The Modification of the Confucian “Five Relations”
and their associated virtues
in the Imperial Rescript on Education (1890)


Mencius 3A.4 [1]

Imperial Rescript on Education [2]

Parent and child: 


Filial piety  

Ruler and minister: 


Loyalty and Filial piety  忠 孝 [3]

Husband and wife: 



Elder and younger siblings:



Friend and friend: 

Trust / honesty  

Trust / honesty

[1] See D. C. Lau, trans., Mencius (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970), p. 102.

[2] See Mark R. Mullins, Shimazono Susumu, and Paul L. Swanson, eds., Religion and Society in Modern Japan (Berkeley: Asian Humanities Press, 1993), p. 81.

[3] The Rescript does not include the ruler-minister (or ruler-subject) in its discussion of the human relationships, but it does mention “Our subjects ever united in loyalty and filial piety” in its first sentence, and the clear implication is that these are the virtues defining that relationship.