The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~


Sunday, February 08, 2009

Wind, Forest, Fire, Mountain (風林火山)


Fuurinkazan means Wind, Forest, Fire, Mountain in Japanese. This four character proverb is quoted from Sun Tzu's Art of War: "Move as swift as a wind, stay as silent as forest, attack as fierce as fire, undefeatable defense like a mountain."

It was adopted as the motto of the great samurai warlord, Takeda Shingen; the Tiger of Kai.

Takeda Shingen was the subject of Akira Kurosawa in his movie, Kagemusha (Shadow Warrior). The premise of the movie is while his domain is surrounded by enemies, Takeda falls ill and dies. A common thief who has an identical appearence to Takeda is forced to assume his identiy until the danger subsides. At a key meeting with underlings who weren't in on the secret, where they are looking to the conterfeit Takeda for guidance, the imposter simply sits there. One of the advisors who IS in on the secret refers to the four character proverb stating that they should follow their leader's apparent example, and cuts the meeting short.

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