Tuesday, March 22, 2011

No. 20: Do Not Forget That Momentum Does Not Last Long (March 23, 2011)

It is advisable to take advantage of momentum in whatever field you are involved: warfare, business, and even politics. When you create innovative ideas, you can get momentum and win a battle. The point, however, is that the momentum does not last long, and it is lost all of sudden usually because of narcissistic decisions.

Take the Battle of Midway in 1942 for example. The Japanese Navy attacked the Pearl Harbor in 1941 and got momentum in the Pacific War. However, the momentum was lost in the Battle of Midway because of the incredible mistakes on the part of the Japanese Navy. It is quite natural to think that the Japanese Navy completely lost the possibility of winning the Pacific War in the Battle of Midway. Nonetheless, the Japanese government continued the reckless battles in the Pacific Ocean. Is it too much to say that the narcissistic decisions of Japanese military elite led Japan to the devastating defeat in the Pacific War? 

You can find another example in the dramatic story of Nobunaga Oda (1534-1582) who is unquestionably the most innovative feudal lord of the Japanese history. In the age of provincial wars (1467-1615), feudal lords placed importance on establishing a solid system to rule their feuds, and the system was to integrate worriers, farmers, and merchants for the stability inside their respective feuds. Equipped with an established system, they tried to expand their feuds should if they had surplus power and ability. This means that no feudal lords, except Nobunaga Oda, thought about establishing a new system in a nationwide scale. Back then, establishing a new system to rule the entire nation was truly a revolutionary idea. Nobunaga Oda got momentum with this new idea and successfully expanded his feud. Judging from his connections with missionaries of the Society of Jesus, his idea may have originated from the absolutism then widespread in Europe.

He worked out several strategies to realize the new system. First, he completely separated warriors from farmers and created professional warriors. Back then, farmers did agricultural work in peacetime and fought in a battle in wartime. This means they ware unable to be warriors in the farming season. With the professional warriors, Nobunaga Oda got the military force to fight a battle all year round. He forced his warriors to live around his castle and established the military system to manage them. The well-organized warriors were trained to stand always ready for a battle. His warriors naturally were far more competent than part-time warriors of other feudal lords.

At the same time, he was the first feudal lord to introduce guns in Japan. Back then, a gun needed more than 10 seconds for reload. To make up for this shortcoming, he set up a team made up of three rows and asked each row to fire in shifts. This revolutionary idea allowed him to defeat horse soldiers utterly. Another point that characterized him is that he promoted human resources regardless of their personal history and background. However, his best days ended all of sudden when one of this subordinates attacked him.

A great earthquake, which is dubbed an earthquake once in 1,000 years, attacked the Tohoku and Kanto districts in Japan while the current regime is in the height of narcissism. As is often the case, disaster strikes when you least expect it. 

1 comment:

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