Inoue Genzaburo (井上源三郎)

Genzaburo INOUE (April 4, 1829 - January 29, 1868) was a leader of the 6th Group of the Shinsengumi (a group who guarded Kyoto during the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate). His imina (personal name) was Kazutake.

Personal Profile

He was said to have been very serious and sincere. There is a story told about Genzaburo passing by the street in Mibu, where Soshi OKITA was playing with children.
Soshi asked, 'Are you going to practice?' and said, 'You are very diligent,' Genzaburo replied 'You should practice, too.'
Tamesaburo YAGI said of Genzaburo that 'Inoue was about 40 years old at the time, very quiet but a good-natured person.'
He was quiet but warm and was respected by the young Shinsengumi members. On the other hand, he was very stubborn, and he would never go back on his word.

Place of origin

Genzaburo was born in Hinojukukitabara, Bushuhino City (currently Hinohon-machi, Hino City, Tokyo) the third son of Tozaemon INOUE (also called Matsugoro), who was steward for Hachioji Sennin Doshin (junior officials in Hachioji). His older brother was Matsugoro INOUE, a member of Sennin Doshin (junior officials).


In about 1847, he studied under Shusuke KONDO, the third generation grand master for Tennenrishinryu swordsmanship, that was spreading around Tama District. He trained along with Toshizo HIJIKATA at a Tennenrishinryu training hall that was set up by Hijikata's step-brother, Hikogoro SATO. He was also a senior fellow pupil of Isami KONDO. He built friendships with them from this time.

In 1860, he received his Menkyo-kaiden (full proficiency).


In March 1862, he joined the Roshigumi (an organization of masterless samurai) recommended by Hachiro KIYOKAWA, along with Kondo and Hijikata. In October 1963, after the purging of the Kamo SERIZAWA group, he was appointed Fukucho jokin (assistant vice commander), and, thereafter, remained executive officer of the Shinsengumi. He supported Kondo and Hijikata, Head and Deputy Head, who came from the same home and training hall, and there was strong trust among them. He was in charge, dealing mainly with outside matters and entertaining important figures.

In July 1864, during the Ikedaya Incident, he led a squad of the Hijikata troop, and upon hearing that the Kondo troop had entered by force, he led 10 of his men and captured 8 samurai. Within the Shinsengumi, with many of its members being expert swordsmen, Genzaburo's skill was inconspicuous; however, he was very aware of his position and performed his duties without fail.

In July of 1865, he was appointed the leader of the 6th group in restructuring of the Shinsengumi. In July 1867, all members of the Shinsengumi were called into service directly under the Bakufu and, as a Fukucho jokin (assistant vice commander), Genjiro was given 70 bales of rice, an annual "three-man" rice stipend.

However, the Bakufu government was subject to the Taisei Hokan (transfer of power back to the Emperor) and Declaration of the Restoration of Imperial Rule, and Genzaburo and his group in the Sabaku-ha (supporters of the Shogun) section of the Shinsengumi were placed in inferior positions.

Battle of Yodo-Senryomatsu

In January 1868, the Battle of Toba-Fushimi broke out. The Shinsengumi had its quarters transferred to Fushimi at the time; however, it was forced to retreat to Yodo. January 29, the Shinsengumi fought in a fierce engagement with government troops at Yodo-Senryomatsu (Battle of Yodo-Senryomatsu). During the war, he was shot in his stomach and died. He was 40 years old.

There is a story told that Genzaburo's nephew, Taisuke INOUE tried to take his head home. It was so heavy, though, that others suggested it be buried in the temple near the battleground.

Genzaburo's head and sword were said to have been buried in the nearby temple by his nephew, Taisuke INOUE; however, the exact location is unknown. His grave is at Hosen-ji Temple in Hino City.

The grounds of a temple named Gonjo-ji Temple are located in Uji, Kyoto, somewhere between Yodo-Senryomatsu and Yodo-jo Castle, which was demolished at the beginning of Meiji period. There is a temple with the same name, Konjo-ji, next to Inoue's birthplace, making it highly possible that his burial ground is this demolished temple.

[Original Japanese]