Kano Sozaburo (加納惣三郎)

Sozaburo KANO (the date of birth and death unknown) was from Kyoto and was a member of Shinsengumi. However, Kano was also a phantom member whose name was not listed in the Shinsengumi member list which still exists today.

Though Kano was born as the second son of a merchant whose trade name was Echizen-ya, who dealt with cotton, and whose store was located on Oshi-koji street in Kyoto, Kano liked martial arts since his childhood, learned Japanese fencing, and joined Shinsengumi at the age of 18. Kano was given a nickname, "Ima-Ushiwakamaru" due to his youth and brilliant attire.

Kano was appointed to be a page to the leader, Isami KONDO and, when he was later on promoted to an assistant chief, was hooked on visiting Shimabara licensed quarters. Because Kano visited a lady, Nishiki Dayu in a red-light house, Wachigai-ya very frequently, he fell into poverty, and started to rob and kill people on the street.

Though a certain Tashiro was secretly assigned the role to get rid of Kano, Tashiro was killed by Kano when he attacked Kano.

Kano still continued to visit Shimabara licensed quarters and, when Kano jumped over the fence of the stationing facility to visit Shimabara one day, the vice leader, Saizo HIJIKATA and some members ambushed him and immediately killed him.

It is said that this was a famous topic around Shimabara in those days because Kano also committed robberies and killings on the street.

It is said that Kano's grave was in Mibu-dera Temple.

Sozaburo KANO is the leading character in a short novel, 'Maegami no Sozaburo' (Sozaburo with a Forelock) by Ryotaro SHIBA and, in the novel, he fell in a homosexual love affair with Torazo TASHIRO. It is written in a letter of Isami KONDO dated June 23, 1864 that homosexual love affairs prevailed in Shinsengumi and, therefore, the story in the novel is a fiction inspired by this letter.

[Original Japanese]