Yokoi Shonan (横井小楠)

Shonan YOKOI (male, September 22, 1809 - February 15, 1869) is a samurai, feudal retainer of Kumamoto Domain and Confucian. Tokio YOKOI, who was the third president of the Doshisha and a statesperson is his first son. His original family name is Taira.

In 1809, he was born as the second son of a feudal retainer of Kumamoto Domain in Kumamoto, Higo (current Kumamoto Prefecture). Shonan' is one of the second names that he used. His imina (posthumous name) is '時存' ('Tokihiro' or 'Tokiari') and his formal nanori (self-introduction, announcement of candidature) is TAIRA no Tokihiro/Tokiari. His common name is 'TAIRA no Shiro' and he was also called HOJO TAIRA no Shiro Tokihiro/Tokiari or HOJO Shiro TAIRA no Tokihiro/Tokiari.

The Yokoi family derives from the Taira clan and the main branch of the Hojo clan. The origin is that a son of Takatoki HOJO's bereaved son Tokiyuki HOJO moved to Yokoe village, Aichi District, Owari Province (current Aichi Prefecture), and a child of Tokitoshi YOKOE, equivalent to a great-grandchild of Tokiyuki, changed his name to Yokoi. The son of Tokitoshi is Tokinaga YOKOI, and his descendants continued into Tokikatsu YOKOI (横井時勝), Tokinobu YOKOI (横井時延), Tokiyasu YOKOI (横井時泰), Tokiyasu YOKOI (横井時安) and so on. As descendants of the Hojo clan, they used the Chinese character of '時' which was the tsuji (distinctive character used in the names of all people belonging to a single clan or lineage) of their ancestors for generations.

Shonan opened a private school 'Shijiken' and educated a lot of disciples. Also, the key players of the Meiji Restoration such as Ryoma SAKAMOTO and Kowashi INOUE and a number of later pivotal members of the New Meiji Government visited there.

Invited as politics adviser to Yoshinaga MATSUDAIRA, he engaged in the reformation of domain duties of Fukui Domain and also the reformation of the shogunate government as adviser to Shungoku, who was the president of political affairs of bakufu.

In 1868, he attended at the New Government as Sanyo (Counselor), however, he was assassinated in Higashigawa, Marutamachi-dori Street Sagaru, Teramachi-dori Street, Kyoto (current Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto City) by samurais from Totsugawa area on the way back from sandai (a visit to the Imperial Palace). He was at the age of 61. The reason of the killing is said to have been complete fabrication that 'Yokoi is driving Japan to open to the world and Christianize the country'. In addition, a great confusion was caused, for example, the conservatives who were dissatisfied with the policy of "opening of the country" of the New Government, including Juro KOGA of Danjodai (Board of Censors), forged a book named "Tendo Kakumei" and attributed it to Yokoi to accuse him of plotting secretly to overthrow the Imperial Court. Despite a number of setbacks, 4 samurais from Totsugawa area who killed Shonan were executed in 1870.

Personal Profile
He criticized national isolation and the shogunate system, and groped for alternative concepts for new state and society from a point of view of 'public' and 'commerce'.

Shonan emphasized the debate such as 'Koshu Toron' and 'Meiho Kogaku', which were beyond status hierarchy, as the most important agency for the management of politics to represent 'public' nature and 'public' area. In addition, from his position of emphasizing 'commerce', he pushed forward overseas trade, and suggested the domestic scheme of autonomous development of industry looking on the development of industry also as 'commerce', and for this, advocated the necessity of united nation beyond bakufu and han.

As a written material which systematically presents Shonan's theory of nation, there is 'Kokuze Sanron' (the Three Major Discussion of State Policy) written for the reformation of domain duties of Fukui Domain, Echigo Province in 1860. There are more written materials such as 'Gakko Mondo Sho' written in 1852 discussing about the relationship between academia and politics, 'Iryo Osetsu Taii', an opinion about Matthew (Calbraith) PERRY and Evfimiy Vasil' evich Putyatin, in 1853, 'Shozan Taiwa', the record of dialogue with Kowashi INOUE, in 1864 and 'Shozan Kanwa', the record of dialogue with Nagazane MOTODA, in 1865.

He is also known for describing republican institutions (presidential system) as 'the reign of Yao Shun (peaceful transfer of power)'.