Denshutai (Edo shogunates army) (伝習隊)

Denshutai (Edo shogunate's army) refers to the western-style army which was organized by Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) as the elite troops of the bakufu army, and was directly trained by the French Military Advisory Group. At the Boshin War, 1100 soldiers of this army fought as the main force of the Old Shogunate army. The rest of the soldiers joined the new government army as Kiseitai (militia) and fought with the Old Shogunate army.


The soldiers were composed of a gang of outlaws in Edo including Bakuto (gamblers), Yakuza (Japanese mafia), Kumosuke (shifty carrier), Batei (horse keeper) and Machibikeshi (civilian firefighters), and the troops received the French style military training directly from French military advisers, such as Charles Chanoine and Jules Brunet. Keisuke OTORI was a commander.

They had the most advanced equipments at that time. The words of command was all in French.


Denshutai was established in 1867. A part of Denshutai joined the Battle of Toba-Fushimi as a military unit of the bakufu army. They were defeated but fought well.

At the surrender of Edo Castle, most of the Old Shogunate army in Edo surrendered but most of Denshutai did not surrender. When 2000 to 3000 soldiers of the feudal government's infantry and Shinsengumi (a group who guarded Kyoto during the end of Tokugawa Shogunate) escaped from Edo between February and April 1868, about 1100 soldiers of the first and second battalions of Denshutai escaped with Keisuke OTORI. Escaped 2000 soldiers including Denshutai got together at Konodai in Shimousaichikawa on April 12, and formed troops with Keisuke OTORI as governor-general (commander) and Toshizo HIJIKATA as their staff officer. After that, they defeated the West squad in Oyama on the way to the North Kanto. Moreover, they advanced to the Utsunomiya Castle and regained Utsunomiya. Approximately 700 soldiers of Sofutai (a military unit) and Kaitentai (a military unit), which were troops of hatamoto shitei (children of hatamoto [direct retainers of the bakufu]) and were on separate activity, joined with them (which became Denshushikantai later) to fight together at North Kanto to Hokuriku/Aizu, and finally they fought in Goryokaku in Hokkaido.
(The commander of the infantry was Shojiro OKAWA.)

When the Old Shogunate army led by Takeaki ENOMOTO surrendered at Goryokaku in May 18, 1869, Denshutai also surrendered and demobilized. And thus the Boshin War ended.

On the other hand, the rest of Denshutai who joined the new government as Kiseitai contributed to the suppression of the Boso Peninsula, and they took the field to Hakodate in 1869 to attack the escaped bakufu army. They became the foundation of the later Japanese Army, and demobilized.

[Original Japanese]