Toyama Yahei (富山弥兵衛)

Yahei TOYAMA (1843 - May 22, 1868) was a member of the Shinsengumi (a special police force of the late Tokugawa shogunate period) and Goryo-eji (guard of Imperial mausoleums). He was commonly called Yahei or Shiro. His imina (personal name) was Toyokuni.

Biography

In 1843, he was born as a son of a feudal retainer of Satsuma. In 1864, he joined the Shinsengumi and belonged to the Nanaban Ozutsu gumi (seventh platoon in charge of cannon), and in 1865, he held the position of corporal. Later, he took part in setting up the squad of Goryo-eji with Kashitaro ITO and others. In the Aburakoji Incident, he managed to escape from the scene, and he was sheltered by the Satsuma clan. Afterwards, he assaulted Isami KONDO on the Fushimi-kaido Road with other remnants of the Goryo-eji such as Juro ABE.

During the Boshin War, he was with the Satsuma clan. Although he was dedicated to investigate the movement of the Aizu Domain, staying in Izumozaki Town, Echigo Province, he was caught by Mito Tengu-to (antiforeigner faction of Mito Domain), and although he once tried to escape, his attempt failed and he was killed. He was 26 years old.

Remarks

It is said that he joined the Shinsengumi, because he was motivated by Toshimichi OKUBO, who was sent as a kanja (spy) of the bakufu. Before he was admitted as a member, he was suspected to be a spy, as he was from the Satsuma Domain, but finally he was admitted thanks to the mediation of Ito.

According to an oral tradition, when Toyama was killed, he was skewered about 50 times all over the body. His body was buried at the battle field, but it is said that later a mass grave was constructed in Takada, Joetsu City, Niigata Prefecture, and his body was moved there. Later, he was enshrined at Yasukuni-jinja Shrine.