Bakufu rikugun (bakufu [Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun] army) (幕府陸軍)
Bakufu rikugun is a military organization with western-style armaments which was organized by Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) in the Edo Period to accomplish battles on land as a mission. In 1882, it was established in order to defend the nation against attacks from outside and to maintain the system in the nation. Bakufu rikugun experienced real battles through the Choshu Conquest and Tenguto no Ran (Rebellion of Tenguto). Many troops of bakufu rikugun continued battles in Boshin War even after the bakufu was overthrown in Taisei Hokan (transfer of power back to the Emperor).
Edo bakufu maintained the system that lasted since the Sengoku period (period of warring states), with hatamoto (direct retainers of the bakufu) and gokenin (shogunal retainers), as a military power under its direct control. These hatamoto comprised traditional military organizations including koshogumi (page corps) and Oban. However, the military organizations lost substances due to long peace. The bakufu, which gradually developed a sense of crisis as they gained the information on the Opium War, appointed Shuhan TAKASHIMA and Hidetatsu EGAWA to the instructors of gunnery, commencing studies on the western-style armament.
In 1845 after the arrival of the Black Ships, a bureau of military system improvement was placed under the reform by Masahiro ABE, roju (member of shogun's council of elders). As a result of review by the bureau of military system improvement, the establishment of Kobu jo (later known as kobu sho) which was the training agency for younger family members of bakufu hatamoto and gokenin was determined. In the Kobu jo which opened in April 1856, not only ancient swordplay but also the western-style gunnery and tactics were studied. The Kobu jo was expected to produce troops with power of execution, which can be said as a teaching and leading troop. Security guards for shogun called okuzume (adviser to the shogun) were later organized. In November 1855, about the same time as the establishment of kobu-jo, kachi (Foot Guards) was obliged to study gunnery, while Kojunin (Escort Guard) was obliged to study gunnery in February 1856, under 江川英敏 who was the grandmaster of gunnery, thus, the training of western-style gunnery was commenced. The location of training to them was changed to the gunnery training center in Kobu sho after the establishment of Kobu sho and the training to them was carried on. In 1858, a training center for musket units were established in Fukagawa Ecchu shima.
Military reform in Bunkyu Period
In 1862, after the Sakuradamongai Incident, `rikugun,' the full-scale western-style army as a part of Bunkyu Reform, was established. The three members, foot soldier Bugyo, horse soldier Bugyo, and Army Bugyo as a head, were placed, and the three soldiers tactics using foot soldiers, horse soldiers, and artillery were introduced. However, the rikugun, which was established through such process, was an organization which was collaterally existed with the traditional military organization.
The foot soldiers were classified into `hohei' who were equivalent to senretsu foot soldiers who form rows and `sappei' who were equivalent to 軽歩兵. Among them, foot soldier troops (infantry) were comprised of soldiers called heifu who were dispatched from hatamoto based on their rokudaka (stipend). The heifu in infantry stayed in the camp in Edo, and their salaries were paid by their respective hatamoto. On the other hand, the sappei-tai troops were composed of gokenin (an immediate vassal of the shogunate in the Kamakura and Muromachi through Edo periods) such as Kobushin-gumi (samurai without official appointments who receive small salaries) in the rank below omemie (the title with the privilege to have an audience with one's lord, a dignitary, etc.), and it was referred as gojikodutsu-gumi until 1866. The horse soldier troops were composed of Kobushin-gumi in the rank over omemie such as yoriki (a police sergeant) or hatamoto, while artillery was composed of doshin (a police constable). The officers of those troops were mainly hatamoto or younger family members of hatamoto.
The military reform in Keio Era
After August 1866, after the defeat in the second conquest of Choshu clan, the second large-scale military reform was executed under Shogun Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA. As the presidency (roju) system was introduced to the central organization of bakufu, a director-general of rikugun who was coequal to roju was established over the existing organization of rikugun. The military organizations which were directly controlled by bakufu were unified and the existing prior organizations including Oban (a group of guards in the Edo shogunate) were dismissed or shrunk. Among redundant soldiers, excellent members were transferred to rikugun as soldiers of okuzume musket unit, which was a kind of bodyguard organization, or as soldiers of Yugekitai (command unit who backs up okuzume). Kobu sho was also incorporated into rikugun, and became rikugun sho, as a research agency of rikugun. Hachioji Sennin Doshin (junior officials in Hachioji), which was already westernized to a certain degree, was also incorporated, changing its name to Hachioji Sennin tai. As the organization expanded, the chain of command was improved, such as upgrading Army Bugyo to wakadoshiyori, the establishment of foot soldier Bugyo nabi and Sappei Bugyo nabi.
Military engineer troops called chikuzo hei (constructing troops) and goryo hei (imperial property troops) that was composed of farmers in tenryo (a shogunal demesne) were also organized. Direct training by French military advisors including senior lieutenant Charles Chanoine was introduced, and Denshutai (Edo shogunate's army) was newly organized to be instructed by them.
The method to recruit soldiers was also modified. Aside from existing infantry that was comprised of heifu, the system of corporative musket units was established, under which each hatamoto was obliged to consolidate a musket unit according to his rokudaka, and several musket units were combined to organize platoons or battalions. Unlike infantry, the solders of cooperative musket units had to stand by in the residence of each hatamoto in peacetime. However, in January 1866, the system of heifu was abolished and hatamoto paid cash instead of heifu, and bakufu directly hired soldiers with the cash (the bakufu infantry became a mercenary). Furthermore, in September of the same year, cooperative musket units were changed to infantry hired using the cash paid by hatamoto due to the financial circumstances of bakufu. Military services of hatamoto were paid by only cash. Each hatamoto was obliged to pay the half of koso (annual tax).
Eventually, the bakufu rikugun became the largest western-style military organization in Japan, centering on 8 regiments of infantry and 3 battalion of learning infantry (some sais that it should be 9 regiments as the sixteenth regiment was established in the territory of Harima of Hitotsubashi Tokugawa family).
After Taisei Hokan
After Taisei Hokan, the Battle of Toba-Fushimi occurred. A lot of soldiers from infantry and Denshutai joined these battles, but they were defeated. Afterwards, some soldiers returned to allegiance to the new Meiji government. Some troops escaped, and in various places, they joined the battles in Boshin War. On the other hand, some troops which returned to allegiance were incorporated into the new government.
The Choshu Conquest
The four battalions of infantry, artillery-groups, gojikodutsu-gumi etc. joined the war.
The battle of Toba and Fushimi
The battle of Yashu-Yanada: the escaping troops (Shohotai) led by Sakuzaemon FURUYA suffered a severe defeat to the new government army (the Tosando force).
The battles of Kita Kanto (Northern Kanto): the escaping troops (Denshutai etc.) led by Keisuke OTORI fought against the New government army in various places such as Utsunomiya Castle in Oyama, Imaichi, Fujiwara (the Battle of Utsunomiya Castle).
Hokuetsu War: Shohotai joined.
Aizu War: The Otori army and Shohotai fought against the New government army. They suffered a severe defeat in the Battle of Bonari-toge.
The battle of Goryokaku
Shohotai reorganized from infantry, learning infantry, learning officer troops etc. joined.
At the beginning, they were educated mainly by using the translated manuals of the Dutch army. They had received trainings including the training on the battle of foot soldiers from the marines among the Dutch army's instructors who visited for navy training.
Subsequently, in 1864, the English-style education was introduced in some units. 下番 of Kanagawa Magistrate's office received trainings from and had exercises jointly with the English army that stationed in Yokohama City. A number of officers of Kanagawa Magistrate's office including Shigeaki KUBOTA or Sakuzaemon Furuya later became officers of bakufu rikugun infantry. 下番, soldiers, were incorporated into infantry, and were assigned to military guards in Hakodate, and so on.
(For this reason, simple recognition of `bakufu navy was English style and rice-gun was French style' is wrong.)
(Apart from bakufu, some domains including the rikugun of the Kishu Domain were under the influence of Prussia rikugun [army]).
The bakufu rikugun was eventually educated by the French military advisory group, and in 1866, Denshutai was organized. In the following year, officers including senior lieutenant Chanoine arrived, and firstly, the training commenced in Ota jinya (regional government office) in Yokohama City, and several months later, they transferred to Edo. In June, the education to be a officer was commenced for applicants of hatamoto between 14 and 19 years old. Some soldiers of Denshutai received trainings from Japanese instructors due to shortage of French instructors.
Regarding the infantry, the regiment consisting of two battalions (each battalion has 10 platoons is the largest unit of the army. For many troops other than the infantry, like Denshutai or sappei-tai troops, battalion was the largest unit. In some cases, companies, each of which was composed of two platoons, were used. For artillery units, the unit of `za' (8 cannons) was used.