Serizawa Kamo’s Group

Niimi Nishiki –

1836(?) – Sept 7, 1863 [Oct 19, 1863]

Niimi started out as one of the three commanders of the Shinsengumi, along with Kondo

and Serizawa. Surprisingly, everything about the man seems to be something of a mystery. It is commonly believed that he was from the Mito domain, though that is far from certain. Even his name is questioned. There is some belief that the name “Niimi” was an assumed one and that his real name was “Iori Tanaka”.

            His sword style is also in question, but it was most likely Shinto Munen Ryu. There is reason to believe that he was taught by one Okada Sukezamon and that he held a Menkyo Kaiden rank.

            Niimi worked very closely with Serizawa at first, but by nature he was a bit of a loner and it appears he may have gradually distanced himself from the “Chief Boss”. There is also evidence that he was reduced to the same rank as Hijikata and Yamanami towards the end. He was eventually forced to commit seppuku at a shop in Gion called the “Yamano-o” for violating rules. He is thought to have been around 28 [27] at the time of his death.

            It is claimed that there is some evidence to connect Niimi to the Choshu clan. Due to his name being listed at a Shishi shrine, it is considered a slight possibility that he may have been a spy.

Hirayama Goro –

1829 – Sept 16 or Sept 18, 1863 [Oct 28 or Oct 30, 1863]

            He was probably from the Hitachi area of Mito, though there are some who think he was from Harima. He studied Shinto Munen Ryu under Saito Yakurou at the Renpeikan dojo in Edo, the same school where the infamous Katsura Kagoro of Choshu had once been head student. Hirayama was ranked as a Menkyo Kaiden.

            At some point he had lost his left eye in an accident (possibly an attempt on his life or a fight of some sort). He was made one of the captains in the Mibu Roshi, as the group was called then. He kept a mistress named Kichiei from the “Kikyo-ya”. Hirayama died along with Serizawa in the surprise attack launched by Kondo’s group. According to one of the sons of the Yagi family, he was nude and sound asleep at the time of the assault. The corpse had been completely beheaded and had a large gash on the chest.

Harima Jusuke –

1824(?) – ?

            Harima was the eldest son of a farmer in Serizawa-mura, Hitachi, Mito domain. He had studied Shinto Munen Ryu under Serizawa Kamo, and so was extremely loyal to the man. Strangely Harima was considered to have been rather moderate in his behavior and seldom drank, a fact that saved his life. He was a captain in the Mibu Roshi and kept a mistress named Itosato from the “Wachigai-ya”.

            Since he was not drunk at the time of the attack on Serizawa’s group, he was able to fend off his assailants. It is said that he fled the house while still nude and it is unknown what became of him afterwards.

Noguchi Kenji –

1843 – Dec 27, 1863 [Feb 4, 1864]

            Noguchi was also from Mito and yet another student of Shinto Munen Ryu. His teacher was one Yurimoto Shouzou and he seems to have achieved a Mokuroku ranking. He became one of the captains of the Mibu Roshi.

            Nagakura Shinpachi it thought to have taken a liking to him and for this reason that he was kept from returning to the Yagi estate on the night of the attack. However by the end of December he had to commit seppuku at the Maekawa estate for unknown reasons. He was only 21 [20] at the time of his death.