Shiba Tsukasa (柴司)

Tsukasa SHIBA (April 1st, 1844 - July 15, 1864) was a warrior of Aizu clan, who was stationed in Kyoto at the end of Edo Bakufu. His family name was Shiba, his respectful name given after his death was Tsugumasa or Tsugimasa, and his given name used while he was young was Matashiro and, later, Tsukasa.

Tsukasa SHIBA's father was Tomoemon-Tsugunao SHIBA and his mother was from Saigo family. In addition, Ysukasa SHIBA had three elder brothers, Ikumatsugutoshi, Torajirotsuguhisa, and Tosaburotsugumoto.

Brief personal history
Tsukasa SHIBA was one of the warriors of the Aizu clan dispatched in 1864 to the Shinsengumi which was being chased by troops which tried to capture the rest of the Shinsengumi members who caused the Ikeda-ya incident, and he caused a so-called Akihono-tei incident on July 13 in the same year and committed Seppuku, while aided by his elder brother to restore relations between the Aizu clan and Tosa clan. Tsukasa SHIBA died at the age of 21.

Though he seemed to be a victim of the complicated relation of interest in the samurai society, his death enabled avoidance of conflicts between the Aizu clan and Tosa clan, and the head of Aizu clan, Katamori MATSUDAIRA honored his graceful last moments and, therefore, gave a medal to his elder brother.

About epitaph
The passage in the epitaph of the grave of Tsukasa SHIBA in the graveyard for Aizu clan in Kinkaikomyo-ji Temple in Kurotani in Kyoto, regrets his death as saying, together with the record of his family and the details of the incidents as above, that 'according to a tradition, it is not difficult for one to die but it is difficult to face his/her own death with a resolute attitude. It should be said that each person including Tsukasa SHIBA faced his/her own death and died with a really resolute attitude' and that 'if Tsukasa SHIBA did not die on July 15 and participated in Kinmon Coup, what an important role he would play in it! This is very regrettable.'

The name given to Tsukasa SHIBA's Buddhist priesthood: Chushinin Shinkojinnshi Kyoshi (literally, a non-priest believer of Buddhism who made every effort to think and who was an excellent commander of swords in a temple of faith.)

[Original Japanese]