Yasutomi Saisuke (安富才助)

Saisuke YASUTOMI (1839 - May 28, 1873) from Ashimori Domain of Bicchu Province is a member of the Shinsengumi (a special force that guarded Kyoto during the end of Tokugawa Shogunate). He was a skilled equestrian of Otsubo-ryu school, and served as a master of equestrian art for the Shinsengumi. Afterwards, he became Fukucho (vice commander).
Rikugun bugyo soeyaku (magistrate's assistant of the Shinsengumi army troops)
His imina (personal name) was Masanori.

He was born as the child of Masanoshin YASUTOMI, who was a feudal retainer working as kanjogata (an accounting officer) in the Ashimori Domain.

Around November 1864, he joined the Shinsengumi. After serving as an accountant, he became an equestrian master. It seems that he was highly trusted by Toshizo HIJIKATA.

After the Battle of Koshu-Katsunuma, he parted his ways with Hijikata, but they reunited in Aizu. He went over to Ezo (present Hokkaido), and he became a direct subordinate of Toshizo HIJIKATA, who was appointed Rikugun bugyo nami (the associate magistrate of the Shinsengumi army troops). After Hijikata died in the Hakodate War, Yasutomi, who was by Hijikata's side when he died, wrote a notice of Hijikata's loss and asked Chikara TACHIKAWA to forward it to the Hijikata family. The former Edo bakufu army (the former army of Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) surrendered to the New government army.

It is said that although he was discharged in 1870, he was killed by one of the former Goryo-eji (guards of Imperial mausoleums), Juro ABE, however, this story is not confirmed. However, recently a grave that can be presumed his was discovered at Denjo-ji Temple in Ashimori (present Ashimori, Kita Ward, Okayama City), and on it the date of death is engraved as May 28, 1873.

Yasutomi's letter delivered by Tachikawa is still kept by the Hijikata family, and in it there is a piece of eulogy poem that Yasutomi dedicated to Hijikata.

In swift stream, alas! you have run out of strength, homeward sweet fish.
(However, according to another theory, this is the death haiku (Japanese poem) of Toshizo HIJIKATA himself.)

[Original Japanese]