Goryo-eji (guards of Imperial mausoleums) (御陵衛士)
Goryo-eji was an organization created to protect the imperial palace of the Emperor Komei. It was also called the Kodaiji-to Party (due to the Goryo Eji establishing their base in Kodai-ji Temple and the Gesshin-in Temple).
On March 10, 1867, Kashitaro ITO seceded from Shinsengumi (a group who guarded Kyoto during the end of Tokugawa Shogunate) because of differences in ideology, and formed Goryo-eji by attracting members from Shinsengumi who shared the same aims as his own. (The reason given for the secession was that Kashitaro ITO was appointed as guard of Misasagi (Imperial mausoleum) of the Emperor Komei through the intermediation of Tannen, who was the elder of Kaiko-ji Temple that was tatchu (sub-temples in the site of main temple) of Sennyu-ji Temple, and, for the mission, had to keep an eye on the movements of Satsuma and Choshu. He established a base in Choen-ji Temple at the Gojobashi Higashizume (the east foot of the Gojo-bashi bridge)).
His comrades included his younger brother Mikisaburo SUZUKI, Tainoshin SHINOHARA, Heisuke TODO, Takeo HATTORI, Arinosuke MONAI, Yahei TOYAMA, Juro ABE, Jiro UTSUMI, Washio KANO, Noboru NAKANISHI, Kaisuke HASHIMOTO, Kiyoshi KIYOHARA, Tadao ARAI, Hajime SAITO (SAITO was allegedly a spy for Shinsengumi).
(15 in all)
Ten other persons including Tsukasa IBARAKI, Shimesaburo SANO, Juro TOMIKAWA, Goro NAKAMURA tried to join Goryo-eji later, but four of them, IBARAKI, SANO, TOMIKAWA, and NAKAMURA died in the Aizu domain residence where they had gone to make an appeal (there are two theories that state that they either committed seppuku (disembowelment) or that they were killed.) while the other six were expelled. There was an agreement between Goryo-eji and Shinsengumi that they would prohibit the exchange of members in the first place, but the previously mentioned ten were ignorant of this fact and attempted to desert Shinsengumi to join Goryo-eji, thus they have no place to go at all.
(Shinsengumi had a rule that deserters were to be taken back to base and forced to commit seppuku.)
Aside from this, after those including IBARAKI committed Seppuku, Kanryusai TAKEDA who lost his place in Shinsengumi and deserted was also rejected by Goryo-eji. (Kanryusai allegedly advised those including IBARAKI to desert Shinsengumi).
In June 1867, Goryo-eji came under the command of Tadayuki TODA who was Sanryo bugyo (commissioner in charge of imperial mausoleums), and moved from Choen-ji Temple to Gesshin-in Temple of Kodai-ji Temple in HIgashiyama, setting up a nameplate which read Kinri Goryo Eji (a splinter group of the Shinsengumi) there. It is generally accepted that Goryo-eji approached the Satsuma clan, but there are other opinions as well.
Goryo-eji broke ranks with Shinsengumi because they were Kinno-Tobaku, people loyal to the emperor with an aim to overthrow the shogunate government, and Sabaku, the Bakufu supporters; which allegedly caused Goryo-eji to always carry swords with him while he slept in case he was ever raided by the Shinsengumi.
According to modern studies, it is theorized that Goryo-eji had thought of overthrowing the shogunate government which was not so radical and closer to those thoughts held by Shungaku MATSUDAIRA and the like. There is also a theory that states that Goryo-eji kept his distance from the Satsuma clan.
Those including ITO and TODO were killed in the Abura-no-koji Incident. The remaining members fled to the Satsuma domain residence. Goryo-eji was dissolved as a result.
The members of Goryo-eji who survived thereafter joined the Sekihotai Army, forming the second unit.