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The Yamaka Shogunate
YamakaFlag
Flag of Yamaka

Name

The Yamaka Shogunate

Short Name

Yamaka

Continent

Alycia

Capital

Akaru

Governance

Feudal military dictatorship

Language(s)

Nitsugo

Currency

Higane

Population

130 million

Yamaka, officially the Yamaka Shogunate, is an island nation in East Alycia. Located in the Notioc Ocean, it lies to the south east of Rodina and to the north east of Katay, with the Sea of Katay between them.

Yamaka, formerly known as Juninoshima (12 islands), is an archipelago consisting of some 5000 islands. The twelve largest islands together comprise about ninety-five percent of Yamaka's land area.

History: Formerly one of the oldest monarchies in the world, Yamaka has been ruled as a feudal military dictatorship by the Yamaka family, which governs the state in an absolute feudal manner, having overthrown the previous emperor in 1922. Since 1922 the Yamaka Archipelago has existed as a feudal dictatorship carefully structured around an honourbound caste system. It is this very system which allows the government to function as social and political culture are intertwined to the point which one could not exist without the other. Three successive generations of the Yamaka family have ruled the nation with an iron fist and with the constant war with Katay galvanising the people behind it's leadership none of their rivals looks able to take the reigns anytime soon. Government and Culture: Yamaka society is governed by a strict honour code called the Shinfoni, this exists as a series of rules that have been maintained over thousands of years but have been adapted to suit the new regime. First and foremost it defines the castes and their functions in society, it also lays down the rather rigid rules regarding social mobility. It is therefore possible for members to move between castes (unless they are casteless), however to do so requires first a sponsor from the caste the supplicant wishes to enter and also a formal acceptance writ from the Koe, the council of nobles. In either case neither the Koe or a sponsor will grant their support without gaining something significant in return, this hypocritical system of quid pro quo represents the ocean of corruption which exists at the heart of the Yamaka shogunate. An Ocean the Yamaka's have sailing successfully for years.  Every caste serves a specific function in it's continuation.                                                                                             Kizoku (noble): The nobles of Yamaka are divided into over 400 houses all of which have a single representative on the Koe, the council of nobles. The council's role varies greatly depending on the circumstances. Normally they're limited to an advisory capacity for the High council (comprising of the 16 great houses) however there are two key exceptions. First all movement between castes requires support signatures from at least 20 heads of houses, making the Koe crucial for those who want to elevate their favourites or for the ambitious wishing to elevate themselves. Secondly, and most significantly, any change to the Shinfoni requires a three quarters majority within the Koe to be successful and co-operation to such a degree is almost unheard of. The high council controls the day to day running of the Shogunate, which basically means co-ordinating and adjudicating between the lesser houses in the direction the Shogun wishes. Most of it's membership are loyal to the Yamaka's, who make sure it stays that way. Outside of the Koe every noble house is theoretically equal, including the Yamaka's. Each has final say on all activities within their own land and have their own private armies, they owe allegiance to the Shogun and send troops to fight in his wars, however that is where his authority technically ends. In practice however this is much more of a grey area. Through the High Council (and his own significant personal power) the Shogan wields a varying degree of influence over other's lands. The stronger houses can resist this influence to a point and often lesser houses will ties themselves to a greater one so that protection will also extend to them. These are known as client houses and they often trade away some minor concessions to a greater house to protect themselves from greater interference from the Shogun. Many however seek to become clients of the Yamaka's, accepting greater concessions in order to be allied with the most powerful kid in the playground.                                                                                                                                            Seinaru (priest): In many ways the Seinaru are more powerful than nobles. As holy men they have significant sway with most castes, the people of Yamaka are devout followers of their ancestor worship based faith and because of this their priests are highly influential. However their greatest powers revolve around the Shinfoni, the code of honour which governs virtually everything in life on the Archipelago. The Kami Koe (the Seinaru council) is responsible for interpreting the codes and this affords them immense power. Many a Kizoku has found themselves on the wrong side of the Seinaru only to be removed from power by an angry mob or an official censor from the Shogun (whichever is more convenient for the Seinaru on the ground). As with the secular Koe the Shogun has the Kami Koe populated with many of his most loyal followers, however even so not all can be considered true Shogunists. Many Seinaru still believe in the old ways of the Emperor and consider the Shogun a usurper. However these voices stay very quiet......for now.                                              Buredo (warrior): This caste pretty much does what is says on the tin. The backbone of the Shogunate, the warrior caste represent the epitome of what it means to be of Yamaka. Every propaganda poster, every great poem, every piece of literature ever written that comes from Yamaka focuses mainly on the Buredo caste. In a nation overflowing with corruption the Buredo represent a bastion of true honour. For them Shinfoni is not a means to an end but a way of life, more than worth sacrificing their lives for. Raised from birth to do battle they are known throughout the world as a soldier elite. Well equipped by the technological powerhouse of Yamaka industries with excellent tactical and strategic training provided by specialists military academies (training sought after by military leaders the world over) the shogunate thus fields the world's most deadly fighting force. It is because of this the Kizoku and Seinaru jockey heavily for their loyalty, indeed it was the original Shogun's ability to speak to their inner code which allowed for him to oust the Emperor in the first place. It is a gift he passed on to his descendants which has helped keep them on the throne and proved true the old saying, he who holds the Buredo holds the islands.                                                   Tomi (merchant): Most of the other castes consider the Tomi to be barely a step above the peasants, a very few acknowledge however that without them Yamaka could not exist. Serving as the economists, businessmen and the civil/ambassadorial service of Yamaka they run the vital operations necessary for the existence of the Shogunate. Thus for every noble who looks down on them in public another will pander to them behind closed doors, for behind every corrupt system there's an even more corrupt bureaucracy that keeps it going. The bane of the honourable warrior caste the merchants can easily provide paths for all castes through the miles of red tape surrounding the Shinfoni, or they can make it a solid barrier. They also serve as management for all the major corporations that function throughout Yamaka, the most powerful being the high tech weapons industries, and as such are always head-hunted by nobles wanting to get rich. Even so every Tomi has to remember his place, none of them will ever be able to field an army or own large swathes of land, not without being elevated, and they don't possess weapons or religious authority like Buredo or Seinaru and as such they always need protection from a patron. For even a peasant is owed protection by their noble, Tomi have no such luxury.

Nomin (peasant): In many ways the Nomin live the best lives in Yamaka. Shinfoni puts them under almost no obligation whatsoever other than to not interfere in the roles of the higher-ups and to provide a service to their community in some fashion. They can become farmers to provide crops, they can become workers in industry, they can become craftsmen or musicians or anything that they like. For this reason it is not unheard of, on rare occasions, for one of the higher caste to demote themselves to live the life of a wealthy Nomin. A life of little responsibility and less threat to your security, making it understandable but frowned upon to make such a move. Nomin must pay taxes to their local Kizoku in exchange for their security and enforcement of all laws. On rare ocassions the Shogun may call upon all Kizoku to conscript their Nomin when Buredo cannot field required numbers. However in spite of numerous conflicts this has not proven to be the case since the last great war.

Fuyona (casteless): At some point in their ancestry members of the Fuyona were of a different caste. Either they were on the losing side of a civil war or they just screwed up real bad, one of their ancestors was cast out of society and forced to live as a casteless. The Fuyona often live pitiful lives, they are restricted from honest paid labour and are killed automatically if caught committing a crime, so many do not last very long. Those that do become beggars, petty thieves and sometimes scratch out a living in the countryside. Some have become living legends, master thieves or famous hunters, most however survive by doing the only thing which gives them a real chance at a life. Emigrating. Many former Casteless find their way to Oceana or anywhere they won't be judged for their bloodline

The Shogun: Technically the Shogun and his family are little different under the laws of Shinfoni than the other noble houses (apart from being more powerful, rich and ruthless than the rest). However there are a few key differences. The Shogun appoints members of the Koe and Kami Koe high councils, he also can send out court censors to inspect violations of Shinfoni. Censors must at least be accompanied and advised by one Seinaru so the Shogan saves time often by using loyal Seinaru as censors. Censors have the power to make anyone casteless (except the Shogun) who they deem in violation of Shinfoni. Finally the Shogun also has total control over all areas of foreign policy. His personal Tomi form the ambassadorial staff and his Buredo form the core of the Yamaka army.

Tatakai Ritual, one of the wildest aspects of Shinfoni is the ritual combat that exists within it's laws. TataKai is one of the most infamous elements of Yamaka society. It is governed by very strict codes of conduct. First, anyone (except Seinaru) between the ages of 14 and 50 may challenge or be challenged in TataKai but only against members of their own caste. Second, every challenge is to the death and any combatants refusing to kill their opponents will be executed on the spot. Third each combatant will make use of weapons provided by the adjudicator which must be of equal type and quality. Fourth, Tatakai can only take place at specific neutral ritual sites at a time designated by the adjudicator. Fifth, the victor of Tatakai may claim the loser's personal possessions with the exception of lands and title. This can include adopting the loser's spouse and children as their own if the victor wishes and is previously unmarried. Sixth, all challenges may be refused but the refuser must provide their case to the adjudicator as to why they have done this. If their case is unsuccessful or they don't provide a case then they will be made casteless for reasons of cowardice. Seventh, no individual may challenge, or be challenged, more than once per year. Eighth, all Tatakai matters must be adjudicated by a Seinaru of a neutral house. Ninth, in times of war all Buredo are exempt from TataKai. It is rumoured that there is a tenth secret rule that if the Shogun is challenged and defeated the victor would become the new Shogun. However no-one has ever attempted this, even if the Shogun were beaten (unlikely, given that the current Shogun is a Barransu master) everyone knows that the throne isn't held by physical might but by alliances. A new Shogun rising to the throne in such a fashion would do so isolated and without friends and would swiftly be killed and replaced with one of the old Shogun's rivals. Not to mention that any challenger to the Shogun would likely conveniently die in their sleep in the days leading up to the contest.