“We are from a Daimyo samurai family,” my Dad proudly announced one night.
We – three of us, siblings – stared at him puzzled. What? Who? Which samurai?
Relieved, we looked at each other with awe and pride.
We had heard of him. He is well-known, not only because he was a smart strategist and expanded his territory during the Sengoku era, but also because of his teaching to his sons on his deathbed.
Motonari called his three sons to the bedside, handed them each an arrow and told them to break them. They all quickly snapped. He then handed three arrows and asked to break three at once. When they were unable to do so, he explained that one arrow could be easily broken but three arrows together could not.
Since there were three of us, we often heard this story as a reference to support each other and to be good to each other. And, being from a samurai family is a great pride. We had to keep up with the reputation. We had to behave.
Which of three sons are we related to?
It seems that there was another son, who was too feeble to join the fight and war and was sent to a nearby temple.
We are from him.