Shinsengumi Kekkonroku Wasurenagusa 4 – Hijikata Toshizo
CV – Hosoya Yoshimasa
Then we Shinsengumi moved to Shimosa, Nagareyama . But we faced a difficult battle and were surrounded by the new government army immediately. The number of men just kept on decreasing. Even with the skills of the Shinsengumi, we were no match for our opponents’ strength. Soon after that, I received a report that Souji’s condition had gotten worse. Kondo-san had also been arrested as the captain of the Shinsengumi. Everything fell, as if it were rolling down a hill.
I hurried to Edo to plead for Kondo-san’s life. Later, as a member of the former shogunate, I fought my way to Aizu. It wasn’t as if things would go well when I had not taken action until now. I have to look forward and face the battle, holding Kondo-san’s and Souji’s will in my heart. But perhaps my tiredness brought me trouble, and I injured my leg on the battlefield. Having my moment of weakness seized upon was nothing more than humiliating. All I could think was “now is not the time to be doing this.” I was shocked by cowardly I had become.
It would be wonderful if I could go to the battlefield immediately. I clenched my fist as I looked upon my leg, unable to move from the pain.
I thought it was you. Recently, I’ve been able to tell just by hearing your footsteps.
Of course I would. All I’m doing is lying in bed day after day.
Dinner? Ah, I’ll have mine later. Leave it around there.
I haven’t been eating recently?
Ah, I suppose so.
I’m not hungry. I can’t help it.
And I can’t just sit here enjoying food when other men have lost their lives in battle.
How long am I going to be here doing this? I’ve been waiting two months for my leg to heal. I want to pick up my sword right now, but my body won’t do as I say. Even when I try to stand up, I’ve got no strength in my legs and I end up right back on my bed again.
How pathetic. The demon vice-captain would be shocked to hear this. I suppose Souji felt the same way. Souji was sent away from here to recover. He didn’t have the strength to participate in battle.
But Souji was strongly against his treatment. Now I understand his feelings painfully well. If I was in Souji’s place, I would have wished to stay in the battle until the very end. I’m an idiot.
It’s only now I’m aware that I wasn’t able to make him happy in the end. Nothing can save Souji now, except for an incredible miracle. That’s just how weak he has become.
Kondo-san has probably been executed too. While I’ve been stuck here unable to move, Heisuke has also gone. Nagakura and Harada are no longer here either. Everyone important to me is gradually leaving. They’re all leaving my side.
Everyone has gone. Don’t you think it’s strange? There were so many soldiers before, but now only a handful remain.
Do I really think it was right to send Souji away to recuperate? Do Nagakura and Harada regret being involved with the Shinsengumi? Was Heisuke happy? Will I be able to carry out Kondo-san’s will by myself from now on?
Although I think it’d be easier to let go of everything, I can’t do that, no matter what.
It’s strange, isn’t it? I’m so foolish, it makes me sick! I could be of some use if I was able to move my legs.
It doesn’t matter if the mats get stained by blood! This is nothing compared to the pain the dead soldiers felt!
Hey! Where are you going? Wait!
Where are you going? Are you going to disappear from my sight too?
What? You’re going to get bandages? You don’t need to do that. Don’t leave the room for that reason!
My injury doesn’t matter! Please don’t go anywhere. You’re the only one who mustn’t leave… Please.
What would I do if you went away too? What would I…
I’m sorry. I said something strange, didn’t I? I made a big fuss just because you were leaving the room.
It seems as if I’m acting strangely now. I’m sorry for shouting.
What’s the matter? You look as if you want to say something. I’m sure I can accept whatever you say.
You’re not going to leave my side? What are you talking about?
How strange. I’ve lived for years not trusting what other people say. So why do I believe in what you say?
Hey. When did it start? When did you become such an important part of myself? Why do I need you so much?
No. You don’t need to say anything. I’m sure it isn’t something you can put into words. But I can say this. I’m glad you’re here.
As long as you’re by my side, I’m sure I can keep fighting until the end. Will you make a promise for me? Promise that you’ll live beside me from now on. I won’t accept no for an answer. Just stay by my side.
 Shimosa – A province during the Edo period which is located in modern day Chiba and Ibaraki prefectures.
Hey. Are you here?
My leg? It still hurts a little, but I’m able to walk now. It should be fine now that I’m able to move this much.
Anyway, will you come out for a little while? The weather is quite good today. It wouldn’t be that interesting to walk alone. How about we go together?
I’ll be waiting at the gate. Come when you’re ready.
What are you looking at? I told you my leg is fine now, didn’t I? Don’t look so worried. Now that I think about it, I’ve been away from the battlefield for three months, haven’t I? Things still haven’t been resolved with the anti-shogunate faction though. It’s a long battle.
I want to tell you something today. That’s why I asked you to come out for a walk. You’ll listen, won’t you?
The Shinsengumi will be going to Ezochi  next. As before, it will be for the sake of the battle against the anti-shogunate faction. But I won’t be taking you from now on. The battles are getting more dangerous every day. You shouldn’t get any more involved.
I’m sure you’ll shake your head and say you don’t want that. Even so, I’ve decided to leave you behind.
No. You’re going to stay here. I know you said you have no intention of leaving me. However, I’m sure that has nothing to do with the distance between us. Am I wrong?
Don’t look as if you’re about to cry. It’s not as if we’ll be apart forever. Do you think I’m going to lose my life on the battlefield? Who do you think I am? I’m sure you understand that I’m not the type of man to die so easily. I’ll definitely return home alive. I’ll survive and hold you in my arms again like this.
Do you think I’m the type of man who wouldn’t fulfil his promise?
Then believe in me and wait. Don’t make me repeat myself. I won’t die, leaving you alone. After the battle, peace will come once more. Be patient until then.
Hmm? What are you doing?
A pinky promise? My goodness. That’s something children do.
Alright then. I’ll do that if it will satisfy you. You make sure to wait for me too. I won’t go easy on you if you end up with another man. If you break this promise, I’ll make you swallow a thousand, maybe even ten thousand, needles.  Make sure you’re prepared. Got it?
Come on. Let’s hold hands. We’ll go back soon.
What? You want to buy sweets on the way home?
Hey… Don’t talk like Kondo-san would.
Tch. Why does everyone like eating sweet things?
Ah. Come to think of it, the yuzu  buns that were in Kondo-san’s room before tasted good. I’m sure that…
Then I went with to Ezochi, taking with me the few remaining soldiers and Kondo-san’s will. I told you that my leg was fine, but there are times when it won’t move. This injury will probably continue to affect me from now on. But I didn’t care about the pain as I faced the battlefield. It might be more correct to say that it wasn’t possible to do.
At any rate, once I take hold of my sword, my body moves in the same way it did when I was in Kyoto. Of course I had a feeling that something might happen. Even so, I couldn’t stop just yet.
When two months had passed since I left Aizu, I became the general of the Kando army and was responsible for the care of the Goryokaku . And when three months had passed, the new government army attacked, leaving many dead. The enemy began many attacks against the reduced number of soldiers. Soon, six months had passed since the last time we saw each other.
As a result of forcing myself to use my leg, the pain got worse. It was getting to the point where I wouldn’t be able to run any longer.
Ezochi was being invaded by the new government army. And in May, a large number of enemy soldiers made an all-out attack on Hakodate. That meant it was the last battle.
So the time has finally come, has it? There are those who have somehow managed to get along so far, but of course we can’t tell what tomorrow will be like for them. I wonder whether I will see you again.
I have absolutely no intention of dying, but of course I should be prepared for that to happen. If I write this letter to you and I return home alive, then I’ll just tear it up and throw it away.
The stars really do look beautiful tonight. I hope she is looking at this sky too.
I had no plans when I started writing the letter, but I surprisingly had no shortage of things to say. Rather than that, I was troubled by the many things I wanted to say. I think of you as I put my thoughts into words. At that moment, it irritated me to be too far away to say these words to you in person.
I suppose this is alright?
Hey, you. Give this to the maid at our headquarters if I die during the next battle. You can get rid of it if the next battle ends safely. I’m counting on you.
I hope that letter will never reach her though.
 Ezochi – A state established by the shogunate in 1869 and defeated by Imperial forces in the same year.
 Yuzu – A type of citrus fruit.
 This is a reference of a song used when making promises. The song says if someone tells a lie, they will have to swallow a thousand needles.
 Goryokaku – A fort located in Hokkaido which was built by the shogunate to protect the Tsugaru Strait from invasion by Russia.
Then came the second year of the Meiji era , May. The battle had just begun. Amidst the gunfire, I got onto my horse and wielded my sword.
There really is no way to defend against guns.
Hey! Don’t stop moving! If you stop, the enemy will be able to take aim!
We really can’t get close to the main camp. In that case…
You lot! Listen up! I’m going to attack the main camp now. I’m prepared for stray bullets. When I’ve scattered the enemies with guns, you follow me!
Move! You’re in my way!
At that time, that was the only way for us to fight our enemies. I felt bullets rush past my face as I hurried towards the enemy camp alone. I was prepared for everything. Throwing away my life for the sake of the troop was nothing to me. I know I’ve done this many times before. But it was only this time that my whole body trembled.
The thought of why I felt that way ran through my mind. It wasn’t just a fear of pain or death. It was something different. Yes, I was afraid of being unable to fulfil my promise to you.
Now! Come here! Just a little further…
Amidst my blurry vision, I dizzily looked around me. The high sky was spread out before me. I could just about see a horse stumble by. I realised that my horse had been shot and I had fallen off. I felt a burning pain all over my body. My head felt tense.
Before long, I was feeling strangely comfortable. I suppose this is what death is. Tears ran down my cheeks when I realised that. I slowly closed my eyes at the loud ringing in my ears. Strangely enough, the last thing I saw was not the Shinsengumi uniform or flag, but your smile.
Leave me alone.
I’m sorry. I promised that I’d definitely return.
This is my first time writing a letter to you. It isn’t like me to do this, but just in case something happens, I’ve decided to write this. I hope you won’t get to read this. I’ve faced countless battles in order to raise the Shinsengumi flag. I’ve killed many people. I did so because it was my duty, of course.
You probably cannot understand a warrior’s way of life. But living and dying for the sake of the troop is my whole life. I won’t regret dying willingly. If I can die for the sake of the Shinsengumi, then that is my wish. Even though I’ve always felt that way, I’ve been questioning that since meeting you.
You really did stay by my side until the end. I lost many things, but your smile always stayed the same. Now I’m fully aware of how much you saved me. I don’t know how to thank anyone at times like this. I wish I could have given you something to make you happy, but I know little about what women are fond of. And nothing could match the value of what you’ve given me, regardless of its price. So I hope that I’ve made you feel the same way I do.
You might laugh and say you don’t need that, but what you’ve given is the most precious thing to me. Even if we’re as far apart as the sky and land, I’ll stay by your side, just like you did for me. When you close your eyes, I’ll always be by your side.
Remember one last thing. I’d like to hold you in my arms and whisper this in your ear, but there’s nothing I can do about that. It’s something I’ve said to you once before. It’s the most powerful thing among the words that I have. I suppose you’re the only one I will ever say these words to. I hope that they reach deep into your heart. I love you.
 Second year of the Meiji era – 1869.
Don’t read that out loud!
Tch. I thought you were reading something that sounded familiar. How did you get this letter?
One of the men secretly gave it to you after the battle?
Damn it! That idiot!
Listen up. I wrote that in case I died. Get rid of it! Burn it!
No. I’m not going to give it back. I’m telling you to get rid of it.
What? You think this letter is something precious?
You’re a curious woman, aren’t you? I don’t have a choice then. You can have it back.
I had intended to give it to you once anyway. You can do what you want with it. But don’t ever do anything embarrassing like reading it out loud again. Understand?
Hide it where no one else will find it. I won’t write a letter like that again.
Why do you have such a dissatisfied look on your face?
Yes, I’m not going to write anything like that again. There’s no reason for me to do so, you see.
Why? That should be obvious.
When I think of you, I know that I can’t die so easily.
When I was writing that letter, I realised once again how much I cared about you.
At one point, I had prepared myself to die, but when I thought of leaving you alone, I couldn’t die there. I was probably able to open my eyes again because of that feeling.
You’re a strange woman. You gave me a reason to live when I had closed my heart. Just as you did for me, I’ll make sure you’re not alone. I definitely won’t leave you alone from now on. The Shinsengumi have disbanded, but I will continue to wield my sword.
From now on, there’ll be times when my life is in danger, but I definitely won’t die. It seems that I can’t die while there is something important to me. You’re the most important person to me right now.
I’m honestly happy to be able to hold you again like this.
I’m embarrassed to do this, but let me say the words I wanted to tell you directly while writing that letter.
I love you.
Thank you to everyone who listened this far. I’m Hosoya Yoshimasa, the voice actor for Hijikata Toshizo.
Which scene left the greatest impression?
Hmm… Well… The point where I thought “He’s definitely Japanese” was when he wrote a letter to the protagonist. This was when he was at Hakodate Goryokaku and when he thought he might die. Although he said it was just in case something happened, he wrote the letter quietly at night in his room while thinking of her. It was like…
During the second world war, there were often stories like that. Considering that, I felt like “oh, that’s really Japanese” and it left a great impression. I wonder about his feelings. Being prepared to die, but also missing someone. Writing a letter whilst knowing you won’t see each other feels very painful and Hijikata-san must have written that way. My heart felt tense.
Could you say something about the character you played?
Hmm… Right… Hmm…I wonder what to say? Until the very end, he kept on playing the part of the “demon vice-captain”. I thought he was cool. In the bonus track, Hijikata-san was reunited with the protagonist. When he almost died at Goryokaku… The Hijikata-san from this story said “the last thing I saw was your smile”.
That was the human side of the demon vice-captain. Because he found someone he loved, he showed his gentle and vulnerable side. I’m really happy to have played Hijikata Toshizo, thank you very much. Please tell him that.
It’s been about a year since the previous recording. What are your thoughts on using the dummy head mic?
Hmm… I can never get used to it. Dummy head mics certainly are in the shape of a face. They have realistic ears. When I’m whispering the lines to the mic, it just stays quiet and doesn’t react at all. So sometimes I feel like “Huh?”
When recording with a dummy head mic, there are specific settings. I think you probably don’t know about this, but there is an inner circle and an outer circle. The space between the inner and outer circles is an odd distance away. There are times when you don’t know whether to get closer or move further away, so I feel as if I need to study the technical aspect of dummy head mics more. I didn’t learn how to use them at acting school, you see. So I think I’m going to learn it as I go along.
In the second season, two new characters, Harada Sanosuke and Nagakura Shinpachi, have been added to the cast, but is there a member of the Shinsengumi who interests you?
Someone among the Shinsengumi? I see, I see. Hmm… Right… I played Hijikata Toshizo this time, so I guess I should say him. But I think he is a really amazing person. He was a medicine seller, then he joined Kondo-san’s Tennen Rishin Ryu school and became vice-captain through his efforts.
He was known as the “demon vice-captain”, but after everything was over, I think that it probably hurt him to kill the allies who betrayed him too. But for the sake of the troop, he would show no mercy to those who broke the rules. While Kondo-san was a charismatic man, Hijikata-san devoted himself to being the one who would be disliked by others. I think that’s a very chivalrous thing to do, so the member of the Shinsengumi who interests me is Hijikata Toshizo.
Last off all, please give a message to the maidens listening.
Hmm… This kind of story isn’t that common. In today’s technological society, where you can easily find information on your PC or cell phone, I think it’s unusual to have situations where you’re writing a letter without knowing whether you’ll see someone the next day. I think that doesn’t happen much these days.
Umm… Well…The people who were the foundation of this peaceful world experienced that kind of sorrow and drama. I’d be happy if you felt that too.
The people of this world are working hard to live. I think that’s good. Let’s work hard too! Having a romantic relationship when you don’t know whether you’ll live or die doesn’t come along that often.
Everyone, please work hard to live, fall in love and sometimes write a letter instead of using your phone.
That’s all. Thank you very much for listening. This was Hosoya Yoshimasa, the voice of Hijikata Toshizo. Let’s meet again somewhere else.
I’m going further away. Ah, I bumped into the chair.
I’m going further away. Aren’t dummy head mics amazing?
See you later!