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Hachioji Guards

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  • Japanese: 八王子千人同心 (Hachiouji sennin doushin)

The Hachiôji One-Thousand Dôshin were a special detachment of guards based at Hachiôji and assigned to defend the border of Musashi province with Kai province.

Named "one thousand" as a result of having numbered roughly that many during the battle of Sekigahara, the group was maintained down into the Edo period. They stand apart from many similar guardsmen detachments in that the Hachiôji guards were of farmer/peasant lineage, and yet acted as samurai, too, in their role as guardsmen. Following the end of the wars of the Sengoku period, the group came to serve as shogunal guards accompanying the shogun on his journeys to Kyoto, Nikkô, and elsewhere, as well as helping to guard Edo castle at times when it was under renovation or repair. Further, the Hachiôji Guards were regularly assigned to serve terms in guarding Nikkô Tôshôgû; they did so over one thousand times over the course of the Edo period.

The head of the Guards, known as the sennin-gashira, enjoyed a mansion in Hachiôji granted him by the shogunate, and a fief of 200 to 500 koku. Heads of the sub-groups (kumi) within the Thousand Guards, known as kumi-gashira, enjoyed stipends of around 30 hyô of rice, plus hitori-fuchi.[1] Most of the regular members of the guards had large homes in neighboring villages in what is today the Tama area of Tokyo, or in nearby areas of what are today the outskirts of Kanagawa and Saitama prefectures.

In the Bakumatsu period, members of the Hachiôji Guards participated in the shogunate's expeditions against Chôshû han, the settlement of Hokkaidô, the compilation of regional geographical & demographic reports, and the guarding of the city of Edo. Bakumatsu era heads of the group Shiono Tekisai and Ueda Môshin also emerged as notable cultural figures of the time, compiling numerous provincial reports (chishi), and teaching numerous students in both literary and martial arts; the Guards also included individuals who made names for themselves as students or scholars of Western Studies (yôgaku), or through writing essays on policy stances the shogunate should adopt in response to pressures from the West.

The house of the detachment's leader has been maintained and restored, and can be visited at the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum, in Koganei Park, in western Tokyo.

References

  • Plaques on-site at the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum, Koganei Park.


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