Narahara Kizaemon

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  • Born: 1831/6/23
  • Died: 1865/5/18
  • Japanese: 奈良原喜左衛門 (Narahara Kizaemon)

Narahara Kizaemon was a Satsuma han retainer who is generally considered to have been the one most responsible for the death of English merchant Charles Richardson in the 1862 Namamugi Incident.

Some sources confuse him for his younger brother, Narahara Shigeru aka Narahara Kôgorô, another prominent Satsuma retainer.

He was a master of the Yakumaru jigen-ryû sword school.[1]

Life and Career

A prominent agent of the Shimazu clan daimyô, Kizaemon was sent to Edo in 1858 to aid in efforts to have Tokugawa Yoshinobu named shogunal successor. Ultimately, however, the faction backing Tokugawa Yoshitomi (Iemochi) and led by Ii Naosuke won out. Kizaemon returned to Satsuma, and the following year joined a sonnô jôi faction known as the Seichû-gumi.[2]

In 1862, he helped organize the disruption of Arima Shinshichi's efforts to raise an army. That same year, Kizaemon served as a member of Shimazu Hisamitsu's retinue as the former daimyô escorted Imperial envoys to Edo. On 1862/8/21, as the procession traveled on the Tôkaidô on its way back from Edo, in the village of Namamugi it encountered a party of Englishmen on horseback. In what has come to be known as the Namamugi Incident, Kizaemon cut down one of the English merchants.[2] Two others were wounded, while only one escaped relatively unharmed.

After British demands for reparations, a formal apology, and the punishment of those responsible were rebuffed by Satsuma authorities, a number of ships of the Royal Navy bombarded Kagoshima in 1863/7. Narahara, along with Kaieda Nobuyoshi, another Satsuma samurai alleged to have been involved in the Namamugi Incident, attempted unsuccessfully to seize one of the British ships.[2]

Narahara was active in the Kyoto-Osaka area for a short time after that, eventually dying of illness or natural causes at the Nihonmatsu han compound in Kyoto.[2]


  1. "Narahara Kizaemon." Nihon jinmei dai jiten 日本人名大辞典. Kodansha. Accessed via Japan Knowledge online resource, 28 May 2010.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Narahara Kizaemon." Asahi Nihon Rekishi Jinbutsu Jiten 朝日日本歴史人物事典. Accessed via, 28 May 2010.
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