On October 16, 1841 (2nd day of the 9th month, Tenpo¯ 12), Ito¯ Hirobumi was born to Hayashi Jo¯zo¯ and his wife Kotoko in the village of Tsukari in Kumage county, Suo¯ province (now Hikari city, Yamaguchi prefecture). His childhood name was Risuke. They were a farming family, but to support the household his father served a man named Ito¯ in the castle town of Hagi. When Hirobumi was still very young, his whole family was adopted into and given the name of the Ito¯ family. After the adoption, Hayashi Risuke’s name was changed to Ito¯ Risuke, and later to Ito¯ Shunsuke (1858) and then to Hirobumi (around 1869). Becoming part of the Ito¯ family brought them into the samurai class, albeit at the bottom level. The head of the adoptive Ito¯ family was Naoemon, a low-ranking retainer (chu¯gen) of the Cho¯shu¯ domain. The categorization of families immediately following the 1868 Meiji Restoration identified low-ranking families like the Ito¯s as “sotsuzoku” as distinct from other former samurai houses known as “shizoku.”

Yoshida Sho¯in and Sho¯ka Sonjuku