On this day in 1867, the famous samurai Sakamoto Ryoma was ambushed and killed. Sakamoto Ryoma was famous for his efforts to bring about the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate and the opening of the doors to the west during the Bakamatsu era which was at the end of the Edo period. Sakamoto Ryoma studied swordsmanship from the age of 14 under renowned sword teacher Chiba Sadakichi Masamichi of the Hokushin Itto-ryu school. Sakamoto Ryoma carried a Smith & Wesson revolver despite the fact that he was an accomplished swordsman
Sakamoto Ryoma came from a well to do family of sake producers who were able to purchase the lowest samurai rank of goshi or merchant samurai. During the Edo period there was a strict level of segregation enforced between joshi (high rank) and kashi (low rank) samurai. Because of his families low rank, they were always segregated from more higher ranking samurais which always bothered him and he was inspired to change by the Revolutionary war's slogan which became the first line of the Declaration of Independence, "All men are created equal."