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Suzume-no-kumo translates into English as Cloud of Sparrows.

Quotes by Year[edit | edit source]

1291[edit | edit source]

1334[edit | edit source]


1397[edit | edit source]

That year, Lord Shayo froze in the icy winter sea; a branch laden with spring blossoms crushed his successor, Lord Ryoto; the next heir, Lord Moritake, was immolated by summer lightning. Koseki then became lord of the domain.

He said, "I can do nothing about the weather."

During the early autumn rains, he executed the entire bodyguard corps, sent away every concubine in to a nunnery, banished the cooks, married the stablemaster's daughter, and declared war against the Shogun.

Lord Koseki ruled for thirty-eight years.[2]

1434[edit | edit source]

Knowledge may hinder. Ignorance may liberate. Knowing when to know and when not to know, this is as important as a fluent blade.[3]

1491[edit | edit source]

Crossing an unknown river far from your domain, observe the surface turbulence, and note the clarity of the water. Heed the demeanor of the horses. Beware of massed ambush.

At a familiar ford near home, look deep into the shadows on the far bank, and watch the movement of the tall grass. Listen to the breathing of your nearest companions. Beware of the lone assassin.[4]

1515[edit | edit source]

From the strategic point of view, I must of course regret our loss in that battle. Defeat is never to be lightly accepted. However, I cannot help but feel that from the aesthetic point of view, there could not have been a more exquisitely beautiful result.

The white of the lightly falling snow. The red of the spilling blood. Was there ever a white more white, or a red more red, colder snow, or warmer blood?[5]

1599[edit | edit source]

Some believe victory comes from superior strategy.

Others trust valor.

Yet others rest their hopes on the favor of the gods.

Then there are those who place their faith in spies, assassins, seductions, betrayals, corruption, greed, fear.

These are all delusory paths for one simple reason. One thought of victory and you lose the real while clutching the false.

What is the real? When the blades of your enemies are slashing ferociously at you, and your life hangs in the balance, you will know.

If you do not, you have lived your life in vain.[6]

1600[edit | edit source]

Every battle is not won by advance. Every retreat is not loss. Advance is strategy. Retreat is also strategy.

Retreat must be orderly. It must not always appear orderly. Retreat is strategy. Appearance in retreat is also strategy.[7]

1641[edit | edit source]

Some say there is no difference among the barbarians, that they are the same offal-eating abominations. This is false. The Portuguese will trade guns for women. The Dutch demand gold. The English want treaties.

From this, you should know that the Portuguese and the Dutch are easily understood, and the English are the most dangerous. Therefore, study the English carefully and ignore the others.[8]

1701[edit | edit source]

Mists shroud the forest ahead and the sea behind. At the same time, the faraway peak of Mount Tosa is as vivid as a spring sky. Ahead, snipers hide among the trees and shadows. Behind, submerged assassins close in, hanging on driftwood.

What use is distant clarity?[9]

1817[edit | edit source]

The lord chamberlain said, "There have been arguments of late about whether virtue is inborn or acquired. What is your lordship's view?"

Lord Takanori said, "Pointless."

The chamberlain said, "If virtue is inborn, then training will avail us naught. If it is acquired, then an outcast can become the equal of a samurai."

Lord Takanori said, "The virtuous shit. The unvirtuous shit."

The chamberlainbowed respectfully and withdrew.

Lord Takanori returned his full attention to the scene before him and continued painting A View of Trees Obscuring Lady Shinku's Bath.[10]

1860[edit | edit source]

Doubts assail you. Confusion reigns. You know not yesterday from tomorrow. Listen to your heart And find guidance. Beating, like a drum. Roaring, like winter rapids. Finally, sound and silence indistinguishable.




Blood, not water.

Your blood.[11]

References[edit | edit source]

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