Confucius (551–479 BCE) was a Chinese philosopher, politician, and teacher. The ideas of Confucius were developed from the teachings of his predecessors (the Five Classics), as well as from his own experience. He emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. In China he is often called Kongzi and in Japan he is known as Kōshi.
According to Confucius, the individual is more important than the state and that morality is the key to a harmonious society.
Confucius believed that if people followed their hearts and minds they would be good citizens who obeyed laws and behaved morally. He believed that a stable government could be achieved only through an educated populace with high moral standards. He taught that a ruler should set up laws so that people would do what was right rather than what was wrong, thus making them good citizens who would obey laws because they agreed with them, not because they were forced to do so by fear of punishment or shame from breaking them. A ruler should also try to win the respect of his subjects by acting justly himself, showing compassion for their needs and speaking honestly about difficult issues without hiding behind false promises or flattery.
Confucianism influenced many aspects of Chinese life for centuries after his death, including government policy, education and family values. It was not until the 20th century that it fell out of favor with the Communist Party in China which saw it as old-fashioned and elitist.