Saito Ichidakusai (斎藤一諾斎)

Ichidakusai SAITO (1813 - December 18, 1874) was a priest in the end of Edo period. He later became a member of Shinsengumi (a group who guarded Kyoto during the end of Tokugawa Shogunate). He was from Edo, Musashi Province. His name was Shuzen. Ichidakusai was his go (a Buddhist name).

* In famous "Moeyo ken" written by Ryotaro SHIBA, it is said that he was the same person as Hajime SAITO, but he was completely different person from Hajime Saito.

He was born in the family of a Shogun's retainer.

In 1818, when he was about 6 years old, he became a priest in Choko-in Temple in Imado, Asakusa. He became a priest of Komagome Kissho-ji Temple (Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo), and successively held the chief priest posts of Choko-in Temple, Keiyo-ji Temple (Imado), Tochi-in Temple (Yamanashi-gun, Kai Province), and Zenpuku-ji Temple (Kowaze village, Tsuru-gun, Kai Province).

However, when Koyo Chinbutai (a military unit formed specially for the campaign in Kai Province, Shinsengumi) visited Koshu in March, 1868, he joined them, at the age of 56. It is said that he readily responded to the member who recommended him to join. (There is another theory that he had already become a member during recruit of members by Toshizo HIJIKATA in 1867).

After losing the Battle of Koshu-Katsunuma, he moved to Aizu domain in Utsunomiya City with Hijikata to fight. He did not go to Ezo, but surrendered to the New government army in Sendai.

It is said that, when he left the battle field, he was given 30 ryo from Hijikata as a farewell gift, and he was significantly moved by his thoughtfulness.

After he was released, he settled in Nakano village, Tama District (Yugi Nakano, Hachioji City) and established a school. He closely communicated with the Hijikata family, Kondo family, and Sato family, and when Saito died in 1874, the families built monument of honor in Otsuka Kannon Do in Hachioji City. He died at 62.

His tomb is in Hosei-ji Temple in Horinouchi, Hachioji.

[Original Japanese]