Alternate History

Japanese Shogunate (Superpowers)

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Dai Nippon Bakufu
Great Japanese Shōgunate
Timeline : Superpowers
Japanese Imperial Flag
Government Absolute Theocracy
Population 412,000,000 inhabitants
Area 1,816,000 km2
Superpowers Japan 2000 AD
Capital Kyoto
Largest City Honshū cityscape
Official Language Nipponese (de jure)
Major Languages

Latin, Nahuatl, Greek

Other Languages
  • Mongolian
  • Aramaic
  • Coptic
Demonym Nipponjin (日本人)
Ethnic Groups
  • 81% Japanese
  • 16% Korean
  • 2% Caribbean
  • 1% Other
Population Density 225.7 inhb/km²
Emperor Heavenly Sovereign Iyo Hito
Legislature Rōjū
Economy State capitalism

$46.3 Trillion
927 Billion Dn

GDP per ca.

$112,500 per person
2250 Dn per person

Development #3 in the world
Slavery Rate Abolished
  • Imperial Court : 710 CE
  • Isolationism : 1425
  • Imperial Unification : January 8, 1605
  • Emergence Day : May 21, 1704
Currency Ryō ()
  • 95% Shinto
  • 4% Roman Christianity
  • 1% Other
Territory OTL Japan; Korea; Primorye and Cuba

The Great Japanese Shōgunate (Nipponese: 大日本幕府 or Dai Nippon Bakufu) is East Asia's most technological autocratic theocracy. Of primary importance to Japan is an archipelago east of the mainland on which the modern royal dynasty formed in the 8th century CE.

One race and culture has dominated these isles for the last 12,000 years - they are known locally together as the Nipponese. Strict immigration restrictions and xenophobia have made Japan one of the most ethnically homogenous states on the planet, with less ethnic tension than more diverse countries like the Maya.

Once a loose collection of feudal states, Japan came under the dominion of Oda Nobunaga in 1577 CE. The Great Shōgun's successors, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu, subjugated the remaining fiefdoms. Afterward, the latter accepted the title, Heavenly Sovereign, and became sole ruler in 1605.

Perhaps the smallest sovereign state by area, Japan boasts the fourth largest population. By that combination, it is easily the most densely populated region that ever existed. Sustaining this unnatural situation is efficiency on a national scale unlike anywhere in the world.

As the only unconquered territory in the world, Japan is a source of pride for its people, giving them a sense of invincibility as a whole. This sentiment is not merely historically valid but also sound. Japan's natural and military defenses render it the most secure state on Earth.

Government & Politics

The Great Japanese Shōgunate is an autocratic monarchy ruled solely by the Heavenly Sovereign (Tennō, 天皇) as a Deity of the Shinto religion. He is the highest spiritual authority of the State. His position as Great Shōgun (Dai Shōgun) puts him above all other Daimyo (clan leaders) on the Isles. The Tenno is the military, political and religious head of Japan, and therefore, of the most autocratic state in the world, with every aspect able to be executed by the will of the sovereign alone.

Nevertheless, Japan has parliamentary institution known as the Han Assembly. This political organ is run by the 900 Daimyo, aristocratic leaders of each Han. A Japanese citizen need only be a rich or influential resident of their Han in order to run in the Japanese elections that take place every other year. The primary role of the Han Assembly is to advise the Tenno and bring important issues to his attention. Additionally, it has the power to propose legislation which the Tenno may then pass or ignore at his own discretion. Although Emperors will usually accept legislation that has a majority in the house, this is only to please the populace, and a popular enough Emperor could literally spend his career ignoring the Assembly.

The most important organ of the Japanese government is the Rōjū (Council of Elders). Five of the most important men in Japan, often members of the Royal Family, the Council has a number of different responsibilities as the primary arm of the executive government. These include but are not limited to:

  1. Relations between the Throne and the Court.
  2. Supervision of those daimyo who control lands of over a million people.
  3. Managing the forms of official documents in official communications.
  4. Supervision of the internal affairs of the Shōgun's domains.
  5. Designing or selecting designs for Coinage, public works, and overseeing enfiefment.
  6. Governmental relations and supervision of monasteries and shrines.
  7. Compilation of maps, charts, and other government records.

It is usually through the Rōjū that the Assembly interacts with the Emperor, as his person is considered far too sacred to be in as public a place as a political assembly. One of the Elders will usually preside over the Assembly in the Tenno's place. It is their job to inform the Daimyo of the tax rate they will be expected to collect from their own Han.


Following international conventions, Japan's military splits into three branches:

Japanese military spending is low compared to other countries, only 1.8% of GDP. While this generates 16.7 billion Dn ($835 billion US), 68% of it is spent on their Navy, and like all government spending, the money is used with extreme care and precision. Part of naval spending goes towards maintaining their 400 nuclear ICBMs, which thankfully have only seen one use in the country's history. Japan's air force is surprisingly small and almost completely dependent on the aircraft carriers. Virtually no aircraft are stationed on land. By an interesting international law, Japan has been granted a much larger amount of "national water space" than a state with its coastline should have. This was granted to them following a dispute over the lack of international waters in the Mediterranean Sea in the 1930's. Now nearly the entire northern Pacific Ocean is within Japan's domain. They have extraordinary naval freedom here and it is estimated that 90% of Roman and Japanese nuclear tests took place in the national waters of the Pacific.


During their centuries of isolation, Japan nurtured an economic system more efficient than any other in the world. The sudden stress of losing all foreign trade forced the nation's leaders and businessmen to make every available resource count. Today, the Japanese government consistently runs higher surpluses than any other state or corporation, with a recent spending surplus of 86 billion Dn in 1999. All of this extra money is carefully invested by the government in Japanese and some foreign corporations and banks. The government is so good at investing that the Japanese economy is currently suffering no ill effects from the recession in the Roman economy, something which has brought down markets across the world. What is more incredible is that many Japanese economists predicted the recession in 1998. They were proven correct in early 1999 when the Roman stock market had its first big fall.

When the Japanese emerged from isolation in 1704, they were in a prime position to dominate the world market. Pacific trade at the time consisted of 69% of international trade. The Miraculum Nipponum as the Romans called it brought them up to become the 3rd industrial power in the world, just behind the Romans and the Mongols. Now they have nearly undisputed control over the world's trade routes, through the power of the Nippon Kaigun. This is a situation which the Romans have in fact encouraged, as the Japanese are such close allies, they find it preferable to leave the cost of patrolling the world's oceans to the Japanese instead of themselves. A win-win situation for both empires.

Currently the Japanese take part in about 21% of all international trade, and 53% of Pacific Trade. In comparison, their largest trading partner Rome takes part in only 16%, but an impressive 32% of aggregate world trade includes the Romans, whilst only 26% includes the Japanese. Amazingly, the Japanese GDP is almost one fifth of the Romans, and so is the fourth largest economy in the world. By population however, the Japanese have the second highest GDP per capita at 2250 Dn ($112,500 US) per person. Most impressively, the Japanese trade economy is enormous, with nearly a third of its GDP arising from trade surplus (exports minus imports). Looking at the actual numbers though, about 4 trillion Dn of goods and services are exported yearly, a value which is nearly on par with the Roman Empire.

The Japanese currency, the Ryō, is one of the most highly sought after in the world, and is nearly as popular as the Denarius itself. It is desired mostly for it extraordinary stability and general reputation on the world markets. This itself remains a factor for the continued success of the Japanese economy even in a Roman dominated world. Unlike the Conglomerate, which saw a 0.4% fall in GDP, Japan's GDP expanded in 1999 by about 2.4%, faster than any other nation in the world.

Income and Human Development

The Japanese Office of the Census measures per capita GDP as being the second highest in the world, standing at 2250 Dn. In comparison to most other countries, this is a highly accurate number for predicting the average income of Japanese workers, a number which is calculated to be about 2080 Dn, almost on par with the Roman average. Amazingly, the income of the average household is actually higher in Japan since there is a higher percentage of women working than in the Empire. Similarly to the Romans as well, retirement is practically unheard of in Japan and in a more extreme version of OTL, there are company graveyards and old person homes that care for their needs whilst still keeping them active in their jobs. Children as well, begin working almost as soon as its possible, usually working menial jobs at a young age before and after schooling, and then getting a more full work load after 17, when schooling finishes and apprenticeship begins.

These processes are facilitated by the structure of most Japanese cities. Due to heavy, what would be called congestion by most, facilities of different kinds are often fused together into single buildings. So an office building might link to several thousand houses, a school, an old person home, and even shops. The construction of these "city buildings" is usually done by the company itself, but with a good deal of oversight and control on the part of the Japanese Office of Urban Development.

Companies also usually offer huge amounts of benefits to their workers, usually bearing the costs of health care, dentistry, and even some leisure costs in order to provide comfort while they work instead of going on vacation. Holidays as well are very rare and there are only three national holidays in total. These are Unification Day (January 8), the Emperor's Birthday (now February 19) and Victory Day (December 13). These are mandatory holidays and everyone is required by law to take these days off. Otherwise, most Japanese people take no other days off, only "festive days", called hare, which occur almost every week, are taken as the "weekends" for the Japanese people. During these days most offices and the like are closed but other shops and businesses remain open.

Poverty in the Shōgunate is virtually unheard of and anyone who is willing to has a home to live in. Unemployment is considered rare as well, and most people who are not currently in a real stable job can work for the government in things like street cleaning, that require no qualifications and are provided instantly. If one considers having these kinds of jobs as being "unemployed" then the unemployment rate of Japan is about 4.1% of the labor force. If not, then unemployment is effectively 0%.


Science & Technology

Japan is regarded as the second most scientifically advanced nation on Earth, with many of its electrical and mechanical technologies approaching the level of advancement achieved by the Romans. Although Japanese scientists to not excel especially in any one field, as is the case with the Mayans, Romans and Inca, they are very well rounded and due to their elevated world standing, have been given advances that some countries would not give to any other nation. Some examples of this are the networked integrated circuit (AI brain) and memory metals.

The Japanese also have a knack for adapted existing technologies to a new and innovative purpose, and it is this trait which Japanese scientists are especially valued for on an international level. The nation has a very high significant patent market that has netted many scientists a good deal of money. Copying the Romans, in 1911 the Intellectual Foundation was founded to hand out Monuments to Intellect, 1 million Ryō prizes given out each year to achievements in 5 specific categories of intellectual advancement.

Furthermore, the Japanese were the second nation to develop their own national computer network, known to them as the Watatsumi, or Umi for short. From the Japanese word for "sea", the Umi is a completely free network of computers very similar to the Internet of OTL. It is operated by hundreds of thousands of fiber optic cables running across all the Japanese Isles and their Korean states, it was intended to integrate Cubagua as well, but its position as a "Colony" rather than an actual Japanese state has prevented this from ever occurring.


In the Japanese Isles, private transportation vehicles larger than a bicycle are illegal and so virtually all movement of people is performed by public transit. Magnetically levitated trains pass through all four main Japanese Isles in about 20 different train lines. All stations consist of three platforms, one on each end which service trains going in opposite directions from the other, and one main central platform which services trains separate from the other two platforms but that go in both directions. Essentially this means that there are two trains going in each direction, allowing the enormous volume of passengers to be comfortably transported around the city.

The stations for this train network are found in a wide variety of locations: on the ground, underground, in the basement of a building, or even on one of the upper floors of a building. This is because the train system is mostly above ground, running silently both between buildings and through buildings, seamlessly weaving through the great Megalopolis of the Islands. On the ground, electric street cars, charged by radio so that there are no electric lines everywhere, ferry passengers along all major streets. Both the street cars and trains are entirely automated and the former follow very specfic routes, usually along one road back and forth (they can stagnantly rotate 360 degrees).

Between the Japanese Islands and their other holdings are cruise ship networks that take their passengers over long distances to Korea, the Ryukyu Islands and Cubagua. All three of these forms of public transportation cost money, though citizens can buy a special Transit Pass that allows them unlimited travel on any of these systems for an entire month, and for a price of only 3.1 Dn (410 Ryō). Furthermore, in 1986 a tunnel was completed linking Korea to Japan, finally allowing for high speed train, to pass between the Shōgunate's two population centers. Most importantly this train connects to the Nagasaki Station on the Shinkansen, the main line which runs from Nagasaki to the southern end of Hokkaido. The high-speed trains can make the 200 km trip in a little over 20 minutes. On average, one train starts the trip every half an hour or so.

Aircraft were never popular as a method of transport in Japan and so there are only two airports, one of which was not even built by the Japanese. The first is the Tokugawa International Airport just 100 km east of Edo (Tokyo), connected to Kyushu by underground train. The airport is rather small and only makes flights to about 10 different airports, one in Cubagua, and one near each of the three Roman capitals, the Mayan, Inca and Mongol capitals and several other major cities in any of those four nations. The second airport is of course in Cubagua and was built in 1956 by the government of the island. It has since been rebuilt to much higher standards, but the general layout remains the same from those days. It only makes flights to Japan, Teotihuacan, Halorium and the primary Danish city in Columbia.


About 32% of Japan's energy is still generated by fission power plants, and they are not expected be completely replaced by better fusion plants until about 2028. Nevertheless, 27% of Japan's power even now originates from fusion plants, about four of which use the Roman method of powering them by hydrogen from sea water. 30% of Japan's power is generated from a variety of wave powered generators and other Hydro sources. The other 11% comes from deep geothermal power plants operated just off their coastlines. Fortunately, recent advances in technology have made the latter a far safer source of power and it is believed that they may soon start replacing other renewable sources, mainly due to their safety from foreign attack in comparison to wave plants.

Similarly to the Mayans and the Romans, superconducting wires are used for nearly all energy transportation, greatly reducing the amount of power lost. In total, the Japanese energy market is about 64,920 Terawatt-hours per year (Twice OTL USA), whilst average per capita consumption is about 18,000 W.

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