Kondou Tsune: Isami’s wife and her fate

One of the people I have been interested in is Kondou Tsune. I was fascinated by her character in NHK Shinsengumi. I absolutely loved Tsune and Kondou together, which is a rarity as I rarely like standard pairs. Kondou married her when he was 28 and she 25. She came from a samurai family I think their family name is Matsui. Kondo during the time was said to be seeking a wife and have met quite a few beautiful women, when he picked Tsune out of them, the story is that the go-between was surprised and asked why her (since she was supposedly not too pretty and with a harelip)? He replied something like, he liked her attitude, gentle and kind. There’s another story that said Kondou was said to say if he marries someone not so beautiful then it won’t be a problem unlike a beautiful woman. I guess he’s referring to “faithfulness”. Indeed she was faithful to him, she never re-married. I don’t know if she knew of his supposed four mistresses in Kyoto (but eh… most of them had mistresses or women, harada seems to be the only one that stuck to one and married her later on). Tsune and Kondou had a daughter named Tamako who married Yugoro (sometimes it said Yujirou) when she was 15, who was adopted into the Kondo family. Unfortunately Tamako dies of illness at the age of 25. The son-in-law remarries… But it seems there were problems with the new wife etc. Arrangements were made for Tsune which Shinsengumi Hyakuwa says must not have been that favorable… Tsune either dies of illness or suicide… Yes there is that theory, since she committed suicide before, she was not happy with the arrangement of Tamako to be married. She tried to either stab her throat or breast… but the marriage continued anyway…

It was a rather sad life for her. Kondou although it’s said that he loved his wife and daughter could not visit them often and the last time he saw them was when he went to Tama after losing the battle at Toba-Fushimi in January of 1868. He goes back to the front and that’s the last time they saw him alive… What’s also sad is after his grandson Hisataro died, that ended the bloodline of Kondou-san. The son died in the Russo-Japanese war after contracting some disease while at the front.

The picture below is Kondou Tsune.. You can definitely see the harelip.. But she’s not ugly at all I think.