Kan'ei shoka keizuden

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  • Date: 1641-1643/9
  • Japanese: 寛永諸家系図伝 (Kan'ei shoka keizu den)

The Kan'ei shoka keizuden, or "Genealogies of the Houses of the Kan'ei Period"[1] was the first compilation of genealogies of the daimyô and hatamoto families.

The genealogies were compiled by Hayashi Razan and Hayashi Gahô under the supervision of Ôta Sukemune. It was commissioned in 1641, the same year that genealogies were also compiled of the Japanese imperial family, the various Chinese dynasties, the lineages of Kamakura and Muromachi shoguns, and of Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Completed in 1643, the Kan'ei shoka keizuden covered the genealogies of 1,419 samurai families in two sets of 186 volumes (one set in Japanese, one in Chinese).

Razan and Gahô collected the necessary information primarily from the samurai houses themselves, who maintained their own records and genealogies. The two Hayashi men, along with a team of scholars, then vetted the documents and verified their contents before including them in the final keizuden.

A single progenitor was determined for each samurai house, and they were all categorized as descending from either the Seiwa Genji, Taira clan, Fujiwara clan, or miscellaneous (other), with special attention paid as well to descent from members of the Imperial family, and major courtier (kuge) families. Descendants of other Minamoto clan (Genji) lineages, including the Saga Genji, Uda Genji, and Montoku Genji, descended from emperors other than Emperor Seiwa, were placed in the miscellaneous category in order to better emphasize the importance of the Tokugawa clan, which traced its lineage across 26 generations directly back to Emperor Seiwa.

All of the genealogies end with the generation contemporary to Tokugawa Ieyasu, with the statement "And then [so-and-so] entered the service of Daigongen [i.e. Ieyasu]." Important as this text is for us today as historians as a record of the lineages of the various families[2], at the time one of its most important functions was as a tool for promoting the discourse of Tokugawa supremacy and shogunate legitimacy. Following its completion, the text was presented as an offering to Tôshô Daigongen (i.e. the deified spirit of Ieyasu) in a ceremony held at Nikkô Tôshôgû.[3]


  • Berry, Mary Elizabeth. Japan in Print. University of California Press, 2006. pp113-115.
  • "Kan'ei shoka keizuden." Digital Daijisen. Shogakukan, Inc.
  1. Berry. p234.
  2. Though, we must keep in mind the alterations made to cover over disjunctions, and also to legitimize certain families, especially the Tokugawa, whose claim of direct descent from the Minamoto is somewhat shaky.
  3. Morgan Pitelka, Spectacular Accumulation, University of Hawaii Press (2016), 160.