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Kondo Isami, a highly skilled swordsman and the Commander of the Shinsengumi, was born in Kami-Ishihara, a quaint farming village in Chofu, western Tokyo, under the name Miyagawa Katsugoro. His journey into the samurai caste began when Kondo Shusuke adopted him. The catalyst for this adoption was Kondo's valiant defense of his family home at the age of 13 against a band of robbers.

Demonstrating exceptional swordsmanship, Kondo became the fourth master of the Tennen Rishin-Ryu in 1861. Subsequently, in 1863, the Tokugawa Shogunate enlisted 234 ronin as bodyguards for Shogun Iemochi. Kondo and his associates, initially part of the Roshigumi, served as police under the Tokugawa in Kyoto. This group eventually evolved into the notorious Shinsengumi, credited with uncovering and suppressing a potential rebellion in the Ikedaya Incident.

While celebrated as courageous heroes, Kondo and the Shinsengumi gained notoriety for their ruthless tactics, often eliminating perceived opponents to advance their agenda. Internal strife and assassinations within the group further tarnished their reputation. Notably, Kondo Isami was implicated in the assassination of statesman Sakamoto Ryoma.

The downfall of the Tokugawa Shogunate led to the Boshin War during which the Shinsengumi, including Kondo, participated in the Battle of Toba-Fushimi. Kondo sustained injuries from gunfire in this conflict and also fought in the Battle of Koshu-Katsunuma before surrendering to Imperial forces.

Following his capture, Kondo spent 20 days in jail in Itabashi, Tokyo, before facing execution at the Itabashi grounds on May 17, 1868. His grave and memorial stone stand as testaments to his legacy. Kondo Isami, at the age of 33, was laid to rest at Ryugen-ji Temple in Tokyo's Mitaka, while his severed head, initially displayed publicly, was later stolen and discreetly interred in a small mound behind Hozo-ji, an ancient temple in Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture.


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