Noguchi Kenji (野口健司)

Kenji NOGUCHI (1843 – February 4, 1864). He was from Mito Domain. Fukucho jokin (assistant vice commander) of Shinsengumi (a special police force of the late Tokugawa shogunate period).

In the training hall of Shozo YURIMOTO in Edo, he learned the Shindo-Munen school of swordsmanship and was given mokuroku (a certificate of the completion of the art) (or might be conferred Menkyo-kaiden [full proficiency]). Shinpachi NAGAKURA who became a leader of Shinsengumi was one of his fellow disciples.

In March, 1863, he went to Kyoto participating in the roshi-gumi (organization of masterless samurai). He was opposed to going back to Edo and stayed in Kyoto and in March of the same year he participated in organizing Mibu-Roshigumi (Mibu masterless warriors group). He is regarded as one of the Mitoha group (Serizawa group) of Kamo SERIZAWA, Nishiki NIIMI, Jusuke HIRAMA, Goro HIRAYAMA, because he was from the Mito Domain. In Mibu-Roshigumi he became a Fukucho jokin and one of the original leaders. It is considered that Noguchi was acting with Serizawa together and involved in the Osaka wrestlers brawl incident and the Yamatoya fire attack incident which Serizawa caused. At the Coup of August 18 (old calendar), Noguchi also went into action.

In October of the same year, Serizawa and Hirayama were assassinated by the Shieikanha group (the group of Isami KONDO), and Hirama escaped. On the night of the assassination, Noguchi stayed at Sumiya (a restaurant) therefore he got out of the trouble. Before that, Niimi was also forced to commit seppuku and the Mitoha goup was destroyed. Among the Mitoha group, only Noguchi wasn't purged and stayed in the troop as one of its leaders. Because Noguchi didn't leave any trace of escape after the purge of the Serizawa faction, it is considered that he didn't know the fact or he had no objection to the new organization under Isami KONDO. Also it is assumed that it was one of the reasons why he wasn't purged that Nagakura from the Shieikanha group was one of his fellow disciples of swordsmanship.

However, on February 4, in the following year, Noguchi was suddenly ordered seppuku and committed it by the assistance of Hayataro ANDO. It is unknown why he was ordered seppuku.
Gennojo YAGI said later 'I think he was forced to commit seppuku about trifles.'
He died at 21.

Noguchi who was disappointed by the death of Serizawa, returned to his homeland by Kondo's preach in a historical drama 'Shinsengumi!' of Japan Broadcasting Corporation, but that was a fiction. Though he took sides with Serizawa group due to their hometown Mito, he was also getting along well with Okita and Todo from the Kondo group because of his innocent character and it is considered that he was kept in Sumiya on purpose.