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Tactics of War in Chinese / Japanese...

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Quick links to words on this page...

  1. Tactics of War
  2. Art of War
  3. Sun Tzu - Art of War
  4. Art of War: 5 Points of Analysis
  5. Furinkazan
  6. Value of Warrior Generals
  7. Attack When The Enemy Has Low Morale
  8. Drain the pond to get all the fish


Tactics of War

China zhàn shù
Japan senjutsu
Tactics of War Wall Scroll

This can mean "tactics of war," "battle tactics" or simply "tactics" (being that warfare is implied in that English word).

戰術 / 戦術 is written in the ancient and traditional form of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.


戦

In modern Japan, the first character has been simplified or modified. If you want the modern Japanese Kanji version, just click on that character shown to the right.

Art of War

China bīng fǎ
Japan hyou hou
Art of War Wall Scroll

兵法 means "Art of War." It also part of the title of a famous book of tactics by Sun Tzu. 兵法 could also be translated as "military strategy and tactics," "military skills" or "army procedures." If you are a military tactician, this is the wall scroll for you.


See Also:  Military

Sun Tzu - Art of War

military strategy, tactics, and procedure
China sūn zǐ bīng fǎ
Japan son shi hyou hou
Sun Tzu - Art of War Wall Scroll

孫子兵法 is the full title of the most famous book of military proverbs about warfare.

The English title is "Sun Tzu's The Art of War."

The last two characters have come to be known in the west as "The Art of War" but a better translation would be, "military strategy and tactics," "military skills" or "army procedures."

Note: Sometimes the author's name is Romanized as "Sun Zi" or "Sunzi."

It's written the same in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and Korean Hanja.


See Also:  Military | Warrior

Art of War: 5 Points of Analysis

China dào tiān dì jiàng fǎ
Japan dou ten chi shou hou
Art of War: 5 Points of Analysis Wall Scroll

The first chapter of Sun Tzu's Art of War lists five key points to analyzing your situation.

It reads like a 5-part military proverb. Sun Tzu says that to sharpen your skills, you must plan. To plan well, you must know your situation. Therefore, you must consider and discuss the following:

1. Philosophy and Politics: Make sure your way or your policy is agreeable among all of your troops (and the citizens of your kingdom as well). For when your soldiers believe in you and your way, they will follow you to their deaths without hesitation, and will not question your orders.

2. Heaven/Sky: Consider climate / weather. This can also mean to consider whether God is smiling on you. In the modern military, this could be waiting for clear skies so that you can have air support for an amphibious landing.

3. Ground/Earth: Consider the terrain in which the battle will take place. This includes analyzing defensible positions, exit routes, and using varying elevation to your advantage. When you plan an ambush, you must know your terrain, and the best location from which to stage that ambush. This knowledge will also help you avoid being ambushed, as you will know where the likely places in which to expect an ambush from your enemy.

4. Leadership: This applies to you as the general, and also to your lieutenants. A leader should be smart and be able to develop good strategies. Leaders should keep their word, and if they break a promise, they should punish themselves as harshly as they would punish subordinates. Leaders should be benevolent to their troops, with almost a fatherly love for them. Leaders must have the ability to make brave and fast decisions. Leaders must have steadfast principles.

5. [Military] Methods: This can also mean laws, rules, principles, model, or system. You must have an efficient organization in place to manage both your troops and supplies. In the modern military, this would be a combination of how your unit is organized, and your SOP (Standard Operating Procedure).


Notes: This is a simplistic translation and explanation. Much more is suggested in the actual text of the Art of War (Bing Fa). It would take a lot of study to master all of these aspects. In fact, these five characters can be compared to the modern military acronyms such as BAMCIS or SMEAC.

CJK notes: I have included the Japanese and Korean pronunciations but in Chinese, Korean and Japanese, this does not make a typical phrase (with subject, verb, and object) it is a list that only someone familiar with Sun Tzu's writings would understand.

Furinkazan

military strategy
China fēng lín huǒ shān
Japan fuu rin ka zan
Furinkazan Wall Scroll

風林火山 is the battle strategy and proverb of Japanese feudal lord Takeda Shingen (1521–1573 A.D.).

This came from the Art of War by Chinese strategist and tactician Sun Tzu (Sunzi).

You can think of this as a sort of abbreviation to remind officers and troops how to conduct battle.

風林火山 is literally a word list: Wind, Forest, Fire, Mountain.

The more expanded meaning is supposed to be...

"Swift as the wind, quiet as the forest, fierce as fire, and immovable as a mountain"

"As fast as the wind, as quiet as the forest, as daring as fire, and immovable as the mountain"

"Move as swift as the wind, stay as silent as a forest, attack as fierce as fire, undefeatable defense like a mountain"

"Move swiftly like the wind, stay silent like the forest, attack fiercely like fire, take tactical position on the mountain"


See Also:  Art of War

Value of Warrior Generals

China bīng zài jīng ér bú zài duō jiàng zài móu ér bú zài yǒng
Value of Warrior Generals Wall Scroll

This literally means: [Just as] soldiers/warriors [are valued for their] quality and not [just] for quantity, [so] generals [are valued] for their tactics, not [just] for [their] bravery.

This is a proverb that follows one about how it is better to have warriors of quality, rather than just a large quantity of warriors in your army/force.


See Also:  兵在精而不在多

Attack When The Enemy Has Low Morale

China bì qí ruì qì jī qí duò guī
Attack When The Enemy Has Low Morale Wall Scroll

This Chinese proverb literally translates as: Avoid [your enemy's] fighting spirit [and] attack [when] his [morale is] declining.

Figuratively, this means: Avoid the enemy when his morale is high. and strike him when his morale is flagging.

Drain the pond to get all the fish

Kill the goose that lays the golden eggs
China jié zé ér yú
Drain the pond to get all the fish Wall Scroll

In 632 BC, Duke Wen of the Kingdom of Jin was about to lead an army against the forces of the Kingdom of Chu.
The Duke asked one of his advisers, Jiu Fan, how they could possibly win the impending battle, as they were drastically outnumbered.
Jiu Fan said, "All is fair in war," and went on to suggest a plan of dishonorable tactics (cheating).
The Duke was not sure of this advice, so he asked another adviser, Yong Ji, who replied, "If you catch fish by draining the pond, you can certainly get all the fish. But there will be no fish the following year. You can cheat this one time in battle but such tactics can only be used once, as the enemy will be wise in future encounters."

The Duke heard the words of his wiser adviser but cheated to gain victory in the battle. However, he rewarded Yong Ji more than Jiu Fan at the victory celebration, stating that while Jiu Fan's advice gained one victory, the wise words of Yong Ji would last forever.

This Chinese idiom/proverb is still used, over 2600 years later to remind people not to burn bridges, cheat, or dishonor oneself in exchange for a short term gain, while sacrificing the future.

This is very similar to the meaning of the English phrase, "Kill the goose that lays the golden eggs."




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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...

Title CharactersRomaji(Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Tactics of War 戰術 / 戦術
战术
senjutsuzhàn shù / zhan4 shu4 / zhan shu / zhanshu chan shu / chanshu
Art of War 兵法hyou hou / hyouhou / hyo ho / hyohobīng fǎ / bing1 fa3 / bing fa / bingfa ping fa / pingfa
Sun Tzu - Art of War 孫子兵法
孙子兵法
son shi hyou hou
sonshihyouhou
son shi hyo ho
sonshihyoho
sūn zǐ bīng fǎ
sun1 zi3 bing1 fa3
sun zi bing fa
sunzibingfa
sun tzu ping fa
suntzupingfa
Art of War: 5 Points of Analysis 道天地將法
道天地将法
dou ten chi shou hou
doutenchishouhou
do ten chi sho ho
dotenchishoho
dào tiān dì jiàng fǎ
dao4 tian1 di4 jiang4 fa3
dao tian di jiang fa
daotiandijiangfa
tao t`ien ti chiang fa
taotientichiangfa
tao tien ti chiang fa
Furinkazan 風林火山
风林火山
fuu rin ka zan
fuurinkazan
fu rin ka zan
furinkazan
fēng lín huǒ shān
feng1 lin2 huo3 shan1
feng lin huo shan
fenglinhuoshan
Value of Warrior Generals 兵在精而不在多將在謀而不在勇
兵在精而不在多将在谋而不在勇
bīng zài jīng ér bú zài duō jiàng zài móu ér bú zài yǒng
bing1 zai4 jing1 er2 bu2 zai4 duo1 jiang4 zai4 mou2 er2 bu2 zai4 yong3
bing zai jing er bu zai duo jiang zai mou er bu zai yong
ping tsai ching erh pu tsai to chiang tsai mou erh pu tsai yung
Attack When The Enemy Has Low Morale 避其鋭氣擊其惰歸
避其锐气击其惰归
bì qí ruì qì jī qí duò guī
bi4 qi2 rui4 qi4 ji1 qi2 duo4 gui1
bi qi rui qi ji qi duo gui
biqiruiqijiqiduogui
pi ch`i jui ch`i chi ch`i to kuei
pichijuichichichitokuei
pi chi jui chi chi chi to kuei
Drain the pond to get all the fish 竭澤而漁
竭泽而渔
jié zé ér yú
jie2 ze2 er2 yu2
jie ze er yu
jiezeeryu
chieh tse erh yü
chiehtseerhyü
In some entries above you will see that characters have different versions above and below a line.
In these cases, the characters above the line are Traditional Chinese, while the ones below are Simplified Chinese.

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A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

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A professional Chinese Calligrapher

Professional calligraphers are getting to be hard to find these days.
Instead of drawing characters by hand, the new generation in China merely type roman letters into their computer keyboards and pick the character that they want from a list that pops up.

There is some fear that true Chinese calligraphy may become a lost art in the coming years. Many art institutes in China are now promoting calligraphy programs in hopes of keeping this unique form of art alive.

Trying to learn Chinese calligrapher - a futile effort

Even with the teachings of a top-ranked calligrapher in China, my calligraphy will never be good enough to sell. I will leave that to the experts.

A high-ranked Chinese master calligrapher that I met in Zhongwei

The same calligrapher who gave me those lessons also attracted a crowd of thousands and a TV crew as he created characters over 6-feet high. He happens to be ranked as one of the top 100 calligraphers in all of China. He is also one of very few that would actually attempt such a feat.


Check out my lists of Japanese Kanji Calligraphy Wall Scrolls and Old Korean Hanja Calligraphy Wall Scrolls.

Some people may refer to this entry as Tactics of War Kanji, Tactics of War Characters, Tactics of War in Mandarin Chinese, Tactics of War Characters, Tactics of War in Chinese Writing, Tactics of War in Japanese Writing, Tactics of War in Asian Writing, Tactics of War Ideograms, Chinese Tactics of War symbols, Tactics of War Hieroglyphics, Tactics of War Glyphs, Tactics of War in Chinese Letters, Tactics of War Hanzi, Tactics of War in Japanese Kanji, Tactics of War Pictograms, Tactics of War in the Chinese Written-Language, or Tactics of War in the Japanese Written-Language.