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Japan (The Kalmar Union)

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Empire of Great Japan
Timeline: The Kalmar Union
Flag of Japan Imperial Seal of Japan
Flag Coat of Arms
Capital
(and largest city)
Tokyo
Language Japanese
Emperor Akishino
Prime Minister Kotoku Masaomi
Population 83,131,250 
Currency JPY

The Empire of Great Japan, Japanese Empire, Japan, is a large autocratic monarchy in North-Eastern Asia and North-Western Leifia. In Asia it borders Vladimir and the Chinese Empire. In Leifia it borders Vinland and Lingít Aaní. The population is around 83 million and the capital is Tokyo.

The Head of State is Emperor Akishino.

The official language is Japanese, though Korean is also widely spoken outside of the main islands.

The currency is the Japanese Yen (JPY).

History

The main Japanese islands have been inhabited since at least 14,000 BC. Divided into warring states it slowly coalesced into a united Empire by the 8th century. Domination by successive clans would lessen the power of the Emperors and hand it to the Shoguns, constantly warring amongst themselves for position and power.

Japan was first contacted by Europeans when Portuguese explorers in 1553. The daimyo Toyotomi Hideyoshi quickly used the new weapons brought eastwards to conquer his rivals and the country would be united in 1590. Two attempts to conquer Korea failed and under the succeeding Tokugawa Shoguns the country sealed itself off from contact with the world fearing European conquest. A single trading station remained open at Dejima with which it traded with China, Brunei, Portugal and United Netherlands.

This isolation continued until the 1820s but it had already begun to expand its territory northwards taking Hakkaido, Karafuto and the Chishima Islands. A trade dispute had rumbled off and on with Castile since 1798 after a Chinese vessel, which Castile claimed was a privateer, was sunk off Dejima. After this event the Shoguns saw that Japan desparately required to take control of its extensive coastlines and rapidly built a western-style navy. This would be put to the test during the Iberian revolution as it deftly captured the Loaisa Islands from Castille and helped wreck their trade in the Roasjoinn.

Despite its assistance in the war it was not recognised at the Treaty of Milan and the Loaisa Islands were awarded to France. At first Japan did nothing to prevent this and acquiesced to the change. On 12th December 1850 however it declared war on France and reclaimed the islands. The first fleet that Paris sent against it was driven on to the reefs via careful tactics but by the time the second French fleet arrived, this time with Luxembourg and Brunei's assistance, infighting was hindering the Japanese command and their fleet would be destroyed. The Loaisa Islands were recaptured and for a time Okinawa was administered by the French.

This great humiliation reverberated around the Japanese government eventually leading to the full seizure of power by Emperor Komei. This precipitated a civil war (1853-1855) between the Imperial party and the Shogunate party. The defeat of the Shogun signalled the beginning of a full westernisation of Japan, far beyond the efforts that other Eastern nations had made. The adoption of various bits of the Industrial Revolution led to the mineral poor country to look once more to the Asian mainland. As it built a modern army it started to claim the Siberian coastline from the borders of Korea (directly challenging Chinese rule) to the Imakpik Strait. The peoples there were little known even to their neighbours and quickly submitted to Japanese rule or were wiped out by disease. In 1879 it directly challenged China and Vladimir for control of Siberia and in particular, the Amur River. The huge battles at Harbin and Mudanjiang secured Japanese dominance over the river and an audacious advance to Lake Baikal led the Vladimir delegation to finally fix their Eastern border. Japan was left in complete control of eastern Siberia and exercising effective control over Korea's government. An attempt to seize Hawaii from Mexica was abandoned after a six-year war (1884-1890) and whilst it was an incredibly expensive failure, it did much to drag the navy up to European standards. Even now Japan is at the cutting edge of naval technology, almost launching the first Tyr-style battleships before Kalmar.

Large numbers of Japanese and Koreans would move northwards to settle and mine the new regions whilst the descendants of Russian traders either stayed put, adapting to the new regime, or migrated westwards. Political prisoners and prisoners of war were forced to build railways through the new provinces, often in horrendous weather conditions. The northern-most prefecture, too cold to support agriculture was handed over to the army to be run in effect as a giant penal colony. Military Japan, as this huge new entity was quickly dubbed by Western observers, pays only light taxes to Tokyo and rather than being an agent of the Empire has assumed a worryingly degree of control over foreign policy. In 1904 at the generals' urging Emperor Meji claimed the entire Northern Roasjoinn as Imperial property. This would lead to the Japanese-Tlingit War which saw Japan occupy a large swath of the Northwest Leifian coastline. The Treaty of Kaien (1916) fixed the new borders and the new rulers eagerly began mining operations and the constant search for ways to destabilise their weaker neighbours.

A second (1893-1895) and third war (1899) against China for control of Taiwan were also failures, but only as China had begun to reform its army, too, in light of the losses in 1879 and severe revolts rocked Korea. Another revolt in 1961 finally led to the full annexation of the Korean Empire and it was divided into eight prefectures. Only a year later the assassination of the governor of Keijo along with several members of the now powerless Korean Imperial family, apparently with Chinese support, led to the 'Great Eastern War' (1961-1967), the bloodiest conflict of the 20th century. For six years, until various other parties organised a ceasefire, the Chinese and Japanese armies butchered each other in dizzying numbers over the Liaodong Peninsula while the islands in the Roasjoinn swapped hands repeatedly. In the end Japan was awarded the peninsula and other areas in Manchuria but China was given the string of Taga Islands.

Government

The Japanese Empire is an autocratic monarchy. There is a parliament and elections, however the powers and responsibilities of the parliament are severely limited in scope. Most real decisions are taken by a small council made up of the Emperor, senior domestic ministers and senior military chiefs.

The current Head of State is Emperor Akishino and his Prime Minister is Kotoku Masaomi.

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