Toranaga: the wisest daimyo in Shogun - Deepstash
Toranaga: the wisest daimyo in Shogun

Toranaga: the wisest daimyo in Shogun

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 Shogun is a novel written by James Clavell and was recently adapted in a film series by FX. It is about the battle for power between the daimyos. Well, it is a lot more than that, but that's the main theme. Proven through history, not the strongest survive, but the smartest, most adaptable to the situation.

One should be willing to learn from anything, be it from movies, books or everyday life. Well, in Shogun there are many hidden wisdom gems that we can learn from.


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Do not show your true intentions to your 'enemies'

Keep your enemies guessing and it is even better if you make them guess wrong. It is really hard to win a battle, if you do not know your enemies true intentions. And the opposite is also true, it is much easier to defeat an opponent if you know his moves in advance. That's why you should strive to conceal your next moves to your opponent. The surprise will increase your chances of winning by a lot. Toranaga is a master of this, he never really showed his true intentions to anyone, even to his closest people.


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Do not make emotional decisions

You should strive to make decisions that are logical, instead of emotional. Emotional decisions are rarely the correct ones. Instead try to look the situation from above. Play the situation, but remove yourself from the main role. Instead put some random person, but do not change the circumstances. Now, ask yourself what is the best move for the random person you've just placed. What should he do? How should he react? This helps a lot in making your decisions rational instead of emotional. Toranaga never really made an emotional decision, even if it was related to his closest circle.


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Plan in advance

No matter the situation, plan it in advance. Imagine you are playing chess, the best players are the ones who can plan (correctly) the most moves ahead. The better you are at 'predicting' the most likely outcomes, the more likely you are to win. Make a simulation about the situation, imagine that you do X, how will things play out? What will the counterparty do? What's your move then and so on. Usually if you are able to plan 2 moves ahead, that will make a big change. 5 is ideal. Toranaga made sure that everything was planned out to the closest detail.


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Think of the best moves

Let's bring back the chess concept. You should not only plan for what your opponent will do next, but also plan your best response to this move. Well, if we are to go one step beyond, you should make such moves that your opponent doesn't have any good options. No matter what he does, you are still in better position. This was perfectly played out by Toranaga when he sent Mariko to Osaka. No matter how Ishido would have responded to the request of freeing the 'hostages', Toranaga would have gained an advantage. He simply gains better position WHEN his opponent responds (no matter HOW).


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Let's recap:

  1. Do not show your true intentions to your enemies
  2. Do not make emotional decisions
  3. Plan in advance
  4. Make the best moves

That's only some of the lessons that could be extracted from this gigantic wisdom of power play.


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Notes that will make you smarter


What can we learn from the wisest daimyo in Shogun: Toranaga?

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