Famous Samurai Saitō Hajime's True Face Revealed At Last
posted on by Eric Stimson
Although Saitō Hajime was a member of the famous Shinsengumi, an assassination squad working for the Tokugawa shogunate during the upheaval that eventually finished off the shogunate for good, his biography has remained somewhat murky. Historical researcher Yū Asakura identifies a photograph of the wedding ceremony for his second son, Tsuyoshi, as the only photo of Saitō that's been known so far, and even then the image is indistinct. But on July 15, the Fujita family, who are Tsuyoshi's descendants, publicly revealed two photographs of Hajime that they have kept in their possession.
The photos were taken in 1897, when Saitō was 53 years old. In the group portrait below, Hajime is seated with his second son Tsuyoshi, his eldest son Tsutomu, and his wife Tokiwo.
The family released the photographs in order to disprove erroneous pictures of Saitō circulating online. One drawing previously identified as Saitō is actually based on his son. Another image supposedly identified him in a photograph with a group of police officers.
Saitō has made several anime appearances before, although they have seldom resembled the newly revealed photo.
Saitō as portrayed in Rurouni Kenshin
Saitō as portrayed in Hakuōki
Saitō as portrayed in Peacemaker Kurogane