Sima is not the only one who missed the era change. 😛
Since Morgane isn’t feeling well, I’m releasing some of the content as it pertains to Japan instead.
Japan is designed (by me) to intentionally be obtuse. I think there’s a tendency for some of our readers to assume that Japan is playing the role of the “token antagonist” teammate given its imperial and other “unusual” ambitions in lore. What you need to understand is that unlike the United States, Japan is as splintered as it can be in Pacific. In a way, it is reflective of the issues in which we have to deal with matters today given societal and cultural changes. That I won’t get into today. What we will talk about is matters pertaining to the Imperial Household and introduce to you some related characters.
You may or not know that one controversial matter in Japan in our world today is whether the Emperor gets to be the head of state. This is actually a pretty big deal, and it is a long-standing objective of Abe’s LDP. Since generally nobody disagrees with the Emperor being the symbol of Japan (and the Japanese people), it seems relatively uncontroversial, right?
The Constitution of the Empire of Japan
Chapter I. The Emperor.
- Article 1. The Empire of Japan shall be reigned over and governed by a line of Emperors unbroken for ages eternal.
- Article 2. The Imperial Throne shall be succeeded to by Imperial male descendants, according to the provisions of the Imperial House Law.
- Article 3. The Emperor is sacred and inviolable.
- Article 4. The Emperor is the head of the Empire, combining in Himself the rights of sovereignty, and exercises them, according to the provisions of the present Constitution.
The matter is largely one about constitutional revision. You can interpret things as you will given the reference to the Meiji Constitution, which is the pre-war one used by the Japanese Empire prior to 1945. In the views of people on that particular side of politics, in order for Japan to “normalize,” the Emperor performs an important functionary role towards the restoration of that “normalcy.”
In Pacific, the Emperor is significantly diminished. The team has often joked that Pacific Japan is essentially Sengoku Jidai 2.0, and they aren’t wrong at all with that comparison. It’s not that the Emperor isn’t a popular figure or beloved by the populace. That much is still true even in Pacific’s Japan.
Politically, however, Japan has already achieved “normalization.” American influence is significantly diminished and largely relegated to working alongside clans who tend to see eye to eye with the silly westerners on moral and ethical issues. Constitution revision hasn’t technically happened yet by the 90s, but it’s a technicality and formality at this point. With neither of the Pacific Great Powers really interested in expanding and China being largely inert due to other reasons, Japan really does have time to sit and wonder: just how should we proceed?
Problem. Virtually nobody really agrees with one another in terms of how things should proceed. So, today, I’ll talk about one of Japan’s “factions,” generally termed the Chrysanthemum Throne, or Throne in our team’s internal discussions and use this to highlight some details found in the Pacific world.
To begin, the Chrysanthemum Throne, as its name implies, are individuals (shipgirl, military, and civilian) and groups affiliated with the Imperial House of Japan and Yamato (the shipgirl). Nominally, the goal of this group, in addition to securing Japan’s future and protecting their home from the Abyssals, is to restore tradition back to Japan. This generally means some combination of reaffirming the Emperor’s status as a living god, having the Imperial Household participate in national affairs and policymaking, or granting special privileges that circumvents the current “modern” Japanese constitution.
Officially, the Imperial Household is unaware of any Abyssal activity. The ruse is such that roughly maybe half of the Japanese shipgirls active assume this to be the case. Whether this is intentional (i.e. for ambitious teitoku to secure loyalty of their shipgirls) or unintentional (some girls aren’t the brightest) is a matter of perspective. Formally, however, the Imperial Household maintains a direct line of communications only to STEC when it comes to anti-Abyssal activities. In typical Japanese pride and arrogance it considers the others to be beneath its notice.
The person in charge of this line of communication is none other than Yamato. Additionally, she appears to wield considerable degrees of influence. The Imperial Household do not convene to discuss matters of the Abyssal unless she is present. No messages pertaining to the Abyssals reach the Emperor or the Imperial Household unless she has seen it first. While she claims to only act in accordance to the Imperial Household’s wishes, you can imagine that many people privately question that claim. That being said, however, for someone so powerful (physically and politically), Yamato seems to have little interest in it. She is generally content to watch the squabbles and only rarely intervenes in domestic disputes. Why doesn’t she simply knock a few heads together and get the NKT organized is anyone’s guess. Some think that it’s her temperament, or the complex role she plays as the Emperor’s representative. Others whisper that she’s actually the one orchestrating those conflicts behind everyone’s back.
I use the term affiliation because outside of the Imperial Household itself and Yamato, there’s no “direct control” of affiliated individuals. Yamato is free to approach shipgirls and request their presence for certain tasks and they’re (in theory free, in practice this occurs almost never) free to agree or disagree or negotiate. Given that she communicates about as frequently as the Emperor himself (not a lot) and doesn’t generally entertain questions much less visitors, it’s difficult for anyone to figure out why, for example, she may choose to intervene in certain domestic affairs but not others.
If there’s no “formal” faction, why is this even relevant?
The reason is that a significant number of NKT mobilizations or tasks are carried out in the name of the Emperor. Initially, even STEC wasn’t sure if the matter was purely symbolic. The Emperor in this timeline is still forbidden to hold office or wield any actual political power, and STEC’s own intelligence personnel in Japan sees no reason for the bickering political parties to yield power to the Imperial Household. It took a bit of digging to realize that in fact, the Imperial Household disproportionately affects NKT operations. As such, given STEC’s own mission of protecting humanity at large, how to best work with (and work things out with) Japan becomes an important and desirable matter.
Here are four notable individuals that, as we slowly inch towards more worldbuilding, you may expect to see crop up. In my next post (assuming this is what I am directed to do next) I will probably talk about the role shinto plays in Japanese society in Pacific and some of the shipgirls’ own viewpoints on the matter.
Fusou: In the Japanese shipgirl hierarchy where strength and reputation both matter, Fusou is a bit of an odd duck. She’s powerful and reliable, but she treats the whole shipgirl-as-kami thing far, far, far more seriously than the other girls to the point where she can easily make others uncomfortable. Given the close affiliation of the Imperial Household with the various shrines and the greater overall religiosity of Japan, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially for some shrines willing to monetize literal “appearances” of goddesses.
It’s just, you know, it’s tough to get along with a literal goddess who tends to act like one. Akagi and Hiryu prefers to not call on her. Kaga has all but cut ties with Japan due to her disagreements and in fact has disappeared altogether. Soryu doesn’t mind her so much as she minds Soryu – in Fusou’s opinion, Soryu needs to act in accordance to her status. That means she really should be mingling with those mortals less, not more.
Chief Priest Miyoshi Sadamitsu: In the Pacific timeline, the Emperor is privately viewed as the chief priest of shinto and especially the Imperial shrine at Ise, but publicly, this role is given to another with no known connections to the Imperial Household. While nominally meant to “balance” political influences (the chief priestess of Ise is of the Imperial Household), the reality is that the modern-day chief priest of Ise is considerably less influential than his female counterpart. Still, as one of Japan’s largest and most popular shrines, the task of keeping the shrine running in order is a significant religious and organizational enterprise.
Miyoshi Sadamitsu doesn’t mind. An even-tempered, well-mannered man who grew up during the Pacific War, Sadamitsu sees his service to the Imperial Household as his way of serving Japan. Perhaps it’s a bit ironic that the chief priest of Japan’s most significant shinto shrine doesn’t appear to take his religion particularly seriously – some whisper that Sadamitsu doesn’t even believe in the kami, especially not the ones that have manifested to defend Japan in her trials to come. The open theological challenges by more openly devout priests have became so commonplace that only five years prior Yamato herself stepped in and ended the matter in one line. Sadamitsu stays, no matter what the complaints may be.
Even so, for some of the younger members of the priesthood, challenging the old head priest becomes something of an act of daredevilry (since, well, they’d be counting on the fact that Yamato is unlikely to personally intervene). Sadamitsu knows better than to bite. While he believes that a strong spiritual basis is important for the future of Japan as a whole, he is concerned about the growing list of devotees and the increasingly fanatical turn some shrines are turning out. In his view, fanaticism of any kind is bad for Japan and bad for Japanese as a whole. If he was selected to serve, then he intends to wield his position with due rigor.
“Nameless”: Part of the reason for why some of the aforementioned shrines are turning out fanatics is the appearance of a mysterious, nameless individual whose actions can only be described as stuff straight out of Japanese folklore. Anonymous sources tipped off to reporters alerting them of egregious abuses by local politicians. Levees on the verge of breaking and flooding the nearby villages magically fixed overnight. Notorious criminals tied up and neatly bundled to be delivered to the door of the local police station. Entire classes of school children being miraculously saved from fires too strong for the firemen to enter. The list go on and on.
Naturally, some of the NKT thought that this may be the work of one of the shipgirls. Their hunch should have been correct, except that there are several flaws within the theory. The first is that for some reason, none of the shipgirls in question can “sense” this individual. All shipgirls have a natural affinity for each other and can tell in one way or another when they’re within proximity. This is, in fact, how shipgirls are typically discovered prior to more organized tools such as say, STEC’s MERLIN system going online. The second is that whatever or whoever this person may be, the actions in question always seem to take place whenever there is an absence of shipgirl activity.
Here is what is known about the “Nameless” individual. He or she appears to travel at a speed roughly consistent with someone who travels on foot, and seemingly wanders around Japan at random. Some reports a man, but the vast majority of eye-witnesses describe a Japanese woman of indeterminate age. The only thing that’s agreed upon is that “she” is comparatively tall for a Japanese individual and speaks with a distinctive Chūgoku accent.
As you can imagine, rumors about just who or what this is a common topic of gossip among those who are aware of shipgirls and Abyssals. Theories range from some kind of elemental anomaly to an oversized fairy to Abyssal defectors to, well, honest-to-goodness mythological kami and more. At this point, anyone’s guess is as good as anyone else’s, but the most popular one is the actualized kami theory, where the Nameless is a native kami spirit of Japan awakened by or perhaps alongside the shipgirls.
(Two asides. Yamato has refused to entertain the theory in any capacity, dismissing any mention of it as silly superstition.
STEC has done some private sleuthing and scanning via the MERLIN network and found nothing that matches with MERLIN’s database or its heuristic analysis protocols.)
Director (Princess?) Mizuho and Yamashiro: To provide personal security for the Emperor, the Imperial Guard Police Force can be traced back to the end of World War II where the Konoe divisions were formally disbanded. Its current head is the thirty-two year old Asakura Mizuho, formerly known as Her Imperial Highness the Princess Mizuho and nowadays often simply as “Mizuho” due to her unusual circumstances.
While members of the Imperial Household are forbidden to hold political office, Mizuho circumvented this matter by marrying out of the Imperial Household. However, her husband experienced a tragic car accident on the day of the wedding itself, and it is through this technicality that she is the director of the Imperial Guard Police today after serving in the Self-Defense forces as an officer.
Beautiful but brash, Mizuho is a vocal supporter of restoring Imperial authority or at the very minimum allowing members of the Imperial Household to be of service nationally. She is typically held in check by her close confidant and companion Yamashiro (secretary/press secretary to the public), who share her views but tend to be far more tactful in her approach.
Mizuho doesn’t trust Yamato. Neither does Yamashiro. The two perceives Yamato’s domineering personality and authoritarianism as encroaching on Imperial authority, and prefers to work with members closer to the military such as Akagi in defense of Japanese waters. Their views on foreign influence is also opposite of one another’s. Yamashiro distrusts the foreigners and believe that ultimately, Japanese matters should be resolved by Japanese. Mizuho is significantly more open and believe that foreigners can be used for mutual benefit.
The two’s relationship can be summed up as such. Out of respect for Yamashiro’s opinions, Mizuho does not ask Yamashiro to accompany her to STEC meetings. However, each time she meets with STEC’s Japanese representative and contacts, she will always find Yamashiro waiting outside of the meeting place.
(STEC’s own encounters with Yamashiro is that she’s capable and deferential, but quite distant and do not socialize unlike the other Japanese shipgirls.)