Existence of the Nation

The existence of the nation is your own existence. Why do we beg of outsiders? There is nothing to beg for. Why do we let outsiders command us? They have no (good) commands. Thus, let us be the ones to command the outsiders.
The First Year of Ansei, Winter. “A Record of Imprisonment.”

29日国の存するや自ら存するなり
国の存するや自ら存するなり。豈に外に待つことあらんや。外に待つことなし。豈に外に制せらるることあらんや。外に制せらるることなし。故に能く外を制す。
安政元年冬「幽囚録」

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Learning is the Studying of Why We are People

I’ve said, “Learning is studying why we are people… First, the most important thing about being a person is the loyalty between a lord and a retainer. The most important matter concerning a nation is the difference between itself and barbarians…”
The Third Year of Ansei, the Fourth Day of September. “A Record of Shouka Sonjuku.”

8日学は、人たる所以を学ぶなり
余曰く、「学は、人たる所以を学ぶなり。(中略)抑々人の最も重しとする所のものは、君臣の義なり。国の最も大なりとする所のものは、華夷の弁なり(中略)」と。
安政三年九月四日「松下村塾記」

First, By Yourself

Currently, Japan prospers and the path of benevolence (jin) is to strike down barbarians… First, do good works by yourself, then hand down the same spirit to your village. If people with this same resolve do so enthusiastically everyday, it will increase from one person to ten people, ten people to a hundred people, a hundred to a thousand, a thousand to ten thousand. surprisingly, those with the resolve to be benevolent are not uncommon. If this resolve is handed down to one’s descendents rather than kept to oneself, its benefit will ever increasingly flourish for ten, for a hundred, for a thousand, for ten thousand years.
The Third Year of Ansei, the Twenty-Eighth Day of March. “Minutes of the Head Lecturer.”

10日先づ一身一家より
今、神州を興隆し四夷を達伐するは仁道なり。(中略)故に先づ一身一家より手を下し、一村一郷より同志同志と語り伝へて、 此の志を同じうする者日々盛にならば、一人より十人、十人より百人、百人より千人、千人より万人、万人より三軍と、順々進みして、仁に志す者豈に寥々ならんや。此の志を一身より子々孫々に伝へば、其の遺沢十年百年千年万年と愈ゝ益ゝ繁盛すべし。
安政三年三月二十八日「講孟箚記」