Shinsengumi Kekkonroku Wasurenagusa 2 – Harada Sanosuke
CV – Tachibana Shinnosuke
By the first year of Genji , the peaceful and unexciting era whose mere mention was enough to make anyone yawn, had already passed. What came in its place was a bloody and insane era, yet people still continued to cry out their tiresome ideologies. It was that kind of era. Revering the emperor and driving out foreigners. Overthrowing the shogunate. Everyone desperately argued for those things and wielded their swords, sacrificing their lives, as if they believed those things were most important to this world. Why on earth are they so passionate? I have no idea why.
The colours of this world are as dull as sand. All that exists is tedious and unpleasant. In this era where not one thing interests me, everyone speaks about the future as if it is the matter of most importance to this country. Their conversation sounds like nothing more than the useless noise of sand being blown around, but the majority of fools this world overflows with are influenced by ridiculous beliefs and are reduced to being people who make the same useless noises. So as I wield my spear, I think that it would be better for them to become a little quieter. I feel strangely excited when I sense the tip of my spear sinking into soft flesh and see the spray of blood spreading out like mist.
But when I return to my senses, all I see is the usual tedious landscape. Why am I the only one who is always so bored? I’m fed up of everything. Everyone should just die. All the fools should let out their final ugly screams and die. That is the reason I am captain of the Shinsengumi’s tenth troop and the reason that I stand beside the flag of sincerity. 
I’m back from my patrol. Could you open up?
I haven’t had enough sleep. I’ll go to sleep when I’m done reporting. I suppose I’ll take a bath before that. I think I might fall asleep in the bath.
Who’s there? A woman? It’s quite rude of you to scream when you see someone. Who are you?
Ah. Come to think of it, I heard someone saved a woman at the Ikedaya yesterday. That was you?
Who am I? That doesn’t matter. I don’t see any need to tell you my name.
Ah, this? I was dealing with the remnants and their blood spilled on me. Some of the Choshu  escaped from the Ikedaya, didn’t they? I searched for them, caught them and got rid of them. Blood sprayed out from the wounds in their bodies and in my direction. I ended up the way I am now after getting rid of a few of them.
You want me to use that to stop the bleeding? Hmm… You noticed I was hurt? You’re quite perceptive. But it’s not a deep wound. It’s no reason to let that cloth get dirty.
I don’t need any treatment either. There’s no need to worry about me anyway. Or do you get upset worrying about the health of everyone you meet?
You’re so simple. Don’t involve me in your hypocrisy. Just save it for some fool who’d be moved by that kind of thing. It’s got nothing to do with me. If you understand, then don’t approach me without any reason, alright? Your stupidity will rub off on me.
You look like you’re not convinced yet. Then I’ll tell you one thing that’ll make it meaningless to treat my wounds. I got these injuries because I wanted to.
It would be my own fault if the wound became infected, then I got a fever and died. It’s nothing for you to worry about. See you then.
Oh, it’s you? The girl from before.
You’re still here? Why are you doing the mopping?
You became a maid? Come to think of it, I heard about that from Toshi-san. I forgot all about it.
Ah… A maid, hmm… In that case, I’ll tell you my name. You’re counted as a member of the Shinsengumi now, aren’t you? It’s not as if we’re complete strangers then.
I’m Harada Sanosuke. You can call me Harada, Sano or even “Mr Gloomy”, if you like. I’m not particularly bothered.
Hmm? The injury I had before? Now that I think about it, you were quite concerned. You still remember it?
It’s not important. There’s no problem. It’d be bothersome if you worried about every single injury. I’m used to it.
Hmm? Why are you surprised? The same goes for you, doesn’t it?
It doesn’t? You see, working for the Shinsengumi means that you’re so prepared for pain that the fact you might be attacked and wounded at any time doesn’t bother you at all. Am I wrong?
Because you wanted to be useful? Ah, I see. So you decided to work here for that reason? Are you an idiot?
You survived and now you’re using your life for the sake of others. It’s difficult for me to understand. You should be using it for your own sake. You’re so good-natured. You’re a completely different type of person to me.
Why are you looking at me like that? I wasn’t saying that to trouble you.
Ah. It sounded like I was criticising you? I was just being honest about what I thought. You’re quite ignorant, aren’t you? It’ll be difficult for you to survive when you can’t tell whether someone has bad intentions or not.
Why do you look so troubled? Why don’t you say something instead of being silent? I won’t be able to tell how you think and how you might react.
Never mind. It seems there’s no point in talking to you any longer. Forget what I just said. Instead of being aware of your own thoughts, you can simply help the Shinsengumi by cleaning the corridors.
I’ll be counting on you from now on then.
 Genji era – An era which began on February 1, 1864.
 Choshu – A clan that was an enemy of the shogunate and the Shinsengumi.
 Sincerity – The symbol of the Shinsengumi is 誠 “Makoto”, a concept which roughly translates as “sincerity”.
The next time I got to have a proper conversation with you, it was autumn.
I wondered why I could hear someone crying at this time and it turned out to be you. Why are you hiding here and crying?
Me? Can’t you see? I just got back from the night patrol. I encountered two men. There weren’t many tonight. Not many people were outside because of the new moon.
Although there were only two of them, my injuries were worse than usual because their swordsmanship was so clumsy. The spear’s long reach is useful, but fighting against someone with a sword would be difficult on a night like this.
Anyway, why are you crying? You came all the way to this corner of the garden too.
Ah, I see. You felt like crying because you remembered your dead parents and you went out of your room so you wouldn’t make a lot of noise.
But your parents died at the Ikedaya, didn’t they? I think it’s already been three months since then. Are you still crying? Why don’t you forget about them already?
Everyone dies eventually. It’s no good crying over just two people. Don’t you think it’s an inefficient thing to do? I think it’d be more useful to rest for tomorrow instead of crying like that.
I see. You’re so hurt and upset that you can’t even make that decision. Then why are you still alive? If you feel so hurt, then you should die.
Ah, you stopped crying. Were you surprised?
Hmm… That wasn’t my intention when I said it.
Well, alright. It’s good that you’ve stopped crying. Can you bring a cloth and a change of clothes to the bathroom? The blood that splashed onto me has dried and it feels uncomfortable. I’m going to take a bath, so I’ll leave that to you.
Come here. Give me the cloth.
Ah, I feel a lot better.
What are you looking at? Shouldn’t you be used to seeing a man’s chest?
Hmm… Ah, so you were looking at the injuries on my stomach.
It’s not important. They don’t hurt anymore.
They’re just old injuries. I didn’t get them in battle though. I made these injuries myself.
It’s nothing to be so surprised about. You get surprised about everything.
You don’t know what I’m talking about? I felt like making them, so I did. I held my sword in my left hand, pierced the left side of my stomach and drew my sword to the right. That’s all.
I’ve never been seriously injured, so I was interested in how it felt to be near death. A lot of people were angry at me when I did that. Heisuke had tears in his eyes. Nagakura looked pale too. Ah… I was surprised that someone gentle like Kondo-san raised his voice. Seeing those unusual things made it worth the effort.
I can tell what you’re thinking right away.
Hmm? You think I’m even stranger now? Well, I don’t think you’ll be able to understand me, and I don’t wish for you to do so either.
Did I think it was alright to die? That’s a completely foolish question. I didn’t think it was alright to die, I wanted to die.
Ah… That’s not right. I shouldn’t have said it in the past tense. I still feel the same way now.
Why? Everyone eventually ends up desiring a place to die at some point in their lives. That’s how it is. The only difference is whether it happens sooner or later.
I’d actually like to ask you something. Why don’t you want to die?
You’re sad enough about your parents dying that you’re still crying three months after their deaths, aren’t you? You want to see them again, don’t you? I don’t know whether the afterlife exists, but perhaps you’ll see your parents again if you die. However, as long as you’re alive, you won’t see your dear parents again. In that case, it’d be good for you to try count on a happy afterlife and die. Why are you still alive?
Have you found something of value? There’s no reason for you to cry like that anymore then, is there?
Me? There’s no way I’d find anything of value in this world. Don’t think that I’m the same as you. There’s nothing I’ve ever enjoyed, you see.
What? Are you feeling sorry for me?
Hmm… Well, thank you. I’ll gladly laugh.
Well? Are you satisfied to tell me that?
You don’t know me at all. So why are you feeling sorry for me? Did you think that I would be moved and grateful if you showed me a worthless sentiment you share with everyone? You didn’t, did you?
That’s the right answer. I’d only think you were even more of a fool. Anyway, if you’re going to feel sorry for me, then comfort me in a more feminine way.
Come on, come here. You’re the only woman here, so isn’t it obvious what’s going to happen to you? Being a maid is just a cover. The real reason you were hired is to do this kind of thing. It’s useful that I don’t have to go all the way to the courtesan’s district. I’m going to do this quickly…
Ah, never mind about that! I’m not the type to get turned on when someone resists. Just stay still.
Your kimono will get wet if you go too far that way.
Ah… You don’t like the nape of your neck being kissed? I’ll kiss you here instead then. Tell me when you feel good.
You’re still going to resist? It’s dark, so there’s no need to be embarrassed.
Did that feel good just now? I’ll keep going then.
Eh? That’s not right? What isn’t right?
Oh? You really are just a maid? Really?
What are you talking about? I can’t believe it.
Ah… I see. Kondo-san is that type of person. I’ve got no more use for you then. You can go now. You can either go to sleep or just keep crying in the garden. I won’t interrupt you again.
Did I do something wrong? Well, that doesn’t matter. What she thinks of me isn’t important.
It’s so cold.
The second year of Genji, summer. It was dusk, the time when the cicadas would cry restlessly.
Hey. What are you doing here? Did you come because you knew I’d be keeping watch here?
Hmm… You’re on your way back after doing some shopping? Then why don’t you go straight home instead of wasting time here? I don’t think you’ll see anything interesting here. You’re also a nuisance.
The shrine? You’re planning on going to the shrine near here? Hmm… Why? Is there something you want to pray for?
Ah, wait. I’ll try and guess. You’re easy to understand, you see.
Aren’t you going to pray for your parents to be at peace in the afterlife? I think praying for an afterlife which might not even exist is nothing more than a way of making yourself feel better.
I’m half right? What do you mean?
You’re going to pray for the world to become a peaceful place soon? What’s that supposed to mean? That’s an incredibly boring wish. Do you miss the time when there was no war? I can’t believe it.
I’m not the same. Of course, I want to kill everyone from the Joi . I can’t bear their troublesome behaviour. But I don’t think their deaths will make this a peaceful era once again. There are many more unpleasant people. Peace will not happen, even if they are all destroyed.
People who are of no use to this world are being born everyday, you see. The bloody wave which has gained momentum will not be stopped so easily. Bodies will be piled up in a heap, and before long they will close in on the sky and the fools will finally realise that “it seems a little dark around here”.
At that time, it will have become an irreversible situation where the immediate future will be filled with darkness. Then one era will finally reach its end.
Have you been to school? If you have, then look back on history. Wouldn’t you then understand that humanity has repeated the events of those eras and moved forward? Praying for peace is a waste of time. What is the use of clinging to temporary peace? A bloody era will eventually come around again.
Hmm? Why are you confused?
Kondo-san and I believe in very different things? Well, I won’t deny that. But I’m quite interested in Kondo-san, who desires peace. Because he understands that peace is something temporary.
Unlike you, he isn’t someone who single-mindedly believes in peace. Although he understands that peace won’t last forever, he still has peace as an ideal. It’s interesting, isn’t it?
I think that living for the sake of peace is meaningless, but for some strange reason I feel as if I want to support him. I’m well aware of the contradiction. But contradiction is the one thing that can overcome boredom. If I stay by his side, this world might become a little less boring. I think Kondo-san is good at making people hopeful.
I could never become someone like that. I don’t particularly care about that. But…
The sun is beginning to set.
You said you were going to the shrine, didn’t you? Why don’t you give up? You might bump into someone dangerous and it’ll be quite dark when you go home.
Me? I’m still going to stay here.
Be quiet. Someone’s coming. There are four men. They’ve appeared sooner than I thought they would. Well, what shall I do?
Hey you. Can you stay still? Make sure they don’t find you. Got it? Keep yourself hidden and lower your breathing. Otherwise you’ll end up getting involved too.
Stop. Where are you from? The only thing ahead of here is a shrine. All four of you are going to visit it? You don’t look like the type of people who would enthusiastically pray to gods. Or are you going to the rundown building ahead of the shrine?
I don’t know what you’re doing there, but I can guess… Hmm… A secret meeting about how to overthrow the shogunate, perhaps?
Hmm… What a simple reaction. I don’t mind that. I’m glad my time isn’t being wasted.
Who am I? That doesn’t matter! There’s no point in telling my name to someone who’s about to die.
Come on. Hurry up and die.
Die. Die. Die. Die! Die!
Come on, come here! Your precious allies have been stabbed to death. So why are you standing there looking pale?
Come here. Struggle pathetically, knowing you can do nothing. Despair and die with tears in your eyes.
Your hands are trembling. How pathetic.
You may be vulgar, loud and worthless, but the blood you spill is more beautiful than I would have expected. I admire the red flowers that you bloom on the sandy landscape. Because they make the world a little colourful. So splendidly spill your blood and die!
That’s it. That’s right. Become even more desperate. Only think of killing me.
I’m enjoying this. You never thought your lives would end here, did you?
Hey! You’re going to completely experience what fear feels like. It feels as if you’re alive doesn’t it?
You’re already done? How dull. It went by too fast.
No… That’s not right. There’s one more.
Will you die too? You want to see your parents, don’t you?
Only joking. I wouldn’t kill an ally like that. I have that much sense. Unfortunately enough.
What’s that accusing look for? Did you really want me to kill you? In that case, I can grant your wish right now.
It’s alright. I’ll make you at peace in an instant. There’s a sword lying here too. I’ll say that you were killed by one of the Choshu.
I’m sure some of the people at the headquarters will cry for you and come to this shrine to pray for you to be at peace.
That’s not it? Then what are you trying to say?
The landscape became mysteriously colourful and was burned into my mind. Your tearful eyes helplessly but honestly stared at me. You parted your lips which had turned pale from fear and slowly blinked repeatedly.
Then you quietly said “You’ve barely avoided your opponent’s attack many times. Why do you do such dangerous things?” That was the first time I thought of you as interesting. You’re a fool, but perceptive about strange things. It seems that you weren’t just shaking with fear during the battle, but that you were carefully watching it.
You’re more bothered about me barely avoiding being hit than you almost getting killed?
Hmm… You’re a strange person.
Well, I won’t deny it. No matter how strong or weak an opponent is, I won’t dodge their sword until the very last moment. That’s why I always get hurt. But I can’t help it. I don’t feel like dodging their attacks unless I do it at the very last moment.
I hesitate because I might get injured and die then. I always feel that way when I’m just about to be hit by the stroke of a sword.
But in the end, I can never think of a reason to die and end up dodging it. I’ve pulled myself through life that way. It’s because I made a promise long ago that I wouldn’t die for a selfish reason. So I’m not going to die as long as I don’t have an unselfish reason to die.
You want me to stop fighting like that because it’s dangerous? Hah. I can’t understand why you’re so worried about me. Whether I live or die has nothing to do with you. You don’t see any value in worrying about me, do you?
I don’t remember giving you anything like that. Just look away if you don’t like seeing someone you know die. Or is there some kind of important reason you’re interfering in my life?
If so, I’d like to hear it.
You can’t answer, which means you haven’t got any reason at all. You should leave me alone then. Things would be easier for you too that way.
Ah… But if you think of a reason for me to die, tell me what it is. I’m quite interested in hearing your suggestion. See you later.
I’ve got to report to someone about these men. You be careful on your way back. I’ve killed everyone who was hiding there, so I think it’ll be fine though.
 Sonno Joi faction – A group who supported restoring power to the emperor and expelling foreigners from Japan.
Second year of Keio , autumn. Now that I think about it, it’s been some time since I had a proper conversation with you.
What are you doing here? You’re sewing, aren’t you? Is that something you’d normally do on the veranda at night?
Your lamp ran out of oil? The moon isn’t bright enough to see what you’re doing tonight. I think this obviously isn’t very efficient. You really are an idiot.
I’ve got a lamp in my room, so why don’t you come there? This way.
There you go. You should be able to see what you’re doing now. Why don’t you finish up quickly and go to sleep?
What? You thought I hated you?
That’s not true. I act like this around everyone. I wasn’t being particularly unkind to you. I’ve never felt that I hated or liked anyone anyway. I don’t really understand those feelings. I think Kondo-san is an impressive man and I’m grateful that Toshi-san is quite kind to me as well. But that doesn’t mean I like them.
Nagakura and Heisuke? You’re quite observant. I do spend time with them, but I don’t think it’s the same as liking them.
Liking someone means having a sense of attachment to them, doesn’t it? The Shinsengumi are my allies. But I don’t have a sense of attachment to my allies. I don’t have any feelings about that. It’s enough for allies just to share the same aim, isn’t it?
My family, hmm? I thought you might ask that. What about you? You loved your family, didn’t you?
Then how much did you love them? Did you love them so much that nothing else could replace them?
Hmm. Then I must ask you this next. Why are you still alive? If you’ve lost someone who you feel cannot be replaced, then shouldn’t you follow them and die too? So why haven’t you done that? Is there a reason you don’t want to die? What’s your reason for living that makes you bear the pain of losing your family?
You’ve got a troubled look on your face again. You really don’t know your own feelings?
Then tell me when you make up your mind. I’ll always be ready to help you leave this world.
All you have to say is “I want to die”.
Me? I told you before, didn’t I? I always feel as if I want to die. I’m not pathetically clinging to life like you are. The only reason I’m not dead is because I don’t have a reason to die. If I found a reason I could agree with, I could end my life right away.
Who knows? I’m not sure of the reason I began feeling this way. I’m sure that I gradually and naturally ended up like this.
Ah, but I have a feeling that there was a catalyst. I’m not sure whether it was a clear cause though. When I was younger and didn’t yet know how to fight with a spear, my grandparents who had cared for me both died at the same time. They drowned when they went to see the river on a rainy day. While their relatives wept, I didn’t shed a single tear. I was convinced when my parents said “You probably don’t understand death because you’re still young”.
I soon grew up and began to learn how to fight with a spear. My senior was a popular young man in our neighbourhood. He had a strong sense of justice and was liked by everyone. Yes, he was like Kondo-san. He died on the roadside while protecting a woman and her child from some dangerous men. He died too young and too suddenly. His funeral was filled with tears and everyone’s eyes were red. But I didn’t shed a single tear.
Of course, I had already understood what death was. I understand that when someone they’re close to dies, people’s emotions break down and they weep. Whilst everyone was weeping, I was thinking clearly how I felt about how much my senior cared for me, how much time we spent together and how that time had suddenly come to an end.
In the end, I was able to understand. It seems that I’m different from other people. No matter how much I look back on my memories, they are only there as events of the past.
I feel neither sad nor happy about them. My heart doesn’t feel anything for my senior, my grandparents or anyone alive now. It seems that normal people aren’t like that. I understood that from observing others. I’m sure that I’m missing something. When I had that thought, I couldn’t help thinking that everything seemed so dull. The world is so dull that it suffocates me. Others praise this world, yet I’m the only one who feels the way I do.
Why am I the only one who has to be this bored? No matter how much I thought about it, it seemed there was no answer. When I realised that, all of a sudden, nothing seemed to matter anymore. I hated the majority of people in this world to the point that I could no longer bear it. People being passionate about something. People enjoying something. People with dreams. Because I haven’t had any of those things.
If only everyone would die. There’s nothing enjoyable in this world. Why hasn’t anyone realised?
What are you doing? Did you prick your finger? Let me see.
You’re bleeding. You weren’t looking properly at what you were doing, were you?
Alright, it’s fine now.
Is it something to be that bothered about? You’d normally lick a small cut, wouldn’t you? If you don’t want that happening, then look what you’re doing properly when you sew.
Give me what you’re sewing. It’d be no good if you got blood on it, would it? I’ll do it.
You don’t have to worry. I’m good at this kind of thing. I’ve always been skilled with my hands. Heisuke was always tearing his clothes when we were at Shieikan  too. He’d move around too roughly, get his clothes caught on something or fall over. I often repaired his clothes.
I’m kind? Not really. It just became one of my responsibilities at some point. From your point of view, it might seem kind though.
If I really am kind, then I’d like to know the reason I don’t cry at funerals.
Alright, it’s done. Are you finished sewing now?
You should go back to your room and sleep soon then. But if you still want to talk about something, I suppose I could do that.
I see. You’re such a curious person. Alright then. You’re strangely easy to talk to. I don’t mind being with you, so I’d say you’re a good conversational partner. You’re not too intelligent though.
Well, what shall we talk about next? We can talk about you instead of me. Talk about something interesting to distract me from boredom.
 Keio – An era which began during April 1865.
 Shieikan – A dojo in Tokyo, where several of the major Shinsengumi members met one another.