The Rōshi gumi, also known as the Mibu Rōshi gumi, was a samurai group in Japan during the late Edo period. The group was created by Kondō Isami, a skilled swordsman, in response to the political unrest and violence in Kyoto. The group's main goal was to maintain order and protect the citizens of Kyoto from bandits and other violent groups. However, the group soon became embroiled in the politics of the era, and its members became infamous for their brutality and their involvement in several assassinations.
The Rōshi gumi was formed in 1863 and was composed of around 300 samurai from different parts of Japan. Kondō Isami was appointed as the group's leader, and he quickly set about organizing the group and training its members in swordsmanship and other martial arts.
Initially, the Rōshi gumi was successful in its mission to maintain order and protect the citizens of Kyoto. However, as the political situation in Japan became more unstable, the group began to attract the attention of various factions who sought to use the group's martial skills for their own purposes.
In 1867, the Rōshi gumi became embroiled in a power struggle within the shogunate. The group split into two factions, with Kondō Isami leading one faction and another samurai named Serizawa Kamo leading the other. The two factions eventually clashed, and Serizawa was killed in the ensuing conflict.
After Serizawa's death, the Rōshi gumi was reorganized, with Kondō Isami assuming complete control of the group. However, the group's reputation had been tarnished by its involvement in the power struggle, and the group became known for its brutal methods and its willingness to assassinate its enemies.
The Rōshi gumi's story came to an end during the Boshin War, which was fought between the forces of the shogunate and those of the newly established Meiji government. The group split into two factions, with one supporting the shogunate and the other supporting the Meiji government.
In 1868, the Rōshi gumi fought in the Battle of Toba-Fushimi, which was a decisive victory for the Meiji forces. After the battle, the Rōshi gumi disbanded, and many of its members joined the new Meiji government. However, some former members of the Rōshi gumi continued to work together in various ways, including participating in political movements and engaging in illegal activities.
The Rōshi gumi disbanded in 1868, after the Meiji Restoration brought an end to the samurai era in Japan. However, the group's legacy lived on, and it became the subject of numerous books, movies, and TV shows.
One of the most famous depictions of the Rōshi gumi is the manga and anime series Rurouni Kenshin, which follows the adventures of a former member of the group named Kenshin Himura. The series portrays the group as a band of ruthless killers, and its members as complex and flawed characters who are torn between their loyalty to their leader and their own sense of morality.
In recent years, the Rōshi gumi has become the subject of renewed interest among historians and scholars, who are studying the group's role in the political and social upheaval of the late Edo period.
The Rōshi gumi was a notorious samurai group that played a significant role in the political and social upheaval of Japan during the late Edo period. While the group's methods were often brutal, its members were also complex and nuanced characters who were shaped by the turbulent times in which they lived. Today, the legacy of the Rōshi gumi continues to fascinate and intrigue people around the world, and its story serves as a reminder of the complex and often violent history of Japan.