As a child, Gintoki looted corpses on the battlefield. From this, he gained the title "corpse-eating demon." While he was looting a lifeless battlefield, he met a man named Yoshida Shouyou. When Gintoki drew a sword from a dead soldier, Yoshida took him in as his student and allowed Gintoki to keep the sword. Under his teachings, Gintoki became acquainted with Katsura Kotaro and Takasugi Shinsuke. Gintoki is shown sleeping during his teachings and held on to his given sword. However, the bakufu arrived one day and arrested Yoshida, fearing that his followers would become rebels against the government. The school was burned and Yoshida was taken away, with Gintoki struggling against his restraints. The two made a pinky promise that everything would be alright and he needed to protect everybody.
When he grew older, Gintoki and his friends joined the Joui War against the bakufu and the Amanto in a mission to save Yoshida. It was then that Gintoki befriended Sakamoto Tatsuma, and the two led the Old Jouishishi rebels alongside Katsura and Takasugi. During the war, Gintoki gained the title of the "White Demon," or Shiroyasha. Eventually, the three former students discovered that Yoshida had been executed.
Shortly after the Joui rebels lost the war and the Amanto were established, Gintoki disappeared and parted ways with Katsura and Takasugi, who remained as Joui rebels, and Sakamoto, who went into the space trade business. Gintoki remained in the shadows until the bakufu began tracking down former Joui rebels for execution. When Gintoki witnessed a former rebel who was bargaining to give his daughter, Ikeda Asaemon, to the trackers instead, Gintoki stepped in and allowed himself to be arrested instead of her. However, the executioner, Ikeda Yaemon, believed Gintoki was a good man and released him, at which Gintoki disappeared again until he came back working under the Yorozuya taking odd jobs. Still, only a few currently know that he was the White Devil.
Physicals & Abilities
Gintoki is trained and versed in the ways of the samurai, including the code of Bushido. During the war against the Amanto, Gintoki was known as Shiroyasha, "the White Demon." On the battlefield, his merciless abilities and savage swordsmanship were so notorious that the mere mention of his name is said to have once struck fear in the hearts of every Amanto. Although not much is known of his past, several shinobi and samurai who have fought with him have observed that his swordplay is self-taught, but far from unrefined. Okita Sougo, the Shinsengumi's finest swordsman, has noted how unpredictable his style is. Gintoki tends to wield full-length katanas and bokutos single-handedly, even double wielding them at times.
During battle, he is known to have displayed unusual strength. Although Gin is more than capable of matching powerful Amanto warriors and various other samurai, he will not hesitate to use tricks and manipulation if it means a quick and easy victory. He does not like to waste time fighting when using a little brains over brawn will yield a much quicker ending. His brute strength is remarkable, being second only to the Yato Clan, Utsuro, and a select few. His strength was shown against Bansai, where he broke steel cables and managed pulled down a helicopter. Against Oboro, he bit through his opponent's katana, and against Housen, he managed to block the former's smash, despite the Yato warrior having destroyed a stone bridge with said attack moments before.
Gintoki is nimble on his feet, nearly matching the agility of Hattori Zenzou, a renowned shinobi. While his reflexes are downplayed most of the time, in battle they reach superhuman levels, allowing him to dodge and cut down bullets and move faster than regular humans could react. He has fought and defeated Okita Sougo in a fight, despite the former being capable of cutting bullets from alien snipers.
His main weapon of choice is a wooden bokuto with the words "Lake Toya" inscribed on it. Supposedly, Gin bought the sword at Lake Toya during a class trip. In reality, the bokuto he wields is a Hoshikudaki, a bokuto created from a ten-thousand year old tree from another planet that supposedly cuts through anything. Whenever one breaks or is stolen, Gin replaces it by purchasing it through a TV shopping program, asking them to inscribe "Lake Toya" on it prior to delivery, therefore replacing his old sword without suspicion. Using this sword, he is often seen cutting, smashing and basically destroying all kinds of strong objects, such as a metal cannon or cannonballs.
Occasionally, though, Gin has used real when he needs to due to a tougher encounter. An example of this is during the Benizakura Arc, when he used a katana crafted by Tetsuko in order to fight Nizou, the blind assassin and master of Iai Jutsu.