Kazurayama Takehachiro (葛山武八郎)

Takehachiro KAZURAYAMA (Year of birth unknown - October 6, 1864) was a corporal of the Shinsengumi (a special force that guarded Kyoto during the end of Tokugawa Shogunate). He was from the Aizu Domain. Before having joined the Shinsengumi, it is said that he was a komuso (begging Zen priest of the Fuke sect [wearing a sedge hood and playing a shakuhachi bamboo flute]).

In the Ikedaya Incident, as he performed bravely, he was given a financial incentive of 17-ryo (old currency unit) by the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) (Kyoto shugo [military governor of Kyoto] Katamori MATSUDAIRA). The Commander of Shinsengumi, Shinpachi NAGAKURA and other members, such as Sanosuke HARADA, Hajime SAITO, Corporal Kai SHIMADA, Shoshi shirabeyaku (Shinsengumi's organizational post for investigating movements of the opponents) Masajiro OZEKI, and Kazurayama, who was also a corporal, elaborated a petition of five articles concerning the immoral and self-concentrated conduct of the Head of Shinsengumi, Isami KONDO and forwarded it to the Aizu Domain, insisting that they were not Kondo's retainers. After that, they were reconciled with Kondo, thanks to Katamori's mediation, however, Kazurayama committed seppuku (suicide by disembowelment). According to one theory, Kazurayama made a strong protest against the conciliation so tenaciously that he finally died of indignation, but according to the other theory, in order to show an example to the revolt, the leaders of the force, who did not pick up Shimada nor Ozeki because both of whom were younger and obedient to their seniors, deliberately chose Kazurayama, who was hot-blooded and fearless even in front of the leaders, to silence him and close the case, putting all the responsibility upon him.


In the plot of a period TV drama called 'Shinsengumi!,' Keisuke YAMANAMI took him in when he was a masterless samurai, but Yamanami ordered Kazurayama to commit seppuku when the latter was accused of having written a petition calling for Shinpachi NAGAKURA's resignation from the Shinsengumi.

[Original Japanese]