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International News Networks / Re: YHK (News from Daitō)
« on: June 04, 2023, 06:42:51 AM »

Ministry of War Confirms Successful Final Hypersonic Missile Test

Harunori Kōno

Marking a major milestone in its hypersonic weapons research, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) conducted a stunning final test of its Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapons Experiment (HAWX) program, which it calls the most successful of its kind in the nation's history. Per ARPA, the vehicle was launched from a P-42 Fencer bomber, at which point its rocket booster was ignited, propelling the missile to a speed at which its scramjet ignited. During its flight, which lasted for just over five minutes, the missile was reported to have travelled close to 556 kilometers and reached altitudes in excess of 18,200 meters. While an exact location of the test was not stated, it was confirmed that the P-42 carrier plane took off from Noto Air Force Base on the east coast of Tsukishima. ARPA also did not confirm the date of the test beyond saying it was "recent", most likely within the last two weeks. ARPA added that this test marked the completion of the HAWX program, one that "accomplished all of its initial objectives." ARPA will use the data from this program as part of its efforts to field a full-scale version of its Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile (HACM), as well as in the development of future hypersonic platforms, both for military and research purposes.

Zayasu, which developed the version of the HAWX weapon flown during this test flight, issued its own statement praising the program's success. "Both of our HAWX flight tests launched launched from an in-service aircraft and matched performance models and predictions to aid affordable, rapid development of future hypersonic weapons," Zayasu Heavy Industries CEO, Kunihiro Marutaka, said in the statement. Daitōjin military officials have been quick to proclaim the success of the HAWX program, with some going as far as to say it was the "most successful hypersonic airbreathing flight test program in the country's history."

The key technology being tested during the program is its air-breathing scramjet engine. A scramjet is a form of jet engine in which combustion takes place while the air passing through it is moving at supersonic speeds. Whereas a normal jet engine uses moving turbines to compress the air inside them, these scramjets use their own geometry and speed to achieve this compression. Scramjets are designed to more efficient than other types of jet engines and can reduce overall weight by removing moving parts such as turbine blades. The data from the HAWX tests will be used to further hypersonic vehicle designs, including the coming HACM missile which is set to enter service in the near future. The completion of the HAWX program adds to other recent successes in the Daitōjin military's efforts to field operational hypersonic weapons. This includes last month's AGM-191 ARROW test, as well as an upcoming final test of the Long-Range Hypersonic Vehicle (LRHV) which will be operated by both the Army and Navy. Additionally, ARPA confirmed that it had selected Aizawa-Shinoda to build a prototype Hypersonic aircraft.
Supreme Court Ruleing Finds Prohibition on Same Sex Marriage Unconstitutional

Yasuhiro Ishihara

Activists, members of the LGBTQ community, and the lawyers of several plaintiffs took the streets of Shinkyō today to celebrate a ruling by the Supreme Court which found that the current prohibition on same-sex marriages was unconstitutional. This comes following last September's ruling by the High Court in Awara that the ban on such unions was constitutional, with a number of the plaintiffs challenging the ruling and taking it to the Saikō-Saibansho. In his opinion, which was published late last evening, Chief Justice Hirokatsu Aikyō said the current system that excludes same-sex couples with no legal protection for their relationship is unconstitutional and that there is no room for government discretion. He further said that not allowing same-sex marriage violated the guarantee of equal rights under article one of the 1st Amendment to the constitution, while also noting that article four provides freedom to marry by not specifying a prohibition on same-sex marriage. Chief Justice Aikyō was joined by a majority of Justices on the Supreme Court, however, Justices Nishitani and Tachikawa offered dissenting opinions, viewing the ban as not necessarily unconstitutional, although they shared the ruling of the Shinkyō District Court that the government lacks a rationale to justify the absence of legal protections for same-sex couples. Just one member of the court, Justice Sakamoto, came out saying that the prohibition is constitutional.

Asato Kuwabara, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said "The judicial branch, on behalf of the rights of minorities, has raised its voice and sent a strong message to the government." before adding "That message is clear: It cannot continue to ignore these issues, that it must act immediately to resolve this problem."

Chapter Seventeen — The Greater East Ardia War, Part Three: Final Days of the War (1939 - 1945 CE)
I. — Nuclear Attack
Ia. Background

Hatsukaichi, c.1944
   Early in the morning of the 5th of August, 1945, a flight of bombers took off not from Yakushima, but rather, from an airbase in Ardia proper. Six in number, these B-19s flew north, passing over Yakushima where they were joined by their escorts. From there, they turned north-west, flying towards the Mutsu Inland Sea in Daitō. Their payload, their mission, all of it is top secret. The men aboard knew were about to do, whatever reservations they may have had, now long-since passed. That day, they were going to make history and change the face of war, no, the world itself forever. They were going to drop the bomb—the Atomic Bomb—as a last-ditch effort to eliminate a major participant in the Great War and reach a settlement with their enemy. But this day did not have to come, not like this, anyways.

   On the 25th of July, Ardian leaders issued a declaration which outlined the terms of surrender for Daitō. The declaration was presented as an ultimatum and stated that without a surrender, Ardia would launch a direct invasion of mainland Daitō, resulting in “the inevitable and complete destruction of the Daitōjin armed forces and just as inevitably the utter devastation of the Daitōjin homeland”. The atomic bomb was not, however, mentioned in the communique. On the 28th of July, Daitōjin papers reported that the declaration had been rejected by the government. That afternoon, Prime Minister Sonyu declared at a peace conference that their declaration was nothing more than a rehash of prior statements, that the government intended to ignore it, and that Daitō would fight until the end, or at least until it had liberated all of its territory presently under occupation. Emperor Kunan, who, after witnessing the devastation brought to his country, privately wished to make peace, made no move to challenge the government's position. The only surrender Daitō was willing to accept would be conditional on the preservation of the kokutai, assumption by the Imperial Headquarters of disarmament and demobilization, that there would be no occupation of the homeland, Tsukishima, or the Satsunan and Miyako islands, and that any punishment of supposed war criminals be delegated to the Daitōjin government.

   Meanwhile, the city of Hatsukaichi had been a city of industrial and military significance. A number of military units were located nearby, the most important of which being the headquarters of Field Marshal Itsurō Matsushige’s Second General Army, which commanded the defense of western Daitō and was located in Hatsukaichi Castle. His command encompassed some 400,000 men, most of whom were near Jōshū and Tenkyō, where an Ardian invasion was anticipated. Also present in the city were the headquarters of the 38th Army, the 11th Division, and the 219th Division, a recently formed mobile unit. The city was defended by five batteries of 70mm and 80mm anti-aircraft guns belonging to the 4th Anti-Aircraft, including units from the 120th and 121st Anti-Aircraft Regiments and the 28th and 41st Separate Anti-Aircraft Battalions. In total, an estimated 40,000 Daitōjin military personnel were stationed in the city. Hatsukaichi was also a supply and logistics base for the Daitōjin military. The city was a communications center, a key port for shipping, and an assembly area for troops. It supported a large war industry, manufacturing parts for planes and boats, for bombs, rifles, and handguns. The center of the city contained several reinforced concrete buildings and lighter structures. Outside of the center, the area was congested by a dense collection of small timber workshops set among Daitōjin houses. A few larger industrial plants lay near the outside of the city. The houses were constructed of timber with tile roofs, and many of the industrial buildings were built in a similar fashion. As a whole, the city was highly susceptible to fires. It was the second largest city after Tenkyō that was spared destruction by air raids, primarily because it lacked the aircraft manufacturing industry that was a primary target. The population of Hatsukaichi had reached a peak of around 443,000 earlier in the war, but prior to the atomic bombing, the population had steadily decreased because of a systematic evacuation ordered by the Daitōjin government. At the time of the attack, the population was estimated at around 370,000-380,000. Residents wondered why the city had been spared destruction by firebombing. Some speculated that the city was being preserved as an Ardian occupation headquarters, others thought their relatives in Ardia, immigrants who went to the country decades prior, had petitioned the Ardian government to spare the city. Some even correctly assumed, in a way, that the Ardians were planning something entirely new for the city. The city’s officials, however, expecting that they would be struck in time, had ordered buildings torn down to create long, straight firebreaks. These continued to be expanded and extended up to the morning of the 5th of August, 1945.
Ib. Detonation

Firestorm cloud over Hatsukaichi three hours after the bombing, August 5th, 1945
   Hatsukaichi was the primary target of the first atomic bombing mission on the 5th of August, with Otsu and Yuzawa as alternative targets. The 71st Bombardment Squadron’s B-19 Aquila, commanded by Col. François Betrand, took off from East Field, Lafarre in Ardia, approximately six hours’ flight time from Daitō. Aquila was initially accompanied by two other B-19s: Phoenix, commanded by Maj. Auguste Fournier, which carried instrumentation, and a then-unnamed aircraft later called Umbra, commanded by Captain Mathias Beauchêne. Umbra was the photography aircraft. After leaving Lafarre, the aircraft made their way separately towards Yakushima in order to rendezvous with the rest of their flight at 05:55 and 2,800 meters before setting a course for Daitō. The aircraft arrived over the target in clear visibility at 9,470 meters. The crew of Aquila armed the bomb mid-flight to minimize the risks during takeoff; they had already, over their careers, seen multiple B-19s crash during takeoff and feared that a nuclear explosion would occur if a B-19 crashed with an armed bomb, nicknamed Cadeau by the crew, onboard. The safety devices on the bomb were removed approximately 33 minutes before reaching the target area.

   During the night of 4-5 August, Daitōjin early warning radar detected the approach of numerous Ardian aircraft headed for the southern part of Daitō. Radar detected 65 bombers headed for Kurashiki, 102 bound for Kaga, 261 en route to Tsubame, 111 headed for Muroto, and 66 bound for Imari. An alert was given and radio broadcasting stopped in many cities, among them Hatsukaichi. The all-clear was sounded in Hatsukaichi at 00:05. About an hour before the bombing, the air raid alert sounded again as one of the bombers, performing weather reconnaissance, flew over the city. It broadcast a short message which was picked up by Aquila. It read, quote, "Cloud cover less than 3/10th at all altitudes. Advice: bomb primary.” The all-clear was sounded over Hatsukaichi again at 07:09. At 8:09, Betrand started his bomb run and handed control over to his bombardier, Major Philippe Dupond. At 08:15, the bomb bay opened and the bomb dropped. As Cadeau fell towards the city, the arming wires were removed, starting its internal clocks. As the flight banked away, the bomb’s radar activated, sending signals towards the ground. At the predetermined altitude, around 580 meters above the city, an electrical signal reached the fuse, closing the circuit on the bomb. Just over 43 seconds after Cadeau left the bomber, a bright light filled the plane and the first shockwave violently shook it. Behind them, Hatsukaichi vanished in a boiling mushroom cloud.
Ic. Events on the ground

Hatsukaichi, August 5th, 1945
   Those on the ground reported a pika—a brilliant flash of light—followed by a don—a loud booming sound. Some 80,000-90,000 people, around 21% of the population of Hatsukaichi at the time, were killed by the blast and resultant firestorm, and another 90,000 were injured. It is estimated that as many as 30,000 Daitōjin military personnel were killed. Later surveys estimated that around 12km² of the city was destroyed, while Daitōjin officials determined that 69% of Hatsukaichi’s buildings were destroyed and another 6 to 7 percent were damaged. Some of the reinforced concrete buildings in Hatsukaichi had been built very strongly as a result of the danger of earthquakes in the region, and as a result, their framework did not collapse even though they were fairly close to the blast center. Since the bomb detonated in the air, the blast was directed more downward than sideways, which was largely responsible for the survival of buildings such as the Prefectural Commercial Exhibition, now commonly known as the Genbaku (A-bomb) dome, which was only 130 meters from ground zero. The ruin was named the Hatsukaichi Peace Memorial in the 1960s, with it being one of the most famous sites in the country and a contender for a CETO Site of International Importance. The bombing started intense fires that spread rapidly through timber and paper homes, burning everything in a radius of two kilometers. As in other Daitōjin cities, the firebreaks proved ineffective.

   The air raid warning had been cleared at 07:31, and many people were outside, going about their activities. The city had a slightly higher population on that day as preparations for an upcoming festival were underway. Eiji Yasuda was the closest known survivor, being in the basement of a reinforced concrete building only 170 meters from ground zero at the time of the attack. He died in 1981, aged 83. Itsuko Togami was also among the closest survivors to the blast, being in the sturdily-built Bank of Hatsukaichi, a mere 300 meters from ground-zero at the time of the attack. It is estimated that over 90 percent of doctors and 93 percent of nurses in Hatsukaichi were killed or injured—most had been in the downtown area which received the greatest damage. The hospitals were destroyed or heavily damaged. Only one doctor, Jiro Harukawa, remained on duty at Hosogi Hospital. Nonetheless, by early afternoon, the police and volunteers had established evacuation centers at hospitals, schools, and tram stations, and a morgue was established at the Sasaki library. Survivors of the blast gathered for medical treatment, but many would die before receiving help, leaving rings of corpses around the hospitals.

   Most elements of the Second General Army headquarters were undergoing physical training on the grounds of Hatsukaichi Castle, merely 800 meters from the hypocenter. The attack killed an estimated 3,471 on the parade ground. The communications room of the Kinai Military District Headquarters that was responsible for issuing and lifting air raid warnings was located in a semi-basement in the castle. Makoto Rinzaki, a Kagamino Girls High School student who had been mobilized to serve as a communications officer, had just sent a message that an alarm had been issued for Hatsukaichi and neighboring towns when the bomb exploded. She used a special phone to notify the Headquarters in Kyōtango, just 130 km away, that “Hatsukaichi has been attacked by a new type of bomb. The city is in a state of near-total destruction.”

   Since Hatsukaichi’s mayor had been killed while eating breakfast at his residence, Field Marshal Itsurō Matsushige, who had only been mildly wounded, took over the administration of the city and coordinated relief efforts. Most of his staff, including a grandson of Toshikatsu Heike, Katsumoto Heike, who was serving as a Lieutenant Colonel at the time, had been killed or fatally wounded. As a result, Matsushige’s most senior staff officer, the wounded Colonel Takeshi Haruno, was made his acting chief of staff. Soldiers from the Hatsukaichi Chuo Harbor used Taifū-class suicide motorboats, intended to repel an Ardian invasion, to collect the wounded and take them down the rivers to a military harbor in Chuo. Trucks and trains brought in relief supplies and evacuated survivors from the city. For his efforts in the aftermath of the bombing, Field Marshal Matsushige was ennobled as a Count and was awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun. He is commemorated with a statue in Hatsukaichi, just outside of the city hall.

   Natsuki Yamahata, a photojournalist from Hatsukaichi, was at home around 2.7 km from the hypocenter at the time of the explosion. He was not seriously injured and determined to go into the city center. A fire forced him to flee back to Sembonmatsu bridge, where the scene of desperate and dying people prevented him from using his camera for nearly twenty minutes, when he took two frames at around 11:00. He tried again later but felt too nauseated to take more than three more frames. The first two photos were of people who escaped serious injury near to Sembonmatsu bridge; the second of these is taken closer up and shows them having cooking oil applied to their burns. A third shows a policeman, his head bandaged, issuing certificates to civilians. The last pair are taken close to home: one of the damage to his uncle’s barbershop, and another out of his window. Yamahata was unable to develop them for nearly twenty days. When he was finally able to do so, he had to do so at night and in the open, rinsing them in a stream. The negatives had deteriorated severely by 1977, at which point they required extensive restoration. Yamahata’s photos are the only known surviving photos of Hatsukaichi on the day of the blast.
Id. Daitōjin realization of the bombing
   The Shinkyō control operator of the Yamato Broadcasting Corporation (YHK) noticed that the Hatsukaichi station had gone off the air. He tried to reestablish his program by using another telephone line, but it too had failed. About 20 minutes later, the Shinkyō railroad telegraph center realized that the main line telegraph stopped working just north of Hatsukaichi. From some small railway stops within 16 km of the city came unofficial and confused reports of a dreadful explosion in Hatsukaichi. All of these reports were transmitted to the headquarters of the Imperial Daitōjin Army General Staff. Military bases tried to call the Army Control Station in Hatsukaichi. The complete silence from the city puzzled the General Staff; they knew that no large enemy raid had occurred and that no sizable store of explosives was in the city at that time. A young officer was ordered to fly immediately to Hatsukaichi, to land, survey the damage, and return to Shinkyō with reliable information for the staff. It was felt at the time that nothing serious had taken place and that the explosion was merely a rumor.

   This staff officer, Jirō Sanmiya, went to the airport and took off heading southeast. After flying for about three hours, while still over 150 km, from Hatsukaichi, he and his pilot saw a great cloud of smoke from the firestorm created by the bomb. After circling the city to survey the damage, they landed south of the city, where Sanmiya, after reporting to Shinkyō, began to organize relief measures. Shinkyō’s first indication that the city had been destroyed by a new type of bomb came from the Ardian Emperor’s announcement of the strike sixteen hours later. In the Ardian Emperor’s speech, he claimed that the Empire was "prepared to rain down ruin from the air, the likes of which has never been seen in this world’s history. Behind this air attack will follow sea and land forces in such numbers and power as they have not yet seen and with the fighting skill of which they are well aware.” This widely broadcast speech was picked up by Daitōjin news agencies. Likewise, the 50,000-watt standard wave station on Yakushima, built in 1941, broadcast a similar message to Daitō in 15 minute intervals about the fate of Hatsukaichi, stating that more Daitōjin cities would face as similar fate in the absence of immediate acceptance of the terms given, urging for civilians to evacuate major cities. Radio Fusan, which continued to extoll victory for Daitō by never surrendering, likewise informed the Daitōjin of the destruction of Hatsukaichi by a single bomb. Prime Minister Sonyu felt compelled to meet the Daitōjin press, to whom he reiterated his government’s commitment to the war-effort, to ignore Ardian demands, and to fight on.

   On the 6th of August, a day after Hatsukaichi was bombed, Dr. Yōichi Yaegashi, accompanied by other atomic physicists from both Daitō and her allies, arrived in the city and carefully examined the damage. They then went back to Shinkyō and told the cabinet that Hatsukaichi was indeed destroyed by a nuclear weapon. Admiral Gakuto Fuchigami, the Chief of the Naval General Staff, estimated that Ardia could not have any additional bombs readied, and thus recommended that Daitō endure any future attacks and proceed with the operation to liberate Yakushima, acknowledging the potential of more destruction as the war went on. He was lucky, as post-war estimates indicated that Ardia would not have a second atomic bomb before December of 1945. Nonetheless, even as the Empire’s population steeled itself for what was to come, most in the cabinet acknowledged that, with supply lines all but severed and faced with the potential for further air raids which would likely cripple the state for decades to come, it needed a way out. Thus, although some had doubted whether it would be worth it, the Supreme War Council gave the order, on the 13th of August, to launch the invasion of Yakushima so that it could, if the Empire so desired, make peace without the loss of territory to Ardia. The final stage of the war had begun.
II. — The Final Battle
   The Second Battle of Yakushima, which lasted from the 15th of August to the 17th of September, 1945, was the final battle of the Great War to involve the Empire of Daitō. Resulting in nearly 90,000 military and more than 130,000 civilian casualties, it was one of the bloodiest battles of the Satsunan Islands campaign, yet spared the Empire from further loss of life as a whole. The battle began with an aerial campaign that lasted two days, targeting key Ardian military installations across the island, during which time many of the Ardian Empire’s fighter aircraft were shot down or destroyed on the ground. Furthermore, the Ardian fleet was also targeted in these air raids, both in the Satsunan islands and in ports on the mainland, with notably the IN Rodez and Aulnay, among the last aircraft carriers operated by the Ardian Empire, being sunk as a result. The ground invasion began just after midnight on the 15th of August with the landing of paratroopers on the islands of Yakushima and Kumejima. They would secure airbases on the islands, allowing for the arrival of troops via them. The main thrust of the attack began at 07:00 that morning, with landings occurring at Kuninao, Tomori, and Saneku beaches on Yakushima, as well as attacks at Shinri and Maehama beaches on Kumejima. These attacks would go less than perfectly, with it taking until the 23rd for the beachheads on Yakushima to be connected, a task which was intended to be completed on the 20th.

   The next week was spent advancing deeper inland, aiming to link up with the paratroopers that had landed at the start of the invasion. The towns of Uken and Setouchi were liberated on the 24th, while fighting raged in the city of Isen from the 25th to the 26th. This objective, linking up with their forces further inland, would be achieved on the 27th. From there, over the course of the next twenty-one days, Daitōjin forces would engage in a number of operations to liberate parts of the islands, with the final holdouts on Yakushima falling on the 17th and on Kumejima early in the morning of the 18th. The Satsunan islands campaign was declared complete at 07:00 on the 18th, just as negotiations with Ardia were underway.

   At noon on the 19th of September, 1945, the Emperor of Daitō, Emperor Kunan, delivered an address to his subjects declaring that a settlement had been reached with the Ardian Empire, a ceasefire which would exist along all fronts that Daitōjin forces were operating in. No change of territory would occur as some had hoped, and any Ardian forces in Daitō and likewise any Daitōjin forces in Ardia would withdraw to the pre-war borders. Prisoners would be exchanged and the sea-lanes would be opened. For the citizens of Daitō, indoctrinated to believe this war was not only necessary, but just and perhaps even mandated by the gods, however, it was perceived not as merely a ceasefire, but as defeat. Indeed, even those who recognized it as a victory, even if only barely, often wrote that it was bitter enough that it tasted of defeat, and there were rumors and reports that, in the intervening weeks, small-scale uprisings had occurred in some towns across the Empire, but little came of them in the aftermath. For Daitō, the war was, save for a brief reentry into the conflict shortly before war's end, after six long years, finally over. Aided by its allies, the time had come to rebuild.

Chapter Sixteen — The Greater East Ardia War, Part Two: The War At Home (1939 - 1945 CE)
I. — Wartime Propaganda

Collection of Wartime Propaganda Posters and Fliers
   Propaganda in the Empire of Daitō, in the period just before and during the latter half of the Great War, was designed to assist the regime in governing during that time. Many of its elements were continuous with pre-war themes of Kunan statism, including the principles of kokutai, hakkō ichiu, and bushido. New forms of propaganda were developed to persuade occupied lands of the benefits of cooperation, to undermine Ardian troops’ morale, to counteract claims of Daitōjin atrocities, both real and fictitious, and to present the war to the Daitōjin people as victorious. It used a large variety of media to send its messages. Propaganda was non-objective information intended to promote a particular political cause or view. In that sense, Daitōjin propaganda was no different from other nations’ propaganda, but it had some defining elements, such as nationalism. Daitōjin wartime propaganda was, in many ways, a reaction against perceived foreign cultural domination, attacking non-allied Occidental, and particularly Ardian, culture. The believers in this propaganda saw themselves as offering a different, distinctly Daitōjin, way of life away from foreign imperialism. Propaganda portrayed the Ardian world as decadent and weak. However, Daitōjin nationalistic propaganda made it difficult for the diverse nations of the allied powers to feel like they belonged in the new order that Daitō proposed. It is worth noting that, at the time, Daitō promoted general Pan-Ardianism, although it wasn't implemented as thoroughly as the nationalistic elements within its propaganda. Because of this, Daitōjin propaganda was less appealing to non-Ōnishi than other countries. Daitōjin wartime propaganda was distributed through films, magazines and newspapers, radio, books, cartoons, and the education system.
Ia. Propaganda Films
   The most extensive and far reaching form of propaganda used by the Daitōjin government was, perhaps, film. Daitōjin films were produced for a wider range of audiences than Ardian films of the same period. From the 1920s onwards, Daitōjin film studios had produced films legitimizing the colonial project that were set in its colonies in Tsukishima, the Miyako Islands, and Paechon. Such films were extensively shown and promoted by the YFD, while those eschewing the ideals of the Imperial government were, by law, shown in occupied territories to the locals. Most of the materials shown between 1939 and 1945 were war newsreels, Daitōjin motion pictures, or propaganda shorts paired with traditional Ardian films. Movies were also shown in other Ardian countries, albeit to a far lesser degree owing to local laws, portraying Daitō as Ardia’s savior against the tyrannical rule of the Ardian Empire or spoke of the history of friendly relations between countries with films such as "The Fusan You Don't Know."

   “National Policy Films” or propaganda pictures used in the Great War included combat films such as Mud and Soldiers (1940) and The Five Scouts (1939), spy films such as The Spy isn’t Dead (1942) and They’re After You (1942), and lavish period pictures such as The Monkey King (1940). In the early stages of the war with Ardia, so-called “Humanistic war films” such as The Five Scouts tried to depict the war without nationalism. But as the war dragged on, the Home Ministry demanded more patriotism and “national polity films”— war films. As a result, from 1942 onwards, these films took on a more and more nationalistic edge, demonizing the Ardians, portraying the Feng as a servile people betrayed by their leaders, and the Nueva Ardians as tribalistic brutes. In many ways, they mirrored Ardians films of the time, which portrayed the Ōnishi as savages and mindless servants, Much like Ardian propagandists, Daitōjin film makers extensively used prejudice and xenophobia in films produced after war was formally declared on Ardia. In many films, the cowardice of the fleeing Ardian military is juxtaposed with the moral supremacy of the Imperial Daitōjin Army during the Peninsular and Ryōhaku campaigns. Daitō’s first full-length animated feature film, Momotarō (1945), similarly portrays Ardia's allies as morally decadent and physically weak “devils”. Daitōjin films often didn’t shy away from the use of suffering, often portraying its troops as the underdog. This had the effect of making Daitō appear as the victim, inciting greater sympathy from its audience. The propaganda pieces also illustrated the Ōnishi people as pure and virtuous, depicting them as morally and culturally superior. The war was portrayed as continuous and generally wasn’t adequately explained.
Ib. Themes of Daitōjin Propaganda, Part One — The Kokutai
   Daitōjin propaganda made use of a number of themes, though for the sake of time, only a few will be mentioned. Firstly was the idea of Kokutai, of the uniqueness of the Yamato Ōnishi as a people in having a leader with spiritual origins. The idea was first promulgated by the government, including a textbook sent out by the Ministry of Education. The purpose of this instruction was to ensure that every child regarded himself first and foremost as a Daitōjin and was grateful for the “family polity” structure of government, with its apex in the Emperor. Indeed, little effort was made during the course of the war, at least at first, to explain to the Daitōjin people what it fought for; instead, it was presented as a chance to rally around the Emperor. In 1937, the pamphlet Kokutai no Hongi was written to explain the principle. It clearly stated its purpose: to overcome social unrest and develop a new Yamato state. From this pamphlet, pupils were taught to put the nation before the self, and that they were part of the state and not separate from it. The ministry of Education promulgated it throughout the school system. The Yamato Fukkatsu Domei was founded by Prime Minister Sonyu to “restore the spirit and values of old Yamato”. When the number of patriotic associations during the war worried the government, they were folded into the YFD, which used them to mobilize the nation and promote unity.

   1941 saw the writing of the Shinmin no Michi, which was intended to instruct the Daitōjin on what to aspire to. Ancient texts set forth the central precepts of loyalty and filial piety, which would throw aside selfishness and allow them to complete their “holy task”. It called for them to become “one million hearts beating as one”, something which the book explicitly stated many failed to do. The obedience called for was to be blind and absolute. The war would be a purifying experience to draw them back to the “pure and cloudless heart” of their inherent character that they had strayed from. Their cultural purity, it said, should be reflected in their unity. Patriotic war songs seldom ever mentioned the enemy, and when they did, then only generically; the tone was elegiac, and the topic was purity and transcendence, often compared to the cherry blossom. The final letters of kamikaze pilots often expressed, above all, that their motivations were gratitude to Daitō and to its Emperor as the embodiment of kokutai. One letter, after praising Daitōjin history and the way of life their ancestors had passed down to them, and the Imperial family as the crystallization of Daitō’s splendor, concluded, “it is an honor to be able to give my life in defense of these beautiful and lofty things.”

   Intellectuals at an “overcoming modernity” conference proclaimed that prior to the Keiō Restoration, Daitō had been a classless society under a benevolent Emperor, but the restoration had plunged the nation into Occidental materialism (an argument which ignored the commercialism and ribald culture in the Shimura era), which had caused the people to forget their nature and which the war would enable them to reclaim. Baseball, jazz, and other Occidental profligate ways were singled out in government propaganda to be abandoned for a pure spirit of sacrifice. This Yamato Damashii, Yamato Spirit, would allow them to overcome any odds. This belief was so well indoctrinated that even as Ardian bombings in the later part of the war overwhelmed the ability of the Daitōjin government to cover them up with lies, many Daitōjin refused to believe that “the Country of the Gods” could be defeated, a suspicion which, though ultimately the country was on the winning side, would be proven false. General Munakata, addressing his troops on Yakushima in 1944, told them that their greatest strength lay in their moral superiority. The attack on the island was announced by the “Home and Empire” broadcast with uncommon praise of the Ardian commanders but also the confident declaration that they must not leave the island alive. On the occasions that they were taken prisoner, interrogators noted that Daitōjin soldiers were unshakable in their conviction of the Empire’s sacred mission.
Ic. Themes of Daitōjin Propaganda, Part Two — Rural life, Spiritual mobilization, Production, and Privation
   Despite its military strength being dependent on industrialization, the regime glorified rural life. The traditional rural and agricultural life was opposed to the modern city; proposals were made to fight the atomizing effects of cities by locating schools and factories in the countryside so as to maintain the rural population. Agrarianist rhetoric exulted village harmony, even while tenants and landlords were pitted against each other by the needs of the war. The Spiritual Mobilization Movement was formed from 74 organizations to rally the nation for a total war effort. It carried out such tasks as instructing schoolchildren on the “Holy War in Ardia” and having women roll bandages for the war effort.

   Even before the war, organizations such as Sanpo existed to explain the need to meet production quotas, even if sacrifices were needed; it did so with rallies, lectures, and panel discussion, while setting up programs to assist workers’ lives to attract membership. Among the greatest "victories", at least as far as these Sanpo framed it, was the discovery of oil in Tsukishima, giving Daitō, for the first time, its own source of oil. Propaganda exulted that Daitō was no longer a “have-not” nation. By 1943, with the war raging on without an end in sight, calls were made for a more war-like footing on the part of the population, in particular in calls for increases in war materials. As Daitō recruited more and more troops, it meant that more and more weapons were needed. Morning assemblies at factories had officers address the workers and enjoin them to meet their quotas. The productions were kept up, albeit at the price of extraordinary sacrifice.

   Finally, the government urged the Daitōjin people to do without basic necessities, to engage in privation. For example, magazines gave advice on economizing on food and clothing as soon as two years prior to the war breaking out. After the outbreak of war with Ardia, early suggestions that the people enjoyed the victories too much and were not prepared for the long war were not taken, and so, early propaganda did not contain warnings. In 1944, however, propaganda endeavored to warn the Daitōjin people of disasters to come, and to install them in a spirit as in Yakushima, to accept more privation for the war. Articles were written claiming that the Ardians could not engage in air raids from the island, which at the time, were generally true, although it was known by the government that this wasn’t going to be the case for long; the purpose was rather to subtly warn of the dangers to come. Early songs proclaiming that the cities had iron defenses and it was an honor to defend the homeland quickly lost their luster as said air raids began. Still, continued calls to sacrifice were honored; neighborhood associations helped, as nobody wanted to be seen quitting first if at all. Accounts of self-sacrificing privation were common in the press: A teacher dressed in tatters who refused to wear a new shirt because all of his friends were all likewise tattered, and officers and governmental officials who made do without any form of heating. This reflected the privation actually in society, where clothing was at a premium and the work-week was seven days long, with schooling cut to a minimum so that children could work.
II. — War on the Home Front

Daitōjin Schoolchildren Evacuating to the Countryside in 1944
   The Daitōjin home front was elaborately organized, block by block, with full-scale food rationing and many controls over labor. The government used propaganda heavily and planned in minute detail regarding the mobilization of manpower, identification of critical choke points, food supplies, logistics, air raid shelters, and the evacuation of children and civilians from targeted cities. Food supplies were very tight before the heavy bombing began in fall 1944, then grew to a crisis. There was only a small increase of 1.4 million women entering the labor force between 1940 and 1944. Intense propaganda efforts by the government to promote savings and postpone consumer purchases were largely successful, especially on the part of housewives who generally controlled their family budget. The minister of welfare announced, "In order to secure its labor force, the enemy is drafting women, but in Fusan, out of consideration for the family system, we will not draft them."

   The government began making evacuation plans in late 1943, and started removing entire schools from industrial cities to the countryside, where they were safe from bombing and had better access to food supplies. In all, nearly two million children were moved with their teachers, however, their parents were excluded from these relocation efforts, owing to their vital work for the war effort. When the Ardian bombing began in earnest in late 1944, a further ten million people fled the cities to the safety of the countryside, including two-thirds of the residents of the largest cities and 87% of the children. Left behind were the munitions workers and government officials. By April 1945, 87% of the younger children had been moved to the countryside. Civil defense units were transformed into combat units, especially the Peoples Volunteer Combat Corps, enlisting civilian men up to the age of 60 and women to age 40. Starting in January 1945 the government operated an intensive training program to enable the entire civilian population to fight the "decisive battle" with the Ardian invaders using grenades, explosive gliders and bamboo spears. Many understood that they would probably die in what the government called the "Grand Battle for the Future of the Ōnishi Race". Health conditions became worse following the ceasefire in September and the end of the war in November, owing to an influx of refugees from the Peninsula and the return of many Ōnishi, both Daitōjin and Toshikawan, to the country from Ardia following the subsequent population transfer.
IIa. Civilian Sentiment and Government War Efforts
   There was great civilian support for war with Ardia even before it broke out, as can be seen by letters written in the aftermath of the 18th of January Incident. The successful invasion of the Miyako islands in the late '20s fueled the rise of aggressive foreign policy and radical nationalism. Daitōjin shimbun (newspapers) radio station's reporting of the events helped spread this sentiment quickly. Understanding the benefits of educating the populace about the war efforts, the Daitōjin government soon followed suit. Starting in September 1939, ten minutes of war news was broadcast at 7:30 PM every day, with it growing to twenty minutes every six hours by 1944. At the start of the war, the Home Ministry of Daitō established more campaigns to generate support for the war. For instance, citizens were encouraged to avoid luxuries and save wealth for the state. The government even reformed its education system by rewriting ethics textbooks to be more nationalistic and militaristic. Schoolchildren were also taught nationalistic songs such as the Umi Yukaba:

      "If I go away to the sea,
      I shall be a corpse washed up.
      If I go away to the mountain,
      I shall be a corpse in the grass
      But if I die for the Emperor,
      It will not be a regret."

   In 1937, the Shinmin no Michi ("The Way of the Subjects") was given to all Daitōjin citizens in order to teach them how they should behave. Similarly, the Daitōjin war ministry issued the Senjinkun ("Field Service Code") in 1941, which tried to educate the soldiers on how to behave during wartime. Specifically, the Senjinkun contained the famous ideal of no-surrender which inspired many Daitōjin servicemen to commit suicide than risk capture or surrender. It did not, however, prohibit retreat as popular narratives of the war suggest, as the utility of this directive was to prevent Ardian forces from gaining useful intelligence that could harm the war effort. Observation of civilian wartime diaries and letters suggest that the government was successful in garnering massive support for the war. Despite the rationing that causes food shortages, many Daitōjin were happy to oblige. Hasegawa Etsuko, a housewife from Shimanto, wrote: For fish, the community council gave us a distribution of only shrimp and swordfish; we can't get either pork or beef. I have the feeling that little by little there will be shortages but that in war, we must aim for frugality even in small ways and we must be careful about waste–for the sake of the country." Such sentiments commonplace in Daitō during the war.

   Further speaking to the success of the Daitōjin government, there were only around one thousand deserters every year for the six years of the Greater East Ardian War. While there was some resistance from the Daitōjin, most were supportive of the war effort. In fact, many were prepared to fight against the invaders if the opportunity came. In some areas of Daitō, mostly along the coast, women practiced fighting with bamboo spears, girls vowed that they would kill at least one invader before they died, and children practiced throwing balls in anticipation that they would be throwing grenades at the enemy. There were even reports of mass civilian suicides during the First Battle of Yakushima, likely an effort to avoid capture. This was partially due to loyalty for the emperor and fear tactics from the Daitōjin government, whose propaganda had spread the idea that Ardian soldiers would commit atrocities against innocent civilians. For the other Daitōjin civilians, there was a general sense of sorrow at the time of the war's end. Kobayashi Heiji, a teenager who was tasked with war work, wrote a statement in his diary at the announcement of an armistice: "Cry! Let's cry until we can't any longer. Later we'll probably see the outpouring of a new power."
IIb. Food in Wartime Daitō
   Agricultural production on the mainland held up well during the war up until the bombing started. It fell from an index of 110 in 1942 to 84 in 1944 and only 65 in 1945. Worse, imports dried up. The Daitōjin food rationing system was effective throughout the war, and there were no serious incidences of malnutrition. A government survey in Shinkyō showed that in 1944, families depended on the black market for 9% of their rice, 38% of their fish, and 69% of their vegetables. At the time, the Daitōjin food supply depended upon imports, which were largely cut off by the renewed Ardian submarine campaign starting in 1943 and the bombing campaign. Likewise, there was little deep sea fishing, so that the fish ration by 1941 was mostly squid harvested from coastal waters. The result was a growing food shortage, especially in the cities. There was some malnutrition but no reported starvation. Despite government rationing of food, some families were forced to spend more than their monthly income could offer on black market food purchases. They would rely on savings or exchange food for clothes or other possessions.
IIc. Daitōjin Women During the War
   According to oral history, traditional paternalistic norms proved a barrier when the government wanted to exploit woman power more fully for the war effort. Compulsory employment in munitions factories was possible for unmarried women, but social norms prevented married women from doing that sort of work, in sharp contrast to Achkaerin, Ardia, and other belligerents in the conflict. The absence of so many young men dramatically disrupted long-standing patterns of marriage, fertility, and family life. Severe shortages of ordinary items, including food and housing, were far more oppressive than governmental propaganda efforts. Daitōjin women obediently followed orders, and there were no serious disruptions such as rioting over food shortages during the war.

   Beginning in the late 20th century cultural historians turned their attention to the role of women in wartime, especially the Greater East Ardian War. Sources often used include magazines published—by men—for female readers. Typically fictional and nonfictional stories focused on social roles as mothers and wives, especially in dealing with hardships of housing and food supplies, and financial concerns in the absence of men at war. Problems of fashion wartime were a high priority in such magazines in all major countries. Historians report that the Daitōjin textile and fashion industries were highly successful in adapting to wartime shortages and propaganda needs. Magazines for teenage girls emphasized they must follow patriotic demands that compelled them to give up their adolescent freedoms and transform themselves from shōjo, which connotes adolescent playfulness, into gunkoku shōjo (girls of a military nation), with significant home front responsibilities. Evacuation of women and children from the major cities, out of fear of Ardian bombing, was covered in detail to emphasize willingness to sacrifice for patriotism portrayed through fiction, news articles and photographs. The government controlled all media, and supervised popular magazines so their content would strategically spread the government's goals and propaganda.
IId. The Colonies
   Despite the name used in Daitō, the Greater East Ardian War, more often referred to as simply the Great War abroad, was truly a globe-spanning conflict, and Daitō's colonies were not left unaffected. Paechon, for example, was located just across the Matilda channel from the Ardian territory of Kalasin, as well as being the mid-way point between Ardia and Djabidjan. As a result, it was used throughout the early war as a staging ground for future military operations, including the Kalasinese Campaign in 1941. Paechon, Tsukishima, and later Kalasin's greatest contribution to the war effort was three-fold: firstly, until 1944, the regions provided resources to mainland Daitō, including food and various ores, as well as, to a lesser extent, weapons. Secondly, throughout the war, these territories would, whether willingly in the cases of Paechon and Tsukishima or unwillingly in the case of Kalasin, send workers to Daitō to bolster manufacturing in the country and to help with repairs. Finally, Paechon and Tsukishima would provide troops to Daitō, many of whom would serve in the Southern Expeditionary Force. Kalasin would also contribute troops starting in 1944 with the establishment of the "Empire of Kalasin", a short-lived state which would only survive into the mid-50s.
IIe. Conditions at War's End
   Health and living conditions worsened after the armistice in September of 1945. Most of the housing stock in large cities was destroyed, just as refugees tried to return from the rural areas. Adding to the crisis there was an influx of nearly three-and-a-half million soldiers as well as close to six million Ardian citizens of Ōnishi descent who were resettled after the end of the war in November. Meanwhile, close to 1.6 million Ardians, POWs, and other non-Ōnishi left Daitō. The government implemented pro-natalist policies, which led to an increase in the marriage rate, however, fertility rates remained steady until they declined for a time after the war, owing in no small part to the stress of the last year of the war and the hardships faced in the early post-war period. The Ardian bombing campaign of all major cities severely impacted the economy, as did the shortages of oil and raw materials that intensified when Daitōjin merchant shipping was mostly sunk by hostile submarines.
III. — A War Against Humanity
   One cannot discuss the late stages of the Great War without, at some point, discussing the many atrocities committed throughout the conflict. To varying degrees, every country involved did so, but for brevity’s sake, only the crimes committed by Daitō and Ardia will be discussed. The war brought out the worst excesses of humanity, with it being one of the darkest chapters in mankind’s long history. Everyone suffered in some way or another, but their suffering should not be forgotten, not for a second.
IIIa. Daitōjin War Crimes
   For its part, Daitō was by no means innocent of committing atrocities during the war. From the use of chemical weapons in the Ryōhaku mountains and massacres of civilians in occupied territories and to the arrest of political dissidents at home and the maltreatment of prisoners of war, it was a systemic issue which the Sonyu administration did nothing to counteract and on occasion even encouraged. Daitōjin soldiers, owing to years of ideological indoctrination, were infamous for their treatment of those who surrendered to the point that after the war, even the YFD, which had in many ways offered its tacit support for them, punished many of the most extreme cases. Particularly egregious actions by the government itself included the 1941 “Enemy Airmen’s Act”, which stated that enemy airmen participating in bombing raids against Daitōjin-held territory would be treated as “violators of the laws of war” and consequently, they would be subject to trial and punishment if captured. The law, which in practice amounted to the performance of show trials for enemy pilots, resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Ardian airmen. The law provided as follows:
   Article I: This law shall apply to all enemy airmen who raid the Daitōjin homeland, Tsukishima, Kalasin, and the Daitōjin zones of military operations, and who come within the areas under the jurisdiction of the Southern Expeditionary Forces.
   Article II: Any individual who commits any or all of the following infractions shall be subject to military punishment:
      Section 1. The bombing, strafing, and otherwise attacking of civilians with the objective of cowing, intimidating, killing or maiming them.
      Section 2. The bombing, strafing or otherwise attacking of private properties, whatsoever, with the objectives of destroying or damaging them.
      Section 3. The bombing, strafing or otherwise attacking of objectives, other than those of military nature, except in those cases where such an act is unavoidable.
      Section 4. In addition to those acts covered in the preceding three sections, all other acts violating the provisions of International Law governing warfare.
   Article III: Military punishment shall be the death penalty [or] life imprisonment, or a term of imprisonment for not less than ten years.

   This military law shall be applicable to all acts committed prior to the date of its approval.

   While not in itself a war crime as the program was cancelled, the Daitōjin government, starting in 1942, began planning to disseminate linseed cakes infected with anthrax spores into the fields of Ardia. These cakes would've then been eaten by livestock, which would then be consumed by the civilian population, causing the deaths of millions of Ardian civilians. It would've also wiped out the majority of Ardia's livestock, causing a massive food shortage for the rest of the population, causing further deaths and hopefully forcing the Ardian Empire to surrender. The program was nearly completed by early 1944, being tested on the island of Tobishima, which was declared a sacrifice zone after the war and remained quarantined until 1996. Other incidents included the firebombing of Ardian cities in 1942.
IIIb. Massacres during the Satsunan Campaign

Aftermath of the First Battle of Yakushima, c.July 1944
   The Satsunan Campaign, also known as Operations Transitus and Tempestas in Ardia and Operations Ichi-gō and Ni-gō in Daitō, was a pair of military operations in the Rokkenjiman sea between the 11th of June and the 21st of July, 1944 and from the 15th of August to the 17th of September, 1945, although a few islands would see raids throughout the war. The latter of the battles directly contributed to the signing of an armistice which practically ended the Great War for Daitō, although the country briefly reentered the war in early November. The first phase of the Satsunan Campaign was perhaps one of the hardest-fought battles of the war, as the islands played a key role in logistics between Daitō and Toshikawa, not to mention its position in relation to the mainland, granting enemy aircraft the ability to strike deep into mainland Daitō and return safely. As such, it seemed logical that the islands would be attacked, and as a result, from the very beginning of the war, they would be turned into a veritable fortress and their citizens trained for the worst.

   From the 11th of June to the 21st of July, 1944, the First Battle of Yakushima raged across the largest island in the southern Satsunan Islands. Although the actual fighting with the Imperial Daitōjin Army was comparatively brief, it saw nearly 33,000 Ardian and 36,000 Daitōjin casualties sustained, with a further 18,000 civilians left dead. The occupation of the islands by the Ardians, however, was a a far more grim affair. As part of the fortification of the islands, the Imperial Daitōjin Army had trained the local population in guerilla tactics, knowing that, if a major assault were to occur, they wouldn’t be able to hold the islands forever. As a result, although the Army was forced to withdraw on the 21st of July, the fighting continued to a degree, with it being difficult for Ardian forces occupying the islands to determine who was and wasn’t a combatant . As a result, reports of the killings of innocents on the island were commonplace, with further casualties being sustained between the 15th of July, 1944, and the 17th of September, 1945, with the majority being sustained during the liberation of the islands.

   However, the casualties sustained on Yakushima were, compared to during the Battle of Toshima in 1945, fairly mild. While Yakushima was, in theory, an important link in supply-lines to Toshikawa, it was Toshima which was seen by many as the gateway to the mainland, and as a result, it had been heavily fortified and its civilians armed ahead of the invasion in May 1945. It is on the island of Toshima that the term Chi no Shio (lit. "Tide of Blood") originated, referring both to the water, which ran red with the blood of the Ardians on the first days of the invasion, but also a grim reminder of the many massacres committed by Ardian forces during the battle and throughout the island chain as a whole. It is estimated that, between these massacres, mass starvation, and disease, anywhere between 40,000 and 133,000 civilians—10% and 1/3rd of the island’s population—died during and after the Battle of Toshima. Over the course of the sixteen months that Ardia held the Satsunan Islands, it is estimated that nearly 28% of the indigenous Lewchewan population, nearly 765,000 people, were killed by occupying forces in what is now internationally recognized as an act of genocide.
IIIc. Terror Bombing and Operation Favilla

Ardian B-19 bombers dropping incendiary bombs on Okayama, March 28, 1945
   Throughout the war, parts of Daitō had been subjected to the occasional air raid; usually, these were limited to military targets in and around the city of Saito in the Yamanori valley, though there was a recorded instance of an air raid on Shinkyō on the 16th of February, 1941. However, as throughout most of the war, Daitō maintained aerial superiority over the country and these strikes remained, until 1944, limited in scope and damage. The fall of Yakushima in July 1944 changed that. With its capture, Ardian aircraft had a base from which they could strike the heartland of the Empire and return safely, while Daitōjin aircraft in Toshikawa—a significant portion of the Air Forces—was left effectively stranded on the peninsula. At the same time, the specter of an Ardian offensive in the West meant that much of Daitō’s remaining air force was tied down in the Ryōhaku mountains, which allowed for what would become a permanent scar on the Empire. Operation Favilla had begun.

   Operation Favilla, whose name translates as “Ember”, was the term used by Ardian forces for the bombings of strategic targets throughout the Empire of Daitō in mid-1944 and through to August 1945. Though on paper, it was meant to cripple Daitōjin wartime production in an attempt to stave off defeat, it morphed into a reprisal for earlier attacks by the Imperial Daitōjin Air Force and a desperate effort to break the morale of the people. Initially, these strikes were limited to military targets, but in time, they would be expanded to major and minor cities alike. The poor results of the precision bombing campaign that lasted from 1944 to early March, 1945, as well as the success of a raid on the 21st of February in Shinkyō and considering the many tons of incendiaries now made available to him, prompted General Philippe Martel of the Ardian Air Force to begin firebombing attacks on Daitō’s main cities in early March, 1945. This was in line with previous targeting directives, which specified that urban areas were to be accorded the second-highest priority for attacks after aircraft factories. The directives also stated that firebombing raids should be conducted once Mk-56 incendiary bombs had been tested in combat and the number of B-19s available was sufficient to launch an intensive campaign.

   It cannot be overstated just how much the Ardians knew about what they were planning ahead of the raids. As early as 1943, IAAF planners had been assessing the feasibility of a firebombing campaign against Daitōjin cities. This was due to Daitō’s main industrial facilities being vulnerable to such attacks, given that they were concentrated in several large cities and a high proportion of production took place in homes and small factories in urban areas. The planners had estimated that incendiary bomb attacks on Daitō’s six largest cities of that time—Shinkyō, Azumino, Awara, Urasoe, Yuzawa, and Hatsukaichi—could cause physical damage to almost 40% of industrial facilities and result in the loss of nearly 7.6 million man-months of labor. It was also estimated that these attacks would kill over 500,000 people, render 7.75 million homeless, and force over 3.5 million to be evacuated. With further testing, these estimates only grew. Thus, again, one cannot truly claim that they did not know what they were to unleash, and indeed, it is quite probable that this was exactly what they wanted to achieve. On the 3rd of March, 1945, the Empire of Ardia chose to begin terror bombings over Daitō.
IIId. The March Firebombing Campaign

A road passing through a part of Shinkyō which was destroyed in the March 7th air raid
   The first firebombing attack in this campaign—codenamed Operation Taberna—was carried out against Shinkyō on the night of the 6th and 7th of March and proved to be the single most destructive air raid of the war. The Ardian bomber command mounted a maximum effort, and in the evening of 6 March, 1945, 344 B-19s left Yakushima, bound for Shinkyō. They began to arrive over the city at around midnight on the 10th of March, and 279 bombers dropped 1,665 tons of bombs. The raid caused a massive conflagration that overwhelmed Shinkyō’s civil defenses and destroyed 41 square kilometers of buildings, representing roughly seven percent of the city’s urban area. The Shinkyō metropolitan police force and fire department estimated that around 86,438 people were killed in the air raid, another 46,771 were injured, and just over a million were left homeless; post-war estimates of deaths in this attack range from 87,000 to nearly 130,000. Damage to Shinkyō’s war production was also substantial, while Daitōjin opposition to the attack was relatively weak. Just 12 B-19s were destroyed as a result of combat or mechanical faults, while 46 were damaged by anti-aircraft fire. Following the attack on Shinkyō, the Daitōjin government ordered the evacuation of all schoolchildren in the third to sixth grades from major cities, and by early April, nearly 87% of them had departed to the countryside. The attack on Shinkyō was followed up with similar raids on major cities, notably seeing parts of Awara and Saito burned.

   The IAAF determined that the firebombing campaign had been highly successful, and noted that Ardian losses during these attacks were much lower than those incurred during daylight precision raids. Accordingly, plans were developed for a two-stage campaign against 22 Daitōjin cities. It was recommended that precision bombing attacks on particularly important industrial facilities continue in parallel to the air raids, however. While this campaign was intended to form part of preparations for an invasion of the mainland, many expected that it would be enough to force Daitō to surrender. The Daitōjin government was concerned about the results of the March firebombing attacks as the raids had demonstrated that the Daitōjin military was, at that point, incapable of protecting the nation’s airspace. As well as the extensive physical damage in the targeted cities, the attacks caused increased absenteeism as civilians were afraid to leave their homes to work in factories which could be bombed. Daitōjin air defenses were reinforced in response to the firebombing raids over time, but by the time it became adequate, the damage had already been done.
IIIe. Destruction of Major Cities

Ardian B-19 bomber over Okayama, June 6, 1945.
   The start of the major firebombing campaign was delayed as the forces stationed on Yakushima were used to attack airfields in southern Daitō from late March to mid-May in support of the attempted invasion of Toshima, an island only a few hundred kilometers from Shinkyō. Prior to the landings in April, the forces bombed airfields in Tōkaidō at Takahama and Nagi as well as an aircraft plant at Konan on the 28th of March, and struck Toyo and Nahari again on the 31st of the month. No B-19s were lost in these raids. From the 6th of April, Daitōjin forces conducted large-scale air raids on the Ardian invasion fleet, during which aircraft damaged or sank many warships and transports. As part of the response, Ardian forces on Yakushima conducted major raids on airfields in Tōsandō on the 9th and 15th of April, though the first of these attacks was diverted to strike residential areas in Susami after the airfields were found to be covered by clouds. From 15 April until 11 May, when the B-19s were released for other duties, about three-quarters of their effort was devoted to attacking airfields and other targets in direct support for the Battle of Toshima: this included 2,111 sorties flown against 17 airfields. These raids cost them 21 B-19s destroyed and 235 damaged and failed to completely suppress attacks from the targeted airfields.

   A few attacks on Daitōjin cities were conducted during the Battle of Toshima. On the 1st of April, a night precision bombing raid was flown against the Zayasu engine factory in Shinkyō by 119 B-19s and three similar attacks were conducted against engine factories in Mine, Matsue, and Toyohashi on the night of the 3rd. These raids were unsuccessful as the Ardians lacked the specialized equipment necessary to strike targets accurately at night, and Martel decided not to conduct similar operations. Small forces of B-19s also struck Shinkyō and nearby Matsusaka on the 4th of April. Two successful large-scale precision bombing raids were flown against aircraft factories in Shinkyō and Hamamatsu  on the 7th of April; the raid on Shinkyō was the first to be escorted by Ardian F-4s, recently delivered to Yakushima earlier that month. The Ardians claimed to have shot down 47 Daitōjin aircraft for a loss of six F-4s and eight B-19s. Over 250 B-19s struck three different aircraft factories on the 11th; during this operation, the 16th Bombardment Wing inflicted heavy damage on the Hiratsuka aircraft plant and fought off 116 Daitōjin fighters without loss.

   Night firebombing raids resumed on the 13th when 330 B-19s attacked the arsenal district of Shinkyō and destroyed 30 square km of the city, including several armaments factories. On the 15th of April, 303 aircraft attacked the Shinkyō region and destroyed 16 square kilometers of Shinkyō, 9.3 square kilometers of Hamamatsu, and 3.9 square kilometers of Itoigawa for the loss of sixteen bombers. On the 24th, the Shinoda aircraft engine factory at Nishikatsura near Shinkyō was destroyed by 130 B-19s. Another precision raid was made against the Hikami Naval Aircraft Factory at Kyūre on the 5th of May, when 148 B-19s inflicted heavy damage on the facility. Five days later, B-19s successfully attacked oil storage facilities at Ogano, Yokoze, and Takashima. On the 11th of May, a small force destroyed an airframe factory in Nantan. Firebombing raids on major cities resumed in mid-May, continuing in large part until June. A number of major cities along the coast were struck, killing thousands and leaving many more homeless in the aftermath.
Attacks on Minor Cities

Yura burns after a B-19 raid, August 1st, 1945
   In mid-June, a proposal was approved for Ardian forces based on Yakushima to attack 25 relatively small cities with populations ranging from 60,000 to 325,000 while also continuing precision raids on major targets. This decision was made despite a recommendation that operations against Daitō should focus on the country’s transportation network and other targets with the goal of crippling the movement of goods and destroying food supplies. The plan undertaken instead called for precision attacks on important industrial targets on days when the weather over Daitō was clear and incendiary attacks guided by radar on overcast days. As both the cities and industrial facilities targeted were relatively small, the B-19 force would be sent against multiple locations on days in which attacks were conducted. This targeting policy, the “Downfall Plan”, remained in place until Ardian forces were pushed out of Yakushima in September.

   Five major precision bombing attacks were conducted as part of the Downfall Plan. On the 9th of June, two groups of B-19s bombed an aircraft factory at Sumoto and another two groups raided a factory in Aishō; both facilities were badly damaged. A single group of bombers attempted to strike an Aizawa Aircraft Company factory at Tatsuno but accidentally struck a nearby village instead. The next day, bombers and their escorts successfully attacked six different factories in the Shinkyō Bay region. Precision bombing raids were also conducted on 22 June, when 382 B-19s attacked six targets at Kyūre, Kakamigahara, Yura, Tosashimizu, and Ikata in the Mutsu sea region. Most of the factories were badly damaged. The firebombing campaign against small cities continued throughout June and July. On the night of June 17, B-19s struck Fukui, Kōchi, and Sakai. On the 26th of June, Sakawa, Niyodogawa, Bizen, and Hokuei were attacked. Kanazawa, Kyūre, Izumozaki, and Kitakata were attacked on the 1st of July, while two nights later, Natori and Tagajō were burned. These raids continued until the 26th of July. It is estimated that Ardian terror bombings killed anywhere between 241,000 and 900,000 civilians and left a further 213,000 to 1.3 million wounded, while 8.5 million were rendered homeless. Yet in spite of it all, and with an invasion of Tōshima imminent, a new weapon was delivered to the island on the 1st of August, one which would change the face of the world forever and would herald the coming of a new age.

Chapter Fifteen — The Greater East Ardia War, Part One: The War Abroad (1939 - 1945 CE)
I. — Prelude to War

Left: IN Corvus, Right: IDN Sanae
   In early 1939, war was once again on the horizon. Everyone knew it. The buildup of Ardian forces on the border was enough proof of that. As tensions between the two states, inflamed by the anti-Ardian rhetoric of the Kokuminkutō and later the YFD, reached an all-time high, it would only take a single spark and the world would once more be set aflame. On the 22nd of June, 1939, that spark came when an Ardian naval vessel, the Ardian destroyer IN Corvus opened fire upon and sunk the IDN Sanae, a destroyer, off the coast of the island of Ikarajima in the Rokkenjiman Sea. Whether it was an act of malice by the captain of the Ardian vessel or merely a case of mistaken identity, the vessel resembling a Toshikawan vessel, it mattered not, as it provided Daitō with its case for war. On the 24th of June, in a speech broadcast across the nation, Prime Minister Hisayuki Sonyu, under the direction of the Emperor, declared that a state of war existed between the Ardian Empire and Daitō. They expected the war would be like that seen between 1914 and 1918, that the homeland would scarcely be touched, but they couldn’t’ve been more short-sighted. For though yes, they were fighting the same foe as they had twenty years prior, the weapons and tactics of war had changed.
II. — The Southern Expeditionary Force and the Peninsular Campaign

Members of the Imperial Daitōjin Naval Landing Forces in the Rubble of a City in Nueva Ardia, c.1943
   The opening engagements of the war were comparatively minor, mere skirmishes along the border in the Ryōhaku mountains and out on the high seas. But 1939 also saw Daitō establish the "Southern Expeditionary Force" (南方遠征軍, Nanpō ensei-gun), comprising forces under Marshal Shin'ichi Nakago. Their role was of great importance to the war effort, making up Daitō's contribution to the war on the peninsula while also aiding Toshikawa and her other allies, and they brought with them the latest equipment in service with the Daitōjin military. They departed from Daitō on the 17th of August, 1939, arriving in Toshikawa a few days later at the port of Daichi before moving towards the frontlines near Kuroi. There, they would contribute to an offensive in 1940, but for the most part, the frontlines remained relatively stable for broad parts of the conflict. The spring offensive of 1940 saw Daitōjin and allied forces make a concerted effort to push Ardian forces out of the south of the country, pushing as far as the Rio Blanco in what is now Eastern Nueva Ardia by July. However, in conducting this offensive, much blood was spilled, once again resulting in a stalemate falling across the front. The rest of the war, up until 1944 anyways, would see this same pattern play out, where one side would push, rest after taking too many casualties or their supply-lines became too overstretched, and then their enemy would push in another sector of the front.

   In early 1944, a new plan had been put into motion, one which would hopefully change the course of the war and dramatically shorten it. On the 3rd of May, 1944, allied forces landed at key points along the southern coast of what is now Nueva Ardia, establishing a beachhead before pushing north and east. Their objective was to cut off significant Ardian forces in the south, aiming to link up with the expeditionary force near Alausi, liquidate the pocket created there, and then drive on to the west. Enemy resistance was stronger than anticipated, however, and as a result, the southern coast would become, in many ways, a front of its own, at least until October. In October, as Ardian resistance in the south waned, a detachment of the 5th Infantry Division made contact with allied forces near Alausi, effectively cutting off enemy forces in the south. It would take until December for this pocket to surrender, faced with low supplies, poor morale, and difficult weather. Another reason that this offensive was less effective than initially planned was due to the Ardian seizure of Yakushima in July, which resulted in a significant pullback of Daitōjin forces on the peninsula owing to difficulties with logistics and a desire by the government to secure the homeland. In March 1945, the western advance began, however, due to the distances involved, it would still be a long fight towards the Ardian heartland. Formally, despite other events complicating the matter, Daitōjin forces remained on the peninsula, albeit reduced in role and size, until the end of the war.
III. — The War at Sea

Clockwise from Left: Aircraft aboard IDN Hakuryū, 7 October, 1939, IDN Hiryū evading Ardian bombers c.1943, IDN Fusō rocked by explosions in the Rokkenjiman Sea, c.1945, IDN Hiryū, c.1946
   For Daitō, the war began with the sinking of the Sanae and ended, officially anyways, aboard the Akitsukuni in November, 1945. The war on the high seas was, as one might imagine, of grave importance for whoever would achieve victory during the conflict. Not only did it mean Daitō had a lifeline, however thin, throughout the war, it also meant that it could keep its men overseas supplied. Through the vast barrier islands of the Daitōjin coast, supplies could travel up to Shinkyō and then on to Toshikawa and the Satsunan Islands, though the latter wouldn’t be held throughout the entire war. The earliest major naval engagement of the war, the Battle of the Strait of Shaw, occurred from the 6th to the 10th of October, 1939, saw Daitōjin carriers IDN Hakuryū and Hiryū, alongside six cruisers and twelve destroyers engage the Ardian fleet, comprising two fleet carriers, a light carrier, nine cruisers, and twelve destroyers in what would become the first action in which opposing fleets neither sighted nor fired upon one another, rather, attacking over the horizon with aircraft carriers instead. During the battle, Hiryū would sustain significant damage and would be forced to return to an allied port for repairs. This would be the first of many times that this happened to the vessel over the course of the war, with her earning the nickname Kōun ryū, or the “Lucky Dragon”.

   In 1940, like they had during the first war, Daitōjin forces once again entered the Krimeon and Great Northern Ocean by way of the east. While there, they would assist the Achkaerinese in doing battle with the Ardian fleet, as well as those of her allies in the region, and would patrol the waters there while escorting convoys. 1940 also saw the launch of the Akitsukuni and her sister, Tōkai, at the time the largest battleships in history, although their successor’s construction was already well-underway. They would see action for the first time in September, performing shore bombardment duties in Kalasin while the first landings were underway. 1940 also saw skirmishes off the coast of Tsukishima and in the Miyako islands, as well as the true beginning of the "Battle of the Kyne" when Ardian submarines began plaguing the region in March. 1942 brought with it a major engagement in the Ardian Gulf, the first major battle in which the Akitsukuni participated. A victory for allied forces, it saw an Ardian carrier sunk, although whether it was by the Akitsukuni or the Hakuryū is still debated in scholarly circles. On the 2nd of June, 1942, the Hakuryū was torpedoed off the coast of Phuebra while serving briefly as a troop transport. The ship sank at 04:53 PM that afternoon, taking with it 833 of her crew and an additional 200 soldiers, alongside its complement of fighters, dive-bombers, and torpedo bombers. With her loss, Hiryū was left as the only carrier of her class in service, as her other sisters were still under construction when the war began and had been delayed. That year, Hiryū later took part in an operation in the eastern Kyne that year, sustaining light damage following a storm which was repaired within three days.

   At the start of 1943, the Fusō was launched, entering service later in the year. With a displacement of 80,000 tons and a length of 263 meters, the vessel was the largest battleship to have entered service by that point, a record which she maintains to this day. She was equipped with three twin-turreted 51 cm cannons alongside a great number of 10 cm dual-purpose guns, while her armor featured a 45.7 cm side belt. Her sister, the Hizen, launched later that year, featuring three tri-barrel turrets with the same 51 cm cannons, something which was planned for Fusō as well, though she would never be retrofitted with them. Meanwhile, the third ship of the Akitsukuni-class, Taihō, was launched as a converted aircraft carrier. Originally named Iwase, she was the final ship of the class to launch and would continue to serve until the mid-90s, albeit with significant upgrades in the post-war era. She was the last of the Akitsukuni-class ships to leave service.

   Between the 20th and 23rd of March, 1944, the Fusō, now redeployed to the Kyne, engaged the battleship KS Monarch after the latter vessel strayed close to Tsukishima. The ensuing Battle of the Shin'an Strait resulted in the sinking of the Monarch, though not without putting up an admirable fight. Its crew, those who survived anyways, were taken prisoner but were not subjected to any cruel punishment; given that the Daitōjin navy had come to begrudgingly respect the crew, they were afforded a higher standard of living than most prisoners in those days. That and, given the crew’s particular tenacity, it made for good propaganda to try to convince a number of them to defect. Of the original crew, 1569 in total, 316 would, by the end of the war, elect to stay in Daitō, settling in Tsukishima, not far from the wreck of their old ship. The Monarch remains in the Shin’an Strait to this day. 1945 was a difficult year for the Imperial Daitōjin Navy, as it was for the country as a whole. Its major ports on the mainland were bombed and a great number of its ships were sunk. The Fusō, on patrol near the Satsunan Islands at the time, was sunk on the 27th of May. Following the war, the navy was, for a time, downsized due to the economic downturn seen in the country following the war.

Chapter Fourteen — The Early Kunan Era (1932 - 1939 CE)
I. — Democracy in Decline

Shinkyō Prefectural Hall, c.1933
   As had previously been mentioned, despite the Boshin war and the continued expansion of the nation, the question of modernity loomed like a specter on the horizon. The war’s defeated party, the old order—the daimyo, samurai, and nobles of the once-prosperous countryside—fell into poverty, even as the country opened its urban centers and rose in importance and wealth. For them, the reason for their poverty, which they perceived as a decline of Daitō in general, was the modernization that had taken place. And as they saw it as an ill brought upon them by the Occident—and more specifically Ardia—they blamed it on the Occident. This resentment was often kept quiet, festering in small circles, and was passed down generations. Secret societies such as the Gen'yōsha were formed by former samurai in conflict with modernization. Many now-impoverished samurai sent their sons to the Imperial Military academies, which they perceived as the only career that would provide prospects for their children, consequently raising a generation of military leaders hostile towards democratization, modernization, and the Occident. As Daitō entered the interwar period and drove towards gradual modernization and liberalization of society, it became more democratic and open. The officers educated to lead the Daitōjin Armed Forces moved into a different direction, one which went against the wishes and desires of the Daitōjin government and its people.

   Ideological doctrines spread across the ranks of cadets: racial superiority, religious fanaticism, a rejection of democracy, notions of holy wars and ambitions of conquest and the subjugation of peoples. They adopted a corrupted form of "Hakkō Ichiu" (八紘一宇, "eight crown cords, one roof")—originally a concept of virtue and a maxim of conduct—with the goal of using it to justify their desire for military expansion. There was no unifying ideology, no central core of doctrines to which they all agreed upon. Some were Buddhist fanatics, some dreamed of the unity of the "native East Ardian race", while others believed in the superiority of the Daitōjin above all others. Some saw themselves as the liberators of Ardia; others believed in a holy war that they had to fight. Differing groups with differing beliefs who, however, were united by only a few common notions. They believed in the Emperor’s divinity and had a common hatred of the government in Shinkyō, with its parliament, ministers, and representatives. The army, an institution which is supposed to be at the government’s disposal and serving the government, started becoming more and more hostile towards the very existence of that government. And all of these officers were also in favor of attacking Ardia, and that its annexation of Tsukishima had shown the country that it had a mission from the divine to expand, to spread the ways of their superior culture and to remove Occidental influence. What the various officers may have disagreed upon to be the reasons to go to war, they all nonetheless agreed that a war and the dismantling of democracy was necessary. Of course, some were more moderate than others, some more pragmatic than others. Those were the ones who followed the teachings of
Toshikatsu Heike, who pushed not for abolition, but rather, reform into a better Imperial system. They were opposed by various other officers, intoxicated by an ideological hatred of the government they swore to protect and obey and with an ideological zeal to expand Daitō’s borders who were stationed throughout the Empire, beyond the mainland, far from the oversight of Shinkyō. These officers started plotting, organizing, and dreaming, increasingly seeing themselves as the solution to the ills befalling Daitō. It was these officers, influenced by the works of far-right authors the world over, who would initiate the conflict with Ardia over the Miyako Islands, their victory giving the army leverage. They achieved what their predecessors had dreamed of, turning the Imperial Army into an anti-democratic force which could act independent of the government.

   In spite of their ideological differences, these two groups of the Imperial Daitōjin Armed Forces shared many ideas. They believed in the total mobilization of the nation and its people for war, that the nation’s capacity for waging war was necessary for its survival and should be prioritized over politics. They thought that the army should not serve the nation, but that the nation should serve the army, and that spiritual unity was required for a nation to win a war. That a nation should be conditioned as a whole and by all means necessary to support a war in material and spirit, no matter by which means that support was achieved. They believed that, in time such as those they were living through, a nation’s economy, education, infrastructure, entertainment, and culture should be controlled and run by the military, or at the very least, with the intention of putting its support behind all the army’s goals, depending on which wing you found yourself on.

   Throughout the 1920s, the disparities in mainland Daitō kept growing as urban areas became richer and opened up more towards liberalization, while the peasant farmers of the countryside descended further into poverty. A disparity that came to its climax in 1927 with the country’s financial crash, Daitō, which had experienced a population explosion throughout the last thirty years, struggled to feed its own population, relying on the export of silk and then, using the profits made from those sales, it bought rice to feed its population. And with the collapse of silk prices in 1929, the financial crisis brought challenges to Daitō’s society which the military officers deemed to be the proof of the decadence and incompetence of the liberal political leadership of a democracy. For the leaders of the Daitōjin army, the solutions suggested by the elected government were insufficient or stood in the way of its own ambitions. Ideas started to brew and spring up within Daitōjin officers circles that the time may be coming to act.

   Following yet another brief flareup in tensions with Ardia in 1931, the Imperial Armed Forces was celebrated at festivals as Daitō fell into a nationalist hysteria and war-fever, which the army knew to capitalize on. The Daitōjin poet and author, Kazue Takeshita, who had gained fame as a pacifist decrying the war with Ardia and the annexation of Tsukishima, wrote a poem urging Daitō’s men to join the army, smash sissified dreams of compromise, and declared that dying in war for the Emperor was the purest death a man could possibly wish for, symbolic for a nation gripped gradually but ever-more increasingly by a fever. On the 19th of June, 1933, young officers, emboldened by the actions of the Daitōjin armed forces and dismayed by the government’s continued refusal to support their plans, stormed the residence of the Prime Minister, Azai Reijirō, and murdered him. The incident gained international media attention and showed to the world that the forces that had been unleashed within the Daitōjin army may very well end Daitōjin democracy.

   The trial of the assassins was reduced to little more than a farce, as the accused used the court as a stage to promote their ideology and the judge was intimidated into passing reduced citizens after threatening letters of support flooded his office. An atmosphere of outdoing was created, in which everyone sought to outdo the other in their fever and support of the military. Within this atmosphere, the liberal camp retreated into silence, scared of being branded as traitors if they spoke up. Violence increased as over the course of the next years, more and more political figures representing the moderate and democratic Daitō were murdered by a growing movement of ultranationalists. However, the Emperor and the nation’s nobility were unwilling to have Daitō slide into outright military rule. Negotiated by Prince Mutsuhito Yamana, Keigo Tanaka became Daitōjin Prime Minister after the assassination of Azai, to try and protect the democratic integrity of the government while governing in a compromise with the more moderate branch of the military under Marshal Hisayuki Sonyu, who was made Minister of War as part of the compromise. The next four years were dominated by a continuous tug of war between those two camps and internal struggles over ideological differences amongst the militarists.

   Throughout this period, the new Minister of War, Sonyu, fanned the flames with propaganda decrying the degeneracy of the Ardian civilization, condemning democratic Daitō, not for its institutions, but for the instability that came with its party-politics, and promoting notions of a moral superiority of the Yamato Ōnishi. Sonyu was a part of an ideological faction called the Kōdōha, which emphasized the importance of a spiritual and immaterial superiority of Daitōjin morals and culture that was corrupted by and therefore needed to rid itself from partisan democracy and the liberalizing aspects of modernity—though other aspects were still quite useful in their eyes—to wage war with Ardia, and to oppose the most corrupting of all ideologies with every means necessary: communism. The other faction, the Tōseiha, led by General Goro Arisawa, was far more radical, calling for the total abolition of democracy and the invasion of Rokkenjima to purify its wayward culture, as well as other imperialistic ambitions while opposing modernization in its totality. The Daitōjin economy was transformed, starting in 1936, into a war economy, dedicated to the arming of the country’s forces and to be in service for the wars would have to fight. These differences over ideology, alongside the underlying questions over modernity and tradition, brought these two militaristic factions into conflict. The Emperor remained quiet. With the army having direct access to him and knowing how to influence him, the path was set for a direction undermining the Daitōjin democracy. In 1936, under the orders of General Arisawa and with the blessing of Prime Minister Makoto Kōki, Toshikatsu Heike, the ideological mentor of Sonyu, was assassinated by the Tōseiha, triggering what would prove to be the final end of the Keiō Democracy and the rise of a new government. Outraged, Marshal Sonyu made a tour of the country throughout late 1936 and early 1937, rallying the people together around the death of Heike, a beloved figure throughout the nation, in preparation for what was to come. On the 18th of January, 1937, in major cities across the Empire, supporters of Sonyu, both civilian and military, took to the streets, with the army taking up key positions throughout Shinkyō. A coup had begun.
II. — The Kunan Restoration
IIa. Planning a Coup
   The "18th of January Incident", also known as the "Kunan Restoration" or the "Sonyu Coup", began, as the name implies, on the 18th of January, 1937. The uprising was planned between the 10th and the 14th of January by Sonyu, Kazumasa Toshinari, Hatsuo Sasakibara, Einosuke Yagami, and Yōjirō Sakakura. The plan decided upon was relatively simple. The officers would capture or assassinate the most prominent enemies of the Kokutai, secure control of the administrative center of the capital and the Imperial Palace, then submit their demands (the dismissal of certain officers and the appointment of a new cabinet led by Sonyu). Beyond that, their goals were not certain, although it is often noted that they were prepared to replace Emperor Kunan with Prince Gakuto if needed. These officers, by having Sonyu as their leader, had gained at least the tacit support for their uprising from a number of prominent IDA and IDN officers. These included Yasuhide Muranaka, Minister of the Navy, as well as Akihiko Shinada, Yoshifumi Ishiwara, Takeshi Hanaoka and Rentarō Fujinuma, as well as their own immediate commanders. The young officers prepared an explanation of their intentions and grievances in a document entitled Kekki Shuisho, or "Manifesto of the Uprising", which they wanted to be handed to the Emperor. The document was prepared by Sasakibara, but written in Sonyu's name as he was the highest-ranking officer involved in the plot. The document was entirely in line with Kokutai Genri-ha ideals, blaming the genrō, political leaders, military factions, zaibatsu, bureaucrats and political parties for endangering the kokutai through their selfishness and disrespect for the Emperor and asserting the need for direct action:
Quote from: Kekki Shuisho
   Now, as we are faced with great emergencies both foreign and domestic, if we do not execute the disloyal and unrighteous who threaten the kokutai, if we do not cut away the villains who obstruct the Emperor's authority, who block the Restoration, the Imperial plan for our nation will come to nothing [...] To cut away the evil ministers and military factions near the Emperor and destroy their heart: that is our duty and we will complete it.”

   Eight targets were chosen for assassination or capture for “threatening the kokutai”, who, alongside their reasons for being targeted, are as follows:
       Makoto Kōki: Prime Minister of Daitō, support for the organ theory of government and assassinating Toshikatsu Heike.
       Keizaburō Nagao: Former Prime Minister, causing the Emperor to form improper cabinets.
       Suzuki Makino: Former Foreign Minister, former Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, preventing Prince Sadatoshi from protesting to the Emperor, forming a court faction with Korekiyo.
       Nobuaki Watanabe: Grand Chamberlain, obstructing "Imperial Virtue".
       Sadakatsu Korekiyo: Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, involvement in Sonyu’s dismissal, establishing a court faction with Makino.
       Keigo Tanaka: two-time Finance Minister, former Prime Minister, attempting to weaken the military, allowing the 1927 depression to occur.
       Ichirō Saionji: Sonyu’s replacement, involvement in partisan politics, support for the “organ theory” of the kokutai, refusal to resign due to his unsuitability.
       Goro Arisawa: leader of the Tōseiha, promoting division among the military, assassinating Toshikatsu Heike, refusal to resign due to his unsuitability.

   The first four mentioned, Kōki, Nagao, Makino, and Watanabe, survived the coup, instead mostly being taken prisoner by the military, while Saionji was forced to resign. Nagao, Makino, Watanabe, and Korekiyo were targeted because they were the most influential Imperial advisers. Kōki and Tanaka were moderate political leaders who had worked to restrain the military, while the former also supported the assassination of Toshikatsu Heike. Finally, Ichirō Saionji was targeted for his incompetence and Goro Arisawa was targeted for being a member of the Tōseiha, with the conspirators wishing to finally vanquish their long-time foe, as well as being punishment for the assassination of Toshikatsu Heike. Nagao’s name was removed from the list as he joined the conspirators a day prior to the coup, offering his services to negotiate with the Emperor.
IIb. The Righteous Army
   From the 14th of January onwards, the five, later six leaders managed to convince at least eighteen other officers to join the uprising with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Non-commissioned officers were informed on the night of the 17th, hours before the attacks started. Although the officers insisted that all NCOs participated voluntarily and any orders given were merely pro forma, many of the NCOs argued decades later that they had been in no real position to refuse to participate. The soldiers themselves, 70% of whom were less than a month out of basic training, were not told anything before the coup began, though many were enthusiastic once the uprising began. The bulk of the Righteous Army was made up of men from the 1st Division's 1st Infantry Regiment (11th and MG companies; 456 men) and 3rd Infantry Regiment (1st, 3rd, 6th, 7th, 10th, and MG companies; 937 men). The only other significant contribution was 138 men from the 3rd Imperial Guard Regiment. Including officers, civilians and men from other units, the total size of the Righteous Army was 1,558 men. An official count of 1,483 was given at the time; this number excludes the 75 men who participated in Shimokawa's efforts to secure the Imperial Palace. The coup leaders adopted the name Gigun, "Righteous Army", for this force and the password Sonnō Tōkan, "Revere the Emperor, Destroy the Traitors", which was derived from the older slogan, "Revere the Emperor, Destroy the Bakufu". Allies were to also show a three-sen postage stamp when approaching army lines.
IIc. The Uprising

Gigun Forces March Through the Streets of Shinkyō, 18 January, 1937
   The night of the 17th of January brought with it heavy snowfall in Shinkyō. This heartened the officers of the Righteous Army, as it drew parallels with the 1860 Kitahanebashimon incident, in which Shishi rebels assassinated Ina Yasukata, the chief advisor to the Shogun, in the name of the Emperor. The rebel troops, divided into six groups, assembled their troops and left their barracks between 03:30 and 04:00. The attacks on Kōki, Tanaka, Watanabe, Korekiyo, Arisawa, the Ministry of War, and the Shinkyō Metropolitan Police headquarters all commenced simultaneously at 05:00. One of the most important acts of the coup, the attack on Kōki, consisted of 280 men from the 1st Infantry Regiment, led by 1st Lieutenant Shigeaki Yoshida. The troops surrounded the Prime Minister's Residence and forced its guards to open the gates. Upon entering the compound and attempting to find the prime minister, however, they were fired upon by four policemen. All four were killed after wounding six of the soldiers, but the gunfire succeeded in warning Kōki of the danger. He was taken into hiding by his brother-in-law, Colonel Sōichirō Yasuda. Yasuda, who was said to have resembled Kōki, was then discovered and killed by the troops. However, realizing they had the wrong individual, they began searching for the Prime Minister, finding him a few hours later and holding him captive. After his capture, Yoshida’s men assumed guard positions around the compound. They were later joined by sixty men from the 3rd Imperial Guard.

   Ryōma Hasegawa, accompanied by Toshinari, Sasakibara, and Sakakura, led 160 men to seize control of the Minister of War’s residence, the Ministry of War itself, and the General Staff Office. Once this had been accomplished, they asked to see Minister Saionji. When they were admitted to see him at 06:30, they read their manifesto aloud and handed him a document which made numerous demands of the army, including:
       The rapid resolution of the situation by Saionji in a way that “advanced the cause of the Restoration”.
       The prevention of the use of force against the Righteous Army.
       The arrest of Michiaki Himeno (Governor-General of Tsukishima), Jirō Egashira (commander of the Tsukishiman Army), and Akihiro Gusukuma (commander of the Northern Army) for being “the source of the destruction of military command” and for aiding and abetting the murder of Toshikatsu Heike.
       The immediate dismissal of Lieutenant Colonel Joji Uto, Colonel Katsunari Yokosawa, and Major Hisaki Teshigawara from the Imperial Daitōjin Army for promoting factionalism.

   As Minister of War (1924-27, 1929-31), Himeno had overseen a reduction in size and modernization of the army. He had also allegedly backed the plotters of the 19th of June incident, who had hoped to make him Prime Minister before the coup was aborted. Egashira, Uto, Yokosawa, and Teshigawara were all prominent members of the Tōseiha faction. During this period, a number of officers sympathetic to the rebels were admitted, including General Kanji Hino, General Satoru Munakata, General Otohiko Tanobe, and the Vice-Minister of War, Katsumoto Takazaki. Takazaki praised the officers’ spirit and urged Saionji to accept their demands. Shortly before 09:00, Saionji stated that he needed to speak with the Emperor and left for the Imperial Palace. Other actions taken over the course of the next four days included the 3rd Imperial Guard Regiment securing access to the Imperial Palace, the assassinations of Keigo Tanaka, Sadakatsu Korekiyo, and Goro Arisawa, as well as the seizure of the Shinkyō Metropolitan Police headquarters. By the end of the day, the Emperor had been presented with a Fait Accompli; he could not resist the Kōdōha for long, and even if he did, he would’ve been removed. As a result, he agreed to negotiate, and by the end of the 22nd of January, he agreed to the demands of the plotters. In one fell swoop, a new era was born.
III. — The Yamato Fukkatsu Dōmei and the Yokusankai System
   Almost immediately after the coup, now-Prime Minister Hisayuki Sonyu convened an emergency session of the Imperial Diet, wherein the “Peace Preservation Law”, passed first in 1925 but abolished in 1933, was restored, granting the Tokubetsu Kōtō Keisatsu (Special Higher Police) powers to more effectively suppress socialists and communists. In addition to criminalizing forming an association with the aim of altering the kokutai of the state, the law also explicitly criminalized criticism of the system of private property and became the centerpiece of a broad apparatus of thought control in Daitō. Its restoration was a part of a broad series of reforms to prepare the country for the inevitable war with Ardia, with whom relations had once more become strained. Nonetheless, owing to the broad and oftentimes vague definition of kokutai, the result of the law, which was nominally an attempt to blend politics and ethics, effectively granted the government carte blanche to outlaw any form of dissent. The law would be repealed in 1946, but the damage had already been done.

   In spite of the coup, democracy in Daitō didn’t really die. As a matter of fact, though there was a new Prime Minister, it was seen by many as less of a military takeover and more of simply a power struggle at the top, irrelevant to most. While Sonyu had hoped that he would secure true power over the country, he and his fellow officers ignored that Daitō was still a democracy. The elections of 1938, though certainly seeing nationalist parties such as that which Sonyu belonged to gain popularity, the pacifistic factions of the government still managed to gain a sizable part of the diet and strengthened their positions in the government. Despite the successes he and his fellow conspirators had seen, their party, the Kokuminkutō, could not gain a majority, and thus was forced to make an alliance with the conservative Rikken Seiyūkai. In order to build this coalition, he had to make some concessions to the Rikken Seiyūkai, granting some government oversight to the military and putting an end to the army’s engagement of its own policies. Furthermore, in order to mainain support, he reframed his role in the 18th of January Incident so that it was seen as a move to preserve democracy, at least in the eyes of the public, while working to reform it so it would have, quote, "Daitōjin Characteristics". The Daitōjin people, segments of whom were still gripped by a militaristic nationalist frenzy, still voted for and took part in a political process that opposed those reactionary forces. The political structure of Daitō, by design, prevented the emergence of an absolute leader, which, should such a role have been established, would’ve gone to the Emperor. But the Emperor was not merely a monarch by some divine being’s grace, but a god himself, or at least the descendant of a god, and as such, his position prevented him from engaging in the daily politics that would’ve come with the ruling of a state. Engaging in worldly politics was considered to be beneath a god, putting the Emperor in such a position where he, as a deity, would not be able to save those who worshiped him as a god from themselves.

   Yet while the Kokuminkutō struggled to maintain its position within the diet, its leaders had begun to consolidate their position within the military. The Tōseiha and Kōdōha factions were united into one group, with Sonyu declaring that the era of factionalism within the army was at an end and that instead, they should work together to further the interests of the Empire by all means necessary. From this position as both Prime Minister and ideological head of the military, Sonyu began befriending industrialist leaders, political power-brokers, and gaining more and more influence over the state. By 1939, he could effectively reform the state into that which he desired, a controlled democracy with but one party, the "Party of the Emperor", the "Party of Yamato". The coup, though successful in its immediate goals, had in many ways failed, but it gave its organizers a springboard to enact their goals. The now-united factions of militarists found it easier to push their agendas. In 1939, the National Mobilization Law, which nationalized all labor unions, strategic industries, news media outlets, introduced strict price controls, and granted the military permission to use an unregulated and potentially unlimited budget for the coming war with Ardia, was passed. On the 19th of April, 1939, in a special joint session of the Imperial Diet, it was announced that the leading parties of the Empire had voted to dissolve themselves and to form together the Yamato Fukkatsu Dōmei, or the "League for the Restoration of Yamato", the one party for the one party state, or "Yokusankai system" that now ruled in Daitō. An organization which rejected all liberalization and saw itself in service of the Armed Forces, the moral and cultural superiority of the Ōnishi, and most importantly, the Emperor. Though democracy continued in theory, opposition parties did not. Daitō’s democracy collapsed because it lost control of a government institution and because the country’s ruling liberal elite and government had failed to appreciate the challenges of modernity. It failed to understand the ramifications of a radical change to society. It failed to make the rapid and in-depth changes to society comfortable to those who had suffered from them, and crucially, the political forces that had dismantled Daitōjin democracy were not one coherent movement of common doctrines, but rather, a force split into various differing movements and ideologies who often rivaled and feuded with each other. What became crucial, however, was that these rival factions of far-right nationalists were able to set aside differences and rally around a common cause when needed to achieve what they all felt was necessary.

Vignettes / The Celestial Throne
« on: May 29, 2023, 04:12:19 AM »

   Prince, Pilot, Soldier, Leader. Eijirō, the reigning Emperor of Daitō, has held many roles throughout his life, serving his country dutifully for over a decade. This is his story, and the story of those who know him, from his family to his squadron, and from his youth into the modern day.


Economics and Industry / Re: The Daitōjin Aerospace Industry
« on: May 28, 2023, 05:33:15 PM »
J-30 Shrike
RoleStealth Multirole Fighter
Length15.3 m
Max SpeedMach 2.13 (2,609.42 km/h, 1,409.1 kn)
Range4,236 km
Service Ceiling20,000 m
ArmamentGuns: 20mm M61A1 6-barreled rotary cannon, with 700 rounds
Hardpoints: 4 × internal hardpoints in main weapons bay, 6 × external hardpoints
Other CapabilitiesSensors:
    AN/ASQ-239 Barracuda ESM/ELINT
    AN/APG-85 AESA
    AN/AAQ-37 EO-DAS
    AN/APG-85 OECM
Stealth Aircraft
Ceramic RAM coating
Cost$71.9 million
BackgroundThe Joint Advanced Strike Technology (JAST) program was established in the 1990s to provide replacements to the current combat aircraft in service with the IDAF, IDN, and IDNLF. The program served as an umbrella to three distinct airframes, designed in succession while building off each other's breakthroughs, that would meet the needs of their respective services. In a similar vein to the ATF program, a prime requirement was low observable characteristics and the integration of next generation technologies. Initially, the JAST-AF program was a distinct program from the Air Force's Multi-Role Fighter (MRF) program, which was primarily intended to replace the service's J-8 Hawk. When that program was cancelled in 2008, and with preparations for the JAST-AF program underway, Zayasu, the producer of the J-19 and the P-3, began designing the J-30.

By 2016, the follow-on lightweight complement to the J-19 and, in the future, Daitō's next generation fighter, had emerged in the form of the form of the YJ-30. The familial resemblance is deliberate, as the J-30 incorporates technology from both the Viper, as well as from other JAST airframes. Costs were further reduced with commonalities in avionics and engines. One of the most notable features, perhaps becoming standard to Zayasu stealth fighter designs, were the distinctive "ruddervators" seen on the J-19 and even the company's MRF proposal. The YJ-30 prototype flight the following year, albeit with limited public exposure due to security concerns. In 2017, the YJ-30 was named "Shrike", which came as a compromise when compared to the pastiche "Hayate II" which was often lamented by the public. The early success of the YJ-30 prototype would, in time, become marred by by a protracted development phase in the years that followed. Simplifying the Viper into the Shrike looked good on paper, but its execution required a steep learning curve for its developers. The driving force of the delays were reducing costs, easing the complexity of construction and ensuring that the J-30's VLO systems remained durable in any environment.

The engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) J-30A finally emerged in 2022, sported a refined airframe with various improvements over the prototypes. A sleeker nose, new exhaust configuration and the redesigned tail were major highlights. The potential for supercruise is also expected, pending further improvements with the powerplant. The Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS), developed for all three JAST airframes, was also integrated into the J-30. The LRIP units began production that same year, with the IDAF performing test and evaluation flights. The Shrike's single engine configuration and simpler construction made it less agile than the Viper, however, with late fifth-generation technology, it marked a significant "quantum leap" over the J-8. Full-rate production began in 2023.

International News Networks / Re: YHK (News from Daitō)
« on: May 27, 2023, 05:14:14 PM »
Zayasu to Produce J-8 Replacement
Hajime Matsui

The Imperial Daitōjin Air Force has announced that it has awarded its contract for the JAST-AF program to Zayasu Heavy Industries. The company, which has been in competition with Aizawa-Shinoda for the contract, has long been suspected to be the frontrunner for the program, owing to its experience in delivering the venerable—albeit expensive—J-19 Viper and the J-24 Tiger II, with its prototype, the YJ-30, making its public debut in 2018. The JAST-AF program is the last part of the larger Joint Advanced Strike Technology program, intended to field a fleet of new aircraft which will replace a number of current aircraft. Renamed as the J-30 "Shrike", the JAST-AF program is intended to fully replace the aging fleet of J-8 Hawk multirole fighters over the next few years, with it also being suggested for foreign use to replace similar aircraft.

"Lessons learned", said Kunihiro Marutaka, the CEO of Zayasu Heavy Industries, in a statement issued when the contract was announced, citing the aircraft's heritage. It incorporates design features and knowledge from previous programs, most notably the J-19 and the Negishi-built J/G-28 Eclipse. Some have been quick to call it a miniature J-19, noting the presence of an all-moving V-tail, as well as the similarity of its cockpit. Others have noted design features which resemble the J/G-28 and even the Tytorian AS-60, owing to the relative similarity of its wing shape, which seems to be a mid-way point between them and the characteristic diamond-shaped wings of the J-19, and its intakes. The aircraft will leverage recent advantages in stealth technology, most notably ceramic radar absorbing material (C-RAM) which was recently confirmed to also be present on the company's P-10 Phantom to both increase performance and reduce costs, allowing it to be purchased for roughly comparable to the J-24. The J-30 is expected to enter service later this year.

International News Networks / Re: YHK (News from Daitō)
« on: May 25, 2023, 04:21:42 AM »
Navy Acquires Base in Preoria
Yukari Murai

War Minister Esashi confirmed in a statement to the press earlier today that the Imperial Daitōjin Navy had acquired a base on the Island of Arannant in Preoria. Dubbed "Naval Station Llwynbelan", the acquisition marks a significant turning point in Daitō's military history, as it is the first foreign military base to be operated by the military since the late 2000s. As a result of the East Ardian Asset Price Bubble bursting in 2008, it was decided that the country would reduce its foreign commitments as a cost-saving measure, which included closing any bases operated abroad, instead using Tsukishima as a staging area for assisting the Republic of Kalasin prior to the 2017 conflict. This decision on their part perhaps suggests a return to the old ways, where Daitōjin vessels patrolled the world's oceans and seas, safeguarding trade alongside her allies for the rest of the world. Indeed, this decision comes at a curious time, as reports of piracy in the Krimeon have emerged, with some experts suggesting that Daitōjin vessels might, in time, aid the Preorian navy in patrolling the "rainbow route" designated under the Krimeon Anti-Piracy Program.

Marshal Esashi further confirmed that the Preorian Navy will acquire a base on the island of Tsukishima, repurposing the Hirado Naval Station for their own use. Similarly to Llwynbelan, this marks a turning point for the military, which long been hesitant to the presence of foreign military bases in the country. However, in light of this new internationalist stance on the part of the Imperial Government, it is possible that this unofficial policy has become obsolete. The bases, alongside their airfields and other facilities, are expected to go into service later this year.

Map / Re: Claiming Your Spot on the Map
« on: May 23, 2023, 10:45:27 PM »
Add two bases to the map, those being:
NS Llwynbelan - Daitōjin base in Preoria
NS Hirado - Preorian base in Daitō


Locations (provided in spoilers):
Spoiler: Map Locations • show


Arun Kaikaew, Democratic Party Declare Victory in Elections

In a public address in Ranong yesterday, Arun Kaikaew declared that his Democratic Party had won the 2023 general election, making him President-Elect of the country. He won the election with 48.6% of the vote, while his primary competitor, Prawat Krairiksh, only received 47.9%, as smaller parties took away votes from both candidates. The President-Elect made several promises, including to crack down on corruption and to reduce the influence of the military, which has long played a role in the country's politics, both on the mainland and in the outer islands. Prawat Krairiksh, who was backed by several key members in the military, was quick to denounce the elections as fraudulent, that they had been stolen by agents working with the Daitōjin government to install a weak-willed puppet as President. In the aftermath of the elections, many of his supporters took to the streets in protest, perhaps feeling robbed by the Democratic Party, and there have been rumors that similar discontent has been reported among the country's military. Time will tell whether anything serious occurs, however, many fear that another coup may be imminent.

Diplomacy and Events / Re: Coronation Chat #2 - Daito
« on: May 20, 2023, 08:02:52 AM »
   A peculiar predicament, though not unworkable. A country which projected a veneer of strength, but which was, at its very core, deeply divided. A people which would be better off free, bound to an oppressive regime which didn't represent him. Boy, the DTS would love to get their hands involved in it, he was sure of that. Throughout the last century, they'd been allegedly involved in a number of coups and rebellions, but taking down Tamora, or even weakening it so significantly? That would be a prize any officer would love—and hate—to get their hands on. It would be an easy enough task to disrupt the infrastructure in the country, Eijirō quietly noted, assuming there was some militia operating in Attica anyways, but what about strengthening her position? That was... tricky, to say the very least.
   "Well, what would you recommend, then? Obviously we'll need contacts, and not just with Saroyan herself. Any key personnel in Attica we need to know of, try to win over to 'her' side?" The Emperor asked, arms crossed. "And of course, are there any assets in Tamora that may prove useful in this endeavor?"

Sporting Hub / Re: Cycling season 2023 OOC
« on: May 19, 2023, 09:20:04 PM »
For the Mens Tour of Ardia, remove Hachinobu Suisei. It will participate in other events going forwards, but not that one.

Press Offices / Re: Press Office of Social Media
« on: May 19, 2023, 09:18:55 PM »

International News Networks / Re: YHK (News from Daitō)
« on: May 19, 2023, 08:57:59 PM »
Zayasu Heavy Industries, AADC Partner to Create Military GEV
Harunori Kōno

In early 2022, reports surfaced indicating that Daitō's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) was running a program to develop a new class of ground-effect vehicle (GEV). Dubbed the "Advanced Cargo Transportation System", or "ACTS" for short, the program called for the creation of a massive cargo seaplane that would leverage the ground effect to fly long distances efficiently by skimming over the surface of the sea. Now, it is worth noting that ARPA is well known for having many ideas which have been called "crazy", only some of which ever come into fruition. Excitingly, however, we have heard that several major aerospace companies have signed on with their own designs for the ACTS program, meaning that a new, full-scale prototype make take to the skies in the near future. The concept behind ACTS is to create a hybrid delivery system that combines the speed of an aircraft with the efficiency of sealift. While ACTS will be capable of flying like a normal seaplane, cruising just tens of meters above the water could boost the aircraft's range by 50 percent. A spokesperson for the program likened it to the cargo vessels of the Great War, which were relatively cheap and easy to build while being invaluable for several nations at the time.

Currently, there are two major competitors for the design phase of the ACTS program. They are the Negishi Corporation, which manufactures the Q-7 Dragon GEV for the Imperial Daitōjin Navy, and a joint venture between Zayasu Heavy Industries and the Achkaerin Aeronautical Development Company. While there isn't much in the way of technical detail on the designs as of yet, we do know some basic things about the designs. For example, the Negishi design appears to look somewhat like a traditional seaplane, making use of eight turboprops and having wings which are bent downwards, likely to offer further stability while on the water. The AADC-Zayasu design, by comparison, seems more ambitious. With twin hulls, the aircraft features a low-wing design with twelve turboprops, seeming closer to ARPA's initial concepts for the program and is optimized on-water stability and seakeeping. Despite that, neither concept images communicate much about the efficiency of the aircraft's construction process, which will be a significant factor in the decision about which design will move forwards.

In order to facilitate the program, as well as to expand Daitō's ability to construct components for aircraft and other equipment, it has been further confirmed that the Daitōjin government will help fund the expansion of Zayasu's current fleet of forging and extrusion presses, the largest of which are "only" capable of producing 80,000 tons of force. It is their aim to eventually build presses capable of imparting up to 200,000 tons of force, which would help bring down manufacturing costs for nearly any aircraft being built going forwards. It would also make their components stronger and lighter, which could potentially open the doors to larger and larger ground effect vehicles as well as cheaper aircraft, however, whether such lofty goals come into fruition remains to be seen.

   Briefly looking over the newly revised document, Sadazane and Okimoto found nothing else which was needing their consideration. Of course, as Conway had said, there was still a fair amount of legal work to do with it, but as far as they were concerned, their work was largely complete. Naturally, for the old marshal, there was more to do, seeing as, though much of it would be delegated, he still had numerous meetings that would have to occur before while the bases were being established, but that was hardly something he took issue with.
   "The terms of this treaty are more than acceptable." The Prime Minister said with a smile. "Indeed, I believe that it shall serve as the groundwork for a most beneficial relationship between our two countries."

Economics and Industry / Re: The Daitōjin Aerospace Industry
« on: May 16, 2023, 01:54:19 PM »
J/G-28A/B Eclipse
RoleStealth Multirole Fighter
CrewJ/G-28A: 1
J/G-28B: 2
Length17.7 m
Max SpeedMach 1.93 (2,364.4 km/h, 1,276.8 kn)
Range2,900 km
Service Ceiling20,000 m
ArmamentGuns: 1 × 20 mm M61A1 6-barreled rotary cannon, with 700 rounds
Hardpoints: 8 × interior hardpoints in main weapons bay, 4 × external hardpoints
Other CapabilitiesSensors:
    AN/ASQ-239 Barracuda ESM/ELINT (Max Range: 926 km)
    AN/APG-81 AESA (Max Range: 370.4 km)
    AN/AAQ-37 EO-DAS (Max Range: 11.1 km)
    AN/AAQ-40 EOTS LTD/R (Max Range: 27.8 km)
    AN/AAQ-40 EOTS IRST (Max Range: 185.2 km)
    AN/AAQ-37 EO-DAS MAWS (Max Range: 9.3 km)
    AN/APG-81 OECM
Stealth Aircraft
Cost$110 Million
BackgroundIn 1991, the Imperial Daitōjin Navy had expressed its interest in the IDAF's now long-since cancelled MRF program to replace the J/G-9 Raven. The creation of "JAST" would assist in this endeavor with the formation of JAST-AF for the Air Force, JAST-M for the Naval Landing Forces and JAST-N for the Navy. However, much like with the Air Force and its J-8s, due to the relative age of the "newer" J/G-9s, development of any JAST-N airframe remained in the sidelines for most of the decade. The primary focus of the JAST program instead went to the NLF's JV-30 Krait. This was an acceptable compromise for the navy, itself busy with the development of the J-7E and later the J-24 Tiger II. While this was underway, Negishi's Shadow Works was close to finalizing its JAST-N airframe. By 2000, the J/G-28 proposal had been successfully greenlit, although it was briefly overshadowed by the Krait's historic maiden flight.

In a renewal of fortune, NAVAIR found itself with an abundance of new airframes. Between the newer J-7Es, the significant progress made on the Tiger II, the ongoing development of the Krait, and the expected JAST-N airframe which would, in time, come to dictate the future of Daitōjin Naval Aviation, one could easily see the contrast with the dire circumstances the navy had found itself in at the end of the 1980s. IDN order of battle had the J/G-28 replacing the J/G-9 and supporting the J-24, all while offering true VLO strike capability and high ACM performance. Additionally, the Naval Landing Force would also adopt the JAST-N to replace their J/G-9s.

The YJG-28 prototype debuted in 2002, featuring its twin engines and folding wings which characterize its CATOBAR role. Lessons learned from its sister programs, as well as from both the J-19 and J-24 programs, would benefit the JAST-N program; refinements in construction, technical experience and existing systems were re-purposed to suit its mission profile. The Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS), common to all of the JAST airframes as well as the J-24, was notably being integrated during this phase. In 2004, the airframe was named "Eclipse", a clean-sheet name preferred by Navy PR to avoid confusion with a prior airframe, something which had been seen with he ongoing J-24 "Tiger II". By 2007, the EMD J/G-28s underwent testing at NAS Tano. These production-spec models emerged from testing with various modifications and refinements. The J/G-28, when it entered service, featured durable systems and VLO technologies geared for naval operations. Carrier testing aboard the IDN Tairyū in 2010 with VX-18. Following additional flight testing and subsequent full rate production, the first J/G-28s entered service in 2013.

International News Networks / YHK (News from Daitō)
« on: May 15, 2023, 09:24:51 PM »

   Welcome to YHK: The Fusan Broadcasting Corporation. For nearly a century, we have offered our audience nothing but the finest journalism and programming in the southern hemisphere, covering the domestic and foreign stories which are most important to you. From the jungles of Kalasin and the deserts of Tamora to the freezing arctic and the cities of Daitō, through the greatest triumphs of humanity and its darkest hours, whether rain or shine, we have and will remain committed to our mission of providing unbiased reporting and high quality programming for our viewers. To access our archive, which contains stories dating back to the early years of YHK as well as our affiliated newspaper, the Fusan Times, go to www.YHK.dt/Archive. Domestic news is available online at www.YHK.dt/News and www.YHKWorld.dt/News, as well as via radio on YHK Radio 1 and various subsidiaries, as well as via television on YHK General TV, YHK BS4K and YHK BS8K. Documentaries can be viewed both on YHK BS 1 and our new streaming service, YHK+.

International News Networks / The Ranong Post (News from Kalasin)
« on: May 15, 2023, 12:10:57 AM »

Three Dead, Eight Injured in Firefight Outside of Treng

According to local authorities, two militants and one civilian were killed outside of Treng, Rayong Province, during a firefight between forces belonging to the Vax National Army and a local gang. The engagement, which started at 3:16 and ended at 3:24 PM, appears to have started as an attack on a VNA checkpoint, and left a further eight wounded while disrupting traffic into the city until 6:00 that evening. The attackers, who are suspected to belong to the criminal syndicate "Red Vax", fled the scene, and the VNA has begun a manhunt for them. A curfew has been instituted in the city that will last from 10:00 PM until sunrise. So far, the Interior Ministry has not commented on the actions of the VNA, however, it is rumored that they offered their tacit approval for these actions. A spokesperson for the VNA was quoted as saying "...these actions, this curfew, is merely standard operating procedure following terrorist attacks such as this. We urge all citizens in Treng to comply."

Factbooks and Maps / Re: The Democratic Republic of Kalasin
« on: May 14, 2023, 05:22:30 AM »
Armed Groups in the Democratic Republic of Kalasin
   The Democratic Republic of Kalasin has, over the course of its nearly seventy year existence, unfortunately seen the rise and fall of numerous armed groups operating throughout the troubled nation. Ranging from remnants of the former People's Republic of Kalasin's Army and right-wing militias to ethnic nationalist groups and drug cartels, they have long plagued the country's leadership, especially after the fall of the People's Republic in 2017. It is perhaps not surprising that Kalasin, a country made up of so many nationalities, struggles so much, owing to a legacy of Ardian colonial rule and later, of Daitōjin administration, which often favored specific ethnic groups while encouraging immigration into the region as a means of controlling it. What is listed below are some of the larger armed groups operating within the country, however, it should be noted that this list is by no means exhaustive.
The Vax National Army (VNA)
Leader: Aung Zin Yu
Members: 21,300
Established: c.1979
   Established in the aftermath of the Republic of Kalasin's exile from the mainland in 1979, the Vax National Army, which operates in the rugged Ka-hki territory and parts of Rayong Province, is a government-aligned Armed Group which, with the assistance of Daitō's DTS (Daihonei Tokumu Sōkanbu, General Intelligence Agency of the Imperial Military Headquarters), waged a decades-long guerrilla campaign against the People's Republic of Kalasin. Following the mainland's liberation in 2017, the VNA, now acting as the de-facto military of the "Vax State" in northern Kalasin, has allied with the Provisional Government, aiding it in its conflict with other organizations in the region. As of 2023, it is engaged in a protracted conflict with the the Antawsai Revolutionary Army in neighboring Antawsai territory.
The Antawsai Revolutionary Army (ANA)
Leader: Salai Lin Nei Thu
Members: 9,220
Established: c.2008
   The Antawsai Revolutionary Army is a communist armed group operating in the Antawsai territory. Despite its claims of "egalitarianism" and "revolution", the ARA has, at times, been described as little more than a sizeable group of bandits or an Isanese supremacist organization, often terrorizing the local populace and targeting non-Isanese settlements in the territory. Officially, it was declared a terrorist organization by both the Peoples Republic and the Republic of Kalasin, as well as numerous other countries across the globe. Nonetheless, despite opposition from much of the country, it seems quite possible that Salai Lin Nei Thu's regime in the territory will survive for some time, owing to the region's terrain making entry difficult.
Remnants of the People's Armed Forces of Kalasin (PAFK)
Leader: Various
Members: Estimated at ~31,000
Established: c.2017
   Despite the People's Republic of Kalasin being overthrown in 2017, there were commanders within its military, the People's Armed Forces of Kalasin, which refused to surrender. Fleeing into the jungles and mountains of the country, since the end of the Second Kalasin War, they have waged a guerilla campaign against the central government and its allies, striking against soft targets before retreating into their own territory. Despite calls from some members of the former government's leadership, they have continually refused to lay down their arms, and in fact, they have grown in strength in recent years, whether by conscripting able-bodied men from settlements they control or from former PAFK personnel willingly taking up arms. In their eyes, the country was stolen from them by the Daitōjin, and they are hell-bent on taking it back, even if it must mean allying with an unexpected group.
Meun National Revolutionary Army (MNRA)
Leader: Dusit Neelapaijit
Members: 11,920
Established: c.2003
   The Meun National Revolutionary Army is an armed group fighting for the independence of Meun Province from Kalasin. Governed effectively as a military junta, the MNRA's leadership, led by Dusit Neelapaijit, has made vague promises of democratization in the event of the region's independence. However, as the fighting has continued in the region, some outside observers have suggested that he may, ultimately, renege on such promises upon a victory. The Meun National Revolutionary Army, despite its involvement in drug trafficking—primarily substances such as cocaine and heroin—across the nation and indeed a large part of both southern Aranye and northern Ardia, has remained fairly popular within its region, at least per the limited polling which has come out of it in recent years. Whether those responding to said polls were genuine or said they were supportive of the MNRA out of fear for their safety is uncertain.

International News Networks / Re: Free Mundus
« on: May 12, 2023, 04:05:58 PM »

As Kalasin Heads to the Polls, Some Ask: "Will Peace Return to the Troubled Nation?"

RANONG: Vast crowds gather around polling stations across the bustling capital of the Democratic Republic of Kalasin, intending to vote for who will lead the country into the future. These elections mark the first since the conflict in 2018 which saw a military intervention by the Empire of Daitō and which left close to one thousand civilians dead as well as many more internally displaced. Scenes around the capital, as well as in major cities across the country, are noticeably tense, under the watchful eye of local security forces, whose presence there is, per a source within the country's Ministry of Defense, meant to maintain peace and order on this important day. As it stands, the current front-runners in the race for Prime Minister are Arun Kaikaew, representing the left-leaning Prachāṭhiptịy (Democratic) party, and Prawat Krairiksh, the leader of the right-wing Kxb Kū Chāti (National Salvation) party. Per opinion polling, it is suggested that Prawat Krairiksh is likely to win in these elections, however, it is still too soon to be certain. Other candidates include the Nạk S̄ạngkhmniym's (Socialist Party) Kanchana Chearavanont and the various leaders of regionalist parties across the country.

No matter who attains victory in this election, however, there are some things which they will all have to face. Most notably, they have to contend with both rampant corruption and the continued prominence of militia groups operating across the country. In 2022, the country scored 23 on the Corruption Perception Index, making it the sixth most corrupt country on the planet. The leaders of the major parties participating in the election have vowed to combat this corruption, which has limited the country's economic growth as well as foreign investment for years. As for the continued presence of armed militias across the country, that is a far bigger issue, one which some experts worry may not be possible to resolve at this time due to the state of the country's military, the Kalasinese Defense Force. The largest of these militia groups, such as the "Vax National Army" and "Antawsai Revolutionary Army", have forces numbering in the tens of thousands and in some cases, such as the VNA, even operate aircraft and govern in their local regions. Some suspect that if Arun Kaikaew's Democratic party wins, it may move to invite foreign forces into the country to assist in putting down these militia groups, however, others remain skeptical that they will succeed. After all, when the outgoing Prime Minister, Xiao Nap Lai, requested the support of Daitōjin forces in 2018 against forces operating in the country's Ka-hki territory, the ensuing power vacuum only led to more violence after the operation came to a close.

Whatever the case may be, whether this conflict is resolved by military means or by diplomacy, it is unclear whether peace will return to Kalasin.

International News Networks / Re: Imperial News Service (Daitō)
« on: May 12, 2023, 12:47:10 AM »

"Deterrence, the Daitōjin Way": War Ministry Unveils P-10 Phantom
For the first time in a generation, the War Ministry revealed a new stealth bomber—a sleek, highly capable weapon the service hopes will be so deadly it would force the governments of foreign adversaries to rethink wars for decades to come. The Air Force unveiled the Zayasu-made P-10 Phantom to the public Wednesday evening in a ceremony at Air Force Plant 16 in Karumai, Nagato, which included top defense officials, Zayasu Heavy Industries executive Haruichi Endō, as well as members of the Diet and other elected officials. Prime Minister Sadazane Konishi was reportedly in attendance, although he did not speak at the event. Instead, alongside the CEO of Zayasu Heavy Industries, the Vice Chief of Staff of the Imperial Armed Forces, General Chūichi Suzuki, and the Minister of War, Marshal Okimoto Esashi, spoke, with both touching on the name of the aircraft, which honors the personnel of the 29th Sentai, "Azumaya's Phantoms" as they were known during the Great War.
   "The audacity of Azumaya's Phantoms has inspired generations of Daitōjin aviators," War Minister Esashi said as the aircraft loomed large behind him. "I believe it fitting, therefore, that the next chapter in Daitōjin airpower be named in their honor." He continued, later adding "Ladies and Gentlemen, this is deterrence, the Daitōjin way."

The ceremony was also attended by Zayasu employees and family members of some of Azumaya's Phantoms. Their mood was notably celebratory, as employees frequently cheered. As dusk fell and a Zayasu employee sang the national anthem, a procession of four bombers streaked overhead—first a P-42 Fencer, followed by a restored P-1 Tengu and a P-2 Archer with their afterburners roaring, and finally, a P-3 Wraith bomber. After Endō's comments, in which he thanked the employees who had worked on the aircraft, he left the stage as dramatic music played. A pair of immense hangar doors slid open, where the P-10 sat under a massive cover and bathed in fog and light. The sheet dropped, revealing the P-10, its fuselage seemingly painted white, as it was towed forward out of the hangar to the applause of the crowd.

The long-awaited debut of the P-10 marks a milestone in reshaping the Air Force's increasingly aging bomber fleet. It comes after conflict erupted between Daitō and Rokkenjima over the Tokara islands, tensions with Midaranye over the issue of slavery seem to be unending, as piracy reemerges in the Krimeon, perhaps in some way exacerbated by conditions in Kalasin, and when the imperial military wants a highly public display to serve as a pointed warning to any of Daitō's potential adversaries the world over. And if war were to break out again, recent military advancements—particularly air defenses—will require the Air Force to have aircraft that can slip undetected into enemy territory. The Air Force hopes that the P-10's advanced stealth capabilities, brought about in part thanks to recent advances in radar absorbent materials, will allow the aircraft to carry out such penetrating strike missions. Air Force officials envision the P-10 as the "backbone" of its future bomber force, as well as a key element of the Daitōjin military arsenal for perhaps the next half-century. When the highly-classified bomber starts arriving at bases such as Onagawa AFB in Otobe, it will come with the capability to to carry standoff and direct attack munitions, as well as, in the future, hypersonic weapons. It will also come with a hefty price-tag for the program.

An expert on the military budget, Shusaku Arisaka, told us that the P-10 Phantom will be the one of the three largest aircraft acquisitions in Daitōjin military history, rivaled only by the J-20 and an as-of-yet unnamed aircraft under the JAST program. Other major efforts currently underway include Navy shipbuilding programs such as the Miyakejima and Minekaze-classes, as well as the fielding of the Army's new Type 83 Bushi MBT and plans to field hypersonic missiles in the coming years.

As more P-10s become available, they will replace the aging P-2 Archer and P-3 Wraith bombers as the Air Force prepares to move to a two-bomber fleet. The air force plans to retire all P-2s and P-3s by the early 2030s, leaving the service with at least 100 P-10 and Cold War-era P-42 Fencers, which are set to receive new engines starting later this year. While no further notes, save only for confirming long-held suspicions about the aircraft's RAM coating, were made about the aircraft's capabilities, Minister Easashi did confirm that the aircraft will begin flight tests later this year. Zayasu has further stated that the date of that first flight will occur based on data from the aircraft's ground testing. It has further been confirmed that there are currently six aircraft already in some stage of production.

The Daitōjin Prime Minister, Sadazane Konishi, would

Saddened by the recent conflict between Rokkenjima and Daito

Concerned that the loss of life could continue

Committed to finding a mutually agreeable path to peace

The following agreement shall be adopted.

1. The long standing but informal Line of Control shall 48 hours after the adoption of this resolution become the internationally recognised border between Daito and Rokkenjima in this island chain.

2. Both Rokkenjima and Daito shall conform to the requirements of the FSC in this region.

3. Rokkenjima and Daito shall withdraw all forces from the island bare a force sufficient to maintain internal security in the region.

4. No heavy armour is to be stored upon these islands (for the purpose of this resolution this shall be defined as being an armoured combat vehicle with an integral or organic direct fire gun of at least 75 millimeters calibre, weighing at least 6,0 metric tons unladen weight.

5. Limits shall be put on the numbers of aircraft stationed on the islands. The RSOC will maintain a registry of military aircraft. Each nation may station ten fixed wing aircraft and three rotary wing aircraft in the region that fulfil combat roles. In addition they may maintain a further ten fixed wing aircraft that undertake none combat roles. No limits shall be placed on non combat rotary wing aircraft. Should the officer commanding receive a specific request for additional aircraft to be stationed they may agree to temporary extensions to limits for a period no longer than 7 days, however repeat requests shall be permitted. Any request approved must apply to both nations.

6. No Naval vessel may be permanently stationed on the islands. Naval vessels may only stop at the islands for resupply which must be completed within 48 hours or repairs.

7. Each side may place an officer of the equivalent rank of Captain or higher on island belonging to the other party containing a military force. This officer shall act as an observer that the other nation is respecting the military aspects of this treaty.

8. The Ardian Assembly shall form a contingent known as the Rokkenjiman Sea Observation Corps (RSOC). This shall form a contingent of no more than 200 soldiers and 100 civil staff drawn from all Assembly Nations. They shall be free to travel between the islands and provide independent confirmation of compliance with this resolution.

9. RSOC shall carry out this role until 2025.

10. Those who live on the island or have immediate family who live on the island shall be issued a Rokkenjima Sea Permit Card (RSPC). Holders of these cards may travel freely between the islands so long as not considered a threat to national security.

11. A Rokkenjima Sea Assembly (RSA) shall be established with Rokkenjima and Daito holders of the RSPC being given a voice on decisions to be made in the waters of the islands in accordance with the FSC. Neither national governments must abide by the advice of the RSA.

Sadazane Konishi, Prime Minister of the Empire of Daitō

The First Raid
Hiroioki, Kyūre, Izumi Prefecture
June 14, 1944
8:33 PM

   It was an ordinary night on the 14th of June; the radio was playing the usual assortment of tunes as the Umekis, save for Iwao, who was still at work, as well as Azumi and Kahori, who had returned home close to a month prior. The remaining three—Yuna, Natsumi and Daisaku—found themselves eating dinner and discussing the day's events, as well as a few other things. The war, mostly. After all, there was a battle raging in the Satsunan islands, and with it came constant updates about the battle over YHK. While obviously, they were trying to make it seem as though the fight was going strong and that it was only a matter of time before the valiant sons of the empire drove the Ardians back in to the sea, just about anyone with at least half a brain could tell there was more to the story than they were letting on. It had to be quite the fight, based on what some of the wounded had said whenever they returned. Truly horrendous, brutal fighting with no real option for retreat or surrender, not that such a thought crossed the minds of most people. Everyone knew the Ardians were monsters, that they wouldn't take prisoners and were more than willing to kill the innocent, unlike the Daitōjin or their allies.

   On a lighter note, however, Yuna had received word from her husband that the Agano was operating near Yakushima, having returned from Kalasin after a lengthy deployment. She'd even received a letter from her uncle, first congratulating her on her wedding before explaining why they hadn't been able to speak for a while. As it turned out, the typical means of sending mail, that being by ship, had been a bit more intermittent owing to Ardian submarines attacking their vessels, while other methods, such as by wire, were being reserved for purely military use rather than anything personal. It was a relief, then, that last she had heard, back on the sixth if her memory served, her brother, Isao, was still alive and largely unhurt save for a broken rib following a rough landing back in February. Of course though, a week at the heart of some of the harshest fighting Daitō had seen since the Continental War was more than enough to possibly change that, so she instead tried to think of other things. And so, the three ate and spoke, however, just as Daisaku finished his bowl of rice, the music cut out, instead being replaced by... nothing. Nothing but static, anyways. Strange.
   "Did it come unplugged?" Natsumi asked, getting up to check the cord.
   "No, it wouldn't be making those noises if it were." Daisaku said as he put the bowl to the side before getting up. "Y'know, if I didn't know better, then I'd think-" He tried to say before being interrupted by a loud, wailing noise nearby.

   It was a noise which was unmistakable, especially after the drills which had been undertaken as of late. A vile, insidious cry which traveled as far as the sea and which could pierce the mountains. Yuna froze for a moment; she had heard the siren earlier in the day, though that was ultimately a false alarm. At least, that was what her father-in-law had told her when he got home. Apparently, it had sent many of the workers at Hikami into a panic, all over what was ultimately nothing. She hoped and prayed that this was the same, but something about it felt different. She couldn't quite put her finger on what it was, of course; perhaps it was Daisaku's demeanor, or perhaps it was simply the time, but at the end of the day, it felt different, and that was all she could say.
   "AIR RAID WARNING!" a voice in the distance shouted, confirming what she had worried about. Already, from what Yuna could see out of the window, there were a fair few people who were scurrying northeast for the mountains, and she was frankly inclined to join them.
   "-that. I would think that was happening." Daisaku said with a sigh as he turned the knob on the radio. "I guess there's no announcements on it, huh."
   "Iwao's probably still at work..." Natsumi said with a hint of worry in her voice. "...I hope he' alright."
   "Probably sheltering in place." Daisaku replied, grabbing Yuna's arm before she could get out of the house. "If you think about it from the enemy's point of view, it's far more logical to hit the gulf. There's no use in running for the hills."
   "I hope so." Yuna remarked mere moments before the lights went out. With a yelp, she instinctively covered her head, thinking something bad was about to happen.
   "Relax. Look, it's just a blackout. We're safe." Daisaku said with a smile, though it was hard to make out in the darkness.

   It was clear that it was going to be a long night, even if, as Daisaku said, there was no actual danger for them. As it would happen, though word wouldn't reach Kyūre until the morning after, he was practically spot on, as a flight of Ardian B-19s attacked the Imperial Iron and Steel Works up in Sabae, something like twenty or thirty kilometers south of Azumino. Later reports would determine that the attack had done little damage to the site, however, the damage to morale was, in some ways, more important to the Ardians. Regardless though, for the Umekis, they really couldn't go anywhere, and they certainly didn't have a shelter to use; after all, outside of Saito, attacks like this were unheard of, and thus no instructions suggesting they be made were ever issued by the local tonarigumi.

Diplomacy and Events / Re: Coronation Chat #2 - Daito
« on: May 05, 2023, 10:34:57 PM »
   The Queen of Attica, Queen Saroyan, was not someone who Eijirō had personally met, although he was aware of who she was. There was talk about her opposition to slavery within Tamora, even if it didn't exactly translate to actual policy. More importantly, in his eyes anyways, was the matter of the Kingdom's status within Tamora; having only been conquered some sixty-five years ago, there were still those who remembered it being an independent state, and since then, it still maintained a spirit unique among the occupied peoples of Tamora. Yes, Serenity was right, they could be, as she put it, a "key piece to the puzzle". If, hypothetically, it were able to break away from Tamora, the shockwaves it would send throughout the country, perhaps the region as a whole, could be considerable. Of course, whether it could keep its independence was another matter entirely, as such a challenge to the Imperial Enclave would never go unanswered.
   "Divide and conquer. Turn them on one another, foster distrust among the average Tamoran." Eijirō said after a moment, taking the chance to think over what he said. "Take Attica, for example. They've long shown themselves to have an... independent streak, I suppose you might say. If they were to try and break free, yes they'd be facing the rest of Tamora, but if they were able to hold? What then? Think about what that would do to the Safavids, their legitimacy in ruling? Who's to say there wouldn't be others who, seeing the success—assuming they were able to manage it—Attica would have achieved, decided to try and strike out on their own?"

International News Networks / Re: Imperial News Service (Daitō)
« on: May 05, 2023, 05:39:31 PM »

Prince, Privy Councilors Arrested in Kokuryūkai Investigation
In a statement issued by the Imperial Household Ministry, it was reported that Hidehiko, Prince Kachō, as well as Kiyokazu Maeda, Tadahiro Hori and Tomosaburō Matsura, members of the Privy Council, have been arrested in connection to the ongoing investigation into the Kokuryūkai conspiracy. The "Kokuryūkai", or "Black Dragon Society", is a movement within Daitō which was founded by Sachio Heishi with the goal of placing a different emperor on the Celestial Throne, however, following his arrest, a great many members of the group have been discovered, which has, unfortunately, included the former Crown Prince. Prince Hidehiko stands charged as an accessory to murder and attempted regicide, charges which carry fifteen years behind bars. His co-conspirators, Kiyokazu Maeda, Tadahiro Hori and Tomosaburō Matsura, have been charged with the same crime, but also stand accused of corruption, using their positions on the council for their personal benefit. The four have resigned their positions on the Privy Council, while Prince Hidehiko has also been stripped of his duties within the Imperial Family. We will keep you updated on the situation as more information comes in.

Vignettes / Re: Stories of an Empire (Daitōjin Vignettes)
« on: May 05, 2023, 08:54:05 AM »
As Snakes in the Grass
05 May, 2023
02:56 PM
Sumitsu-in Building, Imperial Palace, Sendō Ward, Shinkyō

   The building was abuzz with activity as servants and aides, officers and soldiers, and many others made their way through. Today was, after all, the day that the Privy Council met for the month, at least unless an emergency meeting were to be called. That wasn't going to happen, more than likely, but one could never be too certain these days. Eijirō, for his part, was still getting ready for the meeting; it was expected that he look not simply presentable, but that he looked his finest, after all, he was going to be meeting with members of the aristocracy and the political elite. From the medals he had earned to the uniform itself, he would go into this properly dressed. Eventually, he would make his way towards the meeting room, where he would see plenty of familiar faces. Of course, the members of the council were already inside as was expected, but on the "security detail", if he could call it that on this day in particular, were officers of the Kenpeitai, now under the command of Lt. General Kohei Fukuda, as well as members of the Imperial Guard and the Tokkō, including Superintendent-General Hiraishi. With a knowing nod, the two made eye contact for a moment before Eijirō entered the room.

   The door creaked open at 3-o'clock on the hour, and so, Eijirō, "Emperor Banwa" as he was to be recorded in the history books, made his entrance. Today was a day to remember, though those assembled, which included Prime Minister Konishi and a number of other ministers as well as the permanent members of the council, largely did not know it yet. Truthfully, Eijirō scarcely knew then the impact this day would have, but it had to happen. As sure as the sun rose and the water flowed down to the sea, he had to make his move. Clearing his throat, he spoke up as he took his place at the head of this body.
   "Before we begin, I would like to speak to you on the nature of loyalty." He said, looking out at the various ministers and councilors. "I'm certain all of you have your own idea of what that means, whether it be to the state, to some personal ideal, to one's family. However, it is important to be loyal to the right things, to the right people." He looked at his brother, who sat nearly directly across the room from him. "My friends, I am here to tell you that there is a tumor which has taken root within our government: treason. It is as a malignant tumor, one which must be excised before it can infect the nation at large. So grave is it, however, that it has continued to fester, and now, it has spread into this very chamber." He continued, placing his hand on the table. "I am well aware that among you, there are those who collaborated with Sachio Heishi and the kokuryūkai. I know that those among you who did so are responsible for refusing to grant me the powers I possess by right during a time of war. And I have evidence linking many of you to the assassination of my father and the attempt on my life."

   The room went quiet after Eijirō made his claim. Many looked around the room, trying to figure out who was a traitor and who had remained loyal. After a few moments, however, Eijirō once again spoke up.
   "I am willing to offer you a chance to retain your dignity, if only you will admit your wrongdoing." He said, and yet nobody spoke up. "I had hoped that, at the very least, my brother would repent, but I suppose that won't happen. For all your studying of history, Prince Hidehiko, you never could learn not to target your Emperor, could you?"
   "This is absurd." One of the other councilors spoke up. "You genuinely think he would seek your death?"
   "It's true." Hidehiko said, looking down at the floor. "I knew what Sachio was planning, that he wanted you off the throne... and for me to take your place." He added before saying "At the time I first began working with him, I had no idea that he would resort to such a method and I had planned to try and convince you to simply step down, however, on the day of the attack, I was made aware by Heishi-san. Ultimately, at the end of the day, I have betrayed your trust and I have betrayed our people... as have Kiyokazu Maeda, Tadahiro Hori, and Tomosaburō Matsura."

   The three men who Hidehiko had mentioned all tried to protest, but their protestations would, in large part, fall on deaf ears.
   "If I may, would you please turn your attention to the dossiers on your desks. Inside, you will find all of the evidence tying these men—and my brother—to the conspiracy against me." Eijirō said as the three men, as well as Prince Hidehiko, were taken away by the guards. "As for the rest of you, while I understand if you have loyalties elsewhere, while you serve the government and the people of Daitō, understand that you must swear your utmost loyalty to the state and to them. I don't expect you to agree with me on everything, and if need be, I expect you to speak to me about your concerns, but under no circumstances will treason be tolerated. With that being said, let us begin."

Vignettes / Re: Stories of an Empire (Daitōjin Vignettes)
« on: May 05, 2023, 07:44:36 AM »
Within the Inner Circle...
04 May, 2023
06:37 PM
Imperial Palace, Sendō Ward, Shinkyō

   It was a warm spring evening in Shinkyō, a city which, according to some, never slept. Of course, most major cities could be given the same epithet, but few lived up to it quite like her. As Eijirō sat at his desk, he could see the sun setting over the sea and between the many skyscrapers and high-rises that made up its cityscape. Despite being so close—less than a kilometer away—it was as another world; he couldn't just leave the palace, not without an escort anyways. It wasn't something he wasn't used to of course; while he had been able to enjoy it during his time in the navy, before then, it was rare that he didn't have some sort of bodyguard nearby. Such was life, he figured, as he turned back to his paperwork. It had been a somewhat busy day, after all, but he was finally wrapping up, and an hour or two early at that. Tomorrow was going to be different, though. He had a meeting with the Privy Council, which was why this particular document was of such importance.

   It was no secret that, during the "Three Day War", the council had failed to secure a majority vote on granting him the authority to take an active role in the prosecution of the war. Of course, Eijirō had personally been opposed to the war from the start, but the diet had voted for it, whipped up into a nationalistic frenzy following what was, regardless of his misgivings on the reaction, an act of war. He couldn't blame them for believing he was in support of it; due to the circumstances surrounding Ofdensen and the Chrysanthemum Throne, his hands were tied. If he had vetoed it—something which no sitting Emperor had done since the days of Keiō himself—he would've been setting a precedent for imperial interference in what was ostensibly the will of the people, and that was ignoring the possibility that it might've clued others into that which they were not meant to know. He had hoped, back then, that by taking that authority, he could at least mitigate the worst excesses of the conflict, make it little more than a show of force. In his mind, a ground assault, such as that which was undertaken by the marines, was unconscionable. It made the process of making peace, as Prime Minister Konishi had confided in him a few weeks prior, far more difficult than it need be.

   Eijirō glanced at a photo he kept on his desk, one which showed himself, his father, and his younger brother together at Mount Haku. It was nearly twenty-one years ago now, yet he remembered the day as though it were the back of his own hand. He remembered what his father had told him, that "Good medicine is bitter to the mouth." Based on what he had read of this dossier, sent to him by Superintendent-General Jin Hiraishi, that old proverb was once again proving true. To think someone so close to him was involved, and that he had recruited members of the Privy Council... It all finally made sense. Sure, he would've stood to gain so much had the plot to end Eijirō's life back in 2021, but he wanted to believe that he was uninvolved. Now, however, there was overwhelming evidence linking him to Sachio Heishi and a number of other kokuryūkai conspirators. He knew what had to be done.
   "Uematsu-tai-i." Eijirō said calmly as he placed the dossier back on the desk before looking to one of the guards.
   "Yes, your Majesty?" Natsuki Uematsu, a captain in the Imperial Guard, answered as he briefly entered the room.
   "Do you know if Prince Hidehiko will be attending the Privy Council meeting tomorrow?"
   "Yes, sir. Prince Hidehiko will be attending." Natsuki replied, perhaps slightly confused by the question. "If you don't mind me asking, why do you ask?"
   "No reason, we just have some... catching up to do and I wanted to make sure."
   "Vey well, sir." Natsuki said before stepping out of the room.

   Once Natsuki had left the room, Eijirō's attention once more turned to the photo. Seeing it now, knowing all that had happened, he felt... different. Disgusted, perhaps. Disappointed, most definitely. He was certain that his father was turning in his grave, knowing that he was responsible, and yet, he didn't know if he could stomach the thought of his dear brother rotting away in a prison somewhere, if not facing worse. He was, after all, complicit in attempted regicide, and by extension, he was culpable for his father's murder. Perhaps he hadn't thought it would go that far. Perhaps he had hoped to convince him to abdicate. That didn't matter now, and despite the love he had for him, there was nothing he could do to save him. With a scowl on his face and a sigh, he took the photo and placed it face-down. Even if it included his brother, it was now quite likely that those remaining kokuryūkai agitators had to be removed from any position of authority, one way or another.

   Tomorrow was going to be a very busy day.

Diplomacy and Events / Re: Coronation Chat #2 - Daito
« on: May 02, 2023, 11:40:21 PM »
   Admiring. That was one way of putting it, Eijirō thought as he looked at the vehicle. While he was never much of a "petrolhead", he had to admit it was a nice looking car. Though he cared less for its capabilities, he figured, provided the circumstances were reversed, he could go on and on about the capabilities and inner-workings of the J-7 or J-14. Oh, how he missed those days, back when he flew for the navy... But that was behind him now. Now, he had the unique opportunity to shape the world for the better. The question was, what kind of world would he want future generations to grow up in? There were a great many ills which plagued the world, evils which needed to be excised. There was one thing in particular which he knew had to be done away with, and he also knew that it was something Serenity felt strongly about as well.

   With a nod, he said "I agree. I must admit, current measures to combat human trafficking and slavery in general are... Not working, not nearly to the degree they need to." He sighed as he turned away from the car. "Certainly, there are options we can try, potentially exploit the brain drain in Tamora, for example, but even then, I have my doubts. Certainly a better option than some which I've heard over the years, though."

Chapter Thirteen — The Ardian Continental War and the Late Keiō Era (1914 - 1932 CE)
I. — The Ardian Continental War

Ia. The Early War

Clockwise: Daitōjin forces during the Battle of Kōgen (November 7th, 1914), a landing during the Kalasin Campaign (c.1916), Ardian sniper in the Tanzawa Mountains (c.1914-1915), Daitōjin Battleship Akitsukuni (c.1917)
   The Ardian Continental War (大陸戦争, Tairikusensō), alternatively known as the "First Great War" or more simply, the "Ardian War", was a conflict spanning the world, though primarily focused in East Ardia, that lasted from 1914 to 1918, at least for Daitō. The Empire, by means of a web of alliances which is referred to as simply the "Allied Powers" in modern history textbooks, found itself allied with Achkaerin and Toshikawa, as well as a few other countries across the globe. These "Allied Powers" were opposed by the Ardian Empire and her colonies, as well as the Kingdoms of Tytor and Rhand, with limited involvement being seen on the part of the Seleucids, a situation which would be mirrored during later conflicts. The name of the conflict itself, the "Great War", came merely from the scale of the war, which, compared to practically every war before, was truly immense and terrible in its scale and its devastation, although it too would be dwarfed by what was to come in later decades.

   While the fighting had already begun the month prior, for Daitō, the Great War began on the 1st of August, 1914 when its ultimatum to the Ardian Empire, which called for a withdrawal of forces from Toshikawa, went unanswered. Said ultimatum, which had been sent a week prior, was set to expire at midnight on the 1st of August. Its forces had already been mobilized in advance of the ultimatum so that, in the event of it being rejected, the nation would be ready for war. Thus, with no answer being received, the Imperial Diet voted that day to declare war upon the Ardian Empire, and almost immediately, the Military High Command, having expected a war with Ardia for years, began to enact their plans for the conflict. The first military engagement of the war was not on land, however, but rather on the high seas, when the Daitōjin armored cruiser Yakumo traded blows with the Ardian cruiser Achéron on the 3rd of August, with the latter vessel being forced to withdraw due to damage sustained during the battle. The first engagement on the ground, by contrast, was the Siege of Gowon (modern Kōgen) on the island of Tsukishima, wherein Daitōjin forces, from the 3rd of August until the 18th of October, 1914, laid siege to the Ardian treaty port of Gowon on the island. Said treaty port, as part of the agreement which led to the island's annexation, was allowed to remain on the island until 1950, however, the war ultimately brought that treaty to an end.

   Perhaps emblematic of the early war, the Tanzawa Campaign saw around 630,000 Daitōjin and 680,000 Ardian soldiers wage a long and brutal battle among the icy slopes of the Tanzawa mountains, in which time it is estimated a total of nearly 98,000 men died. Lasting from the 9th of August until the 17th of February, 1916, it is seen by many as having some of the harshest fighting of the war, both owing to the sheer tenacity of both sides and to the hostile environment. Of particular note during the campaign was the Battle of Mt. Ushiro, which raged from the 11th of December, 1914 until the 16th of March, 1915. The mountain itself was known by the locals as Kon'noyama, the "Mountain of Souls", a name which it had earned for the many lives it had claimed over the years, both by avalanches and failed expeditions to climb it. The Ardians, as a result of the battle, would give it a different name, though its meaning was fairly similar. To them, it was the Col di Sangue, the "Mountain of Blood", for it was said that by the end of the battle, the mountain had been stained red with blood. Ultimately, the battle of Kon'noyama, while certainly an important victory for the Imperial Daitōjin Army, was only the first step in breaching the mighty Tanzawa mountains, and the campaign would rage for another year before finally, the fighting entered the Yamanori valley.

   Compared to the Greater East Ardia War in the 1940s, Daitō played a limited role in fighting on the peninsula, sending only a single division, around fifteen thousand troops, to the region during the course of the conflict. Rather, the majority of overseas operations undertaken by the Empire of Daitō during the war were on the island of Paechon, now a part of the Democratic Republic of Kalasin, which was an Ardian colony which encompassed the country. The fighting there would last until 1917, although the island would be plagued by the remnant Ardian forces throughout the last years of the conflict. The island was deemed vital for the war effort, as it provided control over the Matilda channels, a key supply line for both Ardian and Allied shipping over the years.
Ib. The Late War
   Following a series of successful offensives in the Tanzawa Mountains, Daitōjin forces would finally reach the Yamanori valley in early 1916, with the war briefly turning to one of maneuver in the intervening months between then and the siege of Saito, which began on the 8th of April. The city had been heavily fortified over the past two years, owing to it being an important supply hub for Ardian forces in the Yamanori valley, however, over the coming months, as Daitōjin forces slowly continued their advance elsewhere in the valley, the city would become partially cut off from other reinforcement, its only real link to the outside world being by sea. For just over six months, both Daitōjin and Ardian forces would settle into trench warfare, with neither side able to make much progress while the Daitōjin forces began preparing to storm the city. Finally, on the 21st of September, Daitōjin forces finally began their offensive, making use of various new technologies and tactics to gain ground, which would achieve its goal of encircling the city in its totality by the 30th of September. Fighting inside of the city would last until early November, when the city's remaining defenders surrendered.

   Meanwhile, as was mentioned in the previous section, fighting on the island of Paechon continued throughout 1916 and 1917, with the island being declared "secured" by the 18th of February, 1918. Though sporadic fighting continued even after the end of the war, owing to Ardian holdouts on the island and on the neighboring peninsula, by and large it was a relatively quiet front throughout much of the war, save for a few large-scale battles. More importantly, on the 8th of July, 1917, the largest naval battle of the war to that point, as well as the largest naval battle involving the Daitōjin since the restoration began: The Battle of Toshima. On the Ardian side, there were nineteen Dreadnought-type Battleships, as well as eight battlecruisers, 12 armored cruisers, and numerous light cruisers, destroyers, and other vessels. Daitōjin forces during the battle, joined by a limited contingent from Achkaerin, were roughly equal in strength, with fifteen dreadnoughts, eleven battlecruisers, and seven armored cruisers being noted among them. Despite being outnumbered, the battle would ultimately end in an Allied strategic victory, as it would keep the Ardian High Seas fleet stuck within its waters until after the end of the war, however, due to heavy losses sustained, it can be argued that the battle was also an Ardian tactical victory.

   In January 1918, Daitō began its final offensive of the war, aiming to take the remnants of the Ardian-held Yamanori Valley as well as the Ryōhaku Mountains. Known as Operation Kyū-gō, it would last until late March, succeeding in its goals of liberating the remnants of the country still occupied by Ardia. Throughout March and early April, a series of meetings occurred between Ardian and Daitōjin forces, wherein a peace treaty would be worked out between the two countries. Under the terms, Daitō would be granted all lands taken during the Kishi War, as the Ardian treaty ports in Tsukishima. Furthermore, Daitō would receive the island of Paechon and neighboring territories on the peninsula as a "trust territory", which in reality was a fancy way of saying that the island was to become a Daitōjin colony indefinitely. Finally, Ardia would pay war reparations, although these were limited in scope as the war had not severely damaged Daitō. Finally, on the 17th of April, 1918, the war, at least for Daitō, came to an end. However, for the other powers, fighting would continue for a while, although it would ultimately come to a close, at least unofficially, by the end of the year.
II. — The Late Keiō Era
IIa. Overview

Daitōjin women participating in local elections, February 20th, 1928
   The late Keiō era is a period of history which is rarely spoken of in foreign history books. Contrary to what has become the popular understanding of Daitō before the 1960s, the country was not an absolute monarchy or a dictatorship of any kind. Rather, as had been the trend before but was finally realized, the 1920s were a triumph of constitutional democracy, intended by its creators to be modeled off of the Derusmian and later Achkaerinese parliamentary systems. The country was governed under a de-facto two-party system with a liberal party, the Rikken Minseitō, and a conservative party, the Rikken Seiyūkai. Other parties existed, of course, most notably the nationalist Kokuminkutō and the leftist Shakai Taishūtō, but politics remained dominated by these two throughout the remainder of the period and up until 1937. In contrast to the idea of the war-mongering Daitōjin state, eager to put an end to the Ardian Empire once and for all, the times were set on liberalization and openness. Daitōjin parliamentary politics even had large pacifistic factions amongst its parties.

   Daitō’s urban centers had grown into the cultural capitals of East Ardia—surpassing even the great cities of the Ardian Empire in their grandeur—in which a new, modern native East Ardian culture was being formed. Far from the image of militaristic, ordered factory workers, the Daitōjin cities of the time were filled with nightclubs and theaters, bringing forwards artists who attempted to redefine the Ōnishi cultural horizon, experimenting with styles and customs of the old Daitō and combining them with the new modernity and artistic styles of the Occident. The film industry thrived, telling Daitō’s stories on screen and creating works of a distinctively unique and beautiful cultural blend, putting Daitō on the map as a place of culture that many came to visit and see for themselves. Painters such as Haruki Orihara merged the traditional Ōnishi painting style of Ukiyo-e with the modern art of Albion, creating paintings that expressed the experimental and open-minded attitude of his time. Far from being a culture of submissive women, within Daitōjin society of the 1920s, the streets of cities were filled with “mo-gas”, or “Modern Girls'', as women's magazines were published in a society which had come closer to women’s suffrage than many Occidental nations.

   And yet, this progressive era was not to last. Within twenty years, the parliamentary system had been replaced with de-facto military rule, the cultural magazines replaced with militaristic propaganda, and the cartoons of the 1920s were fighting Ardia. The movie industry, lauded for its experimentality, was now producing war propaganda, while the experimental modern art had been replaced with a militaristic realism in the name of "utopia". The women who had strived for equality in the late Keiō era were now being taught how to charge Ardian soldiers with spears should they invade the fatherland in a final battle to death before dishonor. While much of the buildup was in the 1930s, this shift began in the 1920s.
IIb. Instability during the late Keiō Era
   Why everything changed, the answer cannot be found within the Daitōjin people. There was no cultural, let alone racial drive to undermine what had been built during the 1920s. The Daitōjin people were not destined to fall into this. Far from it. It is, perhaps, even possible to say that Daitō’s people were dragged into militarism and xenophobia against their will and seduced by those who willingly accepted their deaths. Daitō had only recently been truly opened to the world, an opening which had thrown the country into internal turmoil over the conflict between modernity and the preservation of its own social norms and culture. A conflict which ultimately resulted in civil war and which ended with the overthrow of the established feudalistic order, the dethroning of the warlords, and the establishment of an imperial system. An imperial system which was initially built like an oligarchy, giving power to the warlords which had sided with the Emperor. But even as that system had become more liberalized, democratic, and open over time, an underlying conflict within Daitōjin society had not been resolved. The question of modernity and its perceived conflict with Daitōjin culture.

   Yet those issues were secondary in the late Keiō era. In 1927, Daitō fell into an economic panic which came after the post-Ardian War business boom. During this period, many companies invested heavily in increased production capacity in what proved to be an economic bubble. The post-1920 economic slowdown and Great Kantō Earthquake of 1925 caused an economic depression, which led to the failure of many businesses. The government intervened through the Bank of Daitō by issuing discounted "earthquake bonds" to overextended banks. In January 1927, when the government proposed to redeem these bonds, rumor spread that the banks holding these bonds would go bankrupt. In the ensuing bank run, 37 banks including the Bank of Tsukishima and the second-tier zaibatsu Aoyagi, went under. Prime Minister Asano attempted to have an emergency decree issued to allow the Bank of Daitō to extend emergency loans to save these banks, but his request was denied by the privy council and he was forced to resign.

   Prime Minister Asano's successor, Ichiro Shibusawa, managed to control the situation with a three-week bank holiday and the issuance of emergency loans; however, as a result of the collapse of many smaller banks, the large financial branches of the five great zaibatsu houses were able to dominate the country's financial sector for a decade. While the impact on the financial sector would come to a close with these measures, its impact on society would be quite considerable. Social unrest increased with the growing polarization of society and inequalities, such as the trafficking in girls, and the labor unions increasingly influenced by socialism, communism and anarchism, but the industrial and financial leaders of Daitō continued to get wealthier through their inside connections with politicians and bureaucrats. The military was considered "clean" in terms of political corruption, and elements within the army were determined to take direct action to eliminate the perceived threats to Daitō created by the weaknesses of liberal democracy and political corruption.

   To make matters worse, in 1928, Daitō once again found itself in conflict with Ardia, this time over the Miyako islands. While not escalating to a full war, it was a further drain on an already battered economy, even if it was one which was deemed important by the government. Many questioned why they should care about some islands all the way in the Kyne, but the military showed themselves more than capable of handling the conflict. The conflict, brief as it was, lasted until the 4th of June, 1929, yet it was not the end of Daitō’s woes. In 1930, a leftist insurgent by the name of Haruto Saikawa attempted to assassinate Emperor Keiō, leaving him badly wounded and his son, Crown Prince Norifumi, dead. As a result, his grandson, Prince Naganori, became the new crown prince and heir apparent following this tragedy. In the eyes of many, this attack was seen as a justification for extreme action to be taken in order to restore order, and already, there were those within the military and the government plotting their next move.
IIc. The End of the Keiō era
   On the night of the 19th of November, 1932, Emperor Keiō, fell into respiratory arrest and passed away. He was eighty years of age and had seen his health decline rapidly in the weeks leading up to his death. His grandson and heir, Naganori, was enthroned the next year as Emperor Kuna, bringing with him an end to the Keiō era. The era to come would see the effective end of true democracy within the country as well as destruction on a scale unseen to that point, but also great prosperity and a flowering of a new democracy following the Greater East Ardia War. As the nation mourned, many now knew that a war was coming, and Daitō was not, at least politically speaking, ready for what was to come.

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