Imai Nobuo (今井信郎)

Nobuo IMAI (November 14, 1841 - June 25, 1919) was a samurai who lived around the end of the Tokugawa shogunate to the early Meiji period. He was on the Tokugawa side as a member of the Kyoto Mimawarigumi (Tokugawa clan sided faction) and is said to have operated behind the scenes of the Omiya Incident.

Nobuo IMAI learned the Kyushin school of Jujutsu (classical Japanese martial art, usually referred to as fighting without a weapon) from Jujutsu master Shigekatsu KUBOTA, and learned the Jikishinkage school of swordsmanship from Kenkichi SAKAKIBARA at the Kobusho (shogunate martial arts gymnasium). He served as an assistant instructor of swordsmanship at Kobusho.

Nobuo IMAI went to Kyoto as the head of the Yugekitai (one of Tokugawa clan sided units) and joined the Kyoto Mimawarigumi, which was under the command of Tadasaburo SASAKI.

Sakuzaemon FURUYA, who had translated "Hohei soren and zukai" (the Infantry Training Manual and Illustrations) and was trying to establish a Western-style infantry for the Edo shogunate, formed the Shohotai together with Shigeaki KUBOTA (son of Shigekatsu KUBOTA) by joining the surviving forces of the eleventh regiment under the command of Sakuma, governor of Omi Province, who had been killed in the Battle of Toba-Fushimi, and the twelfth regiment under the command of Shigeaki KUBOTA, who had also been killed in war. Nobuo IMAI became the deputy leader of this Shohotai and fought in the Boshin War until to the Battle of Hakodate.

He surrendered in Hakodate in 1870.

Nobuo IMAI stated that it was he who assassinated Ryoma SAKAMOTO in the Omiya Incident. IMAI was arrested and jailed by the Imperial army (Satsuma army) for killing Ryoma SAKAMOTO in the early Meiji Period. As a result of Takamori SAIGO's intervention, Nobuo IMAI was released without being executed. When the Seinan War broke out, he rallied his former subordinates and headed for Kyushu. On his way to Kyushu, he dismissed his soldiers because he received news that Saigo's army had been wiped out. Nobuo IMAI said he intended to save Saigo, who had once petitioned for commutation of his death sentence, not to reinforce the imperial army.

Thereafter, he returned to a farm in Hatsukura-mura, Haibara-gun, Shizuoka Prefecture (present Shimada City, Shizuoka Prefecture). He served as a member of the village assembly and as a village headman of Hatsukura-mura. He initially persecuted Christianity but he happened to learn the teachings of Christianity in a church in Yokohama. He was very impressed and ashamed of his mistake. He converted to Christianity in the end, and contributed to temperance projects during the latter half of his life.

[Original Japanese]