Strategy 34

The Strategy of Injuring Yourself

Pretending to be injured has two possible applications. In the first, the enemy is lulled into relaxing his guard since he no longer considers you to be an immediate threat. The second is a way of ingratiating yourself to your enemy by pretending the injury was caused by a mutual enemy.

Edo Period Japan

During the Tokugawa period, Kaei Juzo, a former spy, had come under suspicion and was in danger of being assassinated. It turned out that the man sent to kill him was a former acquaintance called Tonbe. Not wishing to kill his old friend, Tonbe and Juzo worked out the classic ploy as follows. Tonbe brought Juzo back as a prisoner to the Shogun. Juzo begged the Shogun to allow him one last dignity, permission to commit Hara-kiri. The Shogun, curious to see the notorious spy's bravery in death, allowed him that privilege. Juzo was given a tanto (dagger) that he plunged into his belly, and, cutting sideways, spilled his intestines onto the ground before falling over. The guards removed the body and threw it in the castle's moat. A short time later Juzo quietly swam to shore and escaped the district. Knowing that his warrior's reputation would merit him the right of committing Hara-kiri, Juzo had strapped a dead fox across his abdomen. When the fox's intestines spilled out - it was indistinguishable from human intestines.

See Modern Example