Ishii Sadaoki (石井貞興)

Sadaoki ISHII (March, 1842 to October 26, 1877) was a feudal retainer of the Saga Domain of Hizen Province and a local official from the end of Edo Period to the early Meiji period. He called himself Otsuji, Daisaku and Takenosuke.

He was born as the eldest son of Yasaemon KUSHIYAMA, a feudal retainer of the Saga clan and adopted by his uncle, Tadakatsu ISHII. His adoptive family, the Ishii family originated by Tadakyo ISHII who was a cousine of Yotaiin, the legal wife of Naoshige NABESHIMA, the originator of Saga Domain. Sadakyo was diligent in his studies since he was young, studied under Shinyo EDAYOSHI and Matsudo ISHII, learned keigaku (study of Keisho in Confucianism), and was excellent in archery and the art of the spearmanship.

After taking a part in a campaign for the Boshin War, he went to Tokyo in 1869 to study at Shoheizaka Gakumonjo (Shoheizaka School), the predecessor of Tokyo University, and further more at Zoshikan school of Satsuma Domain. At Zoshikan school, he became a very close friend of Toshiaki KIRINO.

Later, he returned to the Saga Domain, got taken under a person's wing from Shinpei ETO and appointed as shosanji of the domain, and was active as a high-ranking official. However, soon he resigned and adovocating the warrior class' inculturation, he retired into Nagase Village, Saga Prefecture and led a living cultivating the fields and raising stocks. In 1873 he returned to the Saga prefectural governmentin which he was appointed as Gontenj (middle-class clerk), and soon was promoted to Daisakan (senior clerk) and to dominate the government.

Later he rallyed the former feudal retainers of the Saga clan who were discontent with the new government and organized Seikan (subjugation of Korea) party by diverting the assets of the Nabeshima family as war funds. Having Shinpei ETO as leader, he started Saga War in 1874.
However, just before the fall of Saga-jo Castle, he escaped to Kagoshima Prefecture and was provided shelter by Toshiaki KIRINO
In 1877 at the outbreak of Seinan War he joined the army of the former Satsuma Domain and fought with them, and after the war he hid himself in a mountain in Kumamoto Prefecture but was captured.

After being captured, he was moved to Nagasaki and was punished by decapitation. His age at death was 36. His graveyard is located in Toko-ji Temple at Nagase, Saga city. Because he was the last survivor among the ringleaders of the Saga War and fought in the Seinan War which was the last rebellion of shizoku (family or person with samurai ancestors), he is sometimes called "Saga's Last Samurai".

"Saigetsu"(across the ages) authored by Ryotaro SHIBA considers him as a member of Budan-ha (military government group), but according to"Shinpei ETO Biography"he was also a doting parent and kindearted gentleman.

His wife was Kunisato KUME's daughter (younger sister of Kunitake KUME. His second son, Rikisaburo ISHII was a geological scientist who graduated from School of Science, Tokyo University. His third son, Rikisaburo ISHII was a navy major. Ryucho ISHII, an adopted child of Rikisaburo held positions such as Director of Interior Bureau, Taiwan Sotoku-fu, Director of Industry Bureau, Taiwan Sotoku-fu, Taipei City Governor, Tainan-shu Prefectural Governor.

[Original Japanese]