighting. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 167)

Sagawa Kanbei Aizu domain elder (later go-between for the Fujita marriage) "The reason we formed the alliance and took up arms was to remove the villains at the side of the emperor. Look at what their troops do: They plunder, kill innocent people, and rape---their cruelty knows no bounds. They are a band of evil men, not soldiers of the emperor. We have no recourse but to fight. I have heard that their commander-in-chief, Prince Ninnaji, has arrived at the village of Todera...If I could meet with the prince and convince him that we are not enemies of the court, I would gladly submit. But without making this clear, I cannot possibly obey his order to surrender" (Teruko Craig in Remembering Aizu by Shiba Goro page 18 from Aizu boshin senshi by Yamakawa Kenjiro)

August 23 {7-8 October Gregorian calendar} Byakkotai mass suicide
Itagaki Taisuke and Sat-cho samurai captured the outer wall of Tsurugajo Castle (Flying Crane Castle)
1868.8 mid
Enomoto Takeaki (former commissioner of the Tokugawa navy)
set sail from Edo with eight Tokugawa warships including the
flagship Kaiyo Maru. Enomoto had refused to give up these
ships when Edo Castle was handed over to the imperial
government in April. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 168)
Meeting at Sendai Castle with Enomoto and former Bakufu
men, Sendai representatives, and other northern domains.
Some domains wanted to pledge their allegiance to the
imperial government. No agreement could be reached
regarding war plans. Enomoto suggested Hijikata be made
general of the confederate troops. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi

1868.9.3 (lunar? gregorian?)
September 3 Edo is renamed Tokyo [discrepancy see July 17]
Yonezawa Han falls to imperial forces. Sendai surrenders. "By late September most of the domains had pledged their allegiance to the imperial government." (Hillsborough
Shinsengumi 169)

1868.9.4 (lunar? gregorian?)
Almost all of the remaining 20 Shinsengumi members killed
1868.9.5 (lunar? gregorian?)
September 5th Battle of Buddha Hall (Nyoraido) at Aizu Saitou Hajime (Yamaguchi Jiro) and small group of Shinsengumi
"...[among] those who escaped from the Battle of Nyorai-do were Yamaguchi Jiro (Saitou Hajime), Ikeda Shichizaburou, Kumebe Masachika, Yoshida Toratarou, Kawai Tetsugorou, Shimura Takezou, and are thought to have joined Sagawa Kanbei's forces. They attacked the West Army at Shuucho-ji and inflicted great damage with little force. It was to be the only victory of the East Army..." translated by Shimazu Masayoshi from
Era name changes from Keio to Meiji. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi
1868.10.8 (lunar? gregorian?)
October 8 What was later known as the Joushitai (Aizu's Women's brigade) was fromed
Oppositionists sail aboard Enomoto's ships to Ezo. They arrive
at Ezo "about a week later." Landed at Washinoki.
Oppositionist army (about 2300 men) divided into two groups.
The groups commanded by Hijikata and Otori Keisuke. The
two groups marched separate routes to Hakodate. Their
destination was Goryokaku. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi

Emperor Meiji enters Tokyo. (Mori 287)
[Meiji 1/9/4] October 19
Kido Takayoshi "This morning an Echizen man came back from the northern provinces reported the rumor that Aizu Castle has fallen. The report coincides with the battle strategy which Okubo explained to me earlier; but I shall not spread the word carelessly in the absence of more definite news." (vol 1 page 110)
1868.10.20 (lunar? gregorian?)

Hijikata Toshizou and last remaining members of the Shinsengumi arrive in Hokkaido; Goryoukaku becomes headquarters

SEE The Last Fight at Ezo: Enomoto Takeaki and the Wolves

[Meiji 1/9/8] October 23
Kido Takayoshi "From Mutsu province came a report today that when the Imperial forces closed in on Aizu Castle, on October 9 and 10, the enemy forces put the castletown to the torch themselves." (vol 1 page 111) There is conflicting information as to who set the fires. Many sources suggest both sides.
after Oct 25
Dr. Willis, now travelling with the Imperial force in the north is told "that is is impossible to spare the lives of the Aizu's retainers when taken prisoners, as all attempts to induce them to acknowledge the supremacy of the Mikado and the new government are futile; when taken by the Mikado's side they do all in their power to secure a speedy execution by the use of the foulest and most insulting language. Up to the present I have not seen any prisoners. I have frequently expressed by disappointment at this circumstance." (Cortazzi 133)
Oppositionists capture Goryokaku with little resistance.
(Hillsborough Shinsengumi 170)
Oppositionists set out for Matsumae Han. (Hillsborough
Shinsengumi 170)
1868.11.5 (lunar? gregorian?)
November 5th Tsurugajo Castle (Aizu officially surrenders) the fighting ended earlier
dates of northern alliance surrender "7/29 Nagaoka, Nihonmatsu; 9/3 Yonezawa, 9/15 Sendai; 9/22 Aizu; and 9/23 Shonai" (Teruko Craig in Remembering Aizu by Shiba Goro page 13)

The End of Aizu-han The New Government rejected "more than twenty Aizu apologies". (Bolitho 6) "Within the space of a week, four invading armies were to make their way through mountain passes and along river valleys, gathering at last beneath the domain castle at Wakamatsu. There were perhaps as many as thirty thousand of them [number of attachers vary from 10,000 to 30,000 to 100,000], and they had come from all over Japan to mount the greatest siege the country had seen for more than two centuries, and, in doing, to destroy the Aizu domain and its ruler...bottling up inside it [the castle] three thousand Aizu samurai and two thousand of their dependents...It did not take long for the defenders, overwhelmed by the unremitting barrage, short of food, choked by the stench of corpses too numerous to bury, to be forced to summit." (Bolitho 3)

"In the course of the civil war of 1868 she was to lose an estimated 2,847 of her samurai, more that twice the deaths suffered by any other of the Tohoku domains resisting the Meiji government...on the government side, not even the combined losses of Satsuma, Choshu and Tosa in that year could begin to approach the Aizu total. The Aizu domain of 230,000 koku was confiscated, and in its place, a year later, the remnants of the Aizu Matsudaira household were offered a new fief of 30,000 koku...Aizu...had received an institutional death sentence." (Bolitho 4)

Aizu's estimated 17,000 men women and children were relocated to Tonami han..."They suffered from malnutrition, from dropsy, and from anaemia, and by 1872 had been plead with the government had bested them for a special grant to help bury their dead (Bolitho 5)

  See Dr. Willis' description of Matsudaira Katamori being escorted out of the domain.
  "Wakamatsu had surrendered on the 6th November to the imperial forces. The two princes, father and son, in robes of ceremony and preceded by a retainer carrying a large banner inscribed with the word 'surrender' (ko-fuku) and followed by the garrison, likewise in robes of ceremony and with their heads shaven, came to the camp of the besiegers and gave themselves up...Nakamura Hanjiro, the chief of the staff (gun-kan) wept when he went to take delivery of the castle and its contents. It was a pleasure to us to see how the countenances of some of those who had to listen to the story fell, they had counted on a desperate resistance on the part of Aidzu to defeat the imperialist party and frustrate the policey of the British Legation. Now that this exciting episdoe was at an end, the speedy submission of the other northern clans could be counted on with confidence." (Satow 388)
Oppositionists occupy Matsumae Castle "before driving the
remaining imperial forces completely off the island. By late
November the forces of the former Tokugawa regime ruled
Ezo. Shortly after...Enomoto petitioned the Imperial Court for
permission to develop the entire northern island, so abundant
in natural resources, and to protect that region from possible
foreign aggression. Permission was flatly denied."
(Hillsborough Shinsengumi 170)
[Meiji 1/9/26] November 10
Kido Takayoshi "Today Sannomiya Yoshitane, who left Aizu on the 1st of November, reached this post-town [Miya]...Sannomiya noted that victories one after another have inevitably brought out an unfortunate streak of arrogance and brutality in the soldiers of the government army. His point was that, henceforth, appropriate measures must be taken to deal with these troops if we are to win the hearts of hte people. In fact, many of the things which he reported are no different than I had expected." (vol 1 page 122)
after Nov 13
Dr. Willis "...expressed my disappointment at not finding any of the wounded of the opposing parties, not, as I have explained, from any sympathy with the opponents of the Mikado's rule, but that I had good reason to believe that there was in the present conflicts a most unnecessary sacrifice of human life. I have told the Japanese authorities I have met that all the great countries of the world would hear with horror that the Japanese government permitted an indiscriminate slaughter of the retainers of a Daimyo [Matsudaira Katamori] who opposed the government." (Cortazzi 137-8)

The Kaiyo Maru runs aground and sinks during a storm off
Esashi. "Around [that same] time...the imperial forces acquired
the ironclad Stonewall Jackson, which, before its collapse, the
Bakufu had ordered from the United States. ... With the
outbreak of war, however, the foreign legations in Japan had
adopted a policy of neutrality. They would not hand over the
ironclad to either side. The Stonewall therefore remained at
anchor off Yokohama until that policy was finally lifted in
January. When the imperial forces brought their most powerful
warship to the fight in the north, the oppositionists were
doomed." (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 170)

The issue of the Stonewall is discussed in Boyer, Samuel Pellman, 1839-1875. Naval surgeon; the diary of Dr. Samuel Pellman Boyer. Edited by Elinor Barnes and James A. Barnes. Introd. by Allan Nevins. Bloomington, Indiana University Press [1963]

[Meiji 1/10/2] November 15
Kido Takayoshi "Sendai rebels had offered to surrender on the 4th of November and opened their castle,...the messenger also said that after Yonezawa surrendered the other day, it sent two battalions against Shonai and two against Aizu; and that Yonezawa men have actually engaged in battle with the Aizu vanguard." (vol 1 page 126-127)
[Meiji 1/10/3] November 16
Kido Takayoshi "An Owari scout returned from Aizu with the report that Aizu offered to surrender to Higo troops on the 7th of November...Although Aizu has remained obstinate up to this point, possessed with an extraordinary spirit, by begging to surrender now, it has lost some of its appearance of dignity. The only people in the castle were wounded soldiers, women and girls it is reported." (vol 1 page 128) Many of the male combatants were likely already sent to the nearby detention camps.
[Meiji 1/10/5] November 18
Kido Takayoshi "[Omura Masujiro] reports that about 1500 rebels who fled from Mito, Kuwana, and Aizu and were encamped at Takata in Aizu domain approached Mito Castle, and finally took it over on 13 November. But already a strategy has been worked out to handle them, and a determination has been made to subjugate them by the 1st of December...Omura sent the statement of apology by Katamori of Aizu, and inquired as to what disposition he should make of Katamori and his son and their retainers, including under whose custody he should place night I went to His Majesty's quarters for a general consultation and decision on the arrangements for Katamori...I prepared a draft of the official notice on this matter." (vol 1page 130)
before Nov 18
Dr. Willis travelling from Kashiwazaki to Niigata "As I passed along I saw several villages that had been destroyed in part during conflicts between Aizu men and the Mikado's army. In some places the tops of the hills had been converted into forts, and it must have caused a great deal of trouble to the Mikado's party...I enquired[sic] frequently as to whether the country people had suffered by pillage or violence from the retreating men of Aizu. Some instances were given of extortion, neither very great nor extreme, but in general no one spoke ill of them and I do not think there was much wanton injury by either contending party." (Cortazzi 140)

Oppositionists declare the independence of the Ezo republic.
They elected the following: Enomoto - president of the republic,
Matsudaira Taro (former vice commissioner of the Tokugawa
army) - vice president of the republic, Nagai Naomune -
magistrate of Hakodate, Arai Ikunosuke (former Tokugawa navy
officer) - navy commissioner, Otori Keisuke - commissioner of
the army, Hijikata Toshizo - vice commissioner of the army.
The republic was not recognized by the imperial government.
(Hillsborough Shinsengumi 170-171)

SEE The Last Fight at Ezo: Enomoto Takeaki and the Wolves

December 12
Dr. Willis is back in Kashiwazaki "The farmer class...were in a state of tumultuous excitment. They had assembled in bands for the purpose of destroying the houses of the chiefs...In every instance they burnt all records connected with the rent of their lands, demanding that since Aizu's farmers were now the tenants of the Mikado, a new and just assessment of land should be made out...It was stated on all sides that oppressions and 'squeezing' had characterised the government of the Aizu province, especially of late years, and that the farmers were goaded into their present violence." (Cortazzi 146-7) The money used to support Aizu samurai and Shinsengumi in the protection of Kyoto placed an enormous burden on the peasants. "I have been told by Aizu doctors that their lord was sorely grieved by the news of the riots and that every Aizu yakunin considered them as the keenest reproach upon the past administration of the province." (Cortazzi 156)
1868.12.25 (lunar? gregorian?)
the Republic of Ezo established with Takeaki Enomoto as President [learn more]
1869 [return to top]
  estimate 1869.1.1 Tokio/Tokyo opened to foreign trade
1869.1 late
Imperial forces control northern region of Honshu. (Hillsborough
Jan Shinsengumi 171)
Saitou Hajime moved from Aizu Wakamatsu to Takada. He prayed for his safety at the Amida Temple. He put himself on his good behavior at the temple of Higashihonganji.
  1869.1.23 Dr. Willis on his medical work "...nine hundred were of the Mikado army and seven hundred of the Aizu clan. I performed thirty eight amputation varying in magnitude. Of those operated upon, about one half recovered. I extracted twenty three bullets and removed dead bone from upwards of two hundred patients. The wounds were almost exclusively gunshot injuries. I saw few instances of spear wounds and sword cuts..." (Cortazzi 150) [Read More]

[Meiji 1/12/12] January 24

Kido Takayoshi "In a little while Yamaguchi came bearing the orders of Deputy Chancellor Iwakura in regard to Enomoto's petition." (vol 1 page 166)
[Meiji 2/1/24] March 6
Kido Takayoshi "In the morning I went up the council chambers where we discussed what to do with those Aizu men who had surrendered. We decided to place th 5000 men in the custody of Matsushiro and Takada domains at the start. We want to let their wives and children and parents join them later so that they may live as families." (vol 1 page 188)
[Meiji 2/1/28] March 10
Kido Takayoshi "This morning Koide Tetsunosuke of Aizu came, accompanied...Koide entered the priesthood at the time of the fall of Aizu; and he is secretly making efforts on behalf of his old country. I must have compassion for a man who feels as he does. If any man who has surrenedere has not been treated properly, the fact will cast doubt on our aspirations for benevolent government...Nakajima's boat capsized and sank because of strong winds at Choshi Inlet when he was fleeing with Enomoto last winter. Nakajima was one of the most upright men among the lesser officials of the Bakufu; and I shall never forget my debt of gratitude to him. I felt miserable on hearing this news. These people came to such a fate because they strayed from the proper road temporarily." (vol 1 page 189) Nakajima was formerly Kido's teacher of Western military science.
[Meiji 2/2/6] March 18
"Reports from Aomori in Mutsu province and from Aizu were sent round by the War Department for my perusal." (vol 1 page 196)
[Meiji 2/2/7] March 19
Kido Takayoshi "...I went up to the council chambers where we reached a decision on the Aomori and Aizu matters...The Aizu men who had surrendered on 17 March were destitute; they had hidden in Tokyo as a base for suppressing their more rebellious countrymen, thus to make up in part for their own lord's treason. Harried within their domain and outside it, they were in a destitute plight unbearable to witness...we bestowed 1,000 ryo on the hard pressed men." (vol 1 page 196-197)
  [Meiji 2/2/9] March 21 Kido Takayoshi "Shinryuin of Aizu, the former Koide Tetsunosuke...came to my house. He called to offer thanks for the gift the other day. The Aizu men are really penitent; and they are going to a great deal of trouble to obtain redemption for their treason against the Imperial Government. Their feelings deserve our pity." (vol 1 page 197)
The imperial fleet, eight warships led by the Stonewall Jackson,
leaves Edo. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 171)
The imperial fleet reaches Miyako Bay. They prepare to invade
Ezo. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 171)
Oppositionist warships Kaiten, Banryu, and Takao sail toward
Hakodate. Hijikata is aboard Kaiten as an observer. Their
plan: early morning surprise attack on the imperial fleet in
Miyako Bay and capture the Stonewall and her crew.
(Hillsborough Shinsengumi 172)
Kaiten reaches the imperial fleet. (Banryu and Takao did not
make it to Miyako Bay because of "rough seas and mechanical
failures.") Kaiten not able to pull off their plan, although
"a number of oppositionists, including Nomura Risaburo of the
Shinsengumi, managed to get aboard [the Stonewall], they were
soon mowed down by the gunners." The captain of the Kaiten
and many others were killed by gunfire from the imperial ships.
The battle lasted only thirty minutes and the Kaiten retreated to
Hakodate. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 172)
Imperial troops (Kangun) sent to suppress the Republic of Ezo
1869.4 mid
Hijikata leads 230 troops against 600 to defend Hakodate at
Futamata. "After sixteen hours of intense fighting, 35,000 rounds
of ammunition spent, and only one among them killed, Hijikata's
troops forced the enemy to retreat. The enemy attacked again
the next day, only to meet with strong resistance by Hijikata's
troops. On the following night Hijikata led his men, swords
drawn, on a raid of the enemy camp, setting them to flight."
(Hillsborough Shinsengumi 173)
1869.5.1 (lunar? gregorian?)
Hijikata Toshizou retreats to Hakodate
1869.5.5(lunar? gregorian?)
Hijikata Toshizou gives Ichimura Tetsunosuke a letter, poem, and portrait to deliver to his family
Imperial forces had "driven the rebels back to Hakodate, where they surrounded them by land and sea. Hijikata retreated to defend the city. He was shot in the belly while on horseback,
leading his troops in the fight." Hijikata dies at age 34.
(Hillsborough Shinsengumi 173-174)
1869.5.15   The remaining Shinsengumi surrender. (Hillsborough
Shinsengumi 174)

1869.5.18   Goryokaku falls. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 174)
1869.5.18   Takeaki Enomoto surrenders (Ezo renamed Hokkaido)
  1869.7 General Kuroda Kiyotaka reached Hokkaido with an Imperial fleet with the recently purchased American ironclad Stonewall . Just before the final battle, the chief French adviser, Captain Jules Brunet (source for Tom Cruise character in The Last Samurai), deserted Takeaki Enomoto and climbed aboard a French ship. Brunet was not court-martialed in France but reinstated and later rose to the rank of General. Brunet in his writings commented on Hijikata Toshizou as someone who would've been made a general had he worked in a Continental (European) army. (Finn 14-15) (the detail on Brunet's comment on Hijikata is from SHQ member Tama)
1869.7   Ichimura Tetsunosuke reaches Hino and delivers Hijikata's
mementos to Sato. He also tells Hijikata's family of Hijikata's
death, which Ichimura had learned of while on route to Hino.
(Hillsborough Shinsengumi 174)
1870   June Saitou Hajime (now Fujita Goro) moved to Tonami (Aomori) and lives amongst other Aizu refugees