Kichiei (吉栄)

Kichiei (date of birth and death unknown) was a woman who lived during the end of the Edo period. She was also called Oei. In the part of an assassination of Kamo SERIZAWA, the head of the group, stated in "Roshi (masterless samurai) Bunkyu Era Patriotism Articles" and "Shinsengumi Tenmatsuki"that were written by Shinpachi NAGAKURA, a top official of Shinsengumi, and in "Shinsengumi Shimatsuki" and "Shinsengumi Ibun" (Curious stories about Shinsengumi) that were written based on the stories heard from Tamesaburo YAGI (the son of Yagi family in which Shinsengumi quartered) by Kan SHIMOZAWA, a novelist, in the Showa period, she appeared as a woman who was present at the Yagi's house, when Kamo SERIZAWA, the head of the group, was assassinated.

Kichiei was a Tenjin; a upper rank prostitute (geisya) in the okiya (geisha dwelling) of Kyoto Shimabara called Kikyoya, and she was close to Fukucho jokin (assistant vice commander) of Shinsengumi, Goro HIRAYAMA who belonged to MITO group (SERIZAWA group).
According to Tamesaburo, she was pretty and looked like around twenty two or three years old,

Just after sunset on September 16 (18 in another opinion) in 1863 when the incident occurred, Kichiei came to Yagi's house to see HIRAYAMA. Since SERIZAWA and HIRAYAMA were absent, Kichiei spent her time chatting with Oume, SERIZAWA's girl friend, and a maid of Yagi family in the kitchen. Itosato of Wachigaiya had been also in Yagi's house waiting for Jusuke HIRAMA before Kichiei came over.

At night, SERIZAWA, HIRAYAMA, HIRAMA returned; SERIZAWA and Oume, and Kichiei and HIRAYAMA went to sleep in 10 tatami mat bed room sharing the room with a folding screen, and HIRAMA and Itosato went to sleep in the other room.

After SERIZAWA and HIRAYAMA fell asleep, Kichiei went to a bathroom. Then, a few men rushed into the bed room, and they killed SERIZAWA and HIRAYAMA, and murdered Oume who was present at that moment. It is believed that the killers were Toshizo HIJIKATA, Keisuke YAMANAMI, Soji OKITA, Sanosuke HARADA from the Shieikanha group of Isami KONDO that were opposed to the Mito group of SERIZAWA. Kichiei who was in the bathroom barely escaped. It is also said that HARADA who knew Kichiei well called out to Kichei, and let her go.

HIRAMA who was in the other room ran away. Itosato also disappeared.

Nothing was known about Kichiei, as historical materials were not available and Kikyoyo closed a business in the Showa period.

Kichiei was a main character in "Wachigaiya Itosato", a period novel, written by Jiro ASADA in 2004; in fact almost nothing was known about her apart from the fact that she was a woman who was present at the incident. The setting in which Kichiei was a close friend of Itosato, and was pregnant by HIRAYAMA was fictional.

[Original Japanese]