The founder of Eishin Ryu was Hayashizaki Jinsuke Minamoto Shigenobu. He was born in 1546 to a Samurai family in Okushû Dewa, in the province of Sagame, Yamagata Prefecture. At the age of 25, he went to the Shinto Shrine in Oshu, where he spent 100 days in meditation and prayer. Based on a vision he saw in a dream, he then developed and taught a series of sword techniques, which he called Batto-Jutsu. He described his school as Shimmei Muso Ryu, while his students also called it Hayashizaki Muso Ryu. Under his influence, and that of his best students, various Iaido schools developed from there on.

Since his death, he has been revered as a Shinto god at the Hayashizaki Shrine in Murayama-shi in Yamagata Prefecture. He was the first Grand Master of the school and his techniques were traditionally handed down from then until today's twenty-third Grand Master.

One of the most outstanding masters, the 7th Grand Master Hasegawa Mondonosuke Eishin, added his self-developed technique to the style and changed the name to Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu. After the 11th Grand Master Oguro Motoemon Kiyokatsu, an offshoot of Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu split off, which today is regarded as the precursor of another great Iaido school, the Muso Shinden Ryu.

The Grand Masters of the Eishin Ryu from the founder of the school to the reigning 23rd Grand Master.
1. Hayashizaki Jinsuke Minamoto Shigenobu
2. Tamiya Heibei Narimasa
3. Nagano Muraku Nyudo
4. Momo Gumbei Mitsushige
5. Arikawa Shozaemon Munetsugu
6. Banno Denemon no Jo Nobusada
7. Hasegawa Mondonosuke Eishin
8. Arai Seitetsu Seishin
9. Hayashi Rokudayu Morimasa
10. Hayashi Yasudayu Seisho
11. Oguro Motoemon Kiyokatsu
12. Hayashi Masu no Jo Masanari
13. Yoda Manzo Takakatsu
14. Hayashi Yadayu Masataka
15. Tanimura Kame no Jo Takakatsu
16. Goto Masasuke
17. Oe Masamichi
18. Hogiyama Namio
19. Fukui Harumasa
20. Kono Hyakuren
21. Fukui Torao
22. Ikeda Takashi Seiko
23. Fukui Masato