Suzuki Mikisaburo

Captain of the Ninth Unit

Born – July 15, 1837 in the Hitachi area of the Shizuku province.

Died – July 11, 1919 in Ishioka, Ibaraki at age 83 [82].

Names –

Imina – Tadayoshi

Nickname – Habutae Miki

Suzuki had another name as a child, but it was not clear. He also changed his name for a short period when he was adopted, but again the name was not clear. He finally took the name he had in the Shinsengumi when he was kicked out of that family.

He got his nickname “Habutae Miki” (Three layer Miki) from an expensive brand of silk he like to wear.

Personality Quirks and Traits –

Suzuki was known to have a drinking problem. It was said that he never missed an evening drink.

He was also a very frivolous character. Not only did he spend much of his time carousing, but he would not wear anything that was not made of soft habutae silk. Even his fundoshi (loincloth) had to be made of the fabric.

Despite these shortcomings, he is said to have been able to behave magnificently in the case of an emergency.

Family History –

Suzuki was the younger brother of Ito Kashitaro. It is said that he dearly loved his older brother. Of the family he was the third child and the second son.

His father opened a private Chinese classics supplementary school. When he died in 1852 at age 48, Suzuki took over because Ito had already moved away. He was only 16 [15] at the time and this perhaps explains why the school soon failed.

Before the Shinsengumi –

At some point, Suzuki was briefly adopted. However his drinking habit soon got him kicked out of this family. It was then that he took the name “Mikisaburo”.

Suzuki then seems to have gone to Edo for a while. Afterwards he taught Chinese classics and fencing in private school in a village in the Hitachitaga area.

Martial Skills –

While nothing specific is stated about Suzuki’s sword skills, it is thought that he studied at his brother’s dojo for a time.

Shinsengumi Years –

Suzuki was visiting his brother at the time Ito was invited to join the Shinsengumi. He was among the men who followed him to Kyoto on October 15, 1864. He soon became a captain and remained one until he followed his brother out of the group in March of 1867. At the group’s height he was Captain of the Ninth Unit.

Suzuki’s unit never took an active part in events because Suzuki was too busy being absorbed in the pleasures of Kyoto.

When he left with his brother, he became a Vice-commander of the Kodai-ji party. Later he managed to escape the Shinsengumi’s ambush and sought shelter with the Satsuma clan.

Suzuki fought at Toba-Fushimi where he once again clashed with the Shinsengumi when he attacked their headquaters in the Fushimi Magistrate’s office. He was wounded in his left hand during this encounter.

Soon after this battle, he became the Second Captain in the Sekihoutai. Contrary to what is shown in Rurouni Kenshin, the group was not viciously exterminated by the Meiji government. To be brief, there were several incidents which caused the government to summon the Sekihoutai back to Kyoto. Members like Suzuki who complied with the orders were given a token jail terms that only lasted a few months. He was released in plenty of time to join the main army and take part in the Aizu war.

After the war he bumped into Nagakura, who was then hiding in Tokyo. Though he did not instigate a quarrel at that time, it is thought that he was behind several attempts on the former second captain’s life before Nagakura finally moved away.

Later Life –

In 1876 Suzuki got a job as a police inspector. He retired in Sakata in 1884 as a chief constable.

Although he despised the Shinsengumi, Suzuki was known to say prayers for Kondo and Hijikata. It was considered that the crimes of pupils of Buddha vanished after death and so he could not slander or hate them. Even so it still says much about his character.

After his retirement, Suzuki took up planting bonsai and poultry farming. He died on July 11, 1919 at the age of 83 [82].