Dr. Hayashi Biography
Tetsumaro Hayashi was born in Sakaide City, Japan on March 22, 1929. From childhood, Hayashi was expected to become a priest of the Jodo Shinshu Sect temple, which would have continued a family tradition of priesthood that stood at 20 generations. But after graduating from Okayama University in Japan and coming to the United States for graduate school, he chose to become a college professor. As Hayashi commented in a 1984 interview, "I just became a teacher instead of a preacher. The two aren't that different, really. Besides, I think I am teaching with missionary zeal, so I don't feel I have disappointed my father." This missionary zeal was sparked during his graduate studies in American literature at the University of Florida in 1955. It was in Florida that Hayashi first developed an interest in John Steinbeck and his literature. Despite his other academic pursuits, including a master's degree in library science from Kent State University and a later interest in Shakespeare, Hayashi's fascination with Steinbeck literature never waned.
After completing his library science degree at Kent State, Hayashi married Akiko Sakuratani in April 1960, and their son Richard was born in 1962. The following year, Hayashi pursued his academic interests in Steinbeck and Shakespeare through the doctoral program at Kent State. While at Kent State, he founded the Steinbeck Bibliographical Society with (friend and Steinbeck collector/scholar) Preston Beyer in 1966, which became a year later the Steinbeck Society of America. 3 Along with Beyer and other Steinbeck scholars, Hayashi founded the Steinbeck Newsletter (the Steinbeck Quarterly after 1969) in 1968 and personally financed its production during the first year. In addition to these endeavors, he completed a dissertation on English novelist/playwright Robert Greene that later provided the foundation for three books, monographs, and numerous academic articles. By the time Hayashi accepted a teaching position at Ball State University in 1968, the basis for his professional scholar's career had been built.
During his career at Ball State (which lasted until his retirement in 1993), Hayashi became recognized as one of the world's leading educators on the work of Steinbeck. 4 As the founder and eventual president of the Steinbeck Society of America, he developed the Steinbeck Quarterly into a commercial publication that eventually reached 44 countries. Hayashi developed several other projects under the Steinbeck Society umbrella as well, including the Steinbeck Monograph Series (lasting from 1971 to 1991) and the Steinbeck Essay Series (1986-1991). Hayashi's leadership in Steinbeck studies also contributed to the 1970 establishment of the Steinbeck Collection in Archives and Special Collections Research Center at the Ball State University Library. In addition to these activities, Hayashi produced books, articles and monographs at a highly prolific rate, and maintained a strong reputation as a lecturer and advisor to students. Although Steinbeck was the central subject of his research and teaching, he also taught and wrote about Shakespeare, Robert Greene, Hemingway, and other figures of British and American literature. After Hayashi's retirement from Ball State, his career was aptly described as remarkable. 5
Hayashi followed his retirement from Ball State by accepting a teaching position at Kwassui Women's College in Nagasaki, Japan in the fall of 1993. His "self-willed, happy, temporary exodus" continued in April 1996 as a graduate professor and Vice President at Yasuda Women's University in Hiroshima City. 6 In 2001-03, Hayashi donated the Hayashi Steinbeck Collection and Archives to the Steinbeck Collection at Ball State. The donation was in honor of Dr. and Mrs. John Pruis and Dr. and Mrs. Richard Burkhart, former Ball State Presidents and First Ladies. *
1. Much of the information from this history can be found in Tetsumaro Hayashi's "Autobiography: Tetsumaro Hayashi, A Japanese-American Scholar in Search of John Steinbeck," Shujitsu Women's University Library's Hayashi Steinbeck Collection, July 4, 1997.
2. Taken from David S. Powell's "Japanese prof puts English first," Indianapolis Star, January 30, 1984, p. 14.
3. Hayashi, "Autobiography."
4. Nancy Hamilton, "Steinbeck fan brings expertise to UTEP," The El Paso (Texas) Times, March 6, 1983, p. 2-E.
5. Taken from the Acknowledgments section of After the Grapes of Wrath: Essays on John Steinbeck in Honor of Tetsumaro Hayashi (edited by Donald V. Coers, Paul D. Ruffin, and Robert J. DeMott; Athens: Ohio University Press, 1995).
6. Hayashi, "Autobiography."
*See also Hayashi's included Preface, which discusses the support and contributions of the above individuals.