Todou Heisuke “Sakigake Sensei”

Todou Heisuke (Nobutora) was nicknamed the “Forerunner Teacher” (Sakigake Sensei). It is because Todou was always the one to charge first into battle. Although being called a teacher didn’t fit since Todou was young, he was respected well and got called so. In the Ikeda-ya affair Todou was also one of the first to go inside, along with Kondou Isami, Okita Souji and Nagakura Shinpachi they fought the Ishin. However Todou’s face was cut by his inattention when an enemy jumped out from behind a hiding spot. The middle of his forehead was cut and spewed blood. Eventhough it was not a mortal wound, he was unable to continue combad with the blood streaming into his one eye. It is said that Nagakura Shinpachi was the one who saved Todou. He was escorted to the Gion festival meeting place and then to Mibu on a stretcher along with Okita, who collapsed, the next morning. When the party returned to the headquarters in Mibu Yagi Gennoujou asked Tani Sanjuurou about Todou. “Why was it that Todou was very good in kendo and yet he is injured?” Tani answered “Although Todou is the pupil of Shuusaku Chiba of Edo, to tell the truth he was a bit careless in the Ikeda inn. Because everyone was put away and it was a relief, while he was walking in a room near the entrace since it was hot he took off his Hachikane (helmet). The one fellow who was hiding in a closet there at the moment he removed the helmet ran out and reached Todou who was negligent. However Nagakura jumped in as Todou fainted on that occasion and the enemy was killed at last.” However since Tani Sanjuurou belonged to Hijikata’s party and arrived later than the rest, it is not thought that the place where Todo got injured was seen in fact, thus the credibility of the discussion cannot be confirmed.

Todou’s struggle in the Ikedaya seems to be widely well known outside the corps. Todou’s injury was recorded in a certain Satsuma Taishi’s record with the origin of “Sakigake Sensei”. “The person called Todou Heisuke among the Mibu Roshi, a young man in his prime separates and become active. He is only 17 years old this year and was often calm than before but frequently takes initiative and he is such a person. Namely the truth is he cuts right into the Ikeda-ya and gets injured to half-death, half of his lifetime, a serious wound however he survives. The initiative is taken previously and he is called Teacher (Sakigake Sensei) because it is his means as a person.” Note that Todou as 17 whose birth was in 1844 is a false report, Todou is 21 years old the year of the Ikedaya Jiken. During this time the Satsuma han was not anti-shogunate and we can say the impression of the Shinsengumi was not bad, but even if we were to deduct that, it can be said that Todo’s evaluation was high.

By the way this record continues on to refer to Todou’s different origin. “Was a Ronin from Todou Izumi-kami and entered the Miburoshi as such. To tell the truth he is the youngest illegitimate son of the Izumi-kami with his mistress, according to rumors. He is a young handsome man.” Todou Izumi-kami is a high feudal lord of Todou receiving 320,000 stipend in the Ise Tsu clan. There is the testimony of the Satsuma Taishi who is an outsider and the rumor increases in credibility by Nagakura Shinpachi saying that “Todou Heisuke was the illegitimate child of Todou Izumi-kami in the prefecture” and leaving a note. Though there is no way to confirm whether it is true, it is only correct that such a rumor was widely spread inside and outside of the corps at least at that time. However there are a lot of “handsome” man in the executives of the Shinsengumi, Hijikata Toshizou, Harada Sanosuke and Todou Heisuke have gathered from door to door. Does being blessed with good looks also a requirement to be able to move the times?

Transcription by Kizu. To be continued. All previous disclaimers apply.