Hayashi clan (Confucian scholars)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Hayashi clan
FounderHayashi Razan
Final rulerHayashi Gakusai
Founding year17th century

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 to enjoy 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.

Critical analysis[edit]

The Hayashi family's special position as personal advisors to the shōguns 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 Tokugawas 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 shōguns 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 shōguns further exacerbated this development.[5] The Edo period power structure itself discouraged of dissent from what became the accepted Hayashi othodoxy.

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 members[edit]

Colonnade at the reconstructed Yushima Seidō.

In the early years of the Edo period, the seidō or Confucian "Hall of Sages" was located in Shinobugaoka; but in 1961, it was moved to a new location at the top of a hill in the Yushima section of Edo.[7] The hereditary heads of the Yushima Seidō (later, the Edo daigaku) are identified below.

See also[edit]


  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. ^ a b De Bary, William et al. (2005). Sources of Japanese Tradition, Vol. 2, p. 443.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Screech, p. 65.
  10. ^ a b c d e Nussbaum, Louis Frédéric et al. (2005). Japan Encyclopedia, p. 300.]
  11. ^ Cullen, pp. 117; 163.
  12. ^ Asiatic Society of Japan. (1908). Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, v36:1(1908), p. 151.
  13. ^ Cullen, p. 178 n11.
  14. ^ a b Nussbaum, p. 301.
  15. ^ Cullen, p. 159.
  16. ^ Cullen, p. 163.
  17. ^ Mehl, Margaret. (2003). Private Academies of Chinese Learning in Meiji Japan: The Decline and Transformation of the "Kangaku juku," p. 49.
  18. ^ Mehl, p. 92.


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

Further reading[edit]