SGRA Kawaraban (Essay) in English

WANG Xing fang “Time flies like an arrow.”

Four and a half years have passed since I came to Japan. Putting the word “time” aside, I understand the word “time” means a certain period between certain times. Based on such understanding, four and a half years is not short and have flown so fast. Time flies like an arrow. Looking back when I was a child, I felt that time is long and does not end forever. As I grew older, however, I began to feel that time was passing quickly. Such an impression is not mine. Many people have such common impressions. Why do we feel so when we grow older? There are various research and investigations about the reasons. I like to omit reasons here and write my impressions of how the stream of time flows strongly.


I remember a deep impression about Confucius (the 6th century BC) who said in his Analects at riverside “Time flies. It never stops night and day”. I have a feeling that I could have empathy with his words finally. For a long time, I have thought I could translate his words into beautiful modern words and understand their meaning. It is correct superficially. However, I was surprised at speed of time which does not stop and realized the real meaning of those words through my own experience recently. At the same time, I got a feeling of fear and scare.

Scare for my life which is vanishing gradually and scared of my laziness. I do not discuss here why human beings scare for losing their lives. I like to take notice of the scare of laziness here.

I was interested in why human beings fear for their laziness and why it is not good for human beings to be lazy.   


When we talk about laziness, I remember a famous paragraph in which Confucius scolds Zai Yu (宰予). “Napping Zai Yu: Confucius said ‘We cannot carve on dead trees. We cannot coat on mud wall. So, it is meaningless to scall Zai Yu who is napping.” Why is he scolded just for napping? There are many explanations. Incidentally, I try to understand the meaning of the word “laziness”.


Confucius indeed criticized laziness. Then, why does he criticize laziness? There is an answer in the words “at riverside”. We can feel a stream of time in the word “riverside”. A river flows without ceasing and “all things are in a state of flux”. So, we, as human beings must make efforts day and night. We can see similar and famous words in his “周易”(Divination Book of Changes). Heaven has been moving without any ceasing. Man of virtue must exert himself to strive and devote himself without laziness adopting himself as a model of heaven.


Heaven moves healthily without stopping. All things change without stopping. Human beings, as a part of nature, must follow and make efforts forever. It may be a reason for a human being of Confucianism. I think it is an attractive answer. By the way, I tried to find out an answer by searching on the internet or asking friends around me. The answers varied. Popular opinion is “Laziness is not particularly bad”. Why? Lazy or ‘not lazy” depends on individuals and is up to them.


We try to find the answer in Heaven or ourselves. I can see a distinction there between tradition and modern ages.



SGRA Kawaraban 730 in Japanese (Original)



WANG Xing fang /2021 Raccoon, Studying at Graduate Schools for Law and Politics, Faculty of Law, The University of Tokyo



Translated by Kazuo Kawamura

English checked by Sabina Koirala