Chiba Jutaro (千葉重太郎)

Jutaro CHIBA (1824-May 7, 1885) was a swordsman of the Hokushin Itto-ryu Style in the Edo Period.

He was a feudal retainer of the Tottori clan. He was a son of Sadakichi CHIBA who was the founder of Okemachi Chiba-dojo (a training hall, commonly called Kochiba). Ryoma SAKAMOTO was a student of dojo as well as Jutaro's friend. And his sister, Sanako, was Ryoma's fiance (or rumored to be his wife).

He was known posthumously as Kazutane. He eventually brought Ryoma SAKAMOTO and Kaishu KATSU together.

In 1853, Jutaro became in charge of Chiba-dojo after his father, Sadakichi, was appointed as a swordplay instructor for Tottori clan at Edo residence of Tottori Domain.

Around that time, Ryoma SAKAMOTO who came to Edo from Tosa Province became a student at Chiba-dojo, therefore, it is believed that Jutaro was the principal instructor who taught swordplay to Ryoma.

Furthermore, Jutaro himself joined the Tottori clan in 1860. While being involved in the politics of Edo as one of the Tottori clan members, he began to feel opposed to Kaishu KATSU's idea of opening Japan to foreign countries.

Accompanied by Ryoma, he visited KATSU's residence to assassinate him, but failed in 1862. He led a group of foot soldiers in Boshin War in later years, and after the Meiji Restoration, he played an active role as a government official at Tottori prefecture, Hokkaido Development office, and Kyoto prefecture. His grave is in Zoshigaya-reien Cemetery in Ikebukuro, Toshima Ward, Tokyo.

Jutaro's ability as a swordsman is unknown, however, it is certain that he was an expert swordsman with considerable skills since the popularity of Okemachi dojo did not decline after he took it over. There is an example that Genbukan-dojo which was run by the head family of Chiba declined after Michisaburo CHIBA took it over, thus, it is thought that the grand master's ability decided the fate of dojo at the end of the Edo period. Considering this aspect, one can infer Jutaro's ability.

Jutaro widely appears in many fiction works including 'Ryoma ga yuku' (a novel) by Ryotaro SHIBA and 'Ryoma ni omakase !' (a TV drama) scripted by Koki MITANI. Jutaro was described as a cheerful, active, and likable young man in many works.

Moreover, from the aspect of 'a successor of Chiba-dojo', it is not often mentioned that he and his father were both members of the Tottori clan. (Note that he had already served for Tottori Domain when he attempted to assassinate Kaishu.).

[Original Japanese]