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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Ye high functionaries who have charge of public affairs


*A

Chinese expression for the Imperial house.

VIII. Let the ministers and functionaries attend the Court early in the morning, and retire late. The business of the State does not admit of remissness, and the whole day is hardly enough for its accomplishment. If, therefore, the attendance at Court is late, emergencies cannot be met: if officials retire soon, the work cannot be completed.

IX. Good faith is the foundation of right. In everything let there be good faith, for in it there surely consists the good and the bad, success and failure. If the lord and the vassal observe good faith one with another, what is there which cannot be accomplished? If the lord and the vassal do not observe good faith towards one another, everything without exception ends in failure.

X. Let us cease from wrath, and refrain from angry looks. Nor let us be resentful when others differ from us. For all men have hearts, and each heart has its own leanings. Their right is our wrong, and our right is their wrong. We are not unquestionably sages nor are they unquestionably fools. Both of us are simply ordinary men. How can anyone lay down a rule by which to distinguish right from wrong? For we are all, one with another, wise and foolish like a ring which has no end. Therefore, although others give way to anger, let us, on the contrary, dread our own faults, and though we alone may be in the right, let us

follow the multitude and act like them.

XI. Give clear appreciation to merit and demerit, and deal out to each its sure reward or punishment. In these days, reward does not attend upon merit, nor punishment upon crime. Ye high functionaries who have charge of public affairs, let it be your task to make clear rewards and punishments.

XII. Let not the provincial authorities or the kuni no miyatsuko levy exactions on the people. In a country there are not two lords; the people have not two masters. The sovereign is the master of the people of the whole country. The officials to whom he gives charge are all his vassals. How can they, as well as the Government, presume to levy taxes on the people?

XIII. Let all persons entrusted with office attend equally to their functions. Owing to illness or despatch on missions their work may sometimes be neglected. But whenever they are able to attend to business, let them be as accommodating as though they had cognizance of it from before, and let them not hinder public affairs on the score of not having had to do with them.

XIV. Ministers and functionaries, be not envious. If we envy others, they, in turn, will envy us. The evils of envy know no limit. If others excel us in intelligence, it gives us no pleasure; if they surpass us in ability, we are envious. Therefore it is not until after the lapse of five hundred years that we at last meet with a wise man, and even in a thousand years we hardly obtain one sage. But if wise men and sages be not found, how shall the country be governed?

XV. To turn away from that which is private and to set one's face towards that which is public this is the path of a minister. If a man is influenced by private motives, he will assuredly feel resentment; if he is influenced by resentment, he will assuredly fail to act harmoniously with others; if he fails to act harmoniously with others, he will assuredly sacrifice the public interest to his private feelings. When resentment arises, it interferes with order and is subversive of law. Therefore, in the first clause it was said that superiors and inferiors should agree together. The purport is the same as this.


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