The Ikedaya Incident, in which members of the Shinsengumi attacked and killed anti-Tokugawa activists thwarting their supposed plans to torch Kyoto, took place 155 years ago on July 8, 1864.
The attack is known as the Ikedaya Incident, as the rebel Choshu (modern-day Yamaguchi Prefecture) and Tosa (now Kochi Prefecture) clan samurai had been using the Ikedaya Inn in Kyoto as a regular meeting place. The attack occurred after one of the members of the rebel forces, Furukata Shuntaro, “admitted” that the Choshu and Tosa clan samurai were planning to burn Kyoto, kidnap the Emperor in the confusion and take him to Choshu, and kill any daimyo and their men that came to the aid of the capital.
The Shinsengumi had used brutal interrogation techniques on Furukata to gain the admission. The poor man was suspended upside down, 15cm long steel spikes were hammered into his heels, and once removed, lit candles were placed inside the holes, allowing the hot wax to drip and burn his lower legs. He was severely whipped, and his back was shredded. From this torture the Shinsengumi “gleaned” information regarding a major plot to burn Kyoto. Whether this is true, or a trumped up charge remains a major debate between researchers. All the same, it led to the July 8 attack on the Ikedaya, in which eight rebels were killed, and 23 arrested, while only one of the ten Shinsengumi members was killed in the incident. Another two would die of their injuries later. (incidentally, the well prepared Shinsengumi had been wearing chain mail and light armour, while the unsuspecting rebels were lightly dressed and had been drinking for most of the evening.
Kido Takayoshi of the Choshu clan later claimed the samurai had met at the Ikedaya that evening simply to discuss how to rescue Furukata from the Shinsengumi!
The actual inn, the Ikedaya was destroyed in the battle, and until recently a pachinko parlor stood on the site. The Ikedaya was rebuilt, and today operates as a late Edo period/Shinsengumi themed Izakaya pub.
This is a place I’d love to visit, thus picture have been taken from the net.
Text by Chris Glenn