Sanryaku no Maki 三略之巻

“The ‘Sanryaku’ (三略傳) is a treaty on Chinese heihô, attributed to the great military strategist Chiang Shang.

Oral traditions speak of the work being disseminated to Japanese warriors by the legendary Kiichi Hogan and secretly preserved from generation to generation, mainly because of the value of its contents in the field of the military organization and the pragmatic application of certain strategies in combat.

Kiichi Hogen Sanryaku no Maki. A play manuscript
Kiichi Hogen Sanryaku no Maki. A play manuscript

The Sanryaku was traditionally composed of the three following rollers: Jo-ryaku, Chû-rayku, and Ge-ryaku. We find this manner of separating the rollers or chapters from a treaty or work in many documents of transmission of techniques of combat of Japan. The lesson of the Sanryaku refers to one historical period, that of the Han dynasty, when the Han consolidated their political power. The essence of the Sanryaku deals mainly with administration and control of the government and army. Aside from some briefs passages, the discussions on the strategies to be carried out at the time of the various military campaigns or on the tactics of combat on the battlefield are absent.

The author of the Sanyraku concentrates his comments on the following points: rules necessary for the installation of a ruling government, administration of the army, unification of the people for a common objective, intrinsic qualities of the ideal general, methods to develop and maintain raw materials, the methods to motivate the subordinates and the soldiers, applications of the reward system and punishment, the art to maintain the relations with subordinate provincial lords, and the need for keeping a perfect control of an attitude which oscillates between flexibility and firmness. The fundamental lesson of Confucianism is obviously present in all the text, and particularly with regard to qualities which a general and his commanders must have.”
– Dr. Kacem Zoughari

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