Yamanami was a ronin from Sendai han who practiced Onoha Ittô-ryû (menkyô) and Hokushin Ittô-ryû (menkyô). In 1860. He visited the Shieikan dojo and had a match with Kondô Isami. He was defeated and was enrolled at the Tennen Rishin-ryû's Shieikan. In 1863, Kondô and eight other Shieikan members joined the Rôshigumi.
Yamanami is believed to have been involved in the assassination of Serizawa Kamo. In January 1864, he captured Futei Rôshi at Iwaki Masuya and received prize money from Lord Matsudaira Katamori of Aizu.
On 21 February 1865, Yamanami suddenly ran away from the Shinsengumi. He was captured the next day and ordered to commit seppuku in accordance with the Shinsengumi Regulations (Kyokuchu Hatto). His grave is in Koen-ji, Kyoto.
Yamanami Keisuke's Sword
- Sekishin Okimitsu 赤心沖光
- Shinsengumi Zentaishi Tettei Guide (新選組全隊士徹底ガイド) Maeda Masaki
- Shinsengumi Taishi Den (新選組隊士伝) Gakken
- Shinsengumi (新選組) Sekai Bunkasha
- The Shinsengumi Exhibition catalog 2004