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It was clear that they were a traitorous faction within the Shogunate. In Gintama' episode 16, it's stated by Sougo that it's basically known that the Hitotsubashi were behind some bad stuff, but if they were called out for it, they could cause a lot of trouble for Shigeshige. But if they're only a part of the Shogunate, how could they have enough power to overthrow it, and how would that not be noticed?

In the same episode, Sougo says the Bakufu/Shogunate doesn't want any trouble with the Hitotsubashi. So if they're so dangerous, why weren't they taken out already? Just what kind of powerful organization are they?

I'm just having trouble understanding the premise of the Hitotsubashi.

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Hitotsubashi faction is a faction within the shogunate that supports Tokugawa Nobunobu instead of the current (current as of that part of the story) shogun, Tokugawa Shigeshige. Think of them as the opposition party.

The very fact that Sougo said it means that the government knows about it. However, while they are dangerous, the shogunate can't just kill them all since the leader is a part of the Tokugawa clan. Also, the number of the supporters is quite big, thus any attempt to eliminate them would be met with hostile resistance which would throw Edo into chaos.

It should also be noted that while Edo appears to be at peace, they are under the occupation of a foreign force, the Amanto. The shogunate also have the Jouishishi rebels problem. An internal war between the shogunate faction and the Hitotsubashi faction would only weaken the government's position. Thus, the option that Shigeshige has is to appease the Hitotsubashi through political deals.

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