Ariyoshi Kumajiro (有吉熊次郎)

Kumajiro ARIYOSHI (1842-August 20, 1864) was a Japanese samurai, a patriot who belonged to Sonno-Joi-ha (supporters of the principle of advocating reverence for the Emperor and the expulsion of foreigners) from the Choshu clan. He was commonly called Kumajiro; his real name was Yoshiaki (良明) or Yoshitomo (良朋); his by-name was Shitoku; his main name was FUJIWARA; and the epitaph on his gravestone was Yoshiaki FUJIWARA (藤原良明). He was awarded the posthumous rank of Shogoi (Senior Fifth Rank). He was a great-grandfather of a novelist, Sawako ARIYOSHI.

In 1842, he was born as the second son of a feudal retainer of the Choshu clan, Tadasuke ARIYOSHI (a younger brother of a kinju [attendant], Denjuro [傳十郎] ARIYOSHI). After studying at hanko (a domain school) called Meirinkan, in 1857, at the age of 16, he entered Shoka Sonjuku School by Shoin YOSHIDA introduced by Shokai TSUCHIYA. Shoin valued Tomitaro OKABE (子揖 Shiyu) of 'intelligence,' Ariyoshi (子徳 Shitoku) of 'honesty,' and Chuzaburo TERAJIMA (子大 Shidai) of 'composure,' and was contemplating making these three a group which would help him.

In 1858, accused of his sealing a written pledge of the assassination scheme of Roju (senior councils of the Tokugawa shogunate) Akikatsu MANABE planned by Shoin with his blood, he was put under house arrest by his uncle in his mother's line, Tasuke SHIRANE. He was one of eight Shoka Sonjuku School students who rushed to the houses of executives such as Masanosuke SUFU in order to inquire the reason for Shoin's criminal charge when Shoin was put in Noyama Prison again.

In 1861, he went to Edo as an obante (a guard to defend Edo Bay) accompanying Shinsaku TAKASUGI for study purposes, and stayed in Yubikan on the premises of the Choshu hantei (the residence maintained by a daimyo) in Sakurada.

In 1862, he attempted to assassinate a foreign minister in Kanazawa, Musashi Province with his fellow members including Takasugi, but the scheme was known to the heir of the lord of the domain, Sadahiro MORI, in advance and was not put into practice, and then the members were ordered confinement to the hantei. The fellow members under confinement made a written pledge to form a group named Mitategumi and sealed it with their blood. The members who sealed the pledge on this occasion were these eleven: Takasugi, Genzui KUSAKA, Yahachiro YAMATO, Kurata NAGAMINE, Monta SHIJI (Kaoru INOUE), Gozo MATSUSHIMA, Terajima, Mikinojo AKANE (Taketo AKANE), Yozo YAMAO, Yajiro SHINAGAWA, and Ariyoshi.

In the same year, he took part in the fire attack of the legation of Britain located in Shinagawa Gotenyama.

In 1863, he studied seamanship by orders of his clan, and then was ordered to serve in Kyoto Gakushuin School, where in capital Kyoto he pushed forward with the Sonjo (Sonno-Joi) movement. In the same year, after returning to Choshu due to the Coup of August 18 (September 30 in new calendar), he formed a group named Hachimantai with Kusaka, Shingoro HORI and other members in Yamaguchi.

In the Ikedaya Incident in 1864, he was attacked by Shinsengumi during the meeting with other fellow members including Toshimaro YOSHIDA, but escaped from the scuffle to the Choshu hantei, and then went to inform the people in the Choshu Domain of this sad news as a witness. On this occasion, he disguised himself as a hikyaku (an express messenger in the old days) to leave Kyoto under a strict watch due to the incident. In the same year, he went to Kyoto with other feudal retainers of the radical party, and in the Kinmon Incident (the rebellion at the Hamaguri-gomon Gate), he got severely injured and killed himself in the Takatsukasa House and so did Kusaka and Terajima. He died at the age of 23.

His graveyards are located in Kyoto Ryozen Gokoku-jinja Shrine, in Kyoto City, and Mt. Asahi Shokon-sha Shrine in Yamaguchi City (Hachimantai Shokonjo [a shrine made for enshrining Hachimantai members who died for the nation]).

[Original Japanese]