Compare And Contrast Machiavelli And Samurai

1795 Words 8 Pages
Abdul Rahman Zindani
Dr. Rigoni
Paper #3
The Views of the Samurai and Machiavelli on Ruling
In the late twelfth century, Japan saw the fall of the emperor’s power and the rise of the shogun as the new leader of the feudal system. At the time, the Japanese samurai were part of a disciplined hierarchical structure where many clans served under another for multiple generations. Many of the samurai writings, such as Opinions in Ninety-Nine Articles and The Regulations of Imawa Ryoshun, were focused on the roles of a good ruler and servant. Around the same time period, Niccolo Machiavelli also wrote about the role of a ruler and how a ruler must act in order to maintain his reign. Though they were located in very different parts of the world, Machiavelli
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According to the Notes on Regulations, “When one has been born into the house of a military commander, he should not forget the arts of war even for a moment” (Nagamasa 25). In times of peace, a warrior should still keep up with martial arts and keep up with his training so that he may be prepared for an attack. According to Machiavelli, “[a prince] should never lift his thought from the exercise of war, and in peace he should exercise it more than in war” (Machiavelli 59). A ruler in peace should be completely focused on how to fight and defend his country. He must learn all about his land by exploring and hunting within its boundaries so that he can be better prepared in battle (Machiavelli 59). The ruler must also read the histories of warriors and understand military strategy (Machiavelli 60). The samurai also put a great emphasis on learning and understanding military strategy (Nagamasa 25). By always thinking about war, a ruler will be more prepared in case of a sudden attack. Peace never lasts forever, and it is the job of the ruler to be prepared to defend his state and his people from external …show more content…
Machiavelli does not believe that the ruler must be virtuous in order to be successful. In fact, it may, in many instances, be detrimental for the ruler to be completely virtuous. It would be more beneficial for the ruler to only focus on maintaining the appearance of virtue rather than actually being virtuous. In contrast, the samurai argue that a ruler must actually be virtuous in order to properly lead his people. They claim that “[if] the master acts correctly, his retainers will perform well, even if given no commands. But if the master acts incorrectly, even though he gives commands they will not be followed” (Nobushige 12) In the samurai society, the ruler leads by example and his actions serve a guideline for all of the people within his state. If the people see the ruler acting poorly and act in the same way, the society will slowly deteriorate unless the ruler changes his habits or is replaced. In order to prevent such problem, the samurai state that when “governing the country it is dangerous to lack even one of the virtues of humanity, righteousness, etiquette and wisdom” (Sadayo 10). The ruler’s possessions of all such virtues is his way of maintain order within his society and promoting virtues within the

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