From here on, wield the sword not to strike down enemies, but to strike down your own weak self. Wield it not to protect yourself, but to protect your own soul.
Yoshida Shouyou

Not much is known about Yoshida Shouyou 吉田 松陽, other than the fact that he was a teacher and a mentor to the Old Jouishishi members in their youth. He trained Sakata Gintoki, Katsura Kotarou and Takasugi Shinsuke in swordsmanship and the bushido.[1]


Yoshida Shouyou was a teacher who gave education to children in the countryside and taught them the way of the sword.

Shouyou first met Gintoki in a battlefield, the latter surrounded by corpses and holding a katana. Shouyou heard the rumour of a corpse-eating demon, but eventually discovered that it was a child searching for leftover food among corpses. Gintoki appeared cautious towards Shouyou and quickly drew the Katana to defend himself, but Shouyou understood the helpless child was merely stripping the corpses to protect himself. Impressed by Gintoki's will to survive, Shouyou gave Gintoki his first lesson: a sword swung in self defence, while fearing others, should be thrown away. He threw his sword to Gintoki, offering to teach the child the proper way of using the sword. Gintoki was evidently attracted by Shouyou's words and decided to follow him. Gintoki's childhood experience as the corpse-eating demon officially ended when Shouyou carried the boy back to his school.

There Yoshida Shouyou would teach three notable students Sakata Gintoki, Katsura Kotarou and Takasugi Shinsuke. He taught them that the sword should not be swung to cut down enemies and one's weakness, but to protect the holder's soul. His teaching was so important to both Katsura and Takasugi that they still carry the text books with them as adults, with the books ironically saving both of them in the Benizakura arc. While Gintoki claimed to have spilled Ramen over the book and threw it away, it is evident that he keeps his respect and gratitude to Shouyou in heart.

Shouyou was a popular teacher to the students until the Kansei Purge happened. The school was burnt down while Shouyou was arrested by Tensho Sect. Gintoki, who was tied down, watched helplessly as Shouyou was taken away. While being taken away, Yoshida Shouyou left everything to Gintoki's care. He promised Gintoki that he would come back and he asked his student to protect his comrades before he returned.


Shouyou's decapitated head

Gintoki, Katsura and Takasugi rose up as the last warriors of the joui Patriots, as a desperate attempt to rescue their teacher. Unfortunately Shouyou was executed when his three students were still in the War, with his loss leaving them in despair and they were brutally left to face Shouyou's decapitated head.


His appearance is very similiar to Katsura. He has long gray-brown hair. He also wears a gray robe and a haori.



He is shown in all past flashbacks as a kind and gentle man, who willingly offered Gintoki a stable life and kindly taught a group of children.



  • Sakata Gintoki:Shouyou found Gintoki at a battlefield, he convinced him to follow him if he wants to study
    under him. When he was taken by Naraku in the Kansei Purge, he made a promise to Gintoki that he'll come back so Gintoki protects what he left behind after he died. Katsura thinks that Gintoki was closest to Shouyou.
  • Takasugi Shinsuke: After the death of Shouyou, Takasugi seeks to destroy what Shouyou left behind.
  • Katsura Kotarou: After the death of Shouyou, he wanted destroy the Bakufu but now he seeks a peaceful methods like Shouyou intended.


Benizakura Arc

Yoshida Shouyou has only been shown in flashback. In the Benizakura arc, Takasugi mentioned that he would be willing to destroy the world because Shouyou's death proved it to be unbearably corrupted.

Katsura claimed that he once shared the desire to destroy the world too, but he eventually realized that there were far too many people he cherished and wanted to protect. He believed that there would be a way to change Edo that would not sacrifice many lives, according to what Shouyou would have hoped for if he was still alive.

It was said by Katsura, that Gintoki had taken the death of Shouyou the hardest. It is possibly because he was the only person outside the burning school who witnessed Shouyou's arrest, when physically as a young boy Gintoki was incapable of protecting his teacher.

Red Spider Arc

Gintoki felt angry towards Jiraia because his cowardness as a master towards Tsukuyo has dishonoured the titles of a mentor and teacher.

Ikkoku Keisei Arc

His past is further explored when Gintoki confronts Tokugawa Sada Sada and Oboro.


  • Based on Yoshida Shoin 吉田松陰 who once became the teacher of Takasugi Shinsaku and others. Shoin began to study tactics when he was 5, attended college when he was 8, and even taught in college when he was 9. At one point, Shoin was sent to a jail and sentenced to house arrest. He ran a school in jail, and after being released he taught the youth about military arts and politics. His students travelled around Japan in his place as he was forbidden to.


  • (To Gintoki) "Our comrades. Everyone, please take care of them for me, okay? Let's make it a promise."


  1. Translated from 空知英秋 Sorachi Hideaki, 銀ちゃねる! Gin Channel! (Gintama Official Character Book), 集英社 Shueisha Jump Comics, page 137.
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