ASAKURA TOSHIKAGE

From the Toshikage Jushichikajo 1480

 

  • Do not give a command post or an administrative position to anyone who lacks ability, even if his family has served the Asakura family for generations.

  • Post intelligence agents (metsuke) in both near and distant provinces, even if the world may be at peace. In so doing you can spy on the conditions of these domains without interruption.

  • Do not excessively covet swords and daggers made by famous masters. Even if you own a sword or dagger worth 10,000 pieces (hiki, equivalent of 10 mon), it can be overcome by 100 spears each worth 100 pieces. Therefore, use the 10,000 pieces to procure 100 spears, and arm 100 men with them. You can in this manner defend yourself in time of war.

  • Those retainers who lack special talent or positions, but who are steadfast must be treated with compassion and understanding. Those who are effeminate may still be used as attendants or messengers if their demeanor is outstanding, and they must not be dismissed lightly. However, if they lack both [steadfastness and good deportment], then it is useless to retain them.

  • Regrettable is the practice of selecting an auspicious day or considering a lucky direction in order to win a battle or take a castle, and even shift the time and date accordingly. No matter how auspicious the day may be, if you set sail your boat in a storm or confront a great host alone, your effort will come to naught. No matter how inauspicious the day may be, if you can discern between truth and falsehood, prepare for the orthodox and surprise attacks secretly, be flexible in all situations, and depend on a good stratagem, then your victory is assured.

  • Do not permit any castle other than that of the Asakura to be built in this province. Move all high-ranking retainers without exception to Ichijo-ga-tani (the Asakura castle). Permit their deputies (Daikan) and lower officials (gesu or shitazukasa) to remain in their districts and villages [to manage their estates].