Tokugawa bureaucrat training center 
The Yushima Seidō has its origins in a private Confucian temple, the Sensei-den (先聖殿), constructed in 1630 by the neo-Confucian scholar Hayashi Razan (1583-1657) in his grounds at Shinobi-ga-oka (now in Ueno Park). The fifth Tokugawa shogun, Tsunayoshi, moved the building to its present site in 1690, where it became the Taiseiden (大成殿) of Yushima Seidō. The Hayashi school of Confucianism moved at the same time.
Under the Kansei Edict, which made neo-Confucianism the official philosophy of Japan, the Hayashi school was transformed into a state-run school under the control of the shogunate in 1797. The school was known as the Shōhei-zaka Gakumonsho or Shōheikō, after Confucius’s birthplace at Changping 昌平 (pronounced Shōhei in Japanese). During the time of the Tokugawa shogunate, the school attracted many men of talent, but it was closed in 1871 after the Meiji Restoration.
The title Daigaku-no-kami identifies the head of the chief educational institution of the state. It was conferred by the shogun in 1691 when the Neo-Confucian academy moved to land provided by the shogunate at Yushima. In the years which followed, this academic title became hereditary for the ten descendants who followed in succession.
In the early years of the Edo period, the seidō or Confucian "Hall of Sages" was located in Shinobugaoka; but in 1691, it was moved to a new location at the top of a hill in the Yushima section of Edo. The hereditary heads of the Edo daigaku are identified below.
- Founder: Hayashi Razan (1583-1657), formerly Hayashi Nobukatsu, also known as Dōshun (1st son of Nobutoki).
- Son of founder: Hayashi Gahō (1618-1688), formerly Hayashi Harukatsu (3rd son of Razan).
- 1st rector (and Daigaku-no-kami): Hayashi Hōkō (1644-1732), formerly Hayashi Nobuhatsu (son of Gahō).
- 2nd rector (and Daigaku-no-kami): Hayashi Ryūkō (1681-1758).
- 3rd rector (and Daigaku-no-kami): Hayashi Hōkoku (1721-1773).
- 4th rector (and Daigaku-no-kami): Hayashi Hōtan (1761-1787).
- 5th rector (and Daigaku-no-kami): Hayashi Kimpō (1767-1793), also known as Hayashi Kanjun or Hayashi Nobutaka
- 6th rector and 8th Daigaku-no-kami): Hayashi Jussai (1768-1841), formerly Matsudaira Norihira, 3rd son of Iwamura daimyo Matsudaira Norimori—Norihira was adopted into Hayashi family when Kimpō/Kanjun died childless; explained shogunate foreign policy to Emperor Kōkaku in 1804., also known as Hayashi Jitsusai and Hayashi Kō.
- 7th rector (and Daigaku-no-kami): Hayashi Teiu (1791-1844).
- 8th rector (and Daigaku-no-kami): Hayashi Sōkan (1828-1853).
- 9th rector (and Daigaku-no-kami): Hayashi Fukusai (1800-1859), also known as Hayashi Akira, chief Japanese negotiator for the Treaty of Kanagawa
- 10th rector (and Daigaku-no-kami): Hayashi Gakusai (1833-1906), formerly Hayashi Noboru, head of the academy in 1867.
Yushima Seidō's notable alumni and academics 
- Saitō Chikudō(1815-1852)
Institutional history after 1871 
Since the Meiji restoration, Yushima Seidō has temporarily shared its premises with a number of different institutions, including the Ministry of Education, the Tokyo National Museum, and the forerunners of today’s Tsukuba University and Ochanomizu University (which is now in a different location but retains 'Ochanomizu' in its name).
The site of the school is now occupied by Tokyo Medical and Dental University.
The colour scheme of the original Taiseiden is believed to have been one of vermilion paint with verdigris. After being burnt down on a number of occasions, the Taiseiden was rebuilt in 1799 in the style of the Confucian temple in Mito, which used black paint. This building survived through the Meiji period and was designated a national historical site in 1922, but was burnt down in the Great Kanto Earthquake of the following year. The current Taiseiden is in reinforced concrete and was designed by Itō Chūta.
Along with the nearby Yushima Tenmangū, the Yushima Seidō is a mecca for students praying for success in their examinations.
See also 
- Zhu Xi or Chu Hsi -- neo-Confucianist teacher
- Fujiwara Seika -- Japanese disciple of Zhu Xi
- Hayashi clan (Confucian scholars)
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