Ijichi Masaharu (伊地知正治)
Masaharu IJICHI (July 21, 1828-May 23, 1886) was a retainer of Satsuma Domain. He was an earl.
His childhood name was 'Tatsukoma,' and his imina (real name) was at first 'Tokiyasu' and later 'Shoji.'
His common name was 'Ryuemon,' and his go (pseudonym) was 'Ichiryu.'
He was born the second son of Tokihei IJICHI, a retainer of Satsuma Domain, at the town of Sengoku Baba near Kagoshima-jo Castle. He was called 'prodigy' as he could read letters at the age of 3, but he went blind (one eye) and lame (one leg) because of serious disease in his childhood.
He learned the Yakumarujigen school swordsmanship from Kaneyoshi YAKUMARU and the Goden school military science from Usaemon HOKO, mastering the secrets of the art. Masaharu's pupils of the Goden school included Tsugumichi SAIGO, Goroku TAKASAKI, Gumpei FUCHIBE, and Michitsune MISHIMA. Shiro IKENOUE and Tota ARIMA also learned from Masaharu. Later, he became a professor at Zoshikan School, a domain school.
In 1859, he joined the Seichu-gumi Squad. He was assigned to a military commissioner for his contribution to Hisamitsu SHIMAZU's visit to Kyoto as Hisamitsu's acolyte. Masaharu was an exceptional military strategist and made great contribution to Anglo-Satsuma War and Boshin Civil War. In the battle of Shirakawaguchi, he defeated the 2,500-strong government army barricaded in Shirakawa-jo Castle with only 700 soldiers. In the Battle of Aizu, he led the Satsuma army and greatly contributed to the capitulation of Aizu-Wakamatsu-jo Castle, together with Taisuke ITAGAKI of the Tosa Domain. His military strategies were characterized by the thorough elitism by selected few soldiers (squads of selected castle soldiers for Satsuma Domain and squads of selected Kiheitai Army soldiers for Choshu Domain) and by the firearm absolutism, the traditional practice of the Goden school. After the war, he tackled the governmental reforms of Satsuma Domain.
In argument over the subjugation of Korea, he supported for sending army and ambassador to Korea. Masaharu, together with ITAKURA, was known to draw up plans to dispatch army to Korea, but he did not resign from the governmental post when the Coups of 1873 took place. The reason why he did not resign was that because Shojiro GOTO, head of the Council of the Left, with whom Masaharu was in conflict, stepped down from official post, Masaharu, then deputy head of the Council of the Left, was promoted to the head instead. Later, he also assumed the post of Sangi (Councilor) and held various posts in a row such as the head of Shushikan, 1st Grade jiko (tutor to Emperor), and a consultant in the Imperial household. After Seinan War, he returned to Satsuma, where he contributed to local restoration, and died at the age of 58 in 1886.
He was excellently adept at designing military strategies, being rivaled only by Masujiro OMURA of Choshu Domain rivaling.
He was said to be the reincarnation of Kansuke YAMAMOTO, inspired by his impaired eye and leg.