"To come to know your enemy, first you must become his friend,
and once you become his friend, all his defences come down.
Then you can choose the most fitting method for his demise."
by:
Tokugawa Ieyasu
(1542-1616) Japanese Shogun
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Reader comments about this quote:
I like Togugawa's thinking.
 -- Reyna, new rochelle     
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    His way of thinking is one of the most effective ways to finish off his enemies =D
     -- Stephen     
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     -- h      
    Can you trust such a man?
     -- andrew     
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    it's Machiavellian thinking. Very effective but lacking in morals
     -- Neale     
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    I give it four stars because its his second best quote, Im trying to pull the first one but I cant find it anywhere hopefully I or some one else can find it and post it, (you can find it in the first 2 minutes of the Warriors series in the discovery channel) And well about the lack of principles, no one gets to a position of power with their hands clean...
     -- Alexander, Mexico     
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    Like it
     -- CroZz, somewhere far far away     
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    Smart thinking. By the way, Machiavelli is not without morals at all. Machiavelli just made clear that other rules apply for states (and a prince / statesman) than the normal morals that apply in man-to-man / everyday life. The good of the many before the good of the one...
     -- Kurt     
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    this is nice also what alot of people actually do!
     -- bradley, Philly     
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    So true.
     -- Air Wick~     
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    its good oh and alexander are you looking for one of these "Life is like unto a long journey with a heavy burden. Let thy step be slow and steady, that thou stumble not. Persuade thyself that imperfection and inconvenience are the natural lot of mortals, and there will be no room for discontent, neither for despair. When ambitious desires arise in thy heart, recall the days of extremity thou has passed through. Forbearance is the root of quietness and assurance forever. Look upon the wrath of the enemy. If thou knowest only what it is to conquer, and knowest not what it is like to be defeated, woe unto thee; it will fare ill with thee. Find fault with thyself rather than with others." or "The strong manly ones in life are those who understand the meaning of the word patience. Patience means restraining one's inclinations. There are seven emotions: joy, anger, anxiety, adoration, grief, fear, and hate, and if a man does not give way to these he can be called patient. I am not as strong as I might be, but I have long known and practiced patience. And if my descendants wish to be as I am, they must study patience."
     -- unknown, who cares     
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    ooooooooooooook
     -- tristin, somwhere in california     
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    But that's so horrible. You become someone's friend, just so you can stab him in the back? How does that make you any better than your enemy?
     -- Anonymous     
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     -- Anonymous      
    sarcastic and mean!
     -- igor sena     
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    Sure it's mean, but can you expect any better from your enemies? Better to get them before they get you, in fact before they even know you're gunning for them.
     -- Anonymous     
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    Is this any different than what Jesus taught us, if you will but listen and learn. Did he not say "Love your enemies". Now you may not have to stap them in the back but you can disarm them if you show them love. Hate begets hate and violence begets violence. Tokugawa or his translators need to check their spelling on thoughg. Certainly it is not defence but defense.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    To love one's enemy is Divine. To fain love for destructive, military advantage, or otherwise tyrannical resolve is not part of those that know or love freedom. A friend's intimacy with one's enemy will bring knowledge of his destruction but, I believe it is best to be a friend for friend's sake and have the strongest defense possible. The knowledge derived from friendship may lead to an optimum defense but, it is a defense none the less. Such information is not fit for your friend's demise
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Waff, as to spelling, what is a "thoughg".
     -- jim k     
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    As the quote moved from making the enemy into your friend, I was sure it the last line was going to say “and now that he is your friend, you have destroyed the enemy you once had.” Meaning there is no more enemy since you are now friends. How sad it did not end that way…
     -- Doug     
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    Was it Stalin who said..."Keep your friends close and your enemies closer". Maybe it was Capone...
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    Capone...Stalin...Obama...same thing. Behold our new friends the Russians for whom we're going to disarm.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
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    A Shogun is a warrior, and what Tokugawa is saying is a strategy for defeating one's enemy. It is a tactic, and one that has withstood the test of time. I give it 5 stars not for agreeing with the sentiment, but that the sentiment is alive and well in world politics as well as domestic politics. Be wary of the one who promises to be your friend who is seeking more power by doing so. This is the creed of politicians everywhere.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    This discussion seems to focus on the morality of Tokugawa's premise, and perhaps whether the ends justify the means. E Archer sums it up quite well, and I would add that the Tokugawa shogunate ended Japan's Sengoku period of intense and prolonged social and military conflict. The Edo period which followed was by no means perfect, but it was certainly peaceful by comparison.
     -- A.WOODS, Gloucester     
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    Waffler or his translators need to check their spelling and broaden their knowledge of non-US usage.
     -- A.WOODS, Gloucester     
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     -- Anonymous      
    He would have made a good Godfather!
     -- Rick, Monroe     
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    igor sena how is that mean and sarcasitc?!?!?
     -- garrett, SCF     
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    it was great.
     -- anna wallo, ontario     
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     -- Sasa, Belgrade      
    for the one who is good to me, I'll be better to him... for the one who is bad to me, I'll be worse... don't take my kindness for weekness. Oh, and Tokugawa was the greatest "godfather" that has ever lived. LOL
     -- ash, lisbon     
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     -- NR, Korea      
    different time, different place. Feudal Japan was a time of unending wars. When was the last time any of you lived in conflict?
     -- Saki, Akihabara,JP     
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    This was awesome! He was not only a military genius, but also a beast samurai
     -- Da Gr8 Ninja, Sanford     
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     -- 2878, Iasi      
    i think that if you become one's friend, would you not be only wanting a fitting demise? in other words, you would protect your friends from anything until you couldn't anymore, and that would be fitting.
     -- anonymous     
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    It's not about being better than your enemy it's about winning. In the end Tokugawa Ieyasu won and you can see why. If you act like this and practise patience than you will win also.
     -- wayne, also wayne     
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