Kan Chazan (or Sazan) was a prominent kangakusha, or scholar of Chinese studies, in the mid-Edo period.
He was the eldest son of a saké seller, but spent considerable time in Kyoto and Osaka before establishing his own private academy (juku) in 1781. Instruction there centered chiefly on examination and interpretation of Confucian texts. In 1796, Chazan passed on the family business to his younger brother, and donated his academy to the domain, dedicating himself more exclusively to his teaching and studies. The domain renamed the academy Renjuku, and housed ten to thirty boarding students there at any given time; those who could not afford the fees could work for their share. Chazan supported himself chiefly from the land he owned, and from a domainal stipend.
His personal collection is known to have included objects related to the Ryukyuan embassies to Edo.
Following Chazan's death, his son continued to manage the school until it was forced to close in 1872 along with most other private academies in Japan (in conjunction with the establishment of the public education system). The Renjuku buildings were preserved, and were named a national historical site in 1953.
- Margaret Mehl, "Local Heroes," History Today, August 2001.
- Ryûkyû shisetsu, Edo e iku! 琉球使節、江戸へ行く！ Naha: Okinawa Prefectural Museum, 2009. p38.