Japan’s top corporate executives can glean many useful ideas and hints from feudal warlords on how to manage their teams and find and foster able successors, according to Masashi Hisaka, a noted historical novelist.

“War was not the only task for warlords in the Sengoku (Warring States) Period in Japan from the 15th to 16th centuries,” Hisaka said at a recent meeting in Tokyo. “The power-oriented time was filled with trickery, betrayal and assassination, but great warlords in the period exerted their energies to stabilize the lives of their people and create strong clans of followers.”

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