Here Confucius uses a metaphor to discuss moral politics.北辰 is the Northern Star, which the other stars revolve around. Moral government should be like this in terms of its relationship to people. Yoshikawa says that he cannot understand this metaphor’s use when it comes to the idea that the other stars all move, while the Northern Star is still, suggesting that moral government is still, or inactive.

吉川幸次郎が「道徳による政治が、無為を属性とすることは、分からない。」と言っておられる意味は実は大変深いのです。無為は現代用語ではidleですが、ここでの意味は、老子の言う「無為」で、その意味はtake no action または do nothingと訳されることが多いですが、この章に対応するものとして、「我、無為にして、自ずから化し、・・・」老子57があげられます。積極派の孔子(儒家)と消極派の老子(道家)は相対立ものとして、中国の2大思潮となりますが、吉川先生は儒家の立場に立たれます。だからこのような発言をしておられるのですが、論語には道家的な個所が時々現れ、これが、また論語の魅力でもあります。




詩三百 indicates the詩経, which has approximately 300 poems. If he had to choose one poem that expressed its entirety or overall feel, it would be one in the last volume, and the line思い邪しま無し, “the purity of emotions.”




This also praises government through morality.政 refers to regulations made according to the law. If regulations have been made according to law, but then not followed, this is resolved with punishment. Even if this is done however, citizens will just search for a way out and will lose their ability to feel shame. Better than this is moral government. If the people are guided with morals, and corrected with ritualーthe principles of a cultural lifeーso that they feel shame and remorse and they are led to the correct way by example.




Here Confucius is speaking of himself and his life stages. When he was 15 he decided to study seriously. Yoshikawa adds that this was a determination to contribute to society through culture. When he was 30 the foundations of his studies had been laid. At age 40, he had attained confidence in his knowledge and felt that his lifestyle was appropriate. When he reached age 50, Confucius realized that making efforts of this kind was a mission given to us from above (or, according to some interpretations, a fate passed to us). When he turned 60, he felt no resistance when other people had theories or opinions different than his own because he had come to recognize the diversity in the world and had room in his heart for all things. When he reached age 70, his own actions were automatically in line with human principles, with no effort on his part--even his desires fit within the boundaries of what was considered appropriate.*1





This is a conversation between Moishi and Confucius, and Confucius and Hanchi. Moishi asked Confucius what filiality was, and Confucius just said that Moishi should not misunderstand it, should not take a false step.*1  When Hanchi asks about this exchange, Confucius repeats his response,*2  but expands on his answer when Hanchi asks him to be more specific, saying that one should serve his parents while they are alive according to the principles of ritual, and when they die, should have a funeral service in keeping with the principles of ritual. Furthermore, Buddhist services *3 should also be carried out in accordance with the principles of ritual. 

*1「違」が色々な意味に取れるところからこの会話は進みます。disobey,fail to comply ,
act against, break, violate・・・
*2 なぜ孔子が繰り返して話したかについては色々説があります。後でが孟懿子に聞かれたときに備えて孔子が樊遲に教えたという説は小説的で面白い。



Here Mobuhaku asks Confucius about filiality. He responds that it means not to worry your parents other than over sickness, which can’t be helped. There are two other interpretations, the first which suggests that Confucius is saying that parents worry so much about their children’s possible illnesses that the children should be moderate in their physical habits to repay this love. The third theory is that, for the child, nothing is more important than his parent’s health.



There are also two interpretations for this. In the first, Confucius is saying (rhetorically?) that filiality is no more than physical service, and that dogs and horses also serve people. Unless we serve with a feeling of respect, we will not be able to distinguish between the service animals offer to people, and the services people perform for each other. The second interpretation is that people feed dogs and horses, and the only way to distinguish this from feeding our parents is to do it with a feeling of respect.




This is a dialogue between Shika and Confucius. Confucius says that the most difficult thing about filiality is facial expression, meaning that watching a parent’s face to pick up their emotion so that you can then base your actions on that is the hardest part of filiality. interpretation suggests that this means that maintaining a calm expression all the time is the most difficult part of filiality. Confucius goes on to say that young people should help others with their labor. If you have food and drink, you should give it to your superiors. He ends by saying that this is probably what filiality is all about.




Confucius says here that even if he spent the entire day talking to Gankai, he won’t disagree with anything Confucius says, which makes Gankai look like an idiot. However, when Gankai leaves him, Confucius’ observation of his private life with the other disciples impresses him, and Confucius realizes that Gankai is certainly not an idiot.*1  Is Confucius saying here that it is admirable to speak your mind to your superiors?*2 It is ok to differ from your teachers and other elders in opinion? Some people equate Confucianism with blind obedience *3 but this would seem to suggest something different.*4


*2 孔子のグループでは弟子たちが自由に発言しているようで、論語の中に沢山その例が見られます。また、孔子もそれを促している場面も見られます。(例6−11)またこの時代は全体として皆が色々な意見を自由に述べた時代で、古典期のギリシャに似ています。

*3 孝など親や目上に従うことが美徳とされる面は確かにありますが、盲従を説いたところはありません。儒教と盲従は直接関係ありませんが、後の封建制の下で、儒教の名を借りて盲従をしいたことは多かったのではないかと思います。

*4 ここでは顔回の朴訥な人柄を孔子が喜んでいる様子を伝えたいのではないかと思います。


子曰、視其所以、觀其所由、察其所安、人焉*哉、人焉*哉、  *フォントなし

Here Confucius is advising that observing a person’s actions, the motivation for their actions and the goal of their actions will enable you to understand them. It will uncover the truth about them.




Yoshikawa writes that anyone would know the expression温故知新 and that it was the qualification for being a teacher. It means that knowledge of past events is history. *1 One should have a deep knowledge of history, but that this is not enough. *2 By knowing the old, one should learn the new and be aware of current problems. By doing this, one can become someone’s teacher; this is how a teacher must be.

*1 historyは広い意味です。昔の詩や音楽や制度、習慣を含みます。

2−12 子。君子不器。

Essentially, Confucius is asserting that gentlemen must not be proficient in technical matters., or vessels, are made for a specific purpose and can only be used for that purpose. Does this mean that gentlemen must not be proficient at anything, or that they must not be skilled at menial tasks? Or that they must not restrict themselves to one skill or purpose and instead should be skilled all-around? A vessel is certainly made for one use, but what is there to criticize about a poet who devotes his energies to writing? The “Renaissance man” was skilled in many areas?writing, painting, science?but would Confucius criticize this versatility? I do not like “gentlemen” as the translation for君子 since it is such a loaded term. It calls to mind 18th century English novels and men who live off the land in ease, the worst among them as parasites and even the best with no knowledge of anyone not of their class. Confucius must mean something quite different, but as yet I haven’t thought of an alternative.

つまり、君子かどうかはability, facultyの問題ではなくpersonalitycharacterの問題だということです。何かできる能力を持つこと、これを孔子は否定していませんし、当時の人の評価(9−6)からみても、五経の編纂を見ても、孔子はルネッサンス的巨人と呼びたいのですが、これを君子の要件としないところが面白いのです。

Gentlemanという言葉についてのエリカさんのイメージはあまりよくないようですね。私はgentlemanといえば、Winston Churchillを思い浮かべますが・・・君子の訳語として、a man of virtueはどうでしょうか?あるいはKunshi.

2−13 子貢問君子。子。先行其言。而後従之。

In response to Shika’s question about how to become a gentleman, Confucius responds that one must act and not speak. Things worth saying must first be put into action, and then put into words.*1 This seems like advice, and reminds me of college, when we all talked a lot about politics and what was wrong with the world but never did anything to back up our words.

*1 これは名訳です。感心しました。日本語ではこのようにうまく表現できません。

2−14 。君子周而不比。小人比而不周。

his compares gentlemen and lesser men. Gentlemen are rich in friendship but do not show favor, while lesser men favor their in-group but do not know true friendship. The old interpretation suggested that
was 忠信, or faithfulness, honesty, while the new interpretation suggests impartiality.

私は新注の方が好きです。比=favor, partialityだと思いますが、今読んでいる本にspecialnessという言葉が出てきました。これも「比」に近いかも知れません。その背後にあるのはegoで、loveとは関係がないとあります。(A Course in Love by Joan M. Gattuso

2−15 。學而不思則罔。思而不學則殆。

If you study without reflection or thought on what you study, you will only invite confusion. Conversely, if you think and speculate without study, you will make uninformed decisions, and your life will be unstable. I would add that if you study without thought, you will forget what you learn (similar to what Confucius says in some of his first statements here) and it will not have a chance to deepen with further reflection, and if you think without also studying, your thoughts will remain those of a child’s.


2−16 子曰、攻乎異端、斯害也已矣、

There is no benefit to be gained from studying false theories or doctrines. This seems straightforward, but Yoshikawa warns that we cannot feel certain of this interpretation because
異端 does not appear elsewhere in 論語and so we cannot know its meaning beyond a doubt.


2−17 子曰、由、誨女知之乎、知之爲知之、不知爲不知、是知也、


Confucius calls his disciple, Shiro, by an affectionate nickname, and speaks to him in a manner commensurate with Shiro’s vibrant personality. Confucius offers to tell him what consciousness is, and answers his own question by saying that it is knowing what you know and what you don’t know, or knowing what you can know, and knowing what you can not be aware of. A playful answer.*1

*1 or