Sawa Chusuke (沢忠助)

Chusuke SAWA (year of birth and death unknown) was a member of Shinsengumi (a group which guarded Kyoto during the end of Tokugawa Shogunate). He was a horse keeper. His hometown is unknown. His first name '忠助' can be written in other Kanji (Chinese characters) '忠介' or '忠輔,' too.

He is said to have joined Shinsengumi in ca. 1867 to serve as a close retainer of Isami KONDO and Toshizo HIJIKATA.

He had served as a horse keeper for Kondo for a long time, and made every effort to save his group in the Battle of Koshu-Katsunuma to such an extent that he ran about with nothing on.

After the death of Kondo, he followed Hijikata as his close retainer. He went to Ezochi (inhabited area of Ainu) to attend Hijikata until the Hakodate War. He also chanced to be on the scene of Hijikata's death in battle. When a bullet penetrated the abdomen of Hijikata, he said that he was shot, and fell off his horse. Hijikata is said to have been already dead when Sawa ran up to him to raise Hijikata in his arms. He and Saisuke YASUTOMI, an assistant to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, watched the body of Hijikata carried to Goryokaku.

(Note: There are many objections about the situation of Hijikata's death in battle. The above-mentioned explanation is a theory concerning Sawa.)

Before the surrender in Goryokaku, he received a letter written by Saisuke YASUTOMI from Chikara TACHIKAWA, and a sword strap left by Hijikata from Yamatoya (a merchant in Hakodate). He escaped from Hakodate to Yunokawa.

He delivered the above-mentioned articles to the Sato family in Hinojuku in 1870.

His fate after that is unknown.

[Original Japanese]