Ne-Issan, also called the Land of the Rising Sun, is the homeland of the Iron Masters. It is a large country stretching along the former eastern seaboard of the United States and Canada, running in a south-easterly direction from navref Scatarie Island, Nova Scotia, to navref Cape Fear, North Carolina, a distance of approximately 1,270 miles.
Ne-Issan was founded three and a half centuries after the War of a Thousand Suns by the descendants of survivors of that conflict, mostly settlers who landed on the eastern seaboard in seven great 'waves' of refugees from the island of Nippon. It is unclear exactly how these survivors landed on the far coast of the North American continent from where they started, but mythical accounting suggests that some of the refugees may have originated on great floating cities built by the Japanese government located in southern polar regions, which then drifted up into the Atlantic and thence to the former US coastline.
The new settlers had apparently developed a distaste for other races during their long decades at sea and non-Asian inhabitants of the region they settled were driven out, possibly westwards to join the Plainfolk or southwards to join the Southern Mutes. The Japanese under the Da-Tsuni Shogunate became the ruling class of the new nation and prospered. They blamed electricity - the Dark Light - as being the root of mankind's downfalll in the Holocaust and banned all attempts to harness it once again.
By the latter part of the 27th Century the Da-Tsuni had become weak and indolent and were unseated from power by a coalition of other houses. These families then bickered amongst themselves for supremacy, plunging Ne-Issan into a period of bloody civil war lasting over a century. In 2908 the Toh-Yota won the support of several other houses and achieved a decisive military victory under Hideyoshi Toh-Yota to secure the Shogunate. Ne-Issan entered a period of prolonged peace.
During the latter part of the 30th Century, the Yama-Shita family, formed by the union of the formerly separate Yama-Ha and Matsu-Shita houses, began advocating a more progressive agenda. They built great steamships and set up trade routes across the Great Lakes with the Plainfolk, trading relatively minor technological items like crossbows and tools in exchange for manpower, a vast workforce of indentured servants who could do the menial labour required by the Iron Masters. The Toh-Yota, who advocated a conservative outlook informed by history and tradition, feared that these innovations would lead by steps to the recapture of the Dark Light and were staunchly opposed to them.
By 2990 the Yama-Shita had won over half of the noble families of Ne-Issan to their outlook, presenting a formidable political opponent to the Shogunate. When the Yama-Shita suggested a project to develop flying machines with a aid of a Tracker wingman captured by the Mutes, the Toh-Yota gave reluctant approval on the condition the project was carried out on the territory of their ally, the Min-Orota family, at a site later dabbed the Heron Pool. The Yama-Shita agreed. Unfortunately, on the day of the demonstration of the first flying machines the project was sabotaged, apparently by the She-Kargo Plainfolk. The machines were destroyed, Lord Hirohito Yama-Shita was killed and the progressive movement suffered a tremendous knock-back. Attempts by the Yama-Shita to take vengeance on the Mutes, first through a clandestine attempt to capture the saboteurs on the banks of Mi-Shiga and then a direct assault on the She-Kargo Mutes at Du-aruta, both backfired with the loss of six of their largest warships and some 3,500 personnel.
The Toh-Yota's position now seemed unassailable, but in their arrogance they pressed the Yama-Shita too heavily with reparations, with some other families becoming concerned that the Shogun was in danger of overstepping his bounds with a desire to utterly crush the Yama-Shita and remove all challenges to the Shogunate. They feared this would lead to the Shogunate becoming a dictatorship, and began looking for ways of restoring the former balance of power.
Two Mute representatives, Cadillac and Roz Brickman in disguise, made representations to the Yama-Shita in late 2991, convincing them that the Toh-Yota had been complicit in the destruction of the Heron Pool (which was true). In return for a new, more equal treaty of trade and alliance with the Plainfolk, they offered to assassinate the Shogun and his wily Lord Chamberlain, Ieyasu. Their offer was accepted and the mission carried out successfully. The Mutes departed back to their homeland, and the Yama-Shita and their allies took advantage of the Toh-Yota's distraction to launch a full-scale military assault, marking the beginning of the second Ne-Issan civil war.
Despite the weaknesses within the Toh-Yota family, they rallied against the attack. Their allies stepped in to assist and several families decided to declare themselves neutral rather than join the conflict, including some that had previously promised assistance to the Yama-Shita. The result was that after initial successes gained by the surprising strength and scope of their assault, the Yama-Shita were soon bogged down into a stalemate.
In mid-2994, the war has been raging for over eighteen months with no end in sight, a situation that suits both the Federation and the Plainfolk.
Ne-Issan covers a substantial amount of territory, mostly contained between the Appalachian Mountains and the Eastern Sea. Ne-Issan's boundaries are held as the sea to the east, the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the north, the San-Oransa River (St. Lawrence River) to the north-west, Lake Iri (Erie) and Lake Ona-taryo (Ontario) to the west and a number of rivers and hill-chains to the south-west, known collectively as the 'Western Hills', beyond which expansion is prohibited.
The borders of Ne-Issan contain the entirety of the Pre-H Canadian territories of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, as well as parts of eastern Quebec. It also contains the entirety of the Pre-H American states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware, as well as parts of Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina.
Ne-Issan does not have a 'capital' as such, with the strongholds of the ruling Toh-Yota family at Yedo (on Aron-giren/Long Island) and Beni-tana (navref Benton, Connecticut) probably the closest equivalents. The former serves as the Shogun's summer palace and the latter as the winter palace.
Early settlers of Ne-Issan found a carefully-preserved copy of a Pre-H book known as the Rand McNally Road Atlas of the United States, Canada and Mexico (Millennium Edition) and used it as the basis for names of towns, villages and geographical features in the new country (and for features beyond its borders). The names of the individual domains and the families that grew out of them were derived from whatever Japanese-sounding names they could find, many of which came from rotting electrical equipment and motor vehicles.
The seventeen domainsEdit
The following is a list of the domains and their pre-2990 political leanings.
- Dai-Hatsu. Neutral but favours traditionalists.
- Da-Tsuni. Traditionalist. Allied to the Toh-Yota by marriage.
- Fu-Jitsu. Progressive. Allied to the Yama-Shita by marriage.
- Hase-Gawa. Neutral but favours traditionalists.
- Hi-Tashi. Progressive. Allied to the Yama-Shita by marriage.
- Ho-Nada. Traditionalist. Allied to the Toh-Yota by marriage.
- Ko-Nikka. Progressive. Allied to the Yama-Shita by marriage.
- Min-Orota. Traditionalist. Allied to the Toh-Yota by marriage.
- Mitsu-Bishi. Traditonalist. Allied to the Toh-Yota by marriage.
- Naka-Jima. Neutral but favours traditionalists.
- Na-Shona. Neutral but favours progressives.
- San-Yo. Neutral but favours progressives.
- Se-Iko. Neutral but favours progressives.
- Su-Zuki. Neutral but favours traditionalists.
- Toh-Shiba. Traditionalist. Allied to the Toh-Yota by marriage.
- Toh-Yota. Head of the traditionalist faction. Holders of the Shogunate.
- Yama-Shita. Head of the progressive faction.
Ne-Issan is a feudal society ruled by the Shogun, a figure who is seen as the first amongst equals among the domain lords of Ne-Issan. In theory he wields absolute power and can command without question, but in practice he is only as strong as his political support and can be toppled by a coalition of other houses.
One family holds the Shogunate at a time and the title passes from father to son. If the family becomes too weak, or becomes too used to ruling and neglects to maintain a network of political alliances (as happened to the Da-Tsuni), then it can be toppled from the throne.
Under the Shogun are the seventeen domain lords, whose rank and position is determined by the political power of their family. The domain lords are in turn served by a significant bureaucracy of generals and civil servants who see to the ordering of their armed forces and their subjects.
Population and demographicsEdit
The population of Ne-Issan is estimated by the Amtrak Federation to be around 1 million 'citizens' (from the Japanese ruling class down to the Thais) with an uncertain further number of Mute slaves, likely to number in the tens if not hundreds of thousands.
The Iron Masters are much concerned with racial purity, and have created their own hierarchy of power with the Japanese at the very top.
- Slaves (Mutes).
Each domain lord commands significant miliary potential. The sons of the noble families are members of the samurai class, and are trained in the arts of combat and riding. These usually form a solid core of heavy cavalry around whom military forces are built up, with foot-soldiers being usually reservists (subjects trained in weapons use who are called to war when needed) but more often levies (males of fighting age given basic training). Only Japanese are allowed to be samurai, whilst the other ethnic classes can serve as levies or basic troops. Mute slaves are not allowed to fight under any circumstances.