Semi-Historical Saitou Page from the Old Site

Fujita Kamon - Family Crest of Saitou


Most of the following below was written almost two years ago except the last few paragraphs. This is really more of a fangirl approach to history which I still add anyway because fans provide fuel for interest, whether they are fiction fans or history fans.

What's he really like? Well not as hot as RK Saitou but then again it's not fair to compare the two. I have grown a healthy respect for the historical version. The San-ban-tai Kumichou went through several name changes mostly because of the line of his work as a spy, first he was Yamaguchi Hajime, then Saitou Hajime (Shinsengumi), Inouhe Denpachi and finally Fujita Gorou. He was born to Yamaguchi Yuusuke and Masu. Well as most significant life starts out a bit shaky, he is rumored to have killed the son of a Retainer to the Shogun and thus left Tokyo, his hometown. He left behind his mother and father and his siblings Katsu (sister) and Hiroaki (brother).  He also had a nice named Yuki.

He met Kondou (soon to be Commander of the Shinsengumi) in Tama and later on joined the Shinsengumi as a troop captain. He is described as a very good swordsman on par with Okita Souji who during the time was the best swordsman in the Shinsengumi. In history just like in Anime and the movies he did command the third troop and was trusted by Hijikata, so much so that he gave him the assignment to spy on Itou Kashitarou. Itou's group defected from the Shinsengumi and created what is considered to be one of the worst internal disturbance in Shinsengumi history. Historical Saitou fought valiantly in Toba-Fushimi, during the Seinan wars and the Boshin wars. He became part of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police. It is believed that it was Toshiyoshi Kawaji, a native of Satsuma who recruited Saitou into the TMPD. After serving the TMPD (and rising up in the ranks) he finally retired and became a Museum guard, teacher and traffic enforcer in a girl's school where his wife Tokio also worked.

There is also a rumor that before Tokio Takagi (his wife), he was involved with a woman older than him named Yaso during the war but she died. It is unclear whether she died of illness though. His marriage to Tokio Takagi was arranged and it is said that the Daimyo himself was the sponsor for the marriage. He had three sons named Tatsuo, Tsutomu and Tsuyoshi. The youngest, Tatsuo was actually adopted.

Correction on Tatsuo's adoption 9/8/04: There are new findings that Tatsuo was not actually an adopted son, he is actually the biological son of the Fujita's however he was adopted "out" of the family to the Numazawa family. It is believed that Tatsuo was adopted out to help preserve the Aizu as the Numazawa's were retainers and Tokio and Hajime had strong ties with the Aizu clan. However there is debate if this was the only reason. There might've been more to the adoption, it is most probable that during the time Saitou Hajime (Fujita Gorou) was a prisoner of war the Numazawa's probably helped him during the time. The Numazawa's approached the Fujita family and probably asked the Fujita's to bear a child for them to adopt, citing Hajime's indebtedness while he was a POW.

Personality wise there is not much said or known about the man. Again it is rumored that there are family records and Shinsengumi records which are still in possession by the family and has not been made public up to now. We do know that he is fond of drinking (which ultimately led to his death - he died in a Seiza position by the way), a very quiet man as described by his brother in law and washed and stretched his fudonshi everyday. For those who do not know what a fudonshi is, it's underwear. Now don't laugh, this is actually a very good thing, because it points to cleanliness. Now who wouldn't want an intelligent (yes he must be intelligent because he served as a spy), skillful (fighting skills) and CLEAN man? Ladies?

I don't care much for the facial features of the real Saitou Hajime. Some say that he has a face only a mother could love but I'll let you be the judge of that. He was rather tall almost 6 feet. Some say he was "stocky" but later on put on some weight (later in his Museum guarding days). A couple of other downsides was that as I've mentioned before he drank quite a lot and there is an account that he is fickle when it came to women (I'm still waiting for more info on this). So there you have it a no holds barred low down on the real Saitou Hajime.

How did Saitou Hajime die?

Well he never did in the world of Anime, Manga and Fiction (at least my fanfiction ^_^ )... But for the curious let me detail to you what happened in history.

September 28, 1915, Saitou Hajime died at the age of 72. As I wrote earlier he was fond of drinking and this is the cause of his death. As he realized that his time was near, he asked his family to move him to an alcove, there he sat "Seiza" and awaited his death while his daughter-in-law Midori (Tsutomu's wife), continuously removed phlegm from his throat by chopsticks and some cotton balls. Note how he died in "Seiza", this means sitting on your heels with your back straight, this requires continuous presence of mind and discipline as it is a formal way of sitting. He did all this until the moment of his death, this not only pointed to his self-discipline and control but also his awareness of the Mugai Ryu. Mugai Ryu is his swordsman style and it advocates to continuously challenge oneself. Being in "Seiza" until death shows his dedication as a Mugai Ryu swordsman.

Let's sum this up... Obviously what I wrote above is just a short summary and highly incomplete history on the real man. My focus has always been Saitou Hajime in popular culture since my first love will always be RK Saitou. However if you love RK Saitou then you owe it to him, and his creator and yourself to know about the real man. And maybe you can use what you know in history to give RK Saitou or any other fictional rendition of the wolf more depth. Oh don't get me wrong RK Saitou is deep but only if you read between the lines....

Takagi Tokio (Fujita Tokio)

Recently the Shinsengumi community has had a flurry of information relating to Takagi Tokio, Fujita Goro's wife. Takagi Tokio is an adopted daughter of the Kurasawa family and had a brother named Morinosuke.  She was once a lady in waiting of Teruhime, wife of Matsudaira Katamori in Aizu.  Later on she would meet Saitou Hajime and marry him have three children and live their lives in Tokyo. In Tokyo she would become part of the Normal School for Women through courtesy of her cousin Takamine Hideo. She worked there as a dorm mother. Later on in life, after Fujita Goro's resignation from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, he will join Tokio teaching in the same school, today known as Ochanomizu. She also worked in Yasuda bank. I would recommend that you find out more about her.

Addendum: 02/19/2006

  • There's no English book out yet for Saitou Hajime, however there is one for the Shinsengumi by Romulus Hillsborough ISBN: 0804836272. Some would regard his work as having leanings but that's what we have and I think it is good that he considered it more like historical fiction.

  • Shizuko Akama wrote several books about Saitou (i.e. ISBN: 4404025998 and ISBN: 4404026269). She is a life-long researcher of our wolf! Some would regard her work as having the elements of historical fiction. To be quite frank, I think that's good to bear in mind.

  • Try to get a hold of Remembering Aizu by Shiba Goro. It's good but keep in mind that the author is too close to the subject as well. Think of Nagakura's book (wrote it himself) where (it is said that) he's described himself a bit too good.

  • My favorite Saitou Site on the web is and the old 3-hajime site. You'll have to use a Japanese translator like nifty or babelfish.

  • Visit ShinsengumiHQ for more info as well.


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