Yoshida Shoin A Word Every Day
Inspiring Analects to Encourage the Spirit
by Kawaguchi Masaaki

Our teacher Yoshida Shoin once wrote, “Disorder is not war, peace is not abundance (of wealth). Lords being lords, vassals being vassals. Father being fathers, children being children. All under heaven is right.” (ref. this book, January 6th) Our teacher, furthermore, finished by continuing “Still yet, is this age a time of peace or is it an generation of disorder? Consider it closely: you should know this.”
So, to understand this saying as an individual person, to build upon this base taught by our teacher Shoin: That is filial piety. In the (book) Mencius T’ang Wan Kung Upper Volume Chapter 4, filial piety is protecting as a person the five ways, specifically, fushi no shin (the affection between parent and child), kunshin no gi (the courtesy between lord and vassal), fuufu no betsu (the distrinction between husband and wife), chouyou no jo (the ranking between the old and young), Houyuu no shin (the fidelity between companions).
In the 60 years after the war, we Japanese have been determined to have a peaceful and “abundant” world, and we have pushed forward into a world of liberty and freedom. The result, with certainty, has carried us to a life of abundance to the degree never seen by history. Also, we have received liberty and freedom. However, with this on one hand, it is the truth that people, when watching the news everyday about our country’s current condition, having the thought that this is unbearable and feeling that something is wrong, are increasingly beginning to earnestly search for some support.
So, what is the primary cause? There is no need to say. I’ve thought about this thing that modern Japanese have. We Japanese, as individual human beings, our values have become strange. In this age, 150 years later, studying Shoin points out frankly the “disorder times” of our country currently and the alarm bells that cry are by no means few. This, now, without reflecting on mine own limited ability, is the reason for undertaking this book.
Our teacher Shoin’s words, even one person can somehow light a lamp in the hearts of many people. As a single person who has studied the teacher, it is the wish from the bottom of my heart to resusitatate a wholesome nation of Japan.
Finally, upon writing this book, I would like to dedicate gratitude to President Katsuo Hideaki of Chichi Publishing, Sir Ookoshi Masahiro who kindly oversaw this project personally, and the many other people from whom I gratefully received guidance and cooperation. Among these, I especially have no words of gratitude enough for Sugihara Hiroshi, a student from when I was at the Yamaguchi Prefectural Ubeshi High School, currently the Superintendent of Educational Guidance at the Yamaguchi Prefecture Board of Education. In truth, I was freshly moved that while having a busy job, you made time even during your days off to give me guidance. That I could again receive instruction at the end of the teaching career fills this ungraceful author with joy.
Written November First, the Eighteenth Year of Heisei
The University of Human Enviroments Kawaguchi Masaaki


人間環境大学 川口雅昭

The Only Counterplan (Part 2)

O, since the national prestiage of Japan has not risen, it was a very old thing. Once, the Emperor’s words were listened to, and then suddenly, righteousness was realized and there were no mistakes during discussions. Truely, when it was so, it was wonderful. Is it not that we, rough retainers of the Emperor, cannot follow those august words? Still more, the condition today, when America threatens us through military might, is that the bakafu is merely frightened, being good for it’s own sake, thinking not of the nation of Japan. Still more, is it not that the samurai and townsfolk can overlooking this current situation? Consider that America has now sent a consul to Japan, freely on the streets and in the cities. Sending the consul skillfully tempts our country’s people. Also, consider the matters of constructing a church of heaven, a supplementary payment for our country’s religion, constructing a trading firm, and taxing the Japanese for the employees. Freely manipulating the country, tempting the townsfolks in this way is a completely unforgivable thing.
The foreigners are making such schemes. Consider that at this, the bakafu’s sole plan is only upholding the Treaty of Peace and Amnity. Is it not said a general grand plan is being embraced? Or else is it not merely avoiding war for the moment? Refrain from war, protect the peace. This is the consideration of the Emporer. So if there was consultation of how to solve this situation from the Bakafu and the matter of such handing it down to our Province’s public, our lords should please answer, “We must not disobey the Emporer’s decrees. We should drive away America.” This has come to an end. The bakafu probably gives forth layers of questions. In short, they say, “Of course, it would never do to not comply with the Emporer’s orders, however because previously we made a the treaty, how would it be good if we broke it?” The answer of our lords that oppose this already go without saying.

外国人はこのような計画を立てています。ところが幕府は、ただ和親条約を結ぶことだけを唯一の策と考えているのです。これでいったい雄大な構想を抱いているといえるでしょうか。それともただ戦争をさけたい一心だけなのでしょうか。戦争を慎んで和平を結ぶ、これが天皇のお考えなのです。だから幕府から事態の解決案の下間が わが藩公にくだるようなことが あれば、わが君は「天皇の命令には叛くべからず。アメリカは追い払うべし」とお答えなさって下さい。それに尽きます。幕府はかさねて質問を発するはずです。 つまり「天皇の命令はもちろん聞き入れなければならないが、しかしすでにアメリカと条約を結んでしまっているので、どのようにいってそれを破棄すればよいのか」と。これに対するわが君のお答えは、もはやいうまでもないことです。

The Only Counterplan (Part 1)
Followed by the Conclusion
by Yoshida Shoin (1858)

I respectfully offer this. In the first year of Kouka (1844), when the envoy of Holland turned up in Japan, we gave warning about the unusal event of the said arrival of black ships on this trip. Maybe for that sake, people boisterously made various war preparations. In that time, the situation was that people who advocated peace were few, and people who advocated in the direction of war were many. Ten years after that, it resulted that America, Russia, England, France and others turned up in Japan one after another. Above the others, the most worrying one for Japan was the arrival of America’s ship. Because of this, people who argued about war preparations increasingly used their voices loudly, but instead, many of the people who advocated war before converted to advocating peace. The people who advocated peace became many, and the people who advocated war became few.

The so called people who advocate for war are the closed-country (sakoku) ideologists. The people who advocate for peace are open-country-and-commerce ideologists. As for the matter of which policy we should take as a nation, if we consider (how) the various surrounding foreign countries are ruled thereafter from a splendid idea, there is no route except to open the country to commerce, I would think. If we chose the sakoku policy, and if we await the matter of the coming attack of a foreign enemy, our strength will weaken and our power will cower. There would be no other route except for the complete destruction of Japan. When Empress Jingu subjugated Korea, a paid sum of tribute to Japan, rather than China, was determined, a government was established, and we did commerce. When Tokugawa Ieyasu became seiitai-shogun, of course, (other countries) were free to sail, and conduct trade too. After that, a peaceful age continued for a long time. For that reason, the quibbling government officials were able to somehow in peace govern society. Thereupon those thoughts rising, (I remember that)in the 13th year of Kan’ei (1636), the arrival of ships as well as free foreign trade were prohibited. However, an open country and commerce became the foundation of the idea of a splendid nation, and this is the principle that remains transmitted from a long time ago. Sakoku is a quibbling method and in the following age, there were many evil practices.

However, this is quite a distressing problem: Now people who advocate opening the country with commerce do not embrace an entirely splendid idea. Rather they are avoiding war because they are faint-hearted. Therefore, I say their idea is inferior to people who advocated sakoku, unafraid of war. Therefore, the people who advocate peace really are afraid of it coming to war, and in their inner hearts is a feeling of shame. Whereupon the minute that I hear momentarily by chance advocacy for opening the country to commerce, as it is an excuse, the end result is I get rid of that feeling of shame. Also, rejecting peace, if the people who advocate war are attacked, my advocacy of Sonno Joi stumbles down. This point is a distressing thing.

対策一道 附論一則 四月中旬


戦争を主張する者はいわゆる鎖国主義者であり、和平を主張する者は、開国通商主義者なのです。国家としてとるべき方針はいずれかということが、雄大な構想のもとに周囲の諸外国を支配していこうと 考えるならば、開国通商以外に道はないと思われます。もし鎖国政策をとり、ただ外敵の襲って来るのを待ちうけるということになれば、勢力も弱まり、力も畏縮し、日本は亡び去る以外に道はないでしょう。神功皇后が三韓を征服された時も、韓より日本への貢納の額を定め、官府を設置され、通商が行なわれていました。徳川家康が征夷大将軍になった時も、もちろん航海は自由に行なわれ、通商も行なっていました。その後は平和な時代が打ち続き、そのため一時のがれの役人達も、なんとか無事に世の中を治めることが出来たのです。それで思いあがり、寛永十三年(一六三六)、航海および貿易の自由を、すべて禁止してしまいました。しかし開国通商は、雄大な国家構想の基礎になるものであり、これは昔から伝わる遺法なのです。鎖国は一時のがれの方法であり、次の時代にとって弊害の多いものです。