HOME

TheInfoList




Sun Tzu ( ; zh, t=孫子, p=Sūnzǐ) was a Chinese general,
military strategist A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or para ...
, writer, and philosopher who lived in the
Eastern Zhou period The Eastern Zhou (; zh, c=, p=Dōngzhōu; 770–256 BC) was the second half of the Zhou dynasty of ancient China. It is divided into two periods: the Spring and Autumn period, Spring and Autumn and the Warring States period, Warring States. His ...
of
ancient China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty The Shang dynasty (), also historically known as the Yin dynasty (), was a Chinese dynasty Dynasties in Chinese h ...
. Sun Tzu is traditionally credited as the author of ''
The Art of War ''The Art of War'' () is an ancient List of Chinese military texts, Chinese military treatise dating from the Late Spring and Autumn Period (roughly 5th century BC). The work, which is attributed to the ancient Chinese military strategist Su ...
'', an influential work of military strategy that has affected both
Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western world, countries that ide ...
and
East Asian philosophy Eastern philosophy or Asian philosophy includes the various philosophies that originated in East East is one of the four cardinal direction The four cardinal directions, or cardinal points, are the directions north North is one of t ...
and military thinking. His works focus much more on alternatives to battle, such as stratagem, delay, the use of spies and alternatives to war itself, the making and keeping of alliances, the uses of deceit, and a willingness to submit, at least temporarily, to more powerful foes. Sun Tzu is revered in
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a populat ...
and East Asian culture as a legendary historical and military figure. His birth name was Sun Wu ( zh, t=孫武) and he was known outside of his family by his
courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the East Asian cultural sphere, including China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. The courtesy ...
Changqing ( zh, t=長卿). The name ''Sun Tzu'' by which he is more popularly known is an
honorific An honorific is a title that conveys esteem, courtesy, or respect for position or rank when used in addressing or referring to a person. Sometimes, the term "honorific" is used in a more specific sense to refer to an honorary academic title. It ...
which means "Master
Sun The Sun is the star A star is an astronomical object consisting of a luminous spheroid of plasma (physics), plasma held together by its own gravity. The List of nearest stars and brown dwarfs, nearest star to Earth is the Sun. Many othe ...
". Sun Tzu's
historicity Historicity is the historical actuality of persons and events, meaning the quality of being part of history History (from Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study of the past. Events occurring ...
is uncertain. The Han dynasty historian
Sima Qian Sima Qian (; ; ) was a Chinese historian of the early Han dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu B ...

Sima Qian
and other traditional Chinese historians placed him as a minister to
King Helü of Wu of the King of the Romans King of the Romans ( la, Rex Romanorum; german: König der Römer) was the title used by the German king following his election An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population choos ...
and dated his lifetime to 544–496 BC. Modern scholars accepting his historicity place the extant text of ''The Art of War'' in the later
Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military reforms and consolidation. It followed the Spring and Autumn period The Spring and Autumn period was a period i ...
based on its style of composition and its descriptions of warfare. Traditional accounts state that the general's descendant
Sun Bin Sun Bin (died 316 BC) was a Chinese general, Military strategy, military strategist, and writer who lived during the Warring States period of History of China, Chinese history. A supposed descendant of Sun Tzu, Sun was tutored in military stra ...

Sun Bin
wrote a treatise on military tactics, also titled ''
The Art of War ''The Art of War'' () is an ancient List of Chinese military texts, Chinese military treatise dating from the Late Spring and Autumn Period (roughly 5th century BC). The work, which is attributed to the ancient Chinese military strategist Su ...
''. Since Sun Wu and Sun Bin were referred to as Sun Tzu in classical Chinese texts, some historians believed them identical, prior to the rediscovery of Sun Bin's treatise in 1972. Sun Tzu's work has been praised and employed in East Asian warfare since its composition. During the twentieth century, ''The Art of War'' grew in popularity and saw practical use in
Western society The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabita ...

Western society
as well. It continues to influence many competitive endeavors in the world, including culture, politics, business and sports, as well as modern warfare.


Life

The oldest available sources disagree as to where Sun Tzu was born. The ''
Spring and Autumn Annals The ''Spring and Autumn Annals'' or ''Chunqiu'' is an ancient Chinese chronicle that has been one of the core Chinese classics Chinese classic texts or canonical texts () or simply dianji (典籍) refers to the Chinese texts which originated ...
'' and
Sima Qian Sima Qian (; ; ) was a Chinese historian of the early Han dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu B ...

Sima Qian
's later ''
Records of the Grand Historian The ''Records of the Grand Historian'', also known by its Chinese name ''Shiji'', is a monumental history of ancient China and the world finished around 94 BC by the Western Han Dynasty official Sima Qian after having been started by his father ...

Records of the Grand Historian
'' (''Shiji'') state that Sun Tzu was born in Qi. Both sources also agree that Sun Tzu was born in the late
Spring and Autumn period #REDIRECT Spring and Autumn period#REDIRECT Spring and Autumn period The Spring and Autumn period was a period in Chinese history The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dyna ...
and that he was active as a general and strategist, serving
King King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is queen regnant, queen, which title is also given to the queen consort, consort of a king. *In the context of prehistory, antiquity and contempora ...
Helü of Wu in the late sixth century BC, beginning around 512 BC. Sun Tzu's victories then inspired him to write ''The Art of War''. ''The Art of War'' was one of the most widely read military treatises in the subsequent
Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military reforms and consolidation. It followed the Spring and Autumn period The Spring and Autumn period was a period i ...
, a time of constant war among seven ancient Chinese states Zhao, Qi,
QinQin may refer to: Dynasties and states * Qin (state) (秦), a major state during the Zhou Dynasty of ancient China * Qin dynasty (秦), founded by the Qin state in 221 BC and ended in 206 BC * Daqin (大秦), ancient Chinese name for the Roman Empi ...
,
Chu Chu or CHU may refer to: Chinese history * Chu (state) (c. 1030 BC–223 BC), a state during the Zhou dynasty * Western Chu (206 BC–202 BC), a state founded and ruled by Xiang Yu * Chu Kingdom (Han dynasty) (201 BC–70 AD), a kingdom of the Han ...
,
Han Han may refer to: Ethnic groups * Han Chinese The Han Chinese,
. Huayuqiao.org. Retrieved on ...
, Wei, and
Yan Yan may refer to: Chinese states * Yan (state) Yan (; Old Chinese Old Chinese, also called Archaic Chinese in older works, is the oldest attested stage of Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, official ...
who fought to control the vast expanse of fertile territory in Eastern China.. One of the better-known stories about Sun Tzu, taken from Sima Qian, illustrates Sun Tzu's temperament as follows: Before hiring Sun Tzu, the King of Wu tested Sun Tzu's skills by commanding him to train a
harem Harem ( ar, حريم ''ḥarīm'', "a sacred inviolable place; harem; female members of the family") properly refers to domestic spaces that are reserved for the women of the house in a Muslim Muslims () are people who follow or practic ...
of 180
concubines Concubinage is an interpersonal relationship, interpersonal and Intimate relationship, sexual relationship between a man and a woman in which the couple does not want, or cannot enter into a full marriage. Concubinage and marriage are often r ...
into soldiers. Sun Tzu divided them into two companies, appointing the two concubines most favored by the king as the company commanders. When Sun Tzu first ordered the concubines to face right, they giggled. In response, Sun Tzu said that the general, in this case himself, was responsible for ensuring that soldiers understood the commands given to them. Then, he reiterated the command, and again the concubines giggled. Sun Tzu then ordered the execution of the king's two favored concubines, to the king's protests. He explained that if the general's soldiers understood their commands but did not obey, it was the fault of the officers. Sun Tzu also said that, once a general was appointed, it was his duty to carry out his mission, even if the king protested. After both concubines were killed, new officers were chosen to replace them. Afterward, both companies, now well aware of the costs of further frivolity, performed their maneuvers flawlessly.. Sima Qian claimed that Sun Tzu later proved on the battlefield that his theories were effective (for example, at the
Battle of Boju The Battle of Boju () was the decisive battle of the war fought in 506 BC between Wu and Chu, two major kingdoms during the Spring and Autumn period The Spring and Autumn period was a period in Chinese history The earliest known writte ...

Battle of Boju
), that he had a successful military career, and that he wrote ''The Art of War'' based on his tested expertise. However, the '' Zuozhuan'', a historical text written centuries earlier than the ''Shiji'', provides a much more detailed account of the Battle of Boju, but does not mention Sun Tzu at all.


Historicity

Around the 12th century AD, some Chinese scholars began to doubt the historical existence of Sun Tzu, primarily on the grounds that he is not mentioned in the historical classic ''
Zuo zhuan The ''Zuo Zhuan'' (; ), generally translated ''The Zuo Tradition'' or ''The Commentary of Zuo'', is an ancient Chinese narrative history that is traditionally regarded as a commentary on the ancient Chinese chronicle ''Spring and Autumn Annals ...

Zuo zhuan
'', which mentions most of the notable figures from the Spring and Autumn period. The name "Sun Wu" () does not appear in any text prior to the ''Records of the Grand Historian'', and may have been a made-up descriptive
cognomen A ''cognomen'' (; plural ''cognomina''; from ''con-'' "together with" and ''(g)nomen'' "name") was the third name of a citizen of ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC ...
meaning "the fugitive warrior"—the surname "Sun" can be glossed as the related term "fugitive" (''xùn'' ), while "Wu" is the ancient Chinese virtue of "martial, valiant" (''wǔ'' ), which corresponds to Sun Tzu's role as the hero's ''
doppelgänger A doppelgänger (; , literally "double-walker") or doppelganger is a biologically unrelated look-alike, or a double, of a living person. In fiction and mythology, a doppelgänger is often portrayed as a ghostly or paranormal phenomenon and usual ...
'' in the story of
Wu Zixu :''Note: names are in simplified characters followed by traditional and Pinyin transliteration.'' Wu Yun (died 484 BC), better known by his courtesy name Zixu, was a general and politician of the Wu (state), Wu kingdom in the Spring and Autumn per ...
. Mair, Victor H. (2007). ''The Art of War: Sun Zi's Military Methods''. New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 9–10. . The only historical battle attributed to Sun Tzu, the
Battle of Boju The Battle of Boju () was the decisive battle of the war fought in 506 BC between Wu and Chu, two major kingdoms during the Spring and Autumn period The Spring and Autumn period was a period in Chinese history The earliest known writte ...

Battle of Boju
, has no record of him fighting in that battle. 13 March 2015 Skeptics cite possible historical inaccuracies and anachronisms in the text, and that the book was actually a compilation from different authors and military strategists. Attribution of the authorship of ''The Art of War'' varies among scholars and has included people and movements including Sun;
Chu Chu or CHU may refer to: Chinese history * Chu (state) (c. 1030 BC–223 BC), a state during the Zhou dynasty * Western Chu (206 BC–202 BC), a state founded and ruled by Xiang Yu * Chu Kingdom (Han dynasty) (201 BC–70 AD), a kingdom of the Han ...
scholar
Wu Zixu :''Note: names are in simplified characters followed by traditional and Pinyin transliteration.'' Wu Yun (died 484 BC), better known by his courtesy name Zixu, was a general and politician of the Wu (state), Wu kingdom in the Spring and Autumn per ...
; an anonymous author; a school of theorists in Qi or Wu;
Sun Bin Sun Bin (died 316 BC) was a Chinese general, Military strategy, military strategist, and writer who lived during the Warring States period of History of China, Chinese history. A supposed descendant of Sun Tzu, Sun was tutored in military stra ...

Sun Bin
; and others. Sun Bin appears to have been an actual person who was a genuine authority on military matters, and may have been the inspiration for the creation of the historical figure "Sun Tzu" through a form of
euhemerism Euhemerism () is an approach to the interpretation of mythology Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the traditions common to that culture, subculture o ...
. The name Sun Wu does appear in later sources such as the ''Shiji'' and the ''
Wu Yue Chunqiu The ''Spring and Autumn Annals of Wu and Yue'' () is an unofficial history from the time of the Eastern Han#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), es ...
'', but were written centuries after Sun Tzu's era. The use of the strips in other works however, such as '' The Methods of the Sima'' is considered proof of Sun Tzu's historical priority.. According to Ralph Sawyer, it is very likely Sun Tzu did exist and not only served as a general but also wrote the core of the book that bears his name. It is argued that there is a disparity between the large-scale wars and sophisticated techniques detailed in the text and the more primitive small-scale battles that many believe predominated in China during the 6th century BC. Against this, Sawyer argues that the teachings of Sun Wu were probably taught to succeeding generations in his family or a small school of disciples, which eventually included Sun Bin. These descendants or students may have revised or expanded upon certain points in the original text.. Skeptics who identify issues with the traditionalist view point to possible anachronisms in ''The Art of War'' including terms, technology (such as anachronistic
crossbows A crossbow is a ranged weapon . English longbowmen figure prominently in the foreground at right where they drive away the French crossbow A crossbow is a ranged weapon using an elastic launching device similar to a bow; it consists of a ...
and the unmentioned
cavalry Historically, cavalry (from the French word ''cavalerie'', itself derived from "cheval" meaning "horse") are soldier A soldier is a person who is a member of a professional army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via O ...

cavalry
), philosophical ideas, events, and military techniques that should not have been available to Sun Wu. 4 February 2015 Additionally, there are no records of professional generals during the
Spring and Autumn period #REDIRECT Spring and Autumn period#REDIRECT Spring and Autumn period The Spring and Autumn period was a period in Chinese history The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dyna ...
; these are only extant from the
Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military reforms and consolidation. It followed the Spring and Autumn period The Spring and Autumn period was a period i ...
, so there is doubt as to Sun Tzu's rank and generalship. This caused much confusion as to when ''The Art of War'' was actually written. The first traditional view is that it was written in 512 BC by the historical Sun Wu, active in the last years of the Spring and Autumn period (c. 722–481 BC). A second view, held by scholars such as Samuel Griffith, places ''The Art of War'' during the middle to late Warring States period (c. 481–221 BC). Finally, a third school claims that the slips were published in the last half of the 5th century BC; this is based on how its adherents interpret the bamboo slips discovered at Yinque Shan in 1972 AD.


''The Art of War''

''
The Art of War ''The Art of War'' () is an ancient List of Chinese military texts, Chinese military treatise dating from the Late Spring and Autumn Period (roughly 5th century BC). The work, which is attributed to the ancient Chinese military strategist Su ...
'' is traditionally ascribed to Sun Tzu. It presents a
philosophy of war The philosophy of war is the area of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, min ...
for managing conflicts and winning battles. It is accepted as a
masterpiece Masterpiece, ''magnum opus'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...

masterpiece
on strategy and has been frequently cited and referred to by generals and theorists since it was first published, translated, and distributed internationally.. There are numerous theories concerning when the text was completed and concerning the identity of the author or authors, but archeological recoveries show ''The Art of War'' had taken roughly its current form by at least the early
Han Han may refer to: Ethnic groups * Han Chinese The Han Chinese,
. Huayuqiao.org. Retrieved on ...

Han
period. Because it is impossible to prove definitively when the ''Art of War'' was completed before this date, the differing theories concerning the work's author or authors and date of completion are unlikely to be completely resolved. Some modern scholars believe that it contains not only the thoughts of its original author but also commentary and clarifications from later military theorists, such as Li Quan and
Du Mu Du Mu (; 803–852) was a leading Chinese poet Poets who wrote or write much of their Chinese poetry, poetry in the Chinese language, languages of China. __NOTOC__ A *Ai Qing B *Bai Juyi or Bo Juyi *Consort Ban *Ban Gu (32–92 A.D.)Min ...

Du Mu
. Of the military texts written before the
unification of ChinaChinese unification or unification of China most commonly refers to the potential political unification of the China, People's Republic of China and the Taiwan, Republic of China into one sovereign state. Chinese unification may also refer to: Hist ...
and
Shi Huangdi Qin Shi Huang (, ; 18 February 25910 September 210) was the founder of the Qin dynasty and the first Emperor of China, emperor of a unified China. From 247 to 221 BC he was Zheng, King of Qin (, ''Qín Wáng Zhèng'', personal name 嬴政 ''Y ...
's subsequent
book burning Book burning is the deliberate destruction by fire of books or other written materials, usually carried out in a public context. The burning of books represents an element of censorship Censorship is the suppression of speech, public commu ...

book burning
in the second century BC, six major works have survived. During the much later
Song dynasty The Song dynasty (; ; 960–1279) was an imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Taizu of Song Emperor Taizu of Song (21 March 927 – 14 November 976), personal name Zhao Kua ...
, these six works were combined with a Tang text into a collection called the ''
Seven Military Classics 7 is a number, numeral, and glyph. 7 or seven may also refer to: * AD 7 AD 7 was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar The Julian calendar, proposed by Julius Caesar in , was a refo ...
''. As a central part of that compilation, ''The Art of War'' formed the foundations of orthodox military theory in early modern China. Illustrating this point, the book was required reading to pass the tests for imperial appointment to military positions. Sun Tzu's ''The Art of War'' uses language that may be unusual in a Western text on warfare and strategy. For example, the eleventh chapter states that a leader must be "serene and inscrutable" and capable of comprehending "unfathomable plans". The text contains many similar remarks that have long confused Western readers lacking an awareness of the East Asian context. The meanings of such statements are clearer when interpreted in the context of
Taoist Taoism (), or Daoism (), is a philosophical and spiritual tradition of Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of c ...
thought and practice. Sun Tzu viewed the ideal general as an enlightened Taoist master, which has led to ''The Art of War'' being considered a prime example of Taoist strategy. The book has also become popular among political leaders and those in
business management Business administration (also known as business management) is the administration of a commercial enterprise. It includes all aspects of overseeing and supervising business operations. From the point of view of management Management (or man ...
. Despite its title, ''The Art of War'' addresses strategy in a broad fashion, touching upon
public administration Public administration is the implementation of government policy Public policy is a course of action created and/or enacted, typically by a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, g ...
and planning. The text outlines theories of battle, but also advocates diplomacy and the cultivation of relationships with other nations as essential to the health of a state. On 10 April 1972, the Yinqueshan Han Tombs were accidentally unearthed by construction workers in
Shandong Shandong (; alternately romanized as Shantung) is a coastal province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subn ...

Shandong
. Scholars uncovered a collection of ancient texts written on unusually well-preserved
bamboo slips Bamboo and wooden slips () were the main media for writing documents in China before the widespread introduction of paper during the first two centuries AD. (Silk was occasionally used, for example in the Chu Silk Manuscript, but was prohibiti ...
. Among them were ''The Art of War'' and
Sun Bin Sun Bin (died 316 BC) was a Chinese general, Military strategy, military strategist, and writer who lived during the Warring States period of History of China, Chinese history. A supposed descendant of Sun Tzu, Sun was tutored in military stra ...

Sun Bin
's ''Military Methods''. Although Han dynasty bibliographies noted the latter publication as extant and written by a descendant of Sun, it had previously been lost. The rediscovery of Sun Bin's work is regarded as extremely important by scholars, both because of Sun Bin's relationship to Sun Tzu and because of the work's addition to the body of military thought in Chinese late antiquity. The discovery as a whole significantly expanded the body of surviving
Warring States The Warring States period () was an era in ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military reforms and consolidation. It followed the Spring and Autumn period#REDIRECT Spring and Autumn period The Spri ...
military theory. Sun Bin's treatise is the only known military text surviving from the Warring States period discovered in the twentieth century and bears the closest similarity to ''The Art of War'' of all surviving texts.


Legacy

Sun Tzu's ''Art of War'' has influenced many notable figures. The Chinese historian
Sima Qian Sima Qian (; ; ) was a Chinese historian of the early Han dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu B ...

Sima Qian
recounted that China's first historical
emperor An emperor (from la, imperator The Latin word "imperator" derives from the stem of the verb la, imperare, label=none, meaning 'to order, to command'. It was originally employed as a title roughly equivalent to ''commander'' under the Roma ...
,
QinQin may refer to: Dynasties and states * Qin (state) (秦), a major state during the Zhou Dynasty of ancient China * Qin dynasty (秦), founded by the Qin state in 221 BC and ended in 206 BC * Daqin (大秦), ancient Chinese name for the Roman Empi ...
's
Shi Huangdi Qin Shi Huang (, ; 18 February 25910 September 210) was the founder of the Qin dynasty and the first Emperor of China, emperor of a unified China. From 247 to 221 BC he was Zheng, King of Qin (, ''Qín Wáng Zhèng'', personal name 嬴政 ''Y ...
, considered the book invaluable in ending the time of the
Warring States The Warring States period () was an era in ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military reforms and consolidation. It followed the Spring and Autumn period#REDIRECT Spring and Autumn period The Spri ...
. In the 20th century, the
Chinese Communist The Communist Party of China (CPC), commonly known as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is the founding and sole governing political party of the People's Republic of China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a ...
leader
Mao Zedong Mao Zedong pronounced ; also Romanization of Chinese, romanised traditionally as Mao Tse-tung. (December 26, 1893 – September 9, 1976), also known as Chairman Mao, was a Chinese communist revolutionary who was the Proclamation of the ...

Mao Zedong
partially credited his 1949 victory over
Chiang Kai-shek Chiang Kai-shek (31 October 1887 – 5 April 1975), also known as Chiang Chung-cheng and romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured syst ...

Chiang Kai-shek
and the
Kuomintang The Kuomintang (KMT), also referred to as the Guomindang (GMD) or the Chinese Nationalist Party, is a political party in the Taiwan, Republic of China, initially Republic of China (1912–1949), on the Mainland China, Chinese mainland and ...
to ''The Art of War''. The work strongly influenced Mao's writings about guerrilla warfare, which further influenced communist insurgencies around the world. ''The Art of War'' was introduced into Japan and the book quickly became popular among Japanese generals. Through its later influence on the
Sengoku period The is a period in History of Japan, Japanese history of near-constant civil war, social upheaval, and intrigue from 1467 to 1615. The Sengoku period was initiated by the Ōnin War in 1467 which collapsed the Feudalism, feudal system of Japan ...
"Great Unifiers" of Japan,
Oda Nobunaga was a Japanese daimyo were powerful Japanese magnate A magnate, from the late Latin ''magnas'', a great man, itself from Latin ''magnus'', "great", is a noble or a man in a high social position, by birth, wealth or other qualities. ...

Oda Nobunaga
,
Toyotomi Hideyoshi was a Japanese samurai were the hereditary military nobility and officer caste of History of Japan#Medieval Japan (1185–1573/1600), medieval and Edo period, early-modern Japan from the late 12th century to their abolition in 1876. ...

Toyotomi Hideyoshi
, and
Tokugawa Ieyasu was the founder and first ''shōgun , officially , was the title of the military dictatorship, military dictators of Japan during most of the period spanning from 1185 to 1868. Nominally appointed by the Emperor of Japan, Emperor, shogun ...

Tokugawa Ieyasu
,. it significantly affected the unification of Japan in the early modern era. The mastery of its teachings was honored among the
samurai were the hereditary military nobility and officer caste of History of Japan#Medieval Japan (1185–1573/1600), medieval and Edo period, early-modern Japan from the late 12th century to their abolition in 1876. They were the well-paid retainer ...

samurai
and its teachings were both exhorted and exemplified by influential ''
daimyō were powerful Japanese magnate A magnate, from the late Latin ''magnas'', a great man, itself from Latin ''magnus'', "great", is a noble or a man in a high social position, by birth, wealth or other qualities. In reference to the Middle Age ...
s'' and ''
shōgun , officially , was the title of the military dictatorship, military dictators of Japan during most of the period spanning from 1185 to 1868. Nominally appointed by the Emperor of Japan, Emperor, shoguns were usually the ''de facto'' rulers of th ...
s''. After the
Meiji Restoration#REDIRECT Meiji Restoration The , referred to at the time as the , and also known as the Meiji Renovation, Revolution, Reform, or Renewal, was a political event that restored practical imperial rule to Japan in 1868 under Emperor Meiji. Although t ...
, it remained popular among the Imperial Japanese armed forces. The
Admiral of the Fleet An admiral of the fleet or fleet admiral (equivalent rank to admiral of the navy Admiral of the Navy was the highest possible rank in the United States Navy ), (unofficial)."''Non sibi sed patriae''" ( en, "Not for self but for country" ...
Tōgō Heihachirō Marshal-Admiral the Marquis , served as a '' gensui'' or admiral of the fleet in the Imperial Japanese Navy and became one of Japan's greatest naval heroes. As Commander-in-Chief of the Combined Fleet during the Russo-Japanese War ...

Tōgō Heihachirō
, who led Japan's forces to victory in the
Russo-Japanese War The Russo-Japanese War (russian: Ру́сско-япóнская войнá, Rússko-yapónskaya voyná; ja, 日露戦争, Nichiro sensō, Japanese-Russian War) was fought between the Empire of Japan The was a historical natio ...
, was an avid reader of Sun Tzu.
Ho Chi Minh (; , ; : ; 19 May 1890 – 2 September 1969), born , also known as , , , Người cha dân tộc or simply ('Uncle', ), was a Vietnamese Vietnamese may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Vietnam, a country in Southeas ...

Ho Chi Minh
translated the work for his Vietnamese officers to study. His general Võ Nguyên Giáp, the strategist behind victories over French and
American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is ...
forces in
Vietnam Vietnam ( vi, Việt Nam, ), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,, group="n" is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the ...

Vietnam
, was likewise an avid student and practitioner of Sun Tzu's ideas. America's Asian conflicts against
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...
,
North Korea North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. It borders China and Russia to the north, at the Yalu River, Yalu (Amnok) and Tu ...

North Korea
, and
North Vietnam North Vietnam, officially the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV; vi, Việt Nam Dân chủ Cộng hòa), was a state in Southeast Asia from 1945 to 1954, and a country from 1954 to 1976. During the August Revolution following World War ...

North Vietnam
brought Sun Tzu to the attention of American military leaders. The
Department of the Army The United States Department of the Army (DA) is one of the three military departments within the Department of Defense of the U.S.. The Department of the Army is the federal government A federation (also known as a federal state) is a ...
in the United States, through its
Command and General Staff College The United States Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC or, obsolete, USACGSC) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, is a graduate school for United States Army and sister service officers, interagency representatives, and international military o ...
, has directed all units to maintain libraries within their respective headquarters for the continuing education of personnel in the art of war. ''The Art of War'' is mentioned as an example of works to be maintained at each facility, and staff duty officers are obliged to prepare short papers for presentation to other officers on their readings. Similarly, Sun Tzu's ''Art of War'' is listed on the
Marine Corps Marines, or naval infantry, are typically a military force trained to operate in in support of naval operations. Historically, tasks undertaken by marines have included helping maintain discipline and order aboard the ship (reflecting the natu ...
Professional Reading Program. During the
Gulf War The Gulf War was a war waged by coalition forces The term "coalition" is the denotation for a group formed when two or more people, factions, states, political parties, militaries etc. agree to work together temporarily in a partnership t ...
in the 1990s, both Generals Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. and
Colin Powell Colin Luther Powell ( ; April 5, 1937 – October 18, 2021) was an American politician, statesman, diplomat, and United States Army The United States Army (USA) is the land Land is the solid surface of Earth that is not permanent ...

Colin Powell
employed principles from Sun Tzu related to deception, speed, and striking one's enemy's weak points. However, the United States and other Western countries have been criticised for not truly understanding Sun Tzu's work and not appreciating ''The Art of War'' within the wider context of Chinese society. In the 1987 film ''
Wall Street Wall Street is an eight-block-long street in the Financial District This is a list of financial districts in cities around the world. Background A financial district is usually a central area in a city where financial services firms suc ...
'', the protagonist
Gordon Gekko Gordon Gekko is a composite character In a work of media adapted from a real or fictional narrative, a composite character is a character based on more than one individual from the story. Use in film *Several characters in the movie '' 21' ...
frequently cites passages from ''The Art of War'' as guiding principles for his aggressive trading techniques.
Daoist Taoism (), or Daoism (), is a philosophical and spiritual tradition of China, Chinese origin which emphasizes living in harmony with the ''Tao'' (, Taoism#Spelling and pronunciation, or ''Dao''). In Taoism, the ''Tao'' is the source, pattern ...
rhetoric is a component incorporated in the ''Art of War''. According to Steven C. Combs in "Sun-zi and the ''Art of War'': The Rhetoric of Parsimony", warfare is "used as a metaphor for rhetoric, and that both are philosophically based arts." Combs writes: "Warfare is analogous to persuasion, as a battle for hearts and minds." The application of ''The Art of War'' strategies throughout history is attributed to its philosophical rhetoric. Daoism is the central principle in the ''Art of War''. Combs compares ancient Daoist Chinese to traditional
Aristotelian Aristotelian may refer to: * Aristotle (384–322 BCE), Greek philosopher * Aristotelianism, the philosophical tradition begun by Aristotle * Aristotelian ethics * Aristotelian logic, term logic * Aristotelian physics, the natural sciences * Aristot ...

Aristotelian
rhetoric, notably for the differences in persuasion. Daoist rhetoric in ''The Art of War'' warfare strategies is described as "peaceful and passive, favoring silence over speech". This form of communication is parsimonious. Parsimonious behavior, which is highly emphasized in ''The Art of War'' as avoiding confrontation and being spiritual in nature, shapes basic principles in Daoism. Mark McNeilly writes in '' Sun Tzu and the Art of Modern Warfare'' that a modern interpretation of Sun and his importance throughout Chinese history is critical in understanding China's push to becoming a superpower in the twenty-first century. Modern Chinese scholars explicitly rely on historical strategic lessons and ''The Art of War'' in developing their theories, seeing a direct relationship between their modern struggles and those of China in Sun Tzu's time. There is a great perceived value in Sun Tzu's teachings and other traditional Chinese writers, which are used regularly in developing the strategies of the Chinese state and its leaders. In 2008, the Chinese television producer Zhang Jizhong adapted Sun Tzu's life story into a 40-episode historical drama television series entitled ''Bing Sheng'', starring Zhu Yawen as Sun Tzu. The video game ''Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition'' contains challenge missions based on Sun Tzu's ''The Art of War'', which explains the military tactics and strategies.


References


Citations


Sources

* * * * . * * . * . * . * . * . * .


External links

;Translations * * * *
Sun Tzu and Information Warfare
at the Institute for National Strategic Studies of National Defense University {{DEFAULTSORT:Sun Tzu Sun Tzu, 544 BC births 496 BC deaths 6th-century BC Chinese people 6th-century BC Chinese writers 5th-century BC Chinese people 5th-century BC Chinese writers Ancient Chinese military writers Cultural critics Military strategists Military theorists People whose existence is disputed Philosophers of culture Philosophers of education Philosophers of social science Philosophers of war Political philosophers Political realists Chinese social commentators Social critics Social philosophers Zhou dynasty generals Zhou dynasty philosophers Zhou dynasty writers