During “the Civil War Era” or “the Sengoku Era”, there was a period when power was fragmented among numerous samurai. During this time three powerful warlords tried to unify the country. Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu.
There is a poem known to Japanese school children that shows the different styles of the warlords and their characters. A parable was told that these three leaders were gathered in a garden, when a bird landed on a limb. A Zen Master then asked each of them what they would do if the bird doesn’t sing.
Oda Nobunaga - 1534-1582
Nobunaga was arguablly the most potent and the most fierce Samurai in the era. He was also known for his cruelty and often described as a demonic figure with no mercy. Nobu would have thundered “Kill it!” or without a word cut it to pieces.
Toyotomi Hideyoshi - 1536-1598
Hideyoshi was the successor of Nobunaga. He finally unified Japan and had brought an end to “the Civil War Era.” Then he buried his rivals one by one, and he conquered all over Japan at last. Hideyoshi would have said "make it sing."
Tokugawa Ieyasu - 1542-1616. \
Ieyasu was the successor of Hideyoshi, and the founder of Edo Shogunate. Presumably he is the most famous shogune in the history. Ieyasu was known as a patient, persevering man with an excellent talent for management. Ieyasu would have told everyone there that "If a bird doesn't sing, wait for it to sing."