Jitsugo Kyo (Literal translation “Real Language Teaching”) (実語教)

Commentary on the “Jitsugo Kyō”
 The Jitsugo Kyō was established in the Heian period (794-1192) and became popular during the Kamakura period (1192-1333). Because of its strong Confucian flavor and its easy-to-remember couplet structure, it became very popular as reading material at Terakoya (temple school) during the Edo period (1603-1868).
 The author is said to be Kobo Daishi, but there is no proof.
 A quotation from the Jitsugo Kyo is also found in Fukuzawa Yukichi’s “Gakumon no Susume” (Recommendations for Learning), and referring to the first sentence “Mountains are not precious because they are high, but because trees grow on them”,.a willow poem, “Fuji no mieno ni mo tsukurushi-shi Jistugokyo (A man who has not seen Mt. Fuji made a real language teaching),” was also composed, Jitsugo-kyo seems very popular,
 The book pictured below is the “Bunsei Shinban Jitsugo Kyo Esho” published in Kyoto in Bunsei 3. It is relatively easy to read, with illustrations and commentary. The second half of the book includes the Dojikyo. (Most JitsugoKyo books are published in a form that includes the Dojikyo.)

 福沢諭吉の「学問のススメ」にも実語教からの引用が見られたり、出だしの”山高きゆえに貴からず 木あるをもって貴しとす”の一文を捉えて”富士を見ぬ 奴がつくりし 実語教”という川柳が作られたりした面をみてもかなり普及していたようです。

Jitsugo Kyo

Mountains are not precious because they are high, but because trees grow on them
山高故不貴 以有樹為貴

A man is not noble because he has good physique, but because he possesses wisdom.
人肥故不貴 以有智為貴

Wealth is a life-long treasure; when the body is destroyed, it is destroyed together.
富是一生財 身滅即共滅

Wisdom is the wealth of all generations. When life ends, wisdom goes with it.
智是万代財 命終即随行

If a jewel is not polished, it has no light. If it has no light is a stone tile.
玉不磨無光 無光為石瓦

If a person does not learn, he does not have wisdom, and if he does not have wisdom, he is a fool.
人不学無智 無智為愚人

The wealth in one’s warehouse will decay, but the wealth in one’s body will never decay.
倉内財有朽 身内財無朽

Even if you accumulate a thousand riches, it is no more than a day’s study.
雖積千両金 不如一日学

Brothers do not always meet, but they are brothers for the sake of compassion.
兄弟常不合 慈悲為兄弟

Goods do not endure forever; wisdom is one’s treasure.
財物永不存 才智為財物

The four great things decline from day to day, and the mind is dark at night.
四大日々衰 心神夜々暗

If you do not work and learn when you are young, and you will regret it in your old age,
and yet there is no profit to be taken from it. Therefore, do not be weary of reading books.
幼時不勤学 老後雖恨悔
尚無有取益 故讀書勿倦

Do not neglect your studies. Do not sleep, and be merry in the wake.
学文勿怠時 除眠通夜涌

Learn all day long with patience and hunger. If you have the teacher but do not study,
you will be like a city person. If you learn and read, but do not review, ,
it is like counting your neighbor’s possessions. A man of virtue loves a wise man.
忍飢終日習 雖會師不学
徒如向市人 雖習讀不復
只如計隣財 君子愛智者

The little people love the rich. Even if he enter a wealthy family,
he is still like a flower under the frost for those who have no wealth.
小人愛福人 雖入富貴家
為無財人者 猶如霜下花

Even though you come from a poor and lowly family, if you are a wise person
you are like a lotus in the mud. Parents are like heaven and earth.
雖出貧賤門 為有智人者
宛如泥中蓮 父母如天地
(あたかも泥中の蓮の如し。父母は天地の如し。 )

One’s master is like the sun and the moon, and their kin are like reeds
師君如日月 親族譬如葦

husband and wife should still be like tiles, and filial piety should be paid to parents morning and evening.
夫妻猶如瓦 父母孝朝夕

Serve your master day and night. Do not quarrel with friends.
師君仕昼夜 交友勿諍事

You should be more respectful to your elder brother, and more affectionate to your younger brother.
己兄尽禮敬 己弟致愛戯

If a man has no wisdom, he is no better than a stone.
人而無智者 不異称木石

If a man has no filial piety, he is no better than a brute.
人而無孝者 不異称畜生

Without the three habits of learning the right ones, one cannot climb the seven steps to develop the mind.
不交三学友 何遊七学林

If you do not get on a fourth-class boat, then who will cross the sea of eight pains?
不乗四等船 誰渡八苦海

The eight righteous paths are wide, but the one who have ten eviless will not be able to follow it.
八正道雖廣 十悪人不往

A city of idleness is a truly pleasant place, but those who are dissolute and create mischief cannot go there to play.
無為都雖楽 報逸輩不遊

Respect the aged as you would your parents, and love the young as you would your children.
敬老如父母 愛幼如子弟

If I respect others, they will respect me.
我敬他人者 他人亦敬我

If you respect the parents of others, they will also respect your parents.
己敬人親者 人亦敬己親

If you wish to attain success in your own life, you must first attain success in the life of others.
欲達己身者 先令達他人

When you see others’ sorrow, you must suffer together.
見他人之愁 即自共可患

When you hear the joy of others, you should rejoice with them.
聞他人之嘉 即自共可悦

When you see good, go there quickly; when you see evil, avoid it immediately.
見善者速行 見悪者忽避

He who loves evil will bring misfortune. For example, as if one responds to the sound of an echo.
好悪者招禍 譬如響応音

He who practices righteousness will be blessed, just as if his shadow follows his body.
修善者蒙福 宛如随身影

Do not forget poverty even though you are wealthy. Or you may be rich at the beginning and poor at the end.
雖富勿忘貧 或始富終貧

Do not forget to be lowly even though you are noble. Or be rich in the beginning and poor at the end.
雖貴勿忘賎 或先貴後賎

The most difficult to learn and easy to forget is the artistic accomplishments.
夫難習易忘 音聲之浮才

Also, easy to learn and hard to forget is the art of writing.
又易学難忘 書筆之博藝

Only with food can we nourish ourselves, and only with life can we have a body.
但有食有法 又有身有命

If you do not forget agriculture, do not abandon learning.
猶不忘農業 必莫廢学文

Therefore, scholars of later generations must first contemplate this book (jitsu-go-kyo)
故末代学者 先可按此書

This should be the beginning of your studies, and you should not forget it until the end of your life.
是学文之始 身終勿忘失