Welcome to Shinsengumi no Makoto!

This is a site dedicated to the Shinsengumi, a group that kept the peace in Kyoto during the Bakumatsu. It will examine who they were and what they did, as well as explore the major events in which they were involved. There will also be information on the Bakumatsu and Boshin War in general, plus notes on life at the end of the Edo period in general.

To put it more simply, the first point of this site is give real information about the Shinsengumi to those who are interested. The second is to give real information about the world they lived in to fanfic writers who may want such details for their stories. At this point there is not a lot of information up on the site yet. There is still much work to be done here before the site takes on its final appearance, but here are the rough drafts for the profiles of the main members of the group for you to look at until the rest of the site is finished. Check back soon for new information!

A word about reading dates, place names, and ages in the profiles. Until 1873, Japan did not use the Gregorian calendar. Instead they used a lunar calendar, which puts the dates about a month behind westernized dates. So what does that mean? Basically, when you look at the date of Hijikata’s death, most sites will list it as simply “May 11, 1869”. This is the date Hijikata himself would have given if someone had asked him what the day was, because that was the date in Japan at the time according to the lunar calendar. However a man in a western country on that same exact day but going by the Gregorian calendar would have said the date was “June 20, 1869”. This is why you sometimes find two different dates for the same exact event during the Bakumatsu and Boshin War. After the year 1873 Japan also adopted the Gregorian calendar and from then on the dates matched the dates in other countries. So “September 28, 1915”, the day that Saito passed away, is actually “September 28, 1915”. Another inconvenience of the lunar calendar is the fact that a month had to sometimes be repeated to keep it in synch with the solar year. This happened in 1868 around the time Kondo was executed, so you have his execution on “April 25, 1868” and then his head being displayed on “April 8, 1868”! This is actually not the same month, but a second April in the same year. In order to try and make this all less confusing, I have listed the lunar dates first, simply because they are usually more readily avaiable. The date following the lunar date in [brackets] will be the date according to the Gregorian calendar. In some cases the western date is not known. All dates after 1873 are the correct date.

Another change that began to occur during the Meiji era was the names of many places were changed, especially the provinces. These became prefectures and they did not always follow the old borders of the former provinces, which sometimes makes it hard to tell where exactly someone was born in terms of modern places if only the province name is given. Also some other place names changed as well, such as “Edo” becoming “Tokyo”. Where possible, the name during the Edo period is given first, then the modern name in [brackets].

The last thing which may throw someone looking at these profiles is the ages of people involved. Until the Meiji era, people counted their age by a different system than the one used in western countries. In the Edo period a person was considered to be a year old on the day they were born. On the very first day of the next year, even if it were only a month away, everyone was automatically considered to be a year older. So Hijikata would have given his age on the day he died as 35 and he would have considered himself to have been that age since the first day of 1869. However according to the western way of calculating age, he had only turned 34 a month before. Sometimes when ages are given, it is not obvious to me if they are using the age that the person considered themself to be of if they gave the age that they would have been by western calculations. Any such age will be meant as they were very generally about that age. All ages that are known for certain will be given with the age by their reckoning first, then the westernized age in [brackets].

You may notice that most everyone has something called an “imina” listed under “names”. This was a “secret” or “hidden” name given to a person that only family and very close friends would have been allowed to know. It follows a magical principal found worldwide, which states that if the “hidden name” of something or someone is known, then you have power over that thing or person. To prevent this, people were given an “everyday name” such as “Toshizo” and then also given a “hidden name” like “Yoshitoyo”. By the time of the Shinsengumi, these names were probably not considered to be so “magical” anymore and appear to have been more like very formal names.

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