Ikeda Shichisaburo (池田七三郎)

A member of Shinsengumi, Shichisaburo IKEDA (December 27, 1849 – January 16, 1938) was the last remaining survivor of Shinsengumi (a special police force of the late Tokugawa shogunate period). His real name was Rihachi HIEDA. He was the third son of a merchant in Tama Village, Yamabe County, Kazusa Province.

After he went to Edo in 1865, he learned swordsmanship in the training hall of Seiichiro AMANO and became a vassal of a hatamoto (a direct retainer of the Shogun).

In 1867 he became a member of Shinsengumi and in 1868 he participated in the Battle of Toba and Fushimi, and Koyo Chinbutai (a military unit specially formed for the campaign in Kai Province). After that, he went to the front in Aizu and after he was defeated in the Battle of Bonari-toge in August, he stayed in Aizu with Hajime SAITO and others. In October he surrendered to the soldiers of Takasaki Domain. After he was sent to Tokyo and suspended for a year, he was released.

In 1929, in the interview with Kan SHIMOZAWA, he dictated his memoir 'Shinsengumi Kikigaki'.

On January 16, 1938, he was the last member of Shinsengumi. He died at 90. His grave is in Shinjo-ji Temple in Azabudai, Minato Ward of Tokyo.

[Original Japanese]