It is an antique philosophical and ethical system originally from China, which have become the cornerstone of its culture, created by the great Chinese philosopher Kong Zi in the 6th century B.C.
Confucianism is supported on the teaching of Confucius (Latinized name of Kong Zi, 551-479 BC); the oldest philosopher, moralist, statesman and educationalist of China; which writings are collected under the name of the Analects.
He established a series of moral, political and social values, principally focused on human morality and good deeds, in a time dominated by feudalism and small kingdoms (Warring States Period) and when people was in constant war, feuding and social disharmony.
During his lifetime he was ignored by men in power. However, soon after his death, Confucius became the most influential philosopher of China, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam and other places in Eastern Asia.
According to Confucianism, a suitable training in the academic classics and a strict adherence to the rules of propriety, including ancestor-worship, is basic in order to create a superior man, who could attain a higher level of moral which would, in turn, assure a permanent and righteous social order.
In its political side, Confucianism asks for a most sophisticated moral sense to be ruler. A good ruler is who practices the worthy ways of his ancestors and is exemplary in terms of the five virtues: benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom and trustworthiness. If all rulers do the same, society would naturally be in harmony and force -the last sanction- would be needless.
Confucianism doesn't postulate a higher deity or God. Man is able to reach perfection by himself, given a superior leader whose virtues are reflected in the deeds of his subjects. Five hierarchical relations are required for a well-organized society, showing a rigid structure of duty and obedience to authority: ruler to ruled; son to father; younger brother to older, wife to husband and friend to friend (the unique equal relationship).
By 2nd century B.C. the Han Dynasty established Confucianism as the official system of government. This decision prevailed for two thousand years -until 1912-, when Confucianism was rejected by the Republic of China and later by the People's Republic of China, because it promoted bureaucracy, corruption and the exploitation of the landlords who ruled based on Confucian system.
Since 2004, Confucianism is reoccupying its rightful position in China, due to it is now supported by the Communist Government. The Chinese state is creating institutes for Confucian education in the country and in other parts of the world and their number currently is over 400.
Because of the emphasis on social unity, Confucianism has helped to keep China free of the intolerance and religious fanaticism. Today, many East Asian countries promote the “Asian values” based on Confucius teachings. Note that Confucius has always been honored just as a extraordinary educator and sage, never as a god.