Kan Chazan (菅茶山)

Chazan KAN (February 29, 1748 - October 3, 1827) was a Confucian scholar and composer of Chinese poems, who lived during the late Edo period. His imina (personal name) was Tokinori. Azana (Chinese courtesy name which was, historically, the name formerly given to adult Chinese men, used in place of the given name in formal situations; scholars and the literati of Japan adopted this custom of courtesy name) was Reikyo (礼卿). His common name was Taichu (太仲・太中) written as 太仲 or 太中. His childhood names were Kitaro and Momosuke. He was born in Kawakita-mura Village, Yasuna Country, Bingo Province (present Kanbe-cho, Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture).


He was born as the eldest child of farmer Kyusuke (久助) KANBA. Kanbe, where he was born and brought up, was a prosperous post-station situate on the Sanyo-do Road; however, the town was in disorder due to gambling and drinking. Chazan, who thought that promoting the learning attitude would improve the town, studied Shushigaku (Neo-Confucianism) under Rodo NABA in Kyoto and Kohoha (a school of Chinese herbal medication) under Tokaku WADA. While he was traveling in Kyoto, he also studied at a private school of Kappa KO and got acquaintances of YOSA no Buson, Kenjo DAITEN, and others. He returned to his home town, and around 1781, he founded a private school called Koyosekiyo-sonsha in Kannabe (present Fukuyama City). He aimed to build a society free from the discrimination between the rich and the poor by providing equal opportunities of education. The school was admitted as one of Gogaku (schools of province) of the Bingo Fukuyama Domain, and the name of the school was changed to Renjuku. From 1801, Chazan was employed at a high salary as jukan (an official specialized in Confucianism) affiliated to the Fukuyama Domain, and he also gave lectures at the hanko Kodokan school (domain school of Saga) (Bingo Fukuchiyama Domain). It is said that his name was known nationwide as one of the Japanese poets representing the Kasei culture, and many literati traveling on Sanyo-do Road dropped in Renjuku. He published a poetry collection "Koyosekiyo-sonsha Shi" (Poems of Koyosekiyo-sonsha School). (A reprinted edition compiled by Iyobunka-kenkyukai (study group of Iyo culture) was published in 1981 from Kojimashoten).

His graveyard was located in Kannabe-Amizukedani.

Sanyo RAI and Katei HOJO, among others, were his disciples at Renjuku.

Renjuku and the former Chazan KAN's residence' were designated as National Special Sites in 1953.