Nagakura Shinpachi (永倉 新八, Nagakura Shinpachi) is regarded as the best swordsman in the Shinsengumi and a member of Hijikata's Group.
Nagakura is a bald elderly man with wrinkles and a full beard. In his youth, Nagakura had a full head of dark hair that was parted to the sides with a small beard. He also had no wrinkles on his face.
According to Hijikata, Nagakura in his youth was a violent-tempered fool and he had a very reckless behavior, which led to him receiving a nickname "Gamushin".
As a member of the Shinsengumi, Nagakura did not get along well with his superior Isami Kondou due to his playboy nature. As a result, Nagakura disliked Kondou and refused to be one of his personal retainers when given the offer by him. However, he felt much respect and gratitude for Toshizou Hijikata due to the fact that he defended him from Kondou's wrath numerous times.
As a young man, Nagakura enrolled into the Shieikan dojo where he met Hijikata and they became good friends and acted like fools together. In the dojo, Nagakura became known as "Gamushin" due to his reckless nature. Sometime later, Nagakura became a member of the Shinsengumi alongside Hijikata and Kondou. He was influenced by Hijikata to play around with the ladies which often got him in trouble with Kondou, and so Hijikata had to defend him. In the 4th year of the Keiou era (1st year of Meiji), the Shinsengumi participated in the Battle of Toba-Fushimi and were scattered. They attempted to regroup in Edo, but Nagakura refused to join them for he did not want to serve under Kondou. As a result, he parted ways on bad terms with Kondou and Hijikata and left on his own way.
In time, Nagakura served as the swordsmanship instructor for the guards at Kabato Prison. Even after leaving that position, he continues to hold short training courses a few times each year for them. As a result, he has earned the trust of the authorities in Kabato Prison and can make any requests of them. One day, Nagakura had finished up a training session at Kabato Prison and was about to head home for the New Year's. He came across rows of prisoners being led inside, when one of them spoke out his old nickname, "Gamushin". Nagakura turned around and is shocked to see his old partner Hijikata smiling back at him.
Nagakura went to see Kabato Prison's warden, Shirosuke Inudou to ask why he never informed him that Hijikata was at the prison despite him having served there for twenty years. Inudou replied that he saw no reason to tell him and described his hatred for Hijikata due to his brother's death. When Inudou still refused to let him see Hijikata, Nagakura threatened to hurt him but was thrown out by the guards as a result. However, the chief guard showed him to Hijikata's cell and allowed him to speak to his former comrade. Nagakura and Hijikata spoke to each other and reminisced over their past, ending with Nagakura asking if Hijikata was looking out for him due to them parting ways on bad terms to which Hijikata merely replied that he thought he was an idiot that he couldn't stand with a smile on his face.
As Nagakura and his group are staying at a cabin, he listens to Ogata talk about Noppera-Bou and his motives for the Ainu gold. He talks about how First Lieutenant Tsurumi had already surmised that Noppera-Bou might not be an Ainu, and listens on as Hijikata and Ogata talks about the state of affairs in Russia and Noppera-Bou's reasons. (70)
Nagakura travels with his group to Yubari where they run into Sugimoto's group inside the Edogai store. As the tensions between the two parties begin to flare up, Nagkaura enters the room and implores Sugimoto to sell the skins to them and go home to a quiet life. However, Sugimoto refuses saying that they needed to meet Noppera-Bou to confirm something. When Asirpa's stomach loudly grumbles, interrupting the mood, Ienaga pops in and suggests to eat.
Sitting at a large table with a pot of nanko nabe, Nagakura sits quietly and listens on as Sugimoto provokes Ogata. When Hijikata expresses concerns about finding a way to distinguish the fake skins from the real ones, Ienaga says she might know someone who could help them, to which Nagakura asks if it is someone skilled at detecting fakes. She tells them about a counterfeit artist named Chouan Kumagishi. Sometime later, Nagakura heads to the mines along with Shiraishi and Kiroranke to find Sergeant Tsukishima's body, but a miner there tells them that they haven't found an uniformed corpse.
He leaves Yubari along with Shiraishi and Kiroranke for an unknown business, but they are able to meet up with Hijikata and Ienaga and heads to Tsukigata together. When Ienaga and Kiroranke questions how they can privately meet Kumagishi, Hijikata says that Nagakura has connections at Kabato Prison and could arrange a private meeting for them. When Shiraishi asks him to give his regards to Kumagishi, Nagakura asks if he knows him. Shirashi then begins to tell everyone of his time at Kabato Prison and how he met Kumagishi. They find a spot to make campfire and eat some food as Shiraishi continues to talk about his time in Kabato Prison. Once Shiraishi had finished telling his tale, Nagakura says that since they were talking about Kabato Prison before, he can't help but be reminded of the time he reunited with Hijikata.
Some time later, he visited the Kabato Prison with Ienaga to inquire about meeting Kumagishi. However, the warden Matasuke Ooshima informed them that Kumagishi had died last Spring, attempting to escape during outside labour. They regroup with the others and after some discussion, decides to make their way to Abashiri Prison.
They settle at an inn in Tsukigata where Kiroranke comments that it's such a big deal that they found out about the existence of the fake skins so quickly. However, Hijikata says that so long as they have no means of distinguishing them it makes little to no difference. Nagakura and Ienaga laments over Kumagishi's death and their loss before admitting they have no other choice but to depend on Shiraishi.
The next day, Hijikata reports to his group that Shiraishi has been captured by the 7th Division and they ponder on what they should do. Nagakura reveals that according to the townsfolk, those soldiers had been rushed out from their headquarters in Asahikawa for an operation and were just on their way back. He also says that if Shiraishi were to be locked up again, it could take months for him to break out. At this, Hijikata tells Nagakura and Ienaga to wait in Tsukigata for Sugimoto then head to Asahikawa together as he and Kiroranke go to rescue Shiraishi.
When Sugimoto's Group finally arrived at the inn, they are startled to find how much Kiyohiro Suzukawa resemble him. Nagakura says he has two pieces of bad news, the first is that Kumagishi had died but they are surprised that he already knew that he is dead, much to his confusion. When Asirpa asks for the other bad news, he tells them that Shiraishi has been captured by the 7th Division.
Once Hijikata and Kiroranke returned from their mission, they informed the rest of them that they had failed to rescue Shiraishi. Nagakura expresses his doubt that Shiraishi would be able to escape easily this time and worries what his condition would be like. Everyone then thought about what to do before deciding to leave Shiraishi to his fate since they already had a copy of his tattoo. However, Sugimoto refuses and says that he wants to save Shiraishi and pulls over Suzukawa, saying that they could use his skills as a con artist.
When Hijikata finds a certain object in a hidden room at Abashiri Prison, he shows it to Nagakura and Ushiyama, saying that it had once belonged to a tattooed convict named Shinzou Doi who had been caught in Kushiro. Hijikata's group eventually arrives in Kushiro where they ask around about Doi's item. Just as they were about to give up, Ushiyama calls out to an Ainu man asking if he knew of a place to stay at. The Ainu man, Kirawus takes them to a hut where he prepares some shishamo smelt for them and was able to identify the object as belonging to a tufted puffin. As Kirawus rambled on about the bird, Nagakura comments that he knows a lot about it to which Kirawus says that his people usually hunt them. Kirawus says that the tufted puffin could only be found to the east of Kushiro in a town called Nemuro. As Hijikata shows excitement upon getting closer to Doi, Nagakura tells Ushiyama to be on guard as Doi's true identity is that of Youichirou the Manslayer.
Kirawus takes Hijikata's group to an Ainu kotan in Nemuro where Youichirou had once lived, which Nagakura remarks on. He then learns about Youichirou's time in the kotan from Kirawus who translates for the village chief. They eventually find Youichirou in a restaurant in Nemuro where he was being accosted by some hitmen after his life. Once the confrontation had finished with the hitmen dead and Youichirou fleeing the restaurant, Nagakura stepped out from the building as Ushiyama asks if they should convince him to join them but Hijikata shoots it down before leaving to confront Youichirou.
Nagakura, Ushiyama, and Kirawus were able to find Hijikata with Youichirou dead from their duel and Hijikata states that though he may not have died at Hakodate, he doesn't feel a sense of guilt, and that he only survived because he has a duty to fulfull. Nagakura stood silently before Hijikata calls out to him, saying that they can still keep on running.
Abilities and Equipments Edit
Swordsmanship - Nagakura was hailed as the best swordsman in the Shinsengumi. His knowledge of the art allows him to be a teacher at Kabato Prison where he taught the guards there and continues to hold training sessions every year.
Like Hijikata Toshizou, Nagakura was also based on the real life figure with the same name, Nagakura Shinpachi. He was the captain of the 2nd troop of the Shinsengumi.
Nagakura's nickname as a young man was Gamushin (ガムシン), which came from (我武者羅, gamushara) meaning reckless and his own name (新八, Shinpachi).
Nagakura likes unagi.