Tōdō Heisuke

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Tōdō Heisuke
Native name
藤堂 平助
Birth name Tōdō Heisuke Fujiwara no Yoshitora
Born 1844
Died December 13, 1867 (aged 22–23)
Allegiance Japan (Edo period)
Commands held Shinsengumi, Eighth Unit

Tōdō Heisuke (藤堂 平助?, 1844 – December 13, 1867) was a samurai of Japan's late Edo period who served as the eighth unit captain of the Shinsengumi. His full name was Tōdō Heisuke Fujiwara no Yoshitora.


Tōdō was from Edo, Musashi Province (now Tokyo). Very little is known about his origin. Although he was said to be an illegitimate child of Tōdō Takayuki, the 11th generation lord of the Tsu domain, this is highly debatable. However, one argument some use in favor of this theory is the fact that he possessed a sword made by Kazusa no suke Kaneshige, who was a swordmaker under the patronage of the Tsu domain; and that such a sword would be difficult for a mere rōnin to obtain, even by heritage. Another point that suggests possible Tsu domain heritage is his formal given name (諱; imina), Yoshitora (宜虎), which shares a character in common with the name of the first Tōdō lord of Tsu, Tōdō Takatora (藤堂高虎).

Tōdō was a practitioner of the Hokushin Ittō-ryū, trained at Chiba Shusaku Narimasa's dojo. However, according to some sources, he was trained at Itō Kashitarō's dojo instead.

In around 1862, he started "taking his meals" at Kondou Isami's Shieikan.

Shinsengumi Period

In 1863, Tōdō joined the Roshigumi with Kondō and other members of the Shieikan. After the Shinsengumi was formed, Tōdō first became a fukuchō jokin (assistant vice commander) and then became the captain of the eighth unit in 1865.[1]

Sources vary as to his role in the Serizawa Kamo (one of the original commanders of the Shinsengumi) assassination.

Tōdō received a wound on his forehead during the Ikedaya Jiken on July 8, 1864.[2]


Tōdō, having joined Itō Kashitarō's breakaway Goryōeji group, left Shinsengumi, but was killed during the Aburakoji Affair on December 13, 1867.

According to Nagakura Shinpachi's Shinsengumi Tenmatsuki, Kondō had wished to spare Tōdō's life. However, Tōdō was killed by a new member, Miura Tsunesaburō, who did not know the circumstances.


  1. Yamamura, Tatsuya. Shinsengumi Kenkyaku-Den. Tokyo: PHP Kenkyūjo, 1998, p.186
  2. Yamamura, Tatsuya. Shinsengumi Kenkyaku-Den. Tokyo: PHP Kenkyūjo, 1998, p.177

Further reading

  • Kikuchi Akira. Shinsengumi Hyakuichi no Nazo. Tokyo: Shin Jinbutsu Ōraisha, 2000. ISBN 4-404-01998-X
  • Nagakura, Shinpachi. "Shinsengumi Tenmatsuki". Tokyo; Shin Jinbutsu Ōraisha, 1998. ISBN


  • Ōishi Manabu. Shinsengumi: Saigo no Bushi no Jitsuzō. Tokyo: Chūō-kōron shinsha, 2004.
  • Tsuri Yōichi. Shinsengumi Seishi. Tokyo: Shin Jinbutsu Ōraisha, 1998.
  • Yamamura, Tatsuya. Shinsengumi Kenkyaku-Den. Tokyo: PHP Kenkyūjo, 1998. ISBN