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The Yushima Seid? has its origins in a private Confucian temple, the Sensei-den (), 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 Tokugawash?gun, Tsunayoshi, moved the building to its present site in 1690, where it became the Taiseiden () of Yushima Seid?. 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 Sh?hei-zaka Gakumonjo () or Sh?heik? (), after the supposed birthplace of Confucius[dubious – discuss] (, pronounced Sh?hei 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 seid? 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 D?shun (1st son of Nobutoki).
Son of founder: Hayashi Gah? (1618-1688), formerly Hayashi Harukatsu (3rd son of Razan).
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 Kant? earthquake of the following year. The current Taiseiden is in reinforced concrete and was designed by It? Ch?ta.