MUSINGS / Sept. 2, 2017

The Yomiuri Shimbun The following is a translation of the Henshu Techo column from The Yomiuri Shimbun’s Sept. 2 issue.

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The Koyo Gunkan, a record of the Takeda clan’s military exploits believed to be written by the chief vassal of Takeda Shingen (1521-1573), refers to four characteristics of a general who destroys his own country. In addition to “foolishness” and “cowardliness,” “being too strong” and “being too smart” are also said to apply.

A general who is too strong excels in wisdom but has a violent temperament. Because he is always aggressive, he drives his loyal retainers to die in battle and only has “monkey-like samurai” around him. Takeda Katsuyori (1546-1582) is noted as an example. A general who is too smart is conceited. He simply relies on his own wits for whatever he does and is suspicious of his retainers, inviting stern antagonism as a result.

This probably implies that it is essential for a leader to have a balanced character.

A certain person also experienced failure in the past as a general. I’m talking about new Democratic Party leader Seiji Maehara. Although his excellent abilities were acknowledged by everybody, he was forced to quit as president of the then Democratic Party of Japan due to his poor handling of party affairs. Maehara stressed, “Because I failed, I know how painful and fearful it is.” His ability to follow up on his words will be tested, especially at a time when the party’s fate is at stake.

“Listen carefully to ordinary people’s criticism and be patient no matter how upset you are.” The Koyo Gunkan also includes such a saying. First and foremost, Maehara had better start doggedly facing down his party, which has been dubbed a “wayward collection” of people with different political backgrounds. Speech

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