Tomobayashi Mitsuhira (伴林光平)

Mitsuhira TOMOBAYASHI (also called Mitsuhira BANBAYASHI, 1813 to March 23, 1864) was a scholar of Japanese classical literature, poet, and loyal supporter of the Emperor, who lived in the end of the Edo period. His childhood name was Nobumaru (信丸), which was later renamed to Sakyo. He was commonly called Rokuro. He temporarily used an alias Shunzo NAMIKI. His kaimyo (posthumous Buddhist name) was Daiunbo Shuei. His go (pen names) were Hasoai Donin, Hakkyu, Ikaruga Inshi, Kosai (蒿斎), and Koryo. "Tomobayashi" was named after the Tomohayashinouji-jinja Shrine (which enshrines deities including Takamimusubi no kami, Amenooshihi no mikoto, and Michinoomi no mikoto. It also enshrines soshin [ancestor honored as god] of the Otomo clan).

He was born as the second son of Kensei (his father) and a member of the Harada clan (his mother) at Jodo Shinshu sect (the True Pure Land Sect of Buddhism) Sonko-ji Temple in Hayashi Village, Shiki County, Kawachi Province (present-day Hayashi, Fujiidera City). He underwent Buddhism ascetic practice at Nishi Hongan-ji Temple's gakuryo (where he became a teacher of Inmyo-gaku at the gakuryo later), Yakushi-ji Temple, Kokei-ji Temple in Yamatokoriyama and other temples, and studied Buddhism, Neo-Confucianism, Japanese classical literature, and waka (a traditional Japanese poem of thirty-one syllables) at various places (his father had died before he was born and his mother died when he was six years old).

He studied Neo-Confucianism under Tozan KAWAKAMI who was a Confucian in Hamamatsu, Japanese classical literature under Yoshiomi NAKAMURA in Itami, Morohira KANO of the Kishu Domain, and Nobutomo BAN in Edo, and waka under Hideo IIDA who was a Shinto priest in Inaba Province, and other scholars.

In 1845, he became a chief priest of Kyoon-ji Temple in Yao and instructed Japanese classical literature and the art of waka poetry to many pupils. But in 1861, he ran away, leaving behind shichigon zekku (a Chinese poem of four lines, each of seven characters) scripted on the wall of Kyoon-ji Temple that read 'Although I essentially value the purity of Japan, which is a divine land/I made an error and became a priest to preach Buddhism/Now I am going to abandon ascetic practices, but do not accuse me Buddha,/For I essentially value the purity of Japan, which is a divine land,' and lived in a thatched-roof hut in Komazuka, Tofuku-ji, Horyu-ji Village in Yamato Province and involved in activities as a loyal supporter of the Emperor.

In 1863 when the Tenchu-gumi (royalist party to inflict punishment) Incident occurred, he rushed to Gojo and served as a recorder for Tenchu-gumi.
After the noble undertaking failed, he was captured and imprisoned, during which he wrote a memoir of the incident titled 'Nanzan Tounroku.'
In March the next year, he was decapitated in Kyoto. When he was transferred to Rokkaku prison house in Kyoto, he was in a cell next to Kuniomi HIRANO, who was captured during the Ikuno Incident, with whom he exchanged waka poems.

In September, 1891, he was enshrined together in Yasukuni-jinja Shrine, and in December he was posthumously conferred the rank of Jushii (Junior Fourth Rank).

He visited goryo (Imperial mausoleum) in Yamato, Kawachi and other Provinces and wrote 'Noyama no Nageki,' 'Yamatokoku Ryobo Kenko' and other literature, lamenting their desertion. Most of his works include many waka poems and such aspect characterizes these literature as being produced by a poet.

While he was having a feast with Morohira KANO, who was his master, on the top of Nakatsuyama-kofun Tumulus near his birthplace, he warded off a group of monks who were robbing the mound for magatama (comma-shaped beads). He moaned the mounds in Yamato, including Shimanoyama-kofun Tumulus, Kawai Otsukayama-kofun Tumulus, and Suyama-kofun Tumulus, for not having been selected as Imperial mausoleums. Regarding the Suyama-kofun Tumulus, his script that reads 'I have come up with a theory' suggests that he might have heard of a tradition indicative of the entombed that makes the tomb an Imperial mausoleum. However, no documents that specifically infer the entombed have been discovered yet.

Furthermore, as to the Fujinoki-kofun Tumulus, he pointed out that there had been a village of shuko (tomb keepers) called Otono, wherein each house was decorated with Shimenawa (sacred rice-straw ropes), with residents making living as Onmyoji (Master of Yin yang) while keeping a divine lifestyle, and that 'Misasagi no ama' had a hut and stayed there all the time, concluding the tomb to be an Imperial mausoleum.