Hayashi clan (Confucian scholars)

The Hayashi clan (林氏, Hayashi-shi) was a Japanese samurai clan which served as important advisors to the Tokugawa shōguns. Among members of the clan in powerful positions in the shogunate was its founder Hayashi Razan, who passed on his post as hereditary rector of the neo-Confucianist Shōhei-kō school to his son, Hayashi Gahō, who also passed it on to his son, Hayashi Hōkō; this line of descent continued until the end of Hayashi Gakusai's tenure in 1867. However, elements of the school carried on until 1888, when it was folded into the newly organized Tokyo University.

FounderHayashi Razan
Final rulerHayashi Gakusai
Founding year16th century

Hayashi clan positionEdit

The Hayashi family's special position as personal advisors to the shōgun gave their school an imprimatur of legitimacy that no other contemporary Confucian academy possessed.[1] This meant that Hayashi views or interpretation were construed as dogma.[2] Anyone challenging the Hayashi status quo was perceived as trying to challenge Tokugawa hegemony; and any disagreements with the Hayashi were construed as threatening the larger structure of complex power relations within which the Confucian field was embedded.[3] Any disputes in the Confucian field in the 1650s and 1660s may have originated in personal rivalries or authentic philosophical disagreements, but any issues became inextricably intertwined with the dominating political presence of the shōgun and those who ruled in his name.[1]

In this period, the Tokugawa and the fudai daimyō were only the most powerful of the nearly 250 domain-holding lords in the country. By filling the high offices of the shogunate with his trusted, loyal daimyō, the shōgun paradoxically increased the power of these office holders and diminished the powers which were once held by Ieyasu alone,[4] which caused each to more zealously guard against anything which might be seen to minimize intertwined power and prestige; and the varying characters of the shōgun further exacerbated this development.[5] The Edo period power structure itself discouraged of dissent from what became the accepted Hayashi orthodoxy.

In the spectrum of the Tokugawa retainer band, the Hayashi family head himself was a high-ranking hatamoto (thus coming under the jurisdiction of the wakadoshiyori), and possessed an income of 3,500 koku.[6]

Notable clan membersEdit

Heads of clanEdit

  • Founder: Hayashi Razan (1583–1657), formerly Hayashi Nobukatsu, also known as Dōshun (1st son of Nobutoki).[7]
  • Son of founder: Hayashi Gahō (1618–1688), formerly Hayashi Harukatsu (3rd son of Razan).[8]

The courtesy title of Daigaku no kami (大学頭, litt. Head of the school) identified the head of the chief educational institution of the state. It was conferred by the shogun in 1691 to Hayashi Hōkō when the Neo-Confucian academy moved to land provided by the shogunate at Yushima. This academic title became hereditary for the ten descendants who followed in succession.[9]

Other notable clan membersEdit

Hayashi clan cemeteryEdit

The Hayashi clan cemetery is located in Ichigayayamabushi-cho, Shinjuku, Tokyo. The cemetery was originally located in Shinobu-ga-oka in Ueno, but in 1698 the Shogunate granted the clan an estate in Ushigome and the cemetery was relocated at that time. It houses the graves of the first 12 generations of the main lineage of the clan, starting with Hayashi Razan and including the tomb of Hayashi Akira, as well as the tombs of eight generations of a cadet lineage started by Hayashi Harutoku. The cemetery was designated a National Historic Site in 1926.[20] It remained in the hands of the Hayashi clan until it was purchased by Shinjuku Ward in 1975. A total of 81 tombstones stand in the small site of about 360 square meters. It is open to the public every year in early November.[21] The Hayashi clan cemetery is about a 5-minute walk from Ushigome-yanagichō Station on the Toei Metro Ōedo Line.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Yamshita, Samuel Hideo. "Yamasaki Ansai and Confucian School Relations, 1650–1675," Early Modern Japan. 9:2, 3–18 (Fall 2001).
  2. ^ Ooms, Herman. Tokugawa Ideology: Early Constructs, 1570-1680, pp. 107–108.
  3. ^ Bourdieu, Pierre et al. (1992). An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology, p. 106.
  4. ^ Totman, Conrad. (1967). Politics in the Tokugawa Bakufu, 1600–1843, p. 208.
  5. ^ Yamashita, p. 16; Bourdieu, p. 106.
  6. ^ Ogawa, Edo no hatamoto jiten, p. 85.
  7. ^ Screech, Timon. (2006). Secret Memoirs of the Shoguns: Isaac Titsingh and Japan, 1779–1822, p. 65; Cullen, L.M. (2003). A History of Japan, 1582–1941: Internal and External Worlds, p. 59.
  8. ^ Screech, p. 65.
  9. ^ Kelly, Boyd. (1999). Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing, Vol. 1, p. 522; De Bary, William et al. (2005). Sources of Japanese Tradition, Vol. 2, p. 69.
  10. ^ De Bary, William et al. (2005). Sources of Japanese Tradition, Vol. 2, p. 443.
  11. ^ a b c d e Nussbaum, Louis Frédéric et al. (2005). Japan Encyclopedia, p. 300.]
  12. ^ Cullen, pp. 117; 163.
  13. ^ Asiatic Society of Japan. (1908). Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, v36:1(1908), p. 151.
  14. ^ Cullen, p. 178 n11.
  15. ^ a b Nussbaum, p. 301.
  16. ^ Cullen, p. 159.
  17. ^ Cullen, p. 163.
  18. ^ Mehl, Margaret. (2003). Private Academies of Chinese Learning in Meiji Japan: The Decline and Transformation of the "Kangaku juku," p. 49.
  19. ^ Mehl, p. 92.
  20. ^ "林氏墓地" [Hayashi-shi bochi] (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs.
  21. ^ "林氏墓地" [Hayashi-shi bochi] (in Japanese). Tokyo Cultural Properties Database.


Flags mark the entrance to the reconstructed Yushima Seidō (Tokyo).

Further readingEdit