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Kondō Isami (近藤 勇?, October 9, 1834 – May 17, 1868) was a Japanese swordsman and official of the late Edo Period, famed for his role as commander of the Shinsengumi.

sami, who was first known as Katsugorō, was born to Miyagawa Hisajirō, a farmer residing in Kami-Ishihara village in Musashi Province, now in the city of Chōfu in Western Tokyo. He had two older brothers, Otojirō (音次郎; later known as Otogorō 音五郎) and Kumezō (粂蔵; later known as Sōbei 惣兵衛). Katsugorō began training at the Shieikan (the main dojo of the Tennen Rishin-ryū) in 1848.

Kondō is said to have owned a katana called "Kotetsu" (虎徹), the work of the 17th century swordsmith Nagasone Kotetsu. However, the authenticity of his "Kotetsu" is highly debatable. According to Yasu Kizu's pamphlet on the swordmaker Kotetsu, Kondō's sword may actually have been made by Minamoto no Kiyomaro, a swordmaker of high repute roughly contemporary to Kondō.

Although he was never employed by the Shogunate before his Shinsengumi days, Kondō was a candidate for a teaching position at the Kobusho in 1862. The Kobusho was an exclusive military training school, primarily for the use of the shogunal retainers, set up by the Shogunate in 1855 in order to reform the military system after the arrival of Perry's Black Ships.

After the Battle of Toba-Fushimi in January 1868, he returned to Edo, and was promoted to the rank of wakadoshiyori (wakadoshiyori-kaku 若年寄格) in the rapidly disintegrating Tokugawa administration. He fought with the force dispatched by the Imperial Court but lost, most notably at the battles of Kōshū-Katsunuma and Nagareyama. After surrendering, he was beheaded at Itabashi on May 17, 1868.

Source : Wikipedia

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