Takeda Kanryusai (武田観柳斎)

Kanryusai TAKEDA (around 1830 - July 23, 1867) was a member of Shinsengumi from the Mori Domain in Inaba Province. He was the leader of the Fifth Unit, instructor of military science and literature, and military commissioner.

His real name was Hiroshi FUKUDA. Another surname of his is Tokuhiro.

Brief Personal History
He left the domain and went to Edo, where he studied the Koshu-ryu military science. He started to call himself "Kanryusai TAKEDA," named after the Takeda clan in Kai Province.

In 1863, he joined Shinsengumi. He was promoted as a scholar of military science by Isami KONDO, and was selected as one of the executive members as a Fukucho-jokin (assistant vice commander) in 1864.

In the Ikedaya Incident on June 5th of the same year, Takeda and others captured Shuntaro FURUTAKA, who was accommodating Roshi (masterless samurais) in hiding, including those from the Choshu Domain. He then belonged to Kondo's squad and guarded the perimeter of Ikedaya. In the fight he killed Kanae OAKI, a Roshi from the Tosa Domain, and received reward money for it. In the Kinmon Incident on July 19, he was responsible for strategy as a military commissioner and demonstrated his mastery of the Koshu-ryu military science in the capture of Mt. Tenno and so on.

The group was restructured in 1865 and he became the leader of the Fifth Unit.

He trained the group members in the Koshu-ryu military science at the squad, where many members were said to be disgusted with him for flattering the executive members with his eloquent tongue. Shinsengumi later adopted the Western style military training in accordance with the policy of Bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) and Takeda's military science gradually became outdated.

Takeda, who had lost his position in the group, approached Kashitaro ITO with the intention to leave the group, and also attempted to contact the anti-Bakufu Satsuma clan. However, Isami KONDO and Toshizo HIJIKATA detected these actions.

On June 22, 1867, Kondo gave a farewell party for Takeda, who had offered his resignation. However, it was, of course, a party to assassinate Takeda. After the party, Hajime SAITO and Tainoshin SHINOHARA left with Takeda to accompany him to the residence of Satsuma Domain in Fushimi. On the way there, he was assassinated by Hajime SAITO at the Zenitoribashi Bridge over the Kamo-gawa River (Yodogawa river system).
(There are various theories about the assassin. At that time, Saito belonged to Goryo-eji [guards of Imperial mausoleums], so the assassin might have been another member.)
Later, a member called Higuma KATO was ordered to commit seppuku for having conspired with Kanryusai TAKEDA.

There is a theory that Takeda was a homosexual. A story says, "Takeda chased Saburo MAGOSHI, one of the five men of beauty in the group. As a result, Magoshi offered his resignation to Hijikata." It is, however, an episode in 'Shinsengumi Monogatari' (the Tale of Shinsengumi) written by Kan SHIMOZAWA, and is likely to be a fiction.

[Original Japanese]