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THE COUNTRY GOVERNED BY MICHI (THE WAY OF TRUTH)

 

Needless to say, Japan is a law-governed country. All the so-called civilized countries in the world are governed by law, without exception. However, rule by law or by a constitution is not an ideal way of control ling a country. Facts are the best evidence of this. History shows how difficult it is to eradicate crimes through legal punishments alone. It is, of course, impossible to completely eliminate evil from human minds at this time, and therefore the above situation seems to be unavoidable.

In view of these points, a true solution cannot be reached without reli gion, but, at the same time, religion alone may not be enough. There is another method that works in this direction, and that is the knowledge of the importance of michi , the Way of Truth. This is, indeed, the age-old Oriental morality. What I am going to advocate is a new, still more advanced standard of right conduct.

The reason I started to discuss this sort of thing is that the degeneration of society's sense of morality seems to be more serious than ever before. The increase not only in juvenile delinquency but also in various adult crimes is simply beyond forbearance. It is a good sign, however, that thinking people have recently begun to take notice of this situation and that countermeasures are being proposed, such as reviving lessons on morality in schools and establishing some moral codes which will take the place of the Imperial Rescript on Education.*

This social degeneration is attributable to the fact that with the end of World War II the entire nation of Japan lost a spiritual principle it could follow, and since then its people have not known where to turn, until there have come to be many aberrant individuals, as you can see today. Because man's law is the sole recourse for the maintenance of social order at present, the numbers of cunning people who think they are free to engage in illegal activities as long as they can do so with impunity are presently on the increase and lawlessness is rampant.

Until the end of the war, the social atmosphere of Japan was more sober and orderly than it is now, partly because school education was based on lessons about morality and on the Imperial Rescript on Education. In addition, the idea of loyalty and filial piety was deeply implanted in the minds of the Japanese. However, we cannot revive such oldfashioned morality in today's society. Instead, we must create a new spiritual principle to live by.

The idea of democracy was given to our nation after the war. We can be grateful for it because the Japanese have been liberated from the yoke feudalistic ideas to a great extent through that democracy. But we cannot deny the fact that democratic freedom has now gone too far and has become the hotbed of our present social disorder. Therefore, it is most necessary to create a new moral principle which is in accord with today's society, or a new Yamato-spirit** which is comparable to the British code of chivalry. Such a moral principle should consist of the best factors of various moral codes, whether they are new or old. This is nothing but the fundamental principle of michi , which we strongly advocate from both an educational and social point of view. We would be very happy if we could diminish social evils even to some degree through the application of this principle.

To put this into more understandable terms, it is the way by which anyone can reach every rightful destination or objective. It is the only absolute guideline for everybody to live by in this world. If a person follows michi , everything will go smoothly for him, with no mishaps or failures. He will be progressively more trusted, respected and loved by others and will eventually be able to live in total peace and harmony. As the numbers of such individuals and homes increase, their influence will surely prove to be a great contributor to the decrease of social evils.

As I always say, michi is another expression for the Creator. To worship God is to worship michi . So, individuals who live in accord with this Way of Truth and abide by it are the truly civilized ones. I would like to present this article to the thinking people of today's society.

 

February 7th, 1951

 

* Promulgated by Emperor Meiji and widely used and taught in Japan as a text on morals until after World War II.

** The ideal spirit of the Japanese, characterized by love of peace, patriotism and filial piety.

 

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