36 Stratagems: 三十六計

Three weeks have passed since my arrival in Japan. Back then, I started to read a book about the 36 Stratagems which should be a must read for any European manager in need for a better understanding of the Chinese culture.
I do not know exactly whether my Japanese fellows are educated in the sense of these guiles.

However, after three weeks among Japanese fellows I am wondering how to inject change into a, say, slowly moving working culture or how to grasp the inner mechanism of the Japanese clockwork.

From the insight, the clockwork is running with a smooth precision but from a distance some seconds hardly matter.
And from where does the clock get its reference? Does it know whether it lags behind or runs ahead of time? Rythm … and tigers.

The tigers’ pace moves the big and the small hand, observed by many little tigers seated on the hour string. Binary digits are a discomfort to the tiger but tigers usually do not make a regression analysis on megabytes of data.

What could move them, what entices the tiger to leave its mountain lair – 調虎離山 (see also: 36 Stratagems on Wikipedia)?

What made lieutenant Hiroo Onoda hold out in the Philippine jungle for 29 years after Japan’s capitulation in 1945?
What will make a tiger move?

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2 Responses to “36 Stratagems: 三十六計”


  1. 2 t4roam July 1, 2010 at 12:04 am

    Thank you Hugo,
    … and the strategems as well as the article makes some contemporary strategists look like fools. Even “Mr. Global” a.k.a. Prof. Peng does hardly mention the 36 Strategem in his book “Global strategy” despite his self-honor as a strategist who brought strategy into his home country China.


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