Shinsengumi Hiyokuroku Wasurenagusa 6 – Yamanami Keisuke
CV: Midorikawa Hikaru
Track 6 – Waning Moon
Hey. What are you doing wandering around at this time?
Ah. So you’ve finally finished working?
If you have to work this late, then you still have a long way to go.
You can tell by looking, can’t you? I’m drinking alone.
However, I was beginning to feel as if I’d like more than just the moon as company.
Sit down here.
I’m not asking you to drink. All you have to do is talk.
Look. The moon is wonderful tonight.
Of course, a full moon looks wonderful, but I prefer it when it’s not complete. It has a certain elegance.
Tonight’s moon is known as a waning moon. It sounds more beautiful than a full moon, doesn’t it?
You look as if you don’t understand. Never mind. You can just look at the full moon and imagine some dumplings instead. That’s what kind of woman you are.
Hmph. That’s what you’re like, aren’t you?
I forgot to thank you. You let me hide in your room the other day, didn’t you?
You helped me a lot that day.
Why are you looking at me like that? You’re too surprised.
Your mouth is wide open.
Did you think I was the kind of man who wouldn’t thank someone?
The only reason I never thanked you before was because you hadn’t done anything worthy of gratitude.
You were always a slow worker and bad at remembering things too. You fell over in the bathroom, fell into a lake and broke some plates too. It was even pitiful to watch you cleaning the floor, doing the laundry or ironing at first.
Well, now I can see you’ve become somewhat better. It might be natural because I was the one training you, but I’ve stopped seeing dirt in the bathroom. You’re able to remember quite a few of the shops too. The men who sent you out to do the shopping were impressed that you came back quickly.
I would say that being able to do those things is quite normal, but in your case, I think that you’re finally able to be a useful maid.
You must be a simple person if something like this makes you happy.
Hmm? What is it?
Ah… The reason I asked to hide in your room?
It was because you’re not one of the soldiers.
I have to advise the men and come to a fair decision. So I can’t let the other men know that I was avoiding one of them, can I? I think you would realise that if you thought about it a little. You ought to be more ashamed of how thoughtless you are.
Have you noticed something about Itou-kun?
The atmosphere in the troop has started to change since he joined. Since the Shinsengumi was formed, all the men have had a strong bond with each other. But now, I can’t help feeling that those bonds are beginning to break.
Kondo-san and Hijikata-kun have known each since before the Shinsengumi was even founded. Thanks to that, they’ve always known what the other is thinking. But now they have less time for heart-to-heart conversations. At some point, rifts began to develop within the troop and they even seem to be growing greater.
I suppose you wouldn’t notice it. Perhaps I’m thinking too hard then.
How did I get to know Kondo-san and the others? I can’t think how many years it’s been now… I was originally a practitioner of Hokushin Itto-Ryu  and was quite confident about my skills. I challenged the Shieikan  dojo to a fight. Kondo-san was my opponent.
The fight went on for quite some time. Kondo-san and I had both broken out a considerable sweat as we fought. Eventually, I was defeated. Kondo-san said it was a good fight, where both of us had stood our ground, but in the last moments, I was only able to defend. Without thinking, I asked how on earth it could have possibly been good.
Then Kondo-san laughed and said “I rarely meet an opponent who I wish I could fight with endlessly. I’m glad I met you.” At that time, my feelings towards sword fighting were still undeveloped. As I thought winning or losing was everything, I was surprised by the way Kondo-san thought. I admired his skills and above all, his way of thinking.
I then became a student of the Shieikan and devoted myself to studying with Hijikata-kun and Souji. Before long, men who were charmed by Kondo-san’s skill and personality gathered, and the Shieikan became a lively place.
Saito-kun, Nagakura-kun, Harada-kun and Heisuke are all men that I’ve known since the Shieikan.
That’s right. Many of the current commanders are people who’ve been around since the Shieikan. That shows how much they’re trusted.
Before long, an organisation called the Mibu Roshi  was formed, with those who had been at the Shieikan at the centre of it. Sometime later, we were given the important responsibility of guarding a cemetery. Our hard work was acknowledged, and we were officially given the name of Shinsengumi.
Since then, I’ve often gone drinking and been around the city with the men from the Shieikan. In particular, the youngest member, Souji was someone that I loved as if he was my own brother.  Hijikata-kun has scolded me for influencing Souji to be a twisted person.
Souji retorted that he wasn’t a twisted person, but he soon cheered up after a few words from Kondo-san. Everyone who saw that all laughed at the same time. We often laughed together because of things like that.
Now, and in the past, everyone’s attention was focused on Kondo-san. Hijikata-kun was always beside him too. Kondo-san is laid-back and Hijikata-kun is strict. They’ve always been a good combination.
However, there are many more men who only know Hijikata-kun as the demon vice-commander. Among those men, there are some who make complaints about him, without knowing who he truly is.
If there are men who complain about being unable to put up with the strict regulations and that they fear Hijikata-kun, it is my duty to resolve those issues. But now, the men are becoming divided into two different schools of thought. Divisions resembling factions have begun to develop and it seems that the number of men who go to Itou-kun for advice, rather than me, is increasing.
I think that having more people to act as advisors is a good thing, but I can’t say the same for the differences of opinion and the development of factions. I wonder what will happen to the Shinsengumi from now on.
Hmm? What is it? You have an uncomfortable expression on your face…
You don’t know how to react? I’m not expecting you to give me your opinion. Just showing me that you’re paying attention is enough.
It’s not a problem that I’m asking anyone to solve.
Hmm? What about my sageo?
Repair it? Who asked you to do that?
You don’t have to look for any rope.
I told you to throw away that sageo, didn’t I?
I’m thinking of buying a new sageo tomorrow.
Right… We’re running out of hand towels, aren’t we?
Make a list of anything you need to buy before noon tomorrow.
I’ll get the things on that list. You’ll be coming with me too.
You can go back to your room now.
I’ll go to sleep when I’ve finished drinking this.
All that wine made me talk too much.
The Shieikan, hmm… That does bring back memories.
 Hokushin Itto Ryu is a school of swordsmanship that was founded in the 1820s by Chiba Shusaku Narimasa. Swordsmen who mastered it include the Shinsengumi members Itou Kashitarou, Toudou Heisuke and Yamanami Keisuke.
 The Shieikan was a dojo in Edo (modern day Tokyo) where several of the major Shinsengumi members met each other.
 The Roshigumi were a group formed from masterless samurai in October 1862 with the purpose of protecting the Tokugawa shogun, but were disbanded and ordered to return to Edo less than a year later, in April 1863. Nineteen of the members, including Kondo Isami, refused to return to Edo and formed the Mibu Roshigumi, which was renamed the Shinsengumi in August 1863.
 The real-life Yamanami deserted the Shinsengumi in 1865 and Okita was sent to retrieve him. He was asked to commit seppuku upon his return and did so with Okita as his kaishakunin (a person who is appointed to behead a person who commits seppuku, at the moment of agony). The kaishakunin was usually a close friend or a family member, and Yamanami had been close enough to Okita to consider him family.
Track 7 – A Flash
Come on. Give me those things.
We spent a lot of time going round all the shops, but now we’ve got everything on the list.
Then the last thing we need to get is my sageo.
It doesn’t matter which shop we go to.
Ah, that one is nearest. Let’s hurry up and get it.
Mister. Show me the sageo you’ve got over there.
Hmm… I suppose this one is fine.
Hey, Mister. I’ll take this one.
Hmm? What is it? Don’t shout out loudly.
It’s nothing to be indecisive about. Sageo are all the same, no matter what you choose.
Alright. We’ve got everything we came for. Let’s go.
We just need to walk straight ahead, and we’ll be back at the headquarters.
Hey. Do you remember that tea shop?
There was that man trying to attract customers who started making small talk.
It smells wonderful as usual.
There isn’t anyone noisily trying to attract customers either. It seems like there are some seats free too.
You’re right. It would be difficult to go in alone among all those women. It’s perfect that you’re here. Come with me for a while. I’ll treat you to something.
You can order anything you like. I’ll just have anmitsu .
What? You’re just going to have anmitsu too?
I thought you’d be greedier and ask for some dumplings or rice cakes.
I wonder about that…
Ah. Here it comes.
Hmm… This is quite good.
You look as if you’re really enjoying the food. I’m glad I bought you something.
Aren’t you more satisfied with this than I am?
There aren’t many people who’d be this happy about eating sweets.
That was delicious!
You don’t have to hurry. You can take your time. I’ll tie this up while you’re eating.
I think that’s it.
Hmm? What is it?
I was wondering what you might say. It seems that you were fond of the sageo I had before. But it doesn’t matter whether a sageo suits its owner or not. As long as it serves its purpose, that doesn’t matter.
No… I was just thinking that someone said the same thing to me once before. The broken sageo that you said suited me was one that I bought when the Mibu Roshi was formed because Kondo-san and Hijikata-kun said it suited me.
At that time, I also said that it didn’t matter whether a sageo suited its owner, but they made me buy it.
Well… I suppose so. I’ve been fighting with this sageo ever since that time. Sageo should last longer than this, but when you’re a member of the Shinsengumi who often use their swords, there are times when they get worn out. It’s unavoidable.
Ah… I just got lost in thought. Have you already finished eating? Let’s go then.
We’re carrying so many things. I said we were going out shopping, but why didn’t you consider your limits? You should have thought about not buying more than I could comfortably carry!
Who are you?
A soldier from the Choshu?
Hey. You should stay back.
I’ll be the one to kill you.
Damn it. You just won’t give up.
Don’t come over here! Stay back!
You fool! Damn it…
Is that the patrolmen?! Over here! Don’t let him escape!
Chase him! Make sure you catch him!
 Anmitsu is a dessert made from cubes of agar jelly (a translucent jelly made from red algae). It is served with red bean paste, boiled peas, gyuhi (a type of rice cake), fruits such as pineapples, peaches and cherries, and a sweet black syrup.
Track 8 – Injury
Not long after I injured my shoulder in the alleyway, the Shinsengumi were called upon to be reinforcements and made their way to Osaka. Those who believed in restoring power to the emperor and getting rid of foreigners had been involved in some suspicious behaviour.
However, the wound on my shoulder hadn’t healed and I ended up staying behind at the headquarters. I questioned myself in the headquarters which had been left empty after most of the other men had departed.
Should I continue to stay in the Shinsengumi? That was the question which continued to occupy my mind. What am I able to do in the Shinsengumi now?
I let a worthless opponent like that man escape. I’m no longer a warrior. Someone who can no longer even wield a sword properly remains in the Shinsengumi. I couldn’t bear that at all.
Just like the Shinsengumi continues to change, I am also changing. What should I do next? I need to find the answer soon.
Ah, it’s you. Come in.
Sorry for making you come here every night.
I’d like to treat my injury on my own, but I haven’t been able to.
Can you clean my wound and change the bandages?
I’m surprised you can put on that gloomy expression every night.
Do you think it’s your fault that I’m staying here at the headquarters?
I’m not concerned about it. I’m tired of hearing you apologise.
I told you that it doesn’t bother me. Why don’t you say something else apart from “sorry”?
I’ve always taught you strictly, but this is the first time I’ve seen you looking as if you’re about to cry.
It still stings.
This kind of injury often happens in the Shinsengumi.
You’ve seen the men returning from their patrols with injuries like this plenty of times before, haven’t you?
Anyway, it wasn’t even your fault that I was injured at that time. It was because I wasn’t strong enough. So there really is no need for you to be concerned. Do you understand?
Why are you crying?
That’s right. Most people would be shocked if someone were to be cut with a sword in front of them.
Because it was me…? Were you afraid that I was going to die?
Wasn’t it your parents who were killed in front of you?
I see. So I made you relive those feelings then?
Why do you look so scared? I’ve just injured my shoulder. I’m not going to die.
You’re still going to apologise? What is it this time?
You cry too much.
I reached out my hand, as if to wipe away the tears streaming down your face.
But you looked up, so I stopped my hand in mid-air.
Your eyes, which were wet with tears, looked anxiously in my direction.
Before long, I heard some faint words from your trembling lips.
“If dangerous things like that are going to happen, then I don’t want you to fight anymore. I’m relieved that you’re here in the headquarters. I’m sorry.”
Your falling tears were an apology for my injury and a sense of shame for feeling relieved about it. They appeared to have come from both of those things.
But what kind of idiot would cry for that reason? Stop crying and wrap that bandage around my injury.
You really don’t have to worry about it. Although this injury has healed quickly, that doesn’t mean I’m going to fight. I probably would have stayed at the headquarters, even if I hadn’t been injured that day. I can’t hold a sword properly with my left arm anymore. I injured my left arm in battle before.
Since then, I haven’t been able to get involved in actual fights. The only thing I can do is train the other men. Of course, I do it without even picking up a sword. That was why I had a hard time defeating an insignificant opponent like that man.
Yes. I was looking after the headquarters during the Ikedaya Affair too. Being unable to help during a time of emergency is quite a difficult thing to bear. If all I can do is look after the headquarters, then I might be a general commander who only exists for show.
I wonder about that… I don’t really think it sounds like a job that the general commander should be doing. Don’t you think that a man who can’t hold a sword is of no use to the Shinsengumi?
Hmm? Why is that? I don’t think anyone would be particularly troubled if I wasn’t around here anymore. So why do you think the Shinsengumi needs me?
Hmm… I was wondering what you might say. The other men rely on me because I’m in the position of general commander. It’s because there are still some men who haven’t realised that I’ve never taken part in any actual battles. I’m no longer a soldier. I shouldn’t be allowed to stay at the headquarters.
You suddenly shouted and cut off my words. Your eyes, which had just been wet with tears, were looking in my direction with a strong sense of their own will. The words you spoke after that were the casual words of my fellow soldiers.
They said my guidance is helpful and easy to understand. They look forward to training with me. They are confident about letting me deal with any arguments in the headquarters.
A reserved person like me who wouldn’t favour others is someone who the men could ask for advice without any concerns. You said many things like that with a frown on your face. All the men were thankful that I was around. You cried as you said that the Shinsengumi needed me.
You really do cry a lot. That’s enough. I understand what you wanted to say.
You’ve finished treating my injury, haven’t you? Go back to your room then.
I’m tired because I’ve been doing nothing but thinking recently. I’m going to lie down for a while.
Did I say too much again? There was something she said that really affected me. I’m not going to change my mind though. To tell the truth, I knew that I should cut ties with the Shinsengumi the moment I saw that broken sageo…
Track 9 – Connection
Hmm? What is it?
You don’t have to change my bandages yet. My injury is much better now.
Oh? There’s somewhere you want to go? Where is it?
Well, I can come with you if it’s not far.
I’ve been sorting out the account books, so I haven’t been out much. It’ll be a nice change of pace. Wait for me, I’ll be there right away.
Hmm… I was wondering where you might be going and it’s a sale of picture books.
Ah… So they’re sold cheaply in this street every year?
It’s quite lively here. Let’s go and have a look.
All these picture books are being sold at a cheap price. It seems silly to buy them in the New Year.
Hmm? They’re selling nishiki-e here too.
Ah… Hey! Some of these seem like they’re a good bargain! Why don’t we have a look?
Hmm… This is the Azuma Bridge  in Edo . Have you been to Edo?
In that case, you should stop by there if you have a chance to visit Edo.
It’s one of the four bridges that crosses the Sumida River  and is famous for being the one bridge that was built by the townspeople rather than the shogunate.
And then… I’d also recommend this place, Suruga-cho . Mount Fuji overlooks the entrance to the main street. It’s the best view in Edo.
Yes. I’ve been to Suruga-cho many times before.
These are some wonderful nishiki-e. They bring back a lot of memories.
Hmm? You’ve found a painting that you like? Let me see.
Ah… The beach at Kamakura .
Isn’t it quite good, considering you picked it? It makes me wish I could see the ocean. Come to think of it, I haven’t looked at any nishiki-e since that one we saw together. It’s nice to be able to take my time looking at them. It makes me feel at ease.
Hmm? What are you smiling for? Does it make you happy when I’m enjoying myself? What an odd person you are.
However… I wonder why I never get tired of seeing you smile. At some point, I enjoyed seeing you with an unhappy expression, but the smile you have now is even better than that. I wonder if feelings can change like that in such a short time? How strange.
Hmm… This place is… It’s a lake that’s near the Shieikan. It was a place where Kondo-san, Hijikata-kun and I would talk about our thoughts and dreams after we’d finished our training.
That’s right. It’s a place that’s full of memories.
Shall we buy one?
I’ll take this one, Mister.
I’m glad I bought this.
Why’d you say that all of a sudden? Well, Kondo-san and Hijikata-kun are important friends of mine. I care about everyone else, but I’ve been talking to those two the longest.
That sageo is… You still haven’t thrown it away?
It was completely broken, but it got put back together beautifully.
I see. So even if it’s broken, you can put it back together if you work hard.
What do you think? Does it look good?
I see. This sageo really does look much better. How strange.
What if I were to speak to Kondo-san and the others when they return from Osaka? Now that I think about it, there’s a lot that we haven’t said to each other recently.
It feels as if the tiredness in my heart has been taken away.
It’s all because of you. Thank you.
I’ll buy something for you to thank you for repairing my sageo. Is there anything that you’d like?
You can choose anything you want, like a nishiki-e or a picture book. I’ll buy it for you.
Something I’d recommend? Well… There are quite a few paintings. I can tell you about them if you’d be willing to stay until the sun sets.
You’ll do that then? Come with me. I can tell you everything I know about nishiki-e.
 The Azuma Bridge was first built in 1774, but was later replaced in 1931. It is located close to Asakusa Station and Kaminari-mon (a famous landmark in Tokyo which marks the entrance of Sensoji Temple).
 Edo is the former name of Tokyo, which was in use from 1603-1868.
 The Sumida River flows through Tokyo for 27 kilometres, and branches off from the Arakawa River, which flows through Saitama Prefecture and Tokyo.
 Suruga-cho is a district of Edo that was said to provide the best view of Mount Fuji in all of Edo.
 Kamakura was the unofficial capital of Japan from 1185 until 1333. It is now a popular coastal city, with many significant temples and shrines.
Track 10 – An Indomitable Resolve
February 1865. Several days after Kondo-san and Hijikata-kun had returned to the headquarters, I went to discuss something with them.
I said that I would be leaving the Shinsengumi. The two of them looked pale. They told me they couldn’t accept me doing that and asked if I would be leaving because of the injury to my left arm.
I told them all my honest feelings. It didn’t seem that the injury to my left arm would be able to heal and I wouldn’t be able to wield a sword in future. Even if I were to stay, I would not be of use to the Shinsengumi.
The differences in our way of thinking are an unimportant matter. In the end, I was unable to accept that I could not be useful to the Shinsengumi.
Kondo-san and Hijikata-kun said that wasn’t the case. I was necessary to the Shinsengumi as an advisor. However, I couldn’t bear not being useful to them as a soldier. I wanted to be useful to the Shinsengumi, to Kondo-san and the others, by wielding my sword. Now that it would no longer be possible, it would no longer be right for me to stay there.
After a long conversation, they were in agreement. They would accept that I was leaving the Shinsengumi as a result of the way that I felt. However, the Shinsengumi has its own regulations in place. Out of consideration for the other men, they would be unable to officially accept my choice to leave. I was also well aware of that. They came up with a plan after much consideration.
Hey. Are you awake? I’m coming in.
I’m sorry for coming here so late. Do you have a moment?
Yes. I’d like to talk to you about something.
I’ll be leaving Kyoto tomorrow morning, before the sun rises. I won’t be coming back to the headquarters.
I talked to Kondo-san and Hijikata-kun yesterday. That was the result of our conversation.
No. They won’t officially accept that I will be leaving.
I’ll explain it to you later. There’s something else I’d rather tell you right now.
I’m thinking of travelling around the whole country, to see all the scenes pictured in the nishiki-e. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do one day, you see. Isn’t this a good opportunity?
I see. So you feel that way too.
And so… I remembered that you said you’d like to visit many different places. You used to be a girl who had no experience of violence. Although you have no surviving family, that doesn’t mean you have to continue working for the Shinsengumi as a maid. There are other ways you can live, if that’s what you wish for. So if you would be interested in seeing those places together, then will you accompany me?
Yes. I would not mind you doing so. I won’t have any trouble taking care of you.
No… That’s just an excuse. I suppose you wouldn’t understand if I put it that way. Even I find this strange, but I want you to come with me.
Don’t look so surprised! I’m also surprised at myself for feeling this way. However, I feel happier when I’m with you. You’re the first person I’ve wanted to spend time with, apart from the other members of the Shinsengumi. That’s why I asked you to accompany me. Will you come with me?
I see. Even a long journey won’t feel dull if I’m with you.
I’ll talk to Kondo-san and the others. Be ready to leave before dawn.
Hey. Don’t rush. You’re a clumsy person…
You’re so helpless. Why do you need to rush when there’s plenty of time? Calm down.
My shoulder? Ah… It’s fine. It doesn’t hurt anymore.
But this is the second time you’ve knocked me over, isn’t it?
Wait! Stay close to me.
I’m sorry. I need to hold you right now.
I’ve always made the Shinsengumi my priority, so I’ve forgotten what this feels like.
Can you tell? My heart is beating fast because of you.
I’m sure that I’ve fallen in love with you.
Let me see just how much I need you.
I didn’t think the day would come when you were this important to me.
I want to leave a mark on you. I’ll make sure you can cover it with your kimono. That’s alright, isn’t it?
I’m going to leave a mark, even if you say no.
It’s unfortunate that I can’t see you clearly in the dark. There must be a beautiful red mark on you now. Show it to me tomorrow when it’s light.
Behind your ears would be good too. It’ll be easy for you to hide it with your hair.
Are you embarrassed? I like your reaction. I’ll leave plenty of marks here too.
Your voice sounds lovely. But you shouldn’t cry out. It’d be no good if someone outside heard it.
That’s impossible. What kind of man would stop halfway through when seeing the woman he loves looking like this?
Let me touch you even more. Don’t be embarrassed.
Is this a good place?
Your reactions are even better. It’s turning me on.
I love you.
You’re too surprised.
I wouldn’t like it if you thought you’d misheard me.
I’ll say it one more time. I love you.
You’re that happy about it? You’re so easy to understand.
I want you. That’s alright, isn’t it?
Just bear with this for a while. I can’t hold myself back.
I love you.
I love you.
Track 11 – A Married Couple
After that, I left the headquarters with you.
I left my sword behind. I no longer need it.
Instead of that, I’ll always keep that sageo with me.
The Shinsengumi explained my absence by saying I had planned to escape.
Someone will probably be sent to find me tomorrow. When I am caught, I will then commit seppuku. Then the tale of the general commander, Sannan Keisuke’s escape will come to an end. That was the story Kondo-san and Hijikata-kun had planned to tell.
They wouldn’t accept me leaving the Shinsengumi, but they gave me that way out. The two of them had thought about me more than I imagined they would.
I feel indebted to them. Now that I have left, I can only hope for the Shinsengumi to have good fortune, but the two of them, who are strict, yet kind, will lead the Shinsengumi. I’m sure they’ll be fine.
From now on, I want to live a new life whilst keeping the pride of having been a member of the Shinsengumi in my heart.
We’ve finally arrived at the town. It’s still a long way until our next destination. We’ll look for somewhere to stay here.
Hmm? What’s the matter?
Ah… Yes, it smells good. It seems like there are some street stalls over there.
Hey, wait! Don’t run!
Don’t leave me without saying anything. You always get into some kind of danger when I’m not looking. Let’s hold hands now.
Ah… This countryside town has a surprising amount of street stalls. It looks interesting.
Why don’t we get something to eat if you’re hungry?
You’re always so easy to understand. Choose anything you want to eat.
Hmm? Have you decided what you’re going to buy?
One of those things?
They’re cheap, but many of them catch your eye because of their bright colours.
Hmm… So you like things like this?
You’re right. It’s a comb that would suit a woman.
I’m not going to buy that for you though.
If you would like a comb, then I’ll buy you an even better one.
I won’t buy it at a street stall, but somewhere I can examine it more closely.
You must know what it means when a man presents a woman with a comb.
A comb is something you will keep for the rest of your life. As proof that we’re husband and wife.
You’ve finally realised, have you? Come on, let’s go.
We’ll look at the stalls later. There’s an inn over there, so we’ll find somewhere to stay first.
Your face looks ridiculous. Sometimes I don’t know why I fell in love with you.
However, you’ll be by my side from now on. Isn’t that right?
You didn’t hesitate to answer. I’m happy about that.
What a silly expression you have.
I felt like kissing you. I couldn’t really help it, could I?
I’ll always be by your side from now on. It’s a promise.
I love you.
The two of us will spend our lives close together.