moeyo ken

Hijikata Toshizo, May 31, 1835 - June 20, 1869

Because Gintama is loosely based off of historical events that happened during Japan's Edo Period (believe it or not), it's only natural that its characters are also based off of people who existed during that time. (During the Character Ranking Arc, Otae even accuses a few characters of not having earned their popularity since they're mere ripoffs of historical figures and are capitalizing on their fame, as opposed to original characters thought up by the mangaka Sorachi.) Hijikata's historical equivalent is the famous Hijikata Toshizo, the real vice commander of the Shinsengumi. Though one can imagine that Gintama's Hijikata strays far, far from the historical truth, there are actually quite a few interesting traits that coincide with Hijikata Toshizo.

Since most Gintama fans probably prefer their classroom to be more like Class 3Z, I didn't want to type out a lengthy, history textbook-like biography of Hijikata Toshizo's life and death. However, I've tried to pick out some interesting parallels or contrasting facts between the historical and fictional Hijikata that Sorachi has presented to us in Gintama! Many of these may be largely speculation on my part, so I leave it up to you to believe what you wish.

hijikata toshizo vs. hijikata Toshirou

- Hijikata Toshizo served as the vice-commander, under his commander, Kondou Isami (in Gintama, Kondou Isao). All of the other major characters in the Shinsengumi are also based on historical figures: Okita Souji (Sougo), Yamazaki Susumu (Sagaru), Ito Kashitaro (Kamotaro) Matsudaira Katamori (Katakuriko). Due to the popularity of the manga, Gintama's made a few jokes about students complaining that they wrote the wrong names on their tests at school because of the way Sorachi changed the names.

- Hijikata is commonly referred to as the demonic vice-commander (oni fukuchou) in popular media, perhaps of the way he is portrayed in the popular novel, Moeyo Ken. However, historically, Hijikata was said to be rather reserved and always behaving in the manner of a samurai, so this may have caused people to believe he was stricter than he really was. Those who met Hijikata described him as being a kind, friendly-feeling person.

- Hijikata Toshizo established the Kyokucho Hatto, the regulations which form the disciplinary framework for the members. This code included five articles that prohibited the following:

1. Deviating from the samurai code (bushido)
2. Leaving the Shinsengumi
3. Raising money privately
4. Taking part in others' litigation
5. Engaging in private fights

Breaking any of these rules would result in seppuku, and Hijikata was strict in enforcing these rules. Gintama's Hijikata boasts 45+ regulations (someone constantly seems to be tacking on an extra rule), which are mentioned briefly during the Shinsengumi Discord Arc, as well as recited throughout the series. A few are listed below:

12. No comics other than that in Magazine are allowed to be read within the confines of the station.
17. Switch off handphones during meetings and important ceremonies.
21. Personnel conspiring with the enemy shall be punished.
25. All personnel must consume 5 bottles of mayonnaise each everyday.
45. All warriors following the path of bushido must achieve enlightenment upon death and are forbidden to turn into ghosts.
46. Yorozuya is to be hated, but treat Shinpachi well.

- Alongside his commander, Hijikata helped to form the Shinsengumi and, just as in Gintama, was thought to have been the soul of the Shinsengumi. However, he never aimed to replace Kondou as the leader and treated him as an older brother. Though Kondou's inadequecies are a running joke in the series, Hijikata's appreciation for his leader is fairly evident, particularly during the Shinsengumi Discord Arc, in which he must gather up the divided faction in order to save Kondou.

- It is said that in his free time, Hijikata would like to play shogi with Okita Souji. This is pretty far off from Okita blasting Hijikata's brains with a bazooka or filling his mayonnaise with laxatives, but from this we can deduce that the historical two had a similarly friendly relationship as Gintama's Hijikata and Okita.

- Hijikata was considered very handsome and said to have looked like an actor. The good looks of Gintama's Hijikata are noted during a few scenes, notably when he's reminiscing about the past when women would flock to him (and then reject him due to his disgusting mayonnaise obsession). He's also pretty undoubtedly a good-looking character who's popular among fans.

- On the topic of women, Hijikata was indeed popular with women, received many love letters, and had many lovers in Yoshiwara, as well as Shimabara, Gion and Shimmachi. However, he was engaged to be married to a woman named Okoto, which he appeared to be agreeable to. As he was tied up with work and could only make a few visits to her, he realized that his position in the Shinsengumi would be too dangerous for anyone involved with him, and canceled the engagement. Gintama's Hijikata is seen in a similar situation with Okita's sister, Mitsuba, whose love he declines in order to secure her safety.