The Shinsengumi was a special police force under the control of the shogunate. They are one of the most recurring protagonists in the Gintama universe. They are situated in and mostly focus their work on Edo.
The Shinsengumi main task was to find and arrest Jouishishi and any other terrorists. They also did regular police duties like patrols, traffic, and handling non-terrorist related crimes. They were sometimes given detective work beyond the scope of the regular police. Since they were created by the Shogunate, they were under the direct control of Police Commissioner Matsudaira and are thus higher ranked than the normal police. Due to this, they were sometimes tasked with protection duty to any government officials and Amanto ambassadors, which also includes the Shogun.
Because they serve under the government, they have been given various negative labels, such as:
- The Dogs of Bakufu (幕府の犬 Bakufu no Inu) by the Jouishishi,
- Tax Revenue Robbers (税金泥棒 Zeikindorobou) by Sakata Gintoki.
Four years before the start of the series, Matsudaira Katakuriko and Sasaki Isaburo, two government officials, decided to create a police force in Edo to counteract the growing problem of the revived Jouishishi called the Roushigumi (Ronin Group). They invited lower class samurai, vagabonds, and ronin (masterless samurai). But for the next few days, factions growing within the gathered men lead to fights determining who will lead this force, the strongest so far lead by Yamazaki Sagaru. He and his group are cowed by a faction that didn't participate in the fighting, a group from a dojo in the Bushuu province lead by the dojo leader, Kondou Isao. His friendly yet commanding nature resulted in the gathered men following him as the leader. His two disciples, also from his dojo, further helped organize and strengthen the group, Hijikata Toushirou and Okita Sougo.
The Roushigumi had brought down crime and became popular over the next few days until it was decided that they would be in charge of protecting the Hitotsubashi head and his son Hitotsubashi Nobu Nobu. Unbeknownst to them, they were meant to be the scapegoats of the father and son's assassination conducted by Tokugawa Sada Sada and carried out by the Tenshouin Naraku. Isaburo created a plan that not only saved the father and son, but also helped increased the standing of the Roushigumi. This led to the Roushigumi becoming an official police force and Kondou changing their name to the Shinsengumi.
In the original Shinsengumi Kyokuchuu Hatto (局中法度), there were 5 main regulations:
- Do not betray the bushido creed (士道ニ背キ間敷事).
- Do not desert the troop (局ヲ脱スルヲ不許).
- Do not willfully obtain funds (勝手ニ金策致不可).
- Do not willfully get involved in disputes (勝手ニ訴訟取扱不可).
- Do not engage in personal fights (私ノ闘争ヲ不許).
- Personnel in breach of the aforementioned conditions will be ordered to undergo seppuku (右条々相背候者切腹申付ベク候也).
In Gintama, the Demonic Vice-Commander (「鬼の副長」) Hijikata Toushirou formulated the Kyokuchuu Hatto, 47 Regulations that form the disciplinary framework for Shinsengumi members. Two were added during the course of the series.
- Regulation 1:
- Regulation 2:
- Regulation 3:
- Regulation 4: In the event that the chief is absent, then the Vice captain is to take over the right to command, and the commanders are to carry out his orders (recited by Okita in Chapter 529)
- Regulation 10:
- Regulation 12: No comics other than that of MAGAZINE are allowed to be read within the confines of the station (recited by Hijikata in Episode 105).
- Regulation 17: Turn off handphones during meetings and important ceremonies (recited by Hijikata in Episode 105).
- Regulation 20:
- Regulation 21: Personnel conspiring with the enemy shall be punished (recited by Okita in Episode 103).
- Regulation 25:
- Regulation 25 (Supplementary Regulation): All personnel must consume 5 bottles of mayonnaise each everyday (recited by Hijikata in Episode 185).
- Regulation 45: All warriors following the path of bushido must achieve enlightenment upon death and are forbidden to turn into ghosts (recited by Hijikata in Episode 105).
- Regulation 46: Hate the Yorozuya, but treat Shinpachi nicely. (created by Kondou; recited by Okita in Episode 127)
- Regulation 47: Keep yourself alive, even if you must violate all the other rules. (recited by Hijikata in Episode 312).
- Regulation ?: Smoking is forbidden.
Memory Loss Arc
Okita Mitsuba Arc
Shinsengumi Crisis Arc
Shinsengumi Death Game Arc
Character Poll Arc
The Timeskip Arc
Courtesan of a Nation Arc
Freeze Time Arc
Grim Reaper Arc
Soul Switch Arc
Shogun Assassination Arc
Farewell, Shinsengumi Arc
- In the original Shinsengumi (新選組), the character for 'Shin' (新) literally means new. In the Gintama version, the character for 'Shin' (真) literally means 'real' or 'true'. There is a possibility of the manga author's pun here as there are many other characters that can be read as 'shin', which the author did not choose.
- The kanji 真 can also be pronounced as ‘makoto.’ Makoto, written with the kanji 誠, was the emblem of the real Shinsengumi.