Ji Kangzi (季康子) is the posthumous title given to Jisun Fei (季孫肥), the chief minister of Lu between 491 and 468 BCE and head of the Jisun (季孫) clan, one of the notorious Three Families that ran the state. Although Confucius criticized him heavily for disrespecting ritual ceremonies and introducing a field tax, Ji Kangzi invited him to return to Lu from his long exile at the request of his counselor Ran Qiu (冉求), who was also a follower of the sage.
Ji Kangzi asked: “What should I do to make the people respectful, loyal, and diligent?” Confucius said: “Treat them with dignity, and they will be respectful. Be filial to your parents and kind to the young, and they will be loyal. Promote those who are capable and teach those who are not, and they will be diligent.”
Ji Kangzi asked: “Is Zilu fit to be appointed to government office?” Confucius said: “Zilu is resolute. Why isn’t he fit to be appointed to government office?” Ji Kangzi asked again: “Is Zigong fit to be appointed to government office?” Confucius said: “Zigong is intelligent. Why isn’t he fit to be appointed to government office?” Ji Kangzi asked again: “Is Ran Qiu fit to be appointed to government office?” Confucius said: “Ran Qiu has many talents. Why isn’t he fit to be appointed to government office?”
When the head of the Ji Family sent an invitation to Min Ziqian to become governor of the town of Bi, he replied to the messenger: “Please convey my regrets. If anyone comes with a second invitation, I will be obliged to go and live on the other side of the River Wen.”
When Ji Kangzi sent him some medicine, Confucius bowed as he accepted the gift but said: “Since I don’t know what this substance is, I dare not taste it.”
Ji Kangzi asked: “Which of your disciples loves learning?” Confucius replied: “There was Yan Hui who loved learning. Unfortunately, his life was cut short and he died. Now there is no one who loves learning as much as he did.”