In March 1869, at Amherst College, Massachusetts, United States of America, a man was praying. He was Joe Neesima. Professor Seelye came and noticed that Joe had been praying for a while. Joe told him that a revolution had started in Japan and Japan had entered into the Meiji period. A new government that listened to the voices of people was formed. However, Joe was worried that the wounds caused by the revolution were deep and it was difficult to ease the pain of those who suffered from the revolution. He feared that people might seek revenge which might lead to another war. He then prayed that people would abandon hate, that through love and justice of god, a new country would be built for the living and the dead, that the sorrow, grudges and hate would be removed.
Yae and her family were staying at Yonezawa after the fall of Aizu. Yae and Mine were selling cloths for a living. While they were selling cloths, they met a woman named Chio, who was also from Aizu. Chio heard a lot about Yae. She asked Yae about her husband, Shonosuke. Yae told her that Shonosuke was being sent to Tokyo from Inawashiro with the rest of the Aizu samurai. Chio said that her husband was killed in the war. She and her son were currently staying at the house of a man called Souemon Tamuraya. Souemon came. He pitied Yae and Mine as they were from the samurai family but they had to sell things to make a living. He told Chio to buy a piece of cloth from them. He then said to Mine that they must have trouble getting food. He gave them turnips. However, Mine muttered that she did not want them. Yae immediately thanked Souemon and took the turnips. Chio told Yae to visit her some time.
Yae and her family were staying at the residence of Shinichiro Naito, a Yonezawa samurai, who had once gone to Yae’s home to learn gunnery skills (Episode 23). Yae’s mother was sewing the cloths while Ura was dying the cloths. Yae and Mine returned. Yae gave the turnips that they received from Souemon to Shinichiro for thanking him to let them stay at his residence. Yae’s mother added that they would pay him the rent later. Shinichiro said that Yonezawa’s territory was reduced after the war, so everyone was having a hard time living. However, he said that compared to Aizu of which the territory was totally confiscated, Yonezawa was lucky.
At night, Yae had a bad dream in which she recalled the time when she was fighting the enemy with her rifle, witnessing the death of Tose and separating from Shonosuke. She woke up. Yae’s mother asked her what was wrong. Yae saw Mine crying. She told Mine that she did not need to worry about the enemy’s cannonballs anymore. Yae’s mother said that Mine was scared because she saw Yae struggling in her sleep. Yae’s mother asked Yae if she was alright. Yae said that she was fine. She apologized to Mine.
With the effort of Aizu officials, Katamori and Nobunori were exempted from death penalty. However, the new government had ordered Aizu to submit the head of the person responsible for starting the war. Gonbe Kayano, who was the top-ranked senior official of Aizu at the time, took the responsibility (he was ranked 4th in seniority after Tosa Tanaka, Kuranosuke Jinbo and Tanomo Saigo, however, since Tosa and Kuranosuke had died and Tanomo was expelled from Aizu, he became the top senior official of Aizu). Okura and Heima went to see Gonbe before his execution. Heima said that he should be the one sentenced to death as he was the one who took command of the war. Gonbe said that it was an honor for a samurai to sacrifice his life to protect his lord. He laughed that he could not let them take this role. Okura then handed a letter from Katamori to Gonbe. Katamori wrote that he wanted to see Gonbe, but he was not allowed to do so. He would never forget Gonbe’s loyalty. Gonbe cried after reading Katamori’s letter. Then Heima handed a letter from Princess Teru to Gonbe. It was a poem. Gonbe was too emotional that he could not read out the poem. He asked Okura to read the poem for him. The general meaning of Princess Teru’s poem was that it was a regrettable thing for Gonbe to accept the punishment but he would be remembered for his loyal act. Gonbe said that he was blessed to receive the kindness from Katamori and Princess Teru. Nevertheless, he regretted that he could not see Aizu clearing its name before he died. He said that what was taken away by war must be taken back by war. That was the principle of samurai. He asked Heima and Okura to take back Aizu, otherwise the anger of those who died would not be eased. Gonbe then bid farewell to them.
Meanwhile, the remaining soldiers of Bakufu and the Ouetsu Alliance continued to fight the new government at Hakodate. Toshizo Hijikata of Shinsengumi lost his life there. They ended up surrendering to the new government on the same day that Gonbe Kayano was executed. The Boshin War which began with the Battle of Toba-Fushimi finally ended after one and a half year.
Tanomo and Takeaki Enomoto were at Goryokaku. Takeaki said that if he had retreated his battleship earlier, Aizu might not end up like that. Tanomo disagreed and said that the new government wanted to destroy Aizu no matter what. Takeaki heard that Katamori was exempted from death penalty. Tanomo said that he should be the one to die in place of Katamori, but Gonbe Kayano had taken the responsibility all by himself. Takeaki wondered about their future as they were on the defeated side. Then he left. Tanomo said to himself that he would live. He took out his wife’s poem and said that he had to live and see with his own eyes the country built by those who had destroyed Aizu.
Yae and Mine went to visit Chio. Yae was instructing Chio’s son, Chojiro, on the techniques of using the spear. Chio told her son that he must become strong like Yae and avenge his father one day. She then asked Yae to teach her gunnery. If war broke out again, she would use the rifle to fight the enemy like Yae. Yae said that she could not teach her gunnery. Chio emotionally asked her for the reason. She said that Yae went to the battle to avenge her brother. Her father had also lost his life during the battle. She asked Yae if she did not want to take revenge against Satsuma and Choshu. She said that she must avenge her husband. Until that day arrived, she would bear all the shame and humiliation to bring up her son to become a strong samurai so that he could avenge his father. Souemon Tamuraya came. He was discontented with Chio as she kept mentioning about revenge everyday. He said that Aizu was destroyed and it no longer existed. He then said to Yae and Mine that if they were asking for food, they should go to the back door instead of coming through the front door shamelessly. Mine got up and told him to stop saying rude things to them. Souemon was angry. Chio immediately stood in front of Mine to guard her. Souemon hit her. He said that he had taken Chio and her son in when they were having trouble living. He added that Chio’s body was as cold as a knife. He wondered if all Aizu women were like that. Yae was angry and used Chojiro’s training rod to hit Souemon’s legs causing him to fall down. She said that she could not forgive him for humiliating Aizu. As she was about to beat him with the rod, Chio cried and begged Yae not to beat him. She asked Yae to forgive him because if anything happened to Souemon, her son would not be able to live.
When Yae and Mine were about to leave, Chio said that she was a hopeless woman. Yae told her not to think like that. She said that staying alive was a battle for them. She believed that they could return to Aizu one day. She told Chio that this belief would help them staying alive. Mine comforted Chio by giving their cloths to her. Chio cried.
At Gokokuji, Tokyo, where the Aizu samurai were under house arrest, Okura, Heima and Teijiro Hirosawa came and informed the samurai that they were allowed to restart the clan. The samurai were excited that they could go back to Aizu. However, Heima told them that they were not restarting the clan at Aizu. They were given the territory at Shimokita of Mutsuo (the northernmost land of Honshu) with the income of only 30,000 koku. The samurai were dissatisfied and said that Aizu was their home. They would not go anywhere but Aizu. Hirosawa told them that the crucial thing to do now was to settle down the Aizu samurai. Going back to Aizu was a matter that they would seek to achieve afterward. The samurai said that Aizu originally have 280,000 koku. With only 30,000 koku, it could hardly be regarded as restarting the clan. Hirosawa told them to calm down. He asked them to sit down. Okura then told them that the new clan name would be Tonami. It was taken from an old Chinese poem Hokuto inan mina teishu. Okura said that even if it was the northernmost land, it was still the emperor’s land. It meant that they were not rebels but the emperor’s people. The samurai were not happy that they had to change the clan’s name. Okura said that the name also meant fighting. They would continue to fight and take back Aizu’s land and name one day. The first thing they should do was to strengthen the clan. For that purpose, they must develop trade. There was no sea around Aizu, but Tonami was located by the sea. Once they built a strong clan in the north, that would be the time for them to fight back. He told them that from now on, everywhere was the battleground. After listening to Okura, the Aizu samurai finally accepted the new arrangement. Heima then added that Okura would be appointed as the senior counselor of Tonami. Okura was surprised to hear that.
Heima told Okura that Tonami was not a paradise. It would be tough to rebuild the clan there. Okura asked if his appointment as senior counselor could be reconsidered. Heima said that he wanted to take this opportunity to withdraw from the duties of managing the clan. It was a fact that he was responsible for starting the war. He had expelled Tanomo and allied with the other Ou clans and started the war. He was not in a position to manage a clan anymore. He asked Okura to take the duty. Okura said that he received a letter from his brother, Kenjiro. He said that he was grateful to Heima for risking his life helping Kenjiro to escape from Inawashiro. It was known that with the help of Teijiro Akizuki, Kenjiro was placed under the care of Kensuke Okudaira of Choshu at Echigo. Heima took Kenjiro to see his family before he went to Echigo. Kenjiro did not want to escape alone while the others were under house arrest. He said that it was a disgrace to his comrades who lost their lives in the battle. Heima told Kenjiro to stay alive for those who died in war. Kenjiro’s mother, En, told Kenjiro to live for the sake of everyone. Heima told Okura that Kenjiro’s talent was Aizu’s treasure. It would be a waste if his talent was not shown to the world. Okura was emotional and thanked Heima.
It was Autumn. Okura came to Yonezawa to visit Yae and her family. He informed them about the restart of the clan. They were glad to hear that. Okura told Yae that though they were restarting the clan in the northernmost land, it was the first step to rebuild their strength. Yae asked about the Aizu samurai and the Yamakawa family. Mine then asked Okura about Shonosuke. Okura said that Shonosuke was in Tokyo and he would go to Tonami as well. Yae’s mother had made kozuyu (a regional cuisine of Aizu). Okura was happy as he had not eaten kozuyu for a long time. Yae’s mother said that it had been a year since the fall of Aizu. They should celebrate that they were still alive. They began to eat the kozuyu. Okura cried and said that it tasted good. They were all moved by the taste that reminded them of their homeland. Yae said that she had forgotten how good kozuyu tasted.
As Okura was about to leave, he asked Yae if she would go to Tonami. He said that living in Tonami would be much harder than Yonezawa, but they needed Yae’s strength in building the new clan. Yae said that she was afraid. She said that a while ago, she almost killed a man who had humiliated Aizu. During the battle, she had fought the enemies alone. At that time, she was prepared to die anytime because she had to fight to protect Aizu. She knew that she had to avenge her brother and her father, but if she continued to live in hate, she would only remain in the past and unable to move forward. She said that the kozuyu was so good and she was happy that they could eat together. She wanted to stay the way it was for the time being. Okura understood. Before he left, he asked Yae if she had anything to say to Shonosuke. He said that Shonosuke felt bad for leaving Yae behind. He wanted to repay Yae so he decided to go to Tonami to rebuild Yae’s homeland. Yae asked Okura to tell Shonosuke that she would wait for him.
In March 1870, the Aizu samurai moved to Tonami.
At Kyo, Tokie was helping Kakuma to get up. Kakuma was totally blind now and he needed a walking stick and Tokie’s assistance to walk. He seemed to be contented.
A new day had begun. Ura packed the stuffs for Yae. Yae and Mine went out to sell cloths.