Shinsengumi Commander Kondo Isami and Vice-commander Hijikata Toshizo were glorified as heroes upon their return to their native Tama in early 1868, shortly after the fall of the Bakufu. In death, not long thereafter, they were apotheosized. On the grounds of Takahata Fudo temple in Hino (in Tama), the stone Monument of the Two Heroes was completed in 1888, twenty years after Kondo’s execution, nineteen years after Hijikata fell in battle. Over a century later a bronze statue of Hijikata was erected near the monument. As I wrote in the closing of Shinsengumi: The Shogun’s Last Samurai Corps, “[t]he right hand grips a sword. The left fist is clenched. The eyes… the eyes battle-ready, are ever prepared for death, to meet Kondo underground.”
[I took this photo in October 2003 while researching Shinsengumi: The Shogun’s Last Samurai Corps (Tuttle, 2005). A new edition with a new Introduction and revised title, The Shogun’s Last Samurai Corps, will be published in March 2021.