Analysis: Tangen's Lies
By Bayushi James

I am sure that there are those that feel that I have no right to even discuss this work. There are even those who would say I don't even have the right to continue to use the Bayushi name. But the supposed sins of my past are not relevant here. Yes, I remain an outsider. But whatever sin many believe I may have committed, the blood that runs in my veins is still that of a Scorpion. Take my home… Take my wife… Take my name… even take the very breath from my lungs. I give them all to you, smiling. They still cannot change what I am, what I have done, and what I have not done.
To hopefully avoid committing any further disgrace to my family, I will keep my discussions as short as I can. Words can form a deadly chain; one an enemy will gladly twist around your throat. The key is to carefully measure your words, so as to avoid hanging yourself with them.

* * *

To my lord and master, the honorable Hantei Goshino,
One year ago, your eminence commanded me write a treatise on treachery, duplicity, and espionage. The day the command was given, my pen was put to paper, and my thoughts flowed freely into the ink. However, as I spent the year preparing my work, I saw another treatise published that gave me concern, for this work contained more treachery, duplicity, and simple lies than I could ever compile.
As the most humble servant of my lord, it is my duty to warn him against those who would mislead him with pretty lies and treachery. I tell you now that there are many, including those who would give you counsel.
Only recently have I seen a document that claims to give the reader a sense of what it means to be a leader. I tell you now that this document is filled with nothing but falsehoods, fabrications, half-truths, and lies. It is the intent of this document to root out those prevaricators and shove them into the light, where they can be seen as they truly are.
If some find offense with my words let me say that the intent of this document is to bring wisdom to the Emperor, to show him the errors in others' "wisdom", In addition to educating him on the nature of treacherous men so he may root out the duplicity and kill it before this bitter fruit has chance to spread its seeds.
Find fault with me, then, and not my work.

* * *

Wisdom can be found in many places. Often it is not laid out before you as a banquet, but is buried in a corner, out of sight. All that is needed for one to benefit from it is to unearth it, and to be able to distinguish between a worthless trifle and a true pearl.

* * *

Lies and Truth:
Akodo speaks so eloquently of the virtue of honesty. "No harm can come of the truth", he says, "and a kills someone in the world.
If a lie were to save the Emperor, and the truth doom him, I would ask the Lion what he would choose.
A lie does indeed kill someone in the world, but what if it saved the Emperor? Who would not give his life for the Son of Heaven?
If Lord Akodo is unwilling to do so, I certainly shall take his place.

* * *

I fail to see the use of the truth, as it pales in the eyes of a man who does not want to believe it.
If a man is accused of stealing his enemy's gold, the truth matters precious little. The accused's enemy cares not for truth, whether he stole a fortune, a grain of rice, or nothing more than the air he breathes. He simply wants to see him burn.

* * *

On the Nature of Leadership:
There are some that would have my lord believe that a leader must be virtuous. Generosity breeds contempt. If a man has everything but the throne, what does he desire? He desires what all men desire: To obtain what he does not have.

* * *

Leaders come in all kinds: Those who lead by example, those who lead with a heavy hand, and those who would just as soon lead their charges over a cliff. Beware them all, for each and every one of them can be a traitor, and certainly will be, given the chance and the incentive. Virtue merely serves to mask their true intentions further.

* * *

Give Fools What They Want:
Let an ambitious man dig his own grave.
Let the general appeal to the people, then watch his own foolishness doom him. You appear to be a beneficent ruler, and he becomes a martyr whose memory can be called upon for sympathy.

* * *

Ambition is nothing but an embellished term for overzealousness. Any man who is guilty of one is guilty of the other. Any general who is "ambitious" enough to take his post so seriously as to believe himself beyond reproach deserves whatever death comes to him.

* * *

Cruel But Just:
Fear is more powerful than love, and the most desired emotion.
Lords who are loved can fail, and like a lover, a lord who disappoints his people, will earn nothing but hatred.
A lord who is feared for his abject cruelty, however, is never spoken against. What's more, a lord who is cruel but just is always admired.

* * *

Cruelty is like a drug. In measured doses, it can keep the populace blissfully willing to follow your every word, unwaveringly and unquestioningly. Too little or too much will merely serve to bring leader and leaded crashing down upon each other.

* * *

The Peasantry:
You may always trust a peasant over a nobleman.
The nobleman is ambitious.
The peasant only wants to eat.
In other words, the nobleman has betrayal in his blood, while the peasant only wishes not to be betrayed.

* * *

I have already spoken of ambition. I have no desire to speak of it further.

* * *

What You Do and Do Not Give:
A man will feel obliged for everything you give him.
He will also feel obliged for all that you have not taken.
This is human nature.
If a man feels obliged to you for something you have not given, is that not still a gift?
And if you give a gift, does he not owe you something in return?

* * *

A gift can be many things. It could be a piece of land, a pretty bauble, a simple kind word, or the right to live another day. Be ever aware of this. I assure you, your enemies always are.

* * *

Force and Fraud:
Akodo tells you: "Pure force cannot succeed alone. One needs strategy as well."
I tell you: If you are wise, fraud alone is necessary.
As noble Akodo has said, "It is right and proper to use fraud on the battlefield, for it saves the lives of those who follow us."
I say this: If a man has used fraud against me, I consider him a wretch and a scoundrel, and I will not adhere to the rules that he ignores. I will not put myself at the disadvantage of clinging to "morals" while he takes the advantage of free action.
The world is full of evil men, my lord.
To refuse an advantage because it is "underhanded" is not only disrespectful to those whom you protect and lead, it is also the most selfish act I can think of.

* * *

An advantage is an advantage, however ethical it may be. And ethics are for the weak. One man's shackle is another man's freedom. Denying oneself that freedom is foolish.

* * *

Promises:
It is never shameful to break a promise made under duress of force. If the source of duress is killed, the promise never need be kept. If the promise is is broken publicly, you reveal the source of the duress, you are made a hero for your display of honesty and courage, and he is a villain for his cowardice.

* * *

Desperate men love to lord their power over others, for fear of being found out to be the cowardly shells they are. They usually find that their power is fleeting, however, and the worthless threats… I mean, "promises" they ask to be kept are as worthless as their lives. Honor neither.

* * *

My Enemy's Enemy:
You do not need to be stronger than your enemy; you need to be stronger than his enemy. If my enemy is the Lion and his enemy is the Crane, I should crush the crane. Thereby, my enemy owes me a favor.

* * *

To be stronger than a man's enemy, one must be able to tell who your enemy's enemy is. Watch carefully, listen carefully, and learn accordingly. Know him as well as you know yourself.

* * *

Threats:
A weak man uses threats. A powerful man has no need for threats. If you confront a man with the threat of force, and he concedes, it is because he fears you. The threat was unnecessary.
Never threaten an enemy. It will anger him. A man who has been threatened feels the need to do something to erase the stain on his honor.
If you have the force to destroy an enemy, destroy him.
A living enemy is dangerous.
A dead enemy is dead.
Better to have a graveyard of dead enemies, than a single angry one.

* * *

Dead enemies are seeds in the ground. Sometimes they grow new, thornier problems that bear even more bitter fruit. Weed one's garden properly, and this is not the case.

* * *

Pity:
Pity is not a virtue.
To pause when causing my enemy pain is weakness.
He would not do so for me, and if he did, I would smite him for his stupidity.

* * *

I asked for pity once. All it gained me was getting tossed out in the cold. What use do I have for pity, then? To appeal to the stupid, who will listen when it is asked for.

* * *

Greed:
The generous lord bestows gifts- and must raise taxes so he can afford them.
The greedy lord, however, grabs land and treasure when he can- thus removing the need to overtax his people.

* * *

Everyone strives to be wealthy. But, when a man has the power to become wealthy, it is viewed as abuse of power… by those who have none. Those that feel that use of power to gain wealth is wrong need to ask themselves if they would not do the same thing themselves.

* * *

The Hatred of My Enemy:
I do not fear a man who hates me openly, for that is all he is capable of doing. If he were capable of causing me harm in any other way, he would do it. No, a man who is hostile to me in the court is of no concern to me. He is weak and his words are easily ignored.

* * *

The loud lion will never catch its prey, for he has given away his every advantage. If a man is silent, his foe must wonder if he plans to do him ill, and must remain on the defensive, trying to fend off what he cannot see.

* * *

Never Pause For Explanation:
It is always better to focus on what is to be done than what is to be said. Make your actions swift and certain. Explanation can always follow, and may even take days. If your mind is uncertain about what is to be done, you will falter. But once it has been done, you will find the Fortunes always provide for explanation.

* * *

Leave your methods shrouded in mystery, and you are a legend. Explain your methods, and you are a man.

* * *

Kill A Man's Wife:
Kill an ambitious man's wife and his life will turn to revenge… and away from ambition. All his focus will be on you… and not on those around him.
This is how you kill an ambitious man.
This is also how you kill any man.

* * *

Replace an enemy's obsession that hinders you with one that doesn't. Simple. Elegant.

* * *

Two Men at the River:
Two men, in the heart of winter, on either side of a river.
One has flint, the other steel. And neither of them are willing to cross the cold water.
So are we all.

* * *

We all have something someone else wants. If they want it bad enough, they will find a way to cross the river. And then you can ask your price.

* * *

True Treachery:
Never presume a man is incapable of treachery. If one man is capable of it, all men are capable of it. But you do not need to fear all men. You only need concern yourself with men of cunning, strong heart, will, and determination. These men are capable of true treachery. Other men are only capable of low treachery.
Weak men are not capable of true treachery; neither are men of low means. Only those who are brave are capable of it. The cowardly do not have the stomach for it. Men of weakness will always wait for another to take risks. This is the way of the world.
Great men may employ weak men to spill blood for them, however. Even still, do not confuse the hand for the blade; it still belongs to a man of means and will. It takes power to convince another man to take risks.
More than anything, you must fear those upon whom you have bestowed great favor, those you hold close and capable men of courage and will. Do not fear men who are distant, or who bear you ill will. The desire to rule has always been greater than their desire for revenge.

* * *

Even cunning men can be outwitted. Even men of strong heart can be discouraged. Even men of strong will can be broken. And even men of determination can be disheartened. And the rest can be bought.

* * *

One Calamity Is Invitation For Another:
If-upon observing one's enemy- he makes a blatantly catastrophic error, assume he is drawing you in. no man makes public his errors.
Never take opportunity upon the misfortune of another. Do not advance on what cannot be hidden; it is of no value to you. Only advance upon mistakes that could have been hidden.

* * *

To use a feint, you must know a feint. If you cannot recognize a trap, you are unfit to set one.

* * *

Rooting Out Treachery:
If you fear a man is guilty of treachery, place him with your lieutenants and treat him like a dog. Soon, he will begin to seek out others to conspires against you.
This is how you root out a rat.

* * *

Beware. If the man has already forged his alliances, they may find this to be the chance to move upon you. Then you may have caught your rat, but it is to know avail; the rat has already caught you.
Cut away the root before the weed bears fruit. Then the rest will wither and die.

* * *

Contingencies:
Many generals and daimyos spend days figuring their plans, calculating every chance, preparing for the course of events. But how little time they spend preparing the contingent plans.
Contingencies are part of the plan.
One fly spoils the ointment.
Spend little time on the plan, for the only plan, for the only thing that is certain is that something will go wring.
Spend all your time on contingencies.

* * *

One should not go without planning, but one should not remain ignorant of the enemy's plan, either. If you are always ready for a fire, your house will never burn.

* * *

Men Act Slowly When They Think They Have Time:
There are two ways to allow a man to make a decision. The first is to let him brood over it. The second is not even give him a breath.
Our way is the second way.
When men are forced to make decisions at a moment's notice, they make mistakes. When they have time to think, they have time to sort out the details and calm any foul temper they may be carrying.
Therefore, I say force a man to make a decision without a moment of thought.
And force him to do it in public.

* * *

Time is something to be respected, and never wasted. If one can make a gain, do it. Don't hesitate. But preach the opposite.

* * *

Peasants and Soldiers:
Peasants do not understand what it means to be a soldier. They do not understand bushido. To them, our ways are foreign ways. They are a simple people and will never understand us.
Alienation causes fear.
Men strike at what they fear.
This is how revolts are formed. Not among lieutenants, but among farmers. For every twenty samurai there are two hundred farmers.
Two hundred angry men- be they farmers or samurai- are an army.

* * *

Men fear what is foreign. But they will become just as suspicious if someone tries to hard to be one of them. Do not be afraid to remain an enigma, but also remain outwardly benign. Eccentricity is a virtue. Oddity is cause for suspicion.

* * *