Hitomi Katsutaro (人見勝太郎)
Katsutaro HITOMI (born on November 30, 1843 and died on December 31, 1922) was a vassal of Tokugawa Shogunate in the end of Edo period and a bureaucrat and businessman in the Meiji period. He changed his name into Yasushi after the Meiji Restoration. His Gago (pseudonym) was Umetsubo.
Brief Personal History
In 1843, he was born in Kyoto as the first son of Katsunojo HITOMI (a vassal with 10 Goku crop yield and an annual three-man rice stipend) who served in Nijo-jo Castle as a teppobugyogumi doshin (a constable in firearms section). In 1867, he entered yugekitai (mobile forces).
After defeated in the Battle of Toba-Fushimi, he withdrew to Edo and insisted on making a do-or-die resistance. He moved to Boso Peninsula with members of mobile forces who insisted on fighting against enemies including Hachiro IBA and joined with Tadataka HAYASHI, the lord of Joｚai Domain. He fought against the new government army in several places such as Odawara City, Izunokuni City and Hakone. He participated in Ouetsu Reppan Domei (Northern Alliance or a Japanese military-political coalition) and continued fighting while moving from the North Kanto to Tohoku (the northeast of Japan). After that, he moved to Ezo (inhabited area of Ainu) and was assigned as matsumae bugyo (a vassal of Tokugawa Shogunate whose duty was to control the area) of the Republic of Ezo. On May 18, 1869, he surrendered to the new government.
After the Meiji Restoration, he ran an English school in Shizuoka Prefecture. In 1876, he was recommended by Toshimichi Okubo for serving for Kangyoryo (Industrial Agency) and played an active role in producing Japanese tea. In 1879, he became a great secretary in Ibaraki Prefecture and in 1880, he became a governor of Ibaraki Prefecture. After that, he turned to be a businessman and played an important roll in establishing Sapporo Breweries Ltd., and then, he became a president of Toneunga (the Tone Canal) Corporation.
Since the 1890's, he often attended meetings where the participants talked about historical incidents and some stories about the last days of the Tokugawa shogunate and Meiji Restoration told there have been handed down for generations. He died in 1922. He died at the age of 80.
A death haiku (Japanese poem)
He made the following poem during the Hakodate War.
Tens of thousands of army and navel troops of the new government came. Our troops cut off from the main force fought a losing battle, causing heavy casualties. Our luck finally ran out here. We have to accept the surrender in our fortress, Goryokaku.