Seven Samurai Principles

I just found something really curious in an old notebook: seven Samurai Principles.

circa 1956:  The samurai sword of General Tomoyuki Yamashita, 'the Tiger of Malaya', commander of the Japanese troops in the Philippines during World War II. It rests on the Philippine Surrender Document, signed at Baguio, Luzon on September 3rd, 1945.  (Photo by Orlando /Three Lions/Getty Images)

Curious, because they seem to sum up the principles of influence too.  Here they are:

Gi – Justice and  Morality

If you do right by people, then they are likely to reciprocate.  People with an attitude of fairness are universally trusted.

Makoto – Complete Sincerity

Follow up on your promises – always.  Once you let me down, I will never trust you again.

Rei – Polite Courtesy and Respect

When you treat other people politely and respectfully, they will have one reason fewer to resist you.

Yu – Heroic Courage

Aren’t we all in awe of those who can rise above the masses of people who are afraid to act.  This is a sure route to make people feel they want to follow you.

Meiyo – Honor

Make decisions with total integrity – do what’s right, rather than what is easy.

Jin – Benevolence and Compassion

You may have strength, power and authority, but the compassion to help others and be nice to them when you can will mark you as someone special.  Go further: if an opportunity does not arise, look for one.

Chugo – Duty and Loyalty

When someone comes into your sphere of influence, keep faith with them.  Friends and trusted colleagues are easier to keep than find, but they are easier still to lose.  So work at it.


About Mike Clayton

Mike is an author and speaker, specialising in personal effectiveness, project management and the management of change. When we try to make change work for us, things don't always go as planned: Shift happens! Over the years, Mike has developed personal and professional strategies to anticipate and deal with shift. You can contact Mike at
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One Response to Seven Samurai Principles

  1. Jacques says:

    Excellent article !

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