THE ANNOTATED BUSHIDO
THE TRAINING AND POSITION OF WOMAN.
The female half of our species has sometimes been called the paragon of paradoxes, because the intuitive working of its mind is beyond the comprehension of men's "arithmetical understanding." The Chinese ideogram denoting "the mysterious," "the unknowable," consists of two parts, one meaning "young" and the other "woman," because the physical charms and delicate thoughts of the fair sex are above the coarse mental calibre of our sex to explain.
In the Bushido ideal of woman, however, there is little mystery and only a seeming paradox. I have said that it was Amazonian, but that is only half the truth. Ideographically the Chinese represent wife by a woman holding a broom--certainly not to brandish it offensively or defensively against her conjugal ally, neither for witchcraft, but for the more harmless uses for which the besom was first invented--the idea involved being thus not less homely than the etymological derivation of the English wife (weaver) and daughter (duhitar, milkmaid). [1905: (duhitar, milkmaid).] Without confining the sphere of woman's activity to küche, kirche, kinder, [1905: Küche, Kirche, Kinder,] as the present German Kaiser is said to do, the Bushido ideal of womanhood was pre-eminently domestic. These seeming contradictions--Domesticity [1905: domesticity] and Amazonian traits--are not inconsistent with the Precepts of Knighthood, as we shall see.
Bushido being a teaching primarily intended for the masculine sex, the virtues it prized in woman were naturally far from being distinctly feminine. Winckelmann remarks that "the supreme beauty of Greek art is rather male than female," and Lecky adds that it was true in the moral conception of the Greeks as in their art. Bushido similarly praised those women most "who emancipated themselves from the frailty of their sex and displayed an heroic fortitude worthy of the strongest and the bravest of men." Young girls therefore, were trained to repress their feelings, to indurate their nerves, to manipulate weapons,--especially the long-handled sword called nagi-nata, so as to be able to hold their own against unexpected odds. Yet the primary motive for exercises [1905: exercise] of this martial character was not for use in the field: [1905: in the field;] it was twofold--personal and domestic. Woman owning no suzerain of her own, formed her own body-guard. With her weapon she guarded her personal sanctity with as much zeal as her husband did his master's. The domestic utility of her war-like training was in the education of her sons, as we shall see later.
Fencing and similar exercises, if rarely of practical use, were a wholesome counterbalance to the otherwise sedentary habits of woman. But these exercises were not followed only for hygienic purposes. They could be turned into use in times of need. Girls, when they reached womanhood, were presented with dirks (kai-ken, pocket poniards), which might be directed to the bosom of their assailants, or, if advisable, to their own. The latter was very often the case; and yet I will not judge them severely. Even the Christian conscience, with its horror [1905: Christian conscience with its horror] of self-immolation, will not be harsh with them, seeing Pelagia and Dominina, two suicides, were canonized for their purity and piety. When a Japanese Virginia saw her chastity menaced, she did not wait for her father's dagger. Her own weapon lay always in her bosom. It was a disgrace to her not to know the proper way in which she had to perpetrate self-destruction. For example, little as she was taught in anatomy, she must know the exact spot to cut in her throat: she must [1905: cut in her throat; she must] know how to tie her lower limbs together with a belt so that, whatever the agonies of death might be, her corpse be found in utmost modesty with the limbs properly composed. Is not a caution like this worthy of the Christian Perpetua or the Vestal Cornelia? I would not put such an abrupt interrogation, were it not for a misconception, based on our bathing customs and other trifles, that chastity is unknown among us. On the contrary, chastity was a pre-eminent virtue of the samurai woman, held above life itself. A young woman, taken prisoner, seeing herself in danger of violence at the hands of the rough soldiery, says she will obey their pleasure, provided she be first allowed to write a line to her sisters, whom war has dispersed in every direction. When the epistle is finished, off she runs to the nearest well and saves her honour by drowning. The letter she leaves behind ends with these verses;--
For fear lest clouds may dim her light,
Should she but graze this nether sphere,
The young moon poised above the height
Doth hastily betake to flight."
It would be unfair to give my readers an idea that masculinity alone was our highest ideal for woman. Far from it! Accomplishments and the gentler graces of life were required of them. Music, dancing and literature [1905: Music, dancing, and literature] were not neglected. Some of the finest verses in our literature were expressions of feminine sentiments; in fact, women played an important role in the history of Japanese belles lettres. Dancing was taught (I am speaking of samurai girls and not of geishas [1905: geisha]) only to smooth the angularity of their movements. Music was to regale the weary hours of their fathers and husbands; hence it was not for the technique, the art as such, that music was learned, for [1905: learned; for] the ultimate object was purification of heart, since it was said that no harmony of sound is attainable without the player's heart being in harmony with itself. Here again we see the same idea prevailing which we notice in the training of youths--that accomplishments were ever kept subservient to moral worth. Just enough of music and dancing to add grace and brightness to life, but never to foster vanity and extravagance. I sympathize with the Persian Prince, who, when taken into a ball-room in London and asked to take part in the merriment, bluntly remarked that in his country they provided a particular set of girls to do that kind of business for them.
The accomplishments of our women were not acquired for show or social ascendency. They were a home diversion; and if they shone in social parties, it was as the attributes of a hostess,--in other words, as a part of the household contrivance for hospitality. Domesticity guided their education. It may be said without fear of contradiction that [1905: it may be said that] the accomplishments of the women of Old Japan, be they martial or pacific in character, were mainly intended for the home; and, however far they might roam, they never lost sight of the hearth as the center. It was to maintain its honor and integrity that they slaved, drudged and gave up [1905 slaved, drudged, and gave up] their lives. Night and day, in tones at once firm and tender, brave and plaintive, they sang to their little nests. As daughter, woman sacrificed herself for her father, as wife to her husband and as mother to her son [1905: as wife for her husband, and as mother for her son]. Thus from earliest youth she was taught to deny herself. Her life was a perpetual self-sacrifice. It is sometimes laid to the charge of our sex that we enslaved the womankind. I have once heard Socrates called the slave of conscience. If slavery means simply obedience or surrender of one's will, there is an honorable slavery in life. [1905 replacement of previous four sentences: Her life was not one of independence, but of dependent service. Man's helpmeet, if her presence is helpful she stays on the stage with him: if it hinders his work, she retires behind the curtain. Not infrequently does it happen that a youth becomes enamoured of a maiden who returns his love with equal ardour, but, when she realises his interest in her makes him forgetful of his duties, disfigures her person that her attractions may cease. Adzuma, the ideal wife in the minds of samurai girls, finds herself loved by a man who is conspiring against her husband. Upon pretence of joining in the guilty plot, she manages in the dark to take her husband's place, and the sword of the lover-assassin descends upon her own devoted head. The following epistle written by the wife of a young daimio, before taking her own life, needs no comment:
"I have heard that no accident or chance ever mars the march of events here below, and that all is in accordance with a plan. To take shelter under a common bough or a drink of the same river, is alike ordained from ages prior to our birth. Since we were joined in ties of eternal wedlock, now two short years ago, my heart hath followed thee, even as its shadow followeth an object, inseparably bound heart to heart, loving and being loved. Learning but recently, however, that the coming battle is to be the last of thy labour and life, take the farewell greeting of thy loving partner. I have heard that Kowu, the mighty warrior of ancient China, lost a battle, loth to part with his favorite Gu. Yoshinaka, too, brave as he was, brought disaster to his cause, too weak to bid prompt farewell to his wife. Why should I, to whom earth no longer offers hope or joy--Why should I detain thee or thy thoughts by living? Why should I not, rather, await thee on the road which all mortal kind must sometime tread? Never, prithee, never, forget the many benefits which our good master Hidéyori hath heaped upon thee. The gratitude we owe him is as deep as the sea and as high as the hills."]
Woman's surrender of herself to the good of the home and family, [1905: to the good of her husband, home, and family,] was as willing and honorable as the man's self-surrender to the good of his lord and country. Self-renunciation, without which no life-enigma can be solved, was the key-note of Loyalty of man as well as of Domesticity of woman. [1905: the key-note of the loyalty of man as well as of the domesticity of woman.] She was no more slave [1905: the slave] of man than was her husband of his liege-lord. [1905: than was her husband of his liege-lord, and the part she played was recognized as naijo, "the inner help."] In the ascending scale of service stood woman, who annihilated herself for man, that he might annihilate himself for the master, that he in turn might obey heaven. I know the weakness of this teaching and that the superiority of Christianity is nowhere more manifest than here, in that it requires of each and every living soul direct responsibility to its Creator. Nevertheless, as far as the doctrine of service--the serving of a cause higher than one's own self, even at the sacrifice of one's individuality; I say the doctrine of service, which is the greatest that Christ preached and was the sacred key-note of His mission--so far as that is concerned, Bushido was based on eternal truth. [1905: new paragraph] My readers will not accuse me of undue prejudice in favor of slavish surrender of volition. I accept in a large measure the view advanced and defended with breadth of learning and profundity of thought by Hegel, that history is the unfolding and realization of freedom. The point I wish to make is that the whole teaching of Bushido was so thoroughly imbued with the spirit of self-sacrifice, that it was required not only of woman but of man. Hence, until the influence of its Precepts is entirely done away with, our society will not realize the view rashly expressed by an American exponent of woman's rights, who exclaimed, "May all the daughters of Japan rise in revolt against ancient customs!" Can such a revolt succeed? Will it improve the female status? Will the rights they gain by such a summary process repay the loss of that sweetness of disposition, that gentleness of manner, which are their present heritage? Was not the loss of domesticity on the part of Roman matrons followed by moral corruption too gross to mention? Can the American reformer assure us that a revolt of our daughters is the true course for their historical development to take? These are grave questions. Changes must and will come without revolts! In the meantime let us see whether the status of the fair sex under Bushido regimen was really so evil [1905: under the Bushido regimen was really so bad] as to justify a revolt.
We hear much of the outward respect European Knights [1905: European knights] paid to "God and the ladies,"--the incongruity of the two terms making Gibbon blush; we are also told by Hallam that the morality of Chivalry [1905: chivalry] was coarse, that gallantry implied illicit love. The effect of Chivalry [1905: chivalry] on the weaker vessel was food for reflection on the part of philosophers, M. Guizot contending that Feudalism and Chivalry [1905: feudalism and chivalry] wrought wholesome influences, while Mr. Spencer tells us with a great degree of authority that [1905: while Mr. Spencer tells us that] in a militant society (and what is feudal society if not militant! [1905: militant?]) the position of woman is necessarily low, improving only as society becomes more industrial. Now is M. Guizot's theory true of Japan, or is Mr. Spencer's? In reply I might aver that both are right. The military class in Japan was restricted to the samurai, comprising nearly 2,000,000 souls. [1905: nearly two million souls.] Above them were the military nobles, the daimio, and the court nobles, or kugé; these higher, [1905: and the court nobles, the kugé--these higher,] sybaritical nobles being fighters only in name. Below them were masses of the common people--mechanics, tradesmen, and peasants--whose life was devoted to arts of peace. Thus what Herbert Spencer gives as the characteristics of a militant type of society may be said to have been exclusively confined to the samurai class, while those of the industrial type were applicable to the classes above and below it. This is well illustrated by the position of woman; for in no class did she experience less freedom than among the samurai. Strange to say, the lower the social class--as, for instance, among small artisans--the more equal was the position of husband and wife. Among the higher nobility, too, the difference in the relations of the sexes was less marked, chiefly because there were few occasions to bring the differences of sex into prominence, the leisurely nobleman having become literally effeminate. Thus Spencer's dictum was fully exemplified in Old Japan. As to Guizot's, those who read his presentation of a feudal community will remember that he had the higher nobility especially under consideration, so that his generalization applies to the daimio and the kugé.
I shall be guilty of gross injustice to historical truth if my words give one a very low opinion of the status of woman under Bushido. I do not hesitate to state that she was not treated as man's equal; but until we learn [1905: but, until we learn] to discriminate between differences and inequalities, there will always be misunderstandings upon this subject.
When we think in how few respects men are equal among themselves, e.g., before law courts or voting polls, it seems idle to trouble ourselves with a discussion on the equality of sexes. When, the American Declaration of Independence said that all men were created equal, it had no reference to their mental or physical gifts: [1905: physical gifts;] it simply repeated what Ulpian long ago announced, that before the law all men are equal. Legal rights were in this case the measure of their equality. Were the law the only scale by which to measure the position of woman in a community, it would be as easy to tell where she stands as to give her avoirdupois in pounds and ounces. But the question is: Is there a correct standard in comparing the relative social position of the sexes? Is it right, is it enough to [1905: is it enough, to] compare woman's status to man's, as the value of silver is compared with that of gold, and give the ratio numerically? Such a method of calculation excludes from consideration the most important kind of value which a human being possesses, namely, the intrinsic. In view of the manifold variety of requisites for making each sex happy, [1905: for making each sex fulfil its earthly mission,] the standard to be adopted in measuring its relative position must be of a composite character; or to borrow from economic language, it must be a multiple standard. Bushido had a standard of its own and it was binomial. It tried to guage [1905: gauge] the value of woman on the battle-field and by the hearth. There she counted for very little; here for all. The treatment accorded her corresponded to this double measurement:--as a social-political unit but little, [1905: as a social-political unit not much,] while as wife and mother she received highest respect and deepest affection. Why among [1905: Why, among] so military a nation as the Romans, were their matrons so highly venerated? Was it not because they were matrona, mothers? Not as fighters or law-givers, [1905: lawgivers,] but as their mothers did men bow before them. So with us. While fathers and husbands were absent in field or camp, the government of the household was left entirely in the hands of mothers and wives. The education of the young, even their defence, was entrusted to them. The warlike exercises of women, of which I have spoken, were primarily to enable them to intelligently direct [1905: intelligently to direct] and follow the education of their children.
I have noticed a rather superficial notion prevailing among half-informed foreigners, that because the common Japanese expression for one's wife is "my rustic wife" and the like, she is despised and held in little esteem. When it is told that such phrases as "my foolish father," "my swinish son," "my awkward self," etc., are in current use, is not the answer clear enough?
To me it seems that our idea of marital union goes in some ways further [1905: farther] than the so-called Christian. "Man and woman shall be one flesh." The individualism of the Anglo-Saxon cannot let go of the idea that husband and wife are two persons;--hence when they disagree, their separate rights are recognized, and when they agree, they exhaust their vocabulary in all sorts of silly pet-names and nonsensical blandishments. It sounds highly irrational to our ears, when a husband or wife speaks to a third party of his other half--better or worse--as being lovely, bright, kind, and what not. Is it good taste to speak of one's self as "my bright self," "my lovely disposition," and so forth? We think praising one's own wife or one's own husband is praising a part of one's own self, and self-praise is regarded, to say the least, as bad taste among us,--and I hope, among Christian nations too! I have diverged at some length because the polite debasement of one's consort was a usage most in vogue among the samurai.
The Teutonic races beginning their tribal life with a superstitious awe of the fair sex (though this is really wearing off in Germany!), and the Americans beginning their social life under the painful consciousness of the numerical insufficiency of women (who, now increasing, are I am afraid fast losing [1905: are, I am afraid, fast losing] the prestige their Colonial [1905: colonial] mothers enjoyed), the respect man pays to woman has in Western civilization become the chief standard of morality. But in the martial ethics of Bushido, the main water-shed dividing the good and the bad was sought elsewhere. It was located along the line of duty which bound man to his own divine soul and then to other souls in the five relations have mentioned in the early part of this paper. Of these we have brought to our reader's notice, Loyalty, [1905: Of these, we have brought to our reader's notice loyalty,] the relation between one man as vassal and another as lord. Upon the rest, I have only dwelt incidentally as occasion presented itself; because they were not peculiar to Bushido. Being founded on natural affections, they could but be common to all mankind. [1905: Being founded on natural affections, they could but be common to all mankind, though in some particulars they may have been accentuated by conditions which its teachings induced. In this connection there comes before me the peculiar strength and tenderness of friendship between man and man, which often added to the bond of brotherhood a romantic attachment doubtless intensified by the separation of the sexes in youth,--a separation which denied to affection the natural channel open to it in Western chivalry or in the free intercourse of Anglo-Saxon lands. I might fill pages with Japanese versions of the story of Damon and Pythias or Achilles and Patroclos, or tell in Bushido parlance of ties as sympathetic as those which bound David and Jonathan.] [1905: new paragraph] It is not surprising, however, that the virtues and teachings unique in the Precepts of Knighthood did not remain circumscribed to the military class. This makes us hasten to the consideration of [1905: This makes us hasten to the consideration of the influence of Bushido on the nation at large.] <continue>
Given that Nitobe was married to a Quaker woman, discussing the role of women in Bushido must have presented him with a deep personal challenge. Would it be going too far to attribute the replacement in 1905 of the four sentences in the 1900 version beginning with "Her life was a perpetual self-sacrifice." as partly a result of discomfort with the expression "honorable slavery"?
Nitobe's folk etymologies are suspect, and neither of the English words he mentions has a clear origin. "Wife" may ultimately have evolved from a Tocharian word meaning "female pudenda," and "daughter" may simply derive from an Indo-European root word meaning exactly the same thing.
In English, "Kitchen, church, and children" -- a slogan that began to appear in Germany in the 1890s and that was referred to as the "Three Ks." The slogan is often attributed to Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859-1941); Wikipedia mentions an article referring to a slogan that appeared in the Westminster Gazette of London in August 1899.
Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-1768). His The History of Ancient Art was published in 1763. Nitobe may have arrived at this quotation at secondhand through Walter Pater (1839-1894), who devoted a chapter to Winckelmann in The Renaissance: Studies in Art and Poetry (originally Studies in the History of the Renaissance, 1873). Pater cites the following passage (quoted from the online version at the Victorian Web website) as "characteristic":
"As it is confessedly the beauty of man which is to be conceived under one general idea, so I have noticed that those who are observant of beauty only in women, and are moved little or not at all by the beauty of men, seldom have an impartial, vital, inborn instinct for beauty in art. To such persons the beauty of Greek art will ever seem wanting, because its supreme beauty is rather male than female. But the beauty of art demands a higher sensibility than the beauty of nature, because the beauty of art, like tears shed at a play, gives no pain, is without life, and must be awakened and repaired by culture. Now, as the spirit of culture is much more ardent in youth than in manhood, the instinct of which I am speaking must be exercised and directed to what is beautiful, before that age is reached, at which one would be afraid to confess that one had no taste for it."
The social and literary historian Norton Rictor has a page on Winckelmann at his Gay History and Literature website.
Lecky, History of European Morals, II. p. 383. [1905: Lecky, History of European Morals, ii., p. 383.] [Nitobe's note]
Virginia was a legendary Roman maiden who was killed by her father to save her from seduction by a corrupt official.
Perpetua, from the city of Carthage, was a young Christian woman resolutely steadfast in her faith who was martyred in Rome at the beginning of the third century. Cornelia was one of the virgins serving the Roman goddess Vesta. She was falsely accused of being unchaste and buried alive in 90 AD by Emperor Domitian (51-96).
For a very sensible explanation of nudity and bathing see Finck's Lotos Time in Japan, pp. 286-297. [Nitobe's note, 1905, uncorrected] Henry Theophilus Finck (1854-1926) was an American music critic who published his travelogue Lotos-Time in Japan in 1895. The chapter "Nudity and Bathing" occupies pp. 286-297 in the edition available from the Internet Archive.
Said to be the farewell poem of a woman known as the Wife of Torii Yoshichirō, whose father and husband were both killed in 1573 fighting against Oda Nobunaga, the first of the great unifiers of Japan. This attribution is sourced by Naramoto Tatsuya, in Bushidō (Mikasa Shoin, 1997), p. 206, to the 1939 biographical dictionary Dai-Nihon josei jinmei jisho (Dictionary of Japanese Women's Names), compiled by Takamure Itsue. Information in Japanese about the Wife of Torii Yoshichirō can be found here.
The Nitobe Memorial Museum has compiled an index to all of the poems that appear in Nitobe's collected works (the index is in Japanese only), but this poem has not been given a source.
Genesis 2:18, in the King James Version, says, "And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." ["helpmeet" = "helpmate"]
"Adzuma" is likely a misreading of "Atoma," also called Kesa, whose story is related related in the military tale Genpei jōsuiki (The Rise and Fall of the Genji and Heike), an extended variant of Heike monogatari (The Tale of the Heike, dating from the 13th century). The story was retold by Akutagawa Ryūnosuke in his "Kesa and Morito" (1918).
Kimura Shigenari (?-1615) was daimyo of the Nagato domain, served Toyotomi Hideyori (Hideyoshi's son), and died in the Summer Campaign of the Siege of Osaka. Naramoto Tatsuya (Bushidō, p. 206) refers to the biographical dictionary edited by Takamure Itsue titled Dai-Nihon josei jinmei jisho (Dictionary of Japanese Women's Names) that relates the story of Shigenari's young wife committing suicide so that her husband would not have any lingering regrets about facing death in his final battle. Naramoto states that the dictionary cites such sources as the essay Hannichi kanwa (A Half-Day's Quiet Conversation, by Ōta Nanbo [1749-1823], but that he has not been able to confirm the story himself.
Kōu (Xiang Yu, also known as Kō Seki [Xiang Ji], (232-202 BC), was a rebel leader of Chu who helped bring down the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) but was subsequently defeated in battle by Liu Bang (Emperor Gaozu, 256 or 247-195 BC), founder of the Han Dynasty. Xian Yu's concubine, Consort Yu, committed suicide to prevent Xian Yu from being distracted in his struggle against Liu Bang.
A reference to Minamoto no Yoshinaka (1154-1184) -- a cousin of Minamoto no Yoritomo (1147-1199) -- who drove the Heike clan from Kyoto but subsequently incurred Yoritomo's displeasure and was killed in battle by his other cousins Minamoto no Yoshitsune (1159-1189) and Minamoto no Yorinori (1156-1193).
In Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776-1788), Volume V, Chapter LVIII (The First Crusade, Part III), English historian Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) calls a knight the "champion of God and the ladies," immediately adding his mortification at yoking the two terms together.
Henry Hallam (1777-1859) was an English historian known for his The View of the State of Europe during the Middle Ages (1818) and Constitutional History of England (1827). Hallam, who is quoted in one of Nitobe's epigraphs, discusses chivalry in the second volume of The View of the State of Europe during the Middle Ages, Chapter IX, Part II. Several editions of this history may be found in the Internet Archive.
François Guizot (1787-1874) was a French historian and pollical figure who supported constitutional monarchy. His works include Histoire de la civilisation en Europe, (General History of Civilization in Europe, 1828), and Histoire de la civilisation en France (The History of Civilization in France, 1829–32). The precise source of Nitobe's reference is unclear, but in "Lecture IV: The Feudal System" in the 1838 first American edition of C.S. Henry's translation of General History of Civilization in Europe, Guizot writes as follows:
Take a glance, for example, at the general history of feudalism, from the tenth to the thirteenth centuries, and say, is it not impossible to deny that it exercised a vast and salutary influence upon the progress of individual man—upon the development of his sentiments, his disposition, and his ideas? Where can we open the history of this period, without discovering a crowd of noble sentiments, of splendid achievements, of beautiful developments of humanity, evidently generated in the bosom of feudal life. Chivalry, which in reality bears scarcely the least resemblance to feudalism, was nevertheless its offspring. It was feudalism which gave birth to that romantic thirst and fondness for all that is noble, generous, and faithful—for that sentiment of honor, which still raises its voice in favor of the system by which it was nursed.
An online version of the text of the 1896 American edition is available from the Online Library of Liberty.
Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) was a British philosopher and sociologist who attempted to apply Darwinism to philosophy and the study of society. In Spencer's view, sympathy derived from humankind's "innate moral sense." An introduction to Spencer can be found at the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Spencer discusses the militant society in Chapter XVIII of Political Institutions (1876); the position of women is mentioned there in Section 574 (where Spencer also refers back to Section 327).
The second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence -- adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776 -- reads "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Ulpian (also called Ulpianus, Domitus Ulpianus, or Gnaeus Domitius Annius Ulpianus, c. 170-228) was a Roman jurist whose writings greatly influenced the formulation of Justinian's 6th-century Civil Code of Justice (Corpus Juris Civilis). The part of the code known as the Digest quotes from the treatise On Sabinus, in which Ulpian wrote the following (Digest 50.17.32, from the 1932 translation by Samuel P Scott):
So far as the Civil Law is concerned, slaves are not considered persons, but this is not the case according to natural law, because natural law regards all men as equal.
Since the first English translations of the Digest appear to have been published in 1904 and 1909 (and only continue through Book XV), it may be that Nitobe used as a reference the two-volume Latin text edited by Theodor Mommsen that was published in Berlin in 1868-70.
Matthew 19:3-6, which in the King James Version reads as follows:
3) The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? 4) And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5) And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6) Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
This passage itself alludes to Genesis 2:24: "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh."
I refer to those days when girls were imported from England and given in marriage for so many pounds of tobacco, etc. [Nitobe's note]
Damon and Pythias
According to Greek legend, the tyrant Dionysius I of Syracuse imprisoned one of these two friends (often said to be Pythius) on grounds of treason, sentencing him to death. When the condemned man asked leave to set his affairs in order, the other friend offered to serve as a hostage against the possibility that an escape might be attempted. In one common version of the story, Dionysius was so impressed when the first man kept his word and returned to face execution that he allowed both men to go free.
Achilles and Patroclos
In the Iliad, the affection held toward Patroclos by the Greek hero Achilles provides the motivation for his return to battle in the Trojan War after Patroclos dies while pretending to be Achilles. The exact nature of the friendship between the two warriors is disputed.
David and Jonathan
As found in the Bible in 1 Samuel 17-20, Jonathan -- eldest son of King Saul -- forms a covenant with David after the latter has killed Goliath. When out of fear and jealousy Saul determines to kill David, Jonathan at first manages to talk his father out of it, but he is unable to assuage his father a second time and instead makes it possible for David to escape.