Shinsengumi Hiyokuroku Wasurenagusa 6 – Yamanami Keisuke
CV: Midorikawa Hikaru
Track 1 – A Discovery
It was the first year of the Genji era . The city of Kyoto was filled with many different opinions and people were dying almost every day. The Imperial loyalists of Choshu, who believed in revering the emperor, expelling foreigners and overthrowing the shogunate, would strut through the city as if they owned it. They threatened, violated and murdered the unarmed residents of the city, threatening the peace considerably. Despite being reviled as murderers for killing those men, the Shinsengumi protected the peace in the city.
On the 8th of July, the Ikedaya Affair  took place. In order to prevent an unacceptable gathering of the Imperial loyalists, the Shinsengumi fought their way into the Ikedaya. However, as the general commander, I was guarding the headquarters that day. There was no way that I could leave the headquarters completely empty. It was a task that someone had to do. It was just around the time that I had grown tired of seeing the Imperial loyalists begging for their lives.
Kondo-san, Hijikata-kun and all the other men are skilled warriors. There was no need for me to make an appearance. The bloody atmosphere of the battlefield is a wonderful thing, but protecting the headquarters can be a positive thing on occasion. While I considered that, I waited for news of the events at the Ikedaya.
Late in the evening, the messenger arrived with some news. As a result of everyone’s efforts, we had succeeded in suppressing the Imperial loyalists. There was a second, unexpected piece of news. A woman had become caught up in the incident and lost both her parents during it. Several days later, it was announced that Kondo-san and the others had arranged for her to work at the headquarters as a maid.
You there! Your steps are too weak!
Don’t relax! Concentrate!
Don’t go easy on your opponent just because this is practice!
Remember that you can be killed mercilessly if you let your guard down.
Hold onto your sword tightly and concentrate on the enemy in front of you if you don’t want to end up like the other men who died!
You there! You’re treating this like a game!
Fight back with more spirit!
It looks like all the teams have finished.
Stop your practice!
Everyone who lost should practice their swings while making sure they do the basic techniques correctly! Don’t stop until I say so.
You’re the woman who was brought here by Saito-kun. What do you want?
As you can see, the men are busy training.
Some of them will get distracted with a woman here. Unless you have any business here, you should leave immediately.
Hmm? I don’t remember asking for tea and a hand towel. Were you waiting for the right opportunity to bring it here? It seems that you’re somewhat considerate. I just happened to be feeling thirsty. I’ll accept it. Go back to your quarters when you’ve left it here.
Oh? What is this? You haven’t ironed the corners of this cloth.
Look. The corner of this hand towel is wrinkled.
Didn’t you notice?
The way you’ve folded it… The crease looks terrible because it isn’t straight.
Why don’t you consider the feelings of the person using it?
Anyone would feel better if they were given a hand towel that was folded carefully and ironed well.
Paying attention to the small details like that is a maid’s job.
What are you going to do from now on if you can’t even iron properly?
I thought you might be a useful person, but it seems that I was greatly mistaken.
You got my hopes up for nothing.
Go and iron that hand towel again.
If you understand that, then leave.
My goodness. They’ve brought an odd person to the headquarters.
 The Genji era began on February 1st, 1864.
 The Ikedaya Affair was a raid launched by the Shinsengumi against rebels who opposed the Shinsengumi.
Track 2 – Our Duties
Yes. I’m sure this is the alcohol that was ordered.
Is this enough money?
I’ll call on you again if I need anything else.
What are you looking at? What business have you got at the main gate?
Did someone ask you to run an errand?
My goodness. You should have noticed sooner.
Isn’t accepting deliveries to the headquarters one of your jobs?
Apologising is an easy thing to do. Make sure this doesn’t happen again.
Get back to work immediately then.
Ah… Before you go, put this bottle of alcohol next to the box of equipment used for missions.
You don’t need to ask. This bottle contains alcohol.
I think you know this, but it’s not for drinking. It’s for medical use.
The wine merchant we always buy from gave it to us.
What? Who do you think I am?
The general commander of the Shinsengumi would never be responsible for treating injuries. Handling all the medical equipment is normally Yamazaki-kun’s responsibility, but he’s away from the headquarters on a mission right now. I’m just doing it in his place.
It’s fine if you understand, but don’t you think it’s only natural for you to notice things like this?
It’s your job to help the men in their daily lives. A maid who doesn’t even notice that we’ve run out of the alcohol for medical use is worthless.
This is a good opportunity for me to tell you something. You took Souji’s laundry to Nagakura-kun’s room three days ago, didn’t you? Souji wouldn’t stop complaining.
And two days ago, you broke five plates which had to be replaced.
What’s going on? Why do you keep making mistakes?
There were problems with the laundry because you didn’t look at the names embroidered on the clothes.
Not all the men have their names embroidered in the same places.
I know it takes a while to check, but you should get used to it quickly.
So what about the plates?
You put them on the wrong shelf and the partition fell out.
It’s an old one, so there’s a trick to it.
Well, I suppose it couldn’t be helped if there was no one around to teach you.
But don’t you think you’ve made too many mistakes?
In that case, I’m going to train you carefully from now on. Make sure you’re prepared.
I don’t think you’ll be much good as a maid even if I do train you though.
But I suppose it’s better than doing nothing.
At least you gave the right response.
Anyway, hurry up and put that bottle away.
Even you can do odd jobs like that, can’t you?
Don’t do something like falling over and dropping the bottle.
Oh, it’s you. Come in.
What are you doing here? You haven’t come to tell me you broke that bottle, have you?
Is there anything else you can help with?
What happened to your own work?
Then you can just work as if you’re trying to finish tomorrow’s work today.
Even if you haven’t got anything to do, it’d be impossible for you to help me.
If you don’t understand, then I’ll tell you why. Now I’m going to visit the rooms of men who have complained that Saitou-kun’s training is too strict and motivate them.
Deserting the Shinsengumi is against its regulations and punished by seppuku . Things will be harder for us if any of the men run away.
After that, I have to deal with the complaints I’ve received.
When hunting down the remnants the other day, Harada-kun went on a rampage and destroyed the entrances of several houses.
I need to hear what the owners have to say and deal with that.
Then I’ll have to help the other men train.
The old account books also need to be sorted out.
You think it sounds like hard work?
Of course it is! It’s my job to make sure that the Shinsengumi runs smoothly.
There’s no way that it’d be easy. There’s nothing for a maid to help with.
So you can go and find your own work to do by yourself.
You said that you haven’t got anything to do, but there’s plenty if you look for it.
Have you swept the garden?
Then go and clean the garden. If you sweep until there’s not a single leaf left, then today will be over before you know it.
If you understand that, then go away. I’ll check just how clean the garden is later.
Put all your effort into sweeping it.
I’ll wait and see how long you last.
 Seppuku is a form of ritual suicide that was originally reserved for samurai. It was used voluntarily for samurai to die with honour instead of being captured by enemies or as a punishment for samurai who had committed serious offences or done something to bring shame upon themselves.
Track 3 – Guidance
So this is where you were.
Yes. There’s something I want to ask you.
You were the one drying the laundry in the garden, weren’t you?
There’s some dirt on this haori . Didn’t it drag along the floor when you hung it out to dry?
Why didn’t you notice? The men will be a laughing-stock if they wear things like this!
My goodness. Wash this haori again. You’re as useless as always.
Hey. Have you already finished cleaning the floor?
Hmm… So you’ve finished this half here.
The corners are still dirty. This isn’t finished at all.
It seems that it would be worth teaching you.
I’ll show you how to clean.
Let me borrow a rice-bran bag.
See. This part is still dirty.
Look at the floor carefully when you clean so you don’t leave any dirt behind.
Hey. Where’s the cut straw? Give it to me.
Be quiet! If you have time to be apologising, then get off me right now.
Why did I end up getting knocked over by you?
What’s the matter with your clothes? Are you trying to tempt me?
Your skin is showing.
Why are you covering it up? You knocked over a man while dressed like that. You should have understood what might have happened.
Don’t cover it up.
I see. You’re useless as a maid, but I think you’ll help me take my mind off things.
You should be glad. I’m going to keep you company.
It’s no good. Your slender arms are no match for a man.
I like seeing a woman with an unwilling expression on her face.
You’re going to keep resisting? How interesting.
The door is open. Someone will find you if your voice is too loud.
You should’ve noticed that before I told you.
You don’t like it? You look as if you’re about to cry.
It’s as if you’re being tempted. Do you want me to keep going?
Your skin is turning red. Even though you don’t like this…
What does that mean?
Try and look even more dissatisfied. That’s the kind of expression I want to see.
That’s right. Hold your voice back so no one hears it.
You want me to touch you here too, don’t you?
Open your mouth.
You’re still going to resist?
It’s an order. Hold it by yourself.
You’re not going to listen to my order?
Hurry up and do it.
You should have just done it obediently from the start.
You understand, don’t you?
Didn’t I tell you not to make a sound?
Relax. Don’t you desire it now?
You’re so obedient. The way you resisted at first doesn’t seem real.
If you want more, then you should try and beg for it.
I can hear you out now.
You still can’t accept it?
In that case…
It wouldn’t be strange for someone to pass by here now, would it?
Things were just getting interesting though…
Well, it was a good way to pass the time. I’ll continue this another time.
I’ve got some more work to do, you see.
You should tidy up your kimono and get back to work.
 The haori is a traditional Japanese jacket which is worn on top of kimono.
Track 4 – A Journey Together
Four months after the Ikedaya Affair, the Shinsengumi who had been despised as an organisation of murderers, were now well-known as a symbol of dignity. The missions received from the shogunate suddenly increased and the Shinsengumi was in the midst of becoming a powerful organisation.
One day, a meeting involving the captains of every troop was held. The recruitment efforts Heisuke had made during his time in Edo had been a success and many new troops joined the Shinsengumi. As a result of this, we had outgrown the current headquarters and wished to transfer to another location. That was the subject of discussion.
Several locations had been suggested, however, the most likely option was Nishi-Honganji . Its large size and location were given as the official reasons, yet it was clear to anyone that there was another reason for moving to a new headquarters.
Nishi-Honganji had a close relationship with the Imperial Loyalist Party, who believed that power should be handed over from the shogunate to the emperor. If the Shinsengumi were to accept Nishi-Honganji as its headquarters, it would be taking away the foundations of the Imperial Loyalist Party.
I alone was against this. The Shinsengumi is an organisation run by the shogunate, however, it also held the belief that the emperor was to be revered. Attacking the Choshu  who wished to overthrow the shogunate made sense, but I couldn’t agree with taking away the foundations of the Imperial Loyalist Party.
However, not long after that, it was formally agreed that the new Shinsengumi headquarters would be at Nishi-Honganji. The present Shinsengumi is in the process of changing.
Oh, it’s you.
Hey, wait! Why did you just try to walk past quickly?
You can’t even bow or greet me?
Are you concerned about not having finished clearing the garden yesterday? Or did you just break another plate?
You were running away because you were ashamed of something, weren’t you?
If it’s nothing, then you should be more confident.
If you have time to be afraid of me, then why don’t you focus on something else?
Have you finished your daytime jobs?
In that case, you should go out shopping. We’ve run out of account books, so you’ll need to go and buy some more. I want to get some more ink too. You’ll also need to buy some hanshi . The paper at Kuronakaya is the smoothest for writing on, so get the account books and hanshi there. I prefer the colour of the ink sold at Romatsudo, so make sure you buy it there.
I’d like you to buy some string to bind the old account books together. Compare the string sold at Rokudaya and Kashizakaya to see which one is strongest. Do you understand?
What? You can’t remember that much at once? Is there something wrong with your head?
Buy the account books and hanshi at Kuronakaya. Get the ink at Romatsudo. Find the string at Rokudaya or Kashizakaya. You know where those shops are, don’t you?
You don’t even know that, despite being raised in Kyoto?
Well, you might never have had to buy hanshi or ink before, but an organisation such as the Shinsengumi has many different things that it needs to buy. A maid like you will often be asked to go out and buy things. From now on, you should familiarise yourself with as many shops as possible.
When you go out into the city, you need to remember all the names of the shops that you pass by. Understand?
We’ll just have put up with it today. I’ll go with you. I’ll only accompany you once, understand? You’ll have to go out again and again, so make your mind work hard enough to remember everything in one go. Let’s go. Come with me.
Kuronakaya and Kashizakaya are in this street. The shops aren’t that big, but they have everything we need. The men often shop at Komone, that shop on the right. You should remember that as they might send you there.
Hmm? That stall is selling some nishiki-e .
Ah. This is the first time I’ve seen that stall. There might be something interesting there.
Could you show me that painting?
Hmm… This appears to be by an unknown artist, yet the composition is impressive. It really draws you in.
I picked it up to take a closer look precisely because I like it. Well, I suppose you can’t understand the value of nishiki-e.
Have a look. The nishiki-e at this stall portray many different landscapes and are all of great interest to me. I feel as if I’ve been transported to the places in the paintings when I look at them.
They’re so impressive that I’d like to visit those places one day.
Oh? You would like to go too? So these nishiki-e can even move someone like you, who doesn’t know much about art.
Come on, let’s not have any more distractions.
Put that painting back. Hurry up.
I’m not going to buy anything. That’s not why I came here today.
I’ll come and look at the nishiki-e by myself another time.
That shop over there is Kuronakaya. Go and get the account books and hanshi there.
Did you get them? Give them to me then.
Be quiet! Give them to me without making a fuss.
You don’t know what the people around us might say if the general commander of the Shinsengumi let a woman carry the shopping. You should know that much!
It’s so heavy! Were you planning on doing the rest of the shopping while carrying this around? You might be stronger than I thought, or you might just be thoughtless. It’s probably the latter.
I said that it’s fine. If you insist upon carrying the shopping, then do it when no one is looking.
Don’t be so concerned about it. That makes it seem as if I’m a terrifying man most of the time. Come on, let’s go to the next shop.
Hmm? It’s quite noisy over there.
Ah, they’re calling out for passers-by to come into their shop.
It seems that it’s a new tea shop.
Something smells good, but I wonder what it is? You look as if you’re about to drool.
We still have some shopping left to do. We don’t have time to be going to a tea shop.
Well, I admit that it’s an enticing scent, but just look at the shop. All the seats are full.
Hmm? You have a gift?
What? My charming partner? You mean her?
Tch. You’re useless at encouraging customers to come in. I have no interest in that kind of small talk. Find another customer.
What on earth made him use a line like that?
There’s no way that you and I look like a couple.
You shouldn’t take that man’s small talk seriously. Someone who can’t even do their job properly shouldn’t be talking about love. What an awful thing to hear!
Anyway, I’d rather not be forced to commit seppuku because of you.
I was just warning you. Don’t apologise for no reason.
I told you not to apologise. I’ve had enough of you saying sorry.
Just hurry up and walk faster. We haven’t even been to half of the shops on our list.
My goodness! It’s troublesome how slow you are.
The sun has started to go down. We’ll pass by that lake on our way back. It’ll be a little faster.
Ah… There’s no one around here. We’ll be out on the street again soon enough though.
Handing over the bags to you again would just be an annoyance. I’ll keep carrying them.
It’s muddy down by our feet though. It must be because of the rain we had the other day.
Hey. Make sure you don’t slip and fall. You’ll be in a pitiful state if you get covered in mud.
Why are you walking like that? You look as clumsy as a puppet.
Can’t you pass by here without falling unless you walk like that?
It’s a good thing there’s no one else here. I wouldn’t want anyone else to know that I was walking around with such a ridiculous woman.
Hey! Look at your feet carefully. Don’t step on that frog.
This is the first time I’ve seen such a foolish woman. You didn’t fall in the mud, but you fell in the lake instead?!
It’s unbelievable! It’s a good thing I didn’t let you carry the shopping.
Come on, take my hand.
You’re soaking wet. What a terrible state you’re in.
I haven’t laughed this much in a long time. Are you a genius at playing the fool?
There are waterweeds on top of your head. The dirt on your cheeks looks like someone scribbled all over your face.
Wipe it off quickly.
What is it? You’re that unhappy about me laughing at you?
It’s quite cheeky of you to talk back to me. I’d usually tell you off for answering back, but I’ll forgive you just this once.
I was angry today, but now I feel much better.
Let’s go. Go home and take a bath. It’d be no good if you caught a cold.
You certainly do fall over quite often though.
Remembering the sight of it still makes me laugh.
 Nishi-Honganji is a temple in Kyoto which the Shinsengumi made into their headquarters.
 The Choshu was a powerful clan which was attempting to overthrow the shogunate.
 Hanshi is a type of rice paper used for traditional ink drawings and calligraphy.
 Nishiki-e is a type of multi-coloured woodblock printing. It was invented in the 1760s, and before this time most prints had been in black and white or coloured by hand.
Track 5 – Concealment
Hey, you! Let me hide in your room for a while!
You can stop cleaning for now!
Alright! Your room is that way, isn’t it? Let’s go!
Listen carefully. Don’t tell Itou-kun that I’m here.
I told him about the nishiki-e we saw in the city the other day and since then he’s been coming to my room to show me his collection every day.
To tell the truth, I find it incredibly annoying. He also asked me to show him around the city at the same time. I don’t want to spend the day with him when we’re not even friends.
No… It’s not as if he’s counting on me. He just started talking to me because we happened to have the same interests.
Of course. As the general commander of the Shinsengumi, I also act as an advisor to the other men. It’s only natural for them to rely on me. However, Itou-kun only talks to me as a result of his interests. I don’t have time to entertain someone like that.
I’m prepared to talk about work, but personal things are a different matter.
Do you understand? I’ll be staying here for a while then. You can go back to work.
What is it? The cord attached to my sword?
Ah… It seems to be broken. This cord is called a sageo . It ensures that the sheath doesn’t come away from the belt.
You didn’t know its name?
Never mind. Just remember it from now on.
You’re going to fix it? No, there’s no need for you to do that.
It would be quicker to buy a new one. Just throw it away.
Your hands look quite rough. Is the skin cracked?
Hey. Why are you hiding them?
Don’t hide them away. Show me your hands.
Why are you embarrassed? That’s what happens when you’re doing kitchen work.
If you had perfect hands without a single flaw, then I wouldn’t think you were taking your work seriously. Aren’t your hands proof that you’re working hard?
Then there’s no need to hide them, is there?
Why do you have such a slovenly expression on your face?
It wasn’t a compliment. You’re still an inexperienced maid.
Get back to your work. I’ll go back to my room when I find the right opportunity.
Go on. Make sure you work hard.
 A sageo is a cord which keeps a sword attached to the obi (sash/belt). Sageo are available in many different materials and patterns. They can also be tied in several different styles of knots.
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.