Born in Tosa (now Kochi), Sakamoto, together with Nakaoka Shintaro, contributed to the anti-Tokugawa movement. His major effort was the mediation between the domains Satsuma and Choshu, which led to the Satsuma-Choshu alliance of 1866 and Satsuma support for Choshu in its fights against a Tokugawa punitive expedition.

Before the fall of the Tokugawa Bakufu, Sakamoto and Nakaoka were murdered by secret police units of the Tokugawa Bakufu in Kyoto.

Sakamoto Ryoma is the hero of several historical novels of popular writer Shiba Ryotaro, written in the 1960s. These novels have been adapted for movies, TV series and even multimedia CD-ROMs, testifying of Sakamoto's continous popularity as a historical "hero" and "martyr" that died for the cause of revolutionary change and modernization of Japan.

Sakamoto  is buried in Gokoku Shrine in Kyoto, next to Nakaoka.

Statue of Sakamoto Ryoma in Nagasaki


Most famous pictures of Sakamoto Ryoma


Sakamoto Ryoma, 1836-1867