Hayashi Shihei

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Hayashi Shihei
Hayashi Shihei bronze.jpg
Statue of Hayashi Shihei in Kōtōdai Park, Sendai
Born August 6, 1738
Died July 28, 1793
Pen name Kumusai shujin
Occupation Scholar
Nationality Japanese
Subject Military strategy, geography
In this Japanese name, the family name is "Hayashi".

Hayashi Shihei (林 子平?, August 6, 1738 - July 28, 1793) was a Japanese military scholar and a retainer of the Sendai Domain. His name is sometimes misread (according to the Sino-Japanese reading) as Rin Shihei.

Shihei was born as a second son of Hayashi Gonhyoue Yoshimichi, a hatamoto who served the Tokugawa shogunate. However Yoshimichi was expelled for some reason; some[citation needed] argue it was the result of a conflict with his colleagues (perhaps a duel.) After that, Shihei was brought up by his uncle Hayashi Jyugo, a physician. He spent most of his life in his bedroom. He wrote a poem called "Six Nos", which reads: "I have no parents, no wife, no son, no block for printing, no money, and I wish for 'no death'."

His elder brother, Hayashi Kazen became one of the Sendai domain's official doctors. Years before Commodore Perry sailed into Japan in 1853, Shihei was pushing for Japan to adopt Western military science and the reeducation of the samurai. He complained of the lack of organized drill exercises, and stressed the importance of chōren, or teamwork drill, rather than mere individual martial training. He gave a lot of technical descriptions about shipbuilding, cannons and other military designs. He published these thoughts in his work titled Kaikoku Heidan (i.e. Discussion concerning military matters of a maritime nation), printed without permission of the bakufu in the year 1791. The printing blocks were confiscated soon afterwards. Another famous work is Sangoku Tsūran Zusetsu (Illustrated Description of Three Countries), printed 1786.

Together with Takayama Hikokurō and Gamō Sanbei, Hayashi is known as one of the "Three Excelling Men of the Kansei Period" (Kansei no san-kijin 寛政の三奇人).

His grave is in Sendai. A plaque commemorating his accomplishments can also be found at the site of Sendai Castle.

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Boxer, C.R. (1932). Rin Shihei and his picture of a Dutch East-India ship, 1782. Tokyo: Asiatic Society of Japan.
  • Lederer, Friedrich (Transl./Ed.) Diskurs über die Wehrhaftigkeit einer Seenation München, Iudicium, 2002 (Diss. LMU Munich) First Translation of Kaikoku Heidan in a foreign language, i.e. German.