Hayashi Tadamasa (林忠正)

Tadamasa HAYASHI (December 7, 1853 - April 10, 1906) is an art dealer and an art collector in Japan. He was based in Paris to introduce the Japanese art including Ukiyoe (Japanese woodblock prints). He supported prosperity of Japonism indirectly.

He was born as the second son of the Nagasaki family, a doctor family for generations in Takaoka City, Ecchu Province (present Toyama Prefecture). His childhood name was Shigetsugu NAGASAKI and changed to Tadamasa HAYASHI as he was adopted by Tachu HAYASHI, a feudal retainer of Toyama domain at the age of 17. He went to Tokyo with the hope of being a lawyer, and then entered the present University of Tokyo to study French and law. He dropped out of the university six months before graduation and got employed by a trading company as an interpreter at the Paris World Exposition, and consequently went to France in 1878. After the exposition, he obtained a job at a company dealing in Oriental Arts including Japan Art in Paris and deepened his understanding of Japan Art through handling various art objects, and then started an independent business as an art dealer. Also he contributed an article for the introduction of Japan Art to the magazine, Paris Illustre. He had a close friendship with Goncourt in his later years, who wrote "Utamaro" and so on, and supported his writing activities. The following is an example.

Hayashi says 'We, Japanese, are like collectors in dealing with philosophical ideas.
I mean a collector puts only the things which completely attract him or her in a glass case, but does not investigate the reason why the things in the glass case have attracted him or her.'
What an original (unique) consideration it is. From "the Diary of Goncourt, March 19, 1895" (translated by Ichiro SAITO, Iwanami Shoten Publisher).

When he returned to Japan due to his illness in 1905, he brought back a vast number of Western paintings including 'Impressionists' ones to build a real modern Western Art museum in the future, as well as Japan and Oriental Arts including 'Ukiyoe' which had flowed out of Japan and his book collection; however, he took a turn for the worse and died next year before he was understood by the people. Soon after his death, the collection of arts were discarded or sold several times so that they flowed out to overseas and the like; separately, his books were also discarded or sold. Tadamasa HAYASHI a Library Sales Catalogue' is left in "Shigeo SORIMACHI Sales Catalogue Selection of Old Books Collection, vol. 3, March 1, 1928 - April 11" edited by Mitsuhiko SHIBATA (a reprinted edition, Yumani Shobo Publisher, 2000). It is for the last 10 to 20 years that study and verification of his collection has been carried out earnestly.

[Original Japanese]