Sanjo-ohashi Bridge Noticeboard Incident (三条制札事件)

Sanjo-ohashi Bridge Noticeboard Incident occurred on October 20, 1866 during the the end of the Edo Period. The incident involved the Shinsengumi (a group who guarded Kyoto during the end of Tokugawa Shogunate), that maintained public order in Kyoto, attacking and capturing eight retainers of the Tosa clan who tried to pull out a noticeboard at Sanjo-ohashi Nishizume (the west foot of the Sanjo-ohashi bridge).

After their failure in the Baku-cho War (war between bakufu and Choshu) carried out in 1865, the authority of Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) collapsed, and in 1867, the noticeboards (that says Choshu clan is Emperor's enemy) placed by the bakufu were frequently pulled out in Kyoto. Notably, the noticeboard at the west foot of the Sanjo-ohashi bridge over Kamo-gawa river (Yodo-gawa river system) was pulled out and thrown into Kamo-gawa river three times, and Shinsengumi was ordered to guard the noticeboard.

Ordered to guard the noticeboard, Shinsengumi were ready to surrender criminals at any time by arranging members at three points centered around Sanjo-ohashi bridge. On the day of the incident, 12 members including Sanosuke HARADA waited in Sanjo kaisho (a meeting place in Sanjo), 10 members including Kuwajiro OISHI waited in a merchant house, 12 members including Tadao ARAI waited in a liquor store, and two more members including Kaoru ASANO were arranged as patrols, waiting for the appearance of masterless samurai.

On September 12 of the same year, while Shinsengumi was on guard, eight retainers of Tosa clan led by Kichigoro FUJISAKI and Sukegoro MIYAGAWA appeared at Sanjo-ohashi Nishizume and moved as if to pull out the noticeboard. In response to the report of the appearance of the Tosa retainers, the group of Sanosuke HARADA rushed to the scene. The group of Tadao ARAI arrived later and further attacked the Tosa retainers who started to run away, giving the advantage to Shinsengumi. However, because Kaoru ASANO, on patrol, was afraid of the battle royal and his report to the group of Kuwajiro OISHI was too late, the plan to surrender the Tosa retainers failed and consequently they secured their escape route. Kamaji ANDO, who fought as a rear guard of the Tosa retainers put up a fight and Shinsengumi ended up losing five out of the eight Tosa retainers.

After this incident, Kaoru ASANO was accused for his cowardly behavior and ejected from Shinsengumi. The members in the battle were given reward grants from the Aizu Clan, including Sanosuke HARADA who was given 20 ryo (current unit).

This incident is sometimes referred to as the second largest arrest after the Ikedaya Incident in the history of Shinsengumi.

As an aside, there is a story that wearing a long sword was in fashion among the Tosa retainers at the time, but the style was abolished as the Tosa retainers became aware of the awkwardness in using a long sword due to this incident.

[Original Japanese]