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Thread: Dawn in the East--A Japan AAR

  1. #261
    GunslingAAR coz1's Avatar
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    Ieyoshi coughed loudly, bringing his hand up, as if to keep the evil spirits inside, so as to not plague society. Aizawa could have sworn Ieyoshi was trying to hide laughter.
    I liked this a lot. Nice imagry and layers. Shows that Ieyoshi is certain of himself, and how distrustful Aizawa is of him. And the touch of the spirits really adds a nice eastern feel.
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  2. #262
    coz1: Yes, Ieyoshi is not as he seems to everyone else. I'm glad you're still on your toes.

    stnylan: As to the idea of Ieyoshi the usurper, that last update should clarify things a bit. And yes, Aizawa had something in mind with his rant a couple updates back.

    All: Thanks for reading, and to my two dedicated commenters, thank you. If you are reading this, and not commenting, and I know there are a bunch of you out there, speak up!

    Will update sometime soon.
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  3. #263
    “Aizawa, listen carefully, as you are only the third person to learn what I am about to do.”

    “Ieyoshi, who is the third?”

    Ieyoshi’s only response was an amused look.

    “Well?”

    “ ‘The man who speaks before thinking is accounted a great fool; the man who listens, and says nothing, is very wise.’”

    Aizawa gave him a glare. A glare that could not last, which then slipped to a smile. “Go ahead, Ieyoshi.” After saying this, he shook his head ruefully.

    Ieyoshi gave him a placating smile. “I’m sorry, Aizawa, you seem a little unsettled. I just wanted to make sure you had regained your composure.”

    Aizawa, though not perfectly composed, was surprised at Ieyoshi’s perceptiveness. The young man was never that aware as a child. “I am ready, Ieyoshi.”

    “You aren’t, but that does not matter. You say you are, so we shall begin.”

    Could the man read minds now?!

    “I realized what had happened at Kyoto, that Date had stolen a march on me. I hadn’t anticipated he would strike at the Imperial family. However, shortly after his attack on the Emperor, he was beaten at Sendai, by Watanabe Ichiro.”

    Aizawa’s eyebrows rose a little at that.

    “No relation to your mentor Kazan, Aizawa. Anyway, Date was unable to accomplish anything, except for planting rumor in the minds of the Imperial Court that I was maneuvering to subjugate the Imperial house. There are hypocrites in every court who will denounce actions that they themselves contemplate. It is the nature of politics.”

    “It was my intention to find Osahito relatively soon after Sendai, and explain what had happened. Unfortunately, he fled too quickly. He evaded our sentries at Nagasaki, who likely would not have stopped him even if they had seen him. He made it across to Deshima, and then bought passage on a Dutch ship for their homeland.”

    “This is almost reminiscent of one of your theses from twenty years back.” Ieyoshi smiled at Aizawa. “The Russian Khan, Peter, traveled to Amsterdam in disguise, to learn about shipbuilding. You argued that one of our leaders ought to do the same. Well, it seems Osahito is doing it, even if it were not our intentions, or even his intention.”

    “Aizawa, I will not place myself as regent. I cannot trust anyone else, either, so we seem to be at an impasse, wouldn’t you agree?” Ieyoshi’s eyes twinkled with mischief.

    Aizawa sighed. “Just tell me what you will do. I am not very willing to follow your circles right now.”

    Ieyoshi barked a laugh. “Revelations take a bit out of you, eh? What I will do is what the Middle Kingdom did once, for eight months. I will declare the Imperial Throne as belonging to Emperor Osahito, even in his absence. I will declare that the Emperor, even though absent, is still performing the rituals to protect the Japanese people. This will appease the stupid peasants, though not for long. Things will get ugly if he doesn’t return soon, but I am doing everything I can to find him, and bring him back.”

    Aizawa looked at him levelly. “You had better find him quickly, because the last thing the Empire needs is anarchy and upheaval.”

    “Aizawa.” Aizawa looked at Ieyoshi. “Will you help me establish this, as you are known to be independent of the government? Please, good friend?”

    “Yes, I will help, Ieyoshi.” Aizawa stood, bowed formally, and began to walk out. He sighed after leaving Ieyoshi’s inner sanctum. It wasn’t a pretty solution in his estimation, as it involved deliberate deception of the people, which could easily backfire if Osahito were not found. Or worse, if he declined to return.
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  4. #264
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    FJ44,

    I like the analogy to Peter the Great, which you recalled to my mind. If he follows in those footsteps, then Osahito can be a great leader, indeed!

    And I do like the interplay between these two men of influence. The humor, the subtlety, the not intransigent rivalry.

    You have improved upon your writing skill, if anything, in your absence!

    I apologize for not being as regular as in the past. Lots going on these days. Major projects, jobs, etc.

    I wish this team of nobles (a term used however you like) well in their endeavors!

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  5. #265
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    I wonder if Peter the Great will end up being an analogy in more ways that one.

    I think Aizawa would be wise to keep on eye on Ieyoshi. He might be telling the truth, or might be dissembling and so hiding a larger plan.
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  6. #266
    Rensslaer: Glad to see you back. Many thanks for the compliments.

    stnylan: Yes, Aizawa is not one to turn his back on anyone, especially a new ally.

    Well, I played through the next couple years last night, and found that the AI decided to throw a wrench into my carefully crafted events. Let us just say that this could get very interesting in the near future.

    Working on updates.
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  7. #267
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    Quote Originally Posted by fj44

    Well, I played through the next couple years last night, and found that the AI decided to throw a wrench into my carefully crafted events. Let us just say that this could get very interesting in the near future.

    Working on updates.
    a wrench; a wrinklye... it all makes for a good story
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  8. #268
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    Quote Originally Posted by fj44
    Well, I played through the next couple years last night, and found that the AI decided to throw a wrench into my carefully crafted events. Let us just say that this could get very interesting in the near future.

    Working on updates.
    Will Osahito's learning of the Dutch language come in handy as the Dutch "move in?"

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  9. #269
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    Nothing like good intrigue to bring a story to life. You bring such dignity to your dialogue, fj44. Good stuff, sir!

  10. #270
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    Quote Originally Posted by fj44
    Well, I played through the next couple years last night, and found that the AI decided to throw a wrench into my carefully crafted events. Let us just say that this could get very interesting in the near future.
    I look forward to it! Wrenches can be great inspiration, as well, of course, as being a pain in the arse.
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  11. #271
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  12. #272
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    Truthfully, it sounds like a decent plan. Yes, it means Osahito must return, but if he does he could very well have the same effect as Peter the Great and it is something Japan needs.
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  13. #273

    A Prince in Victoria's Court (Pt 1 of 3)

    The Dutch ship pulled into the harbor in the cold, grey dawn. Osahito stood on the deck, grasping the cold metal rails with bare hands. The Dutch had been hospitable, even welcoming, but the language issues had been difficult. Dutch was not difficult to master. He had learned Dutch as a child, but learning the letters and speaking fluently were two completely different things. He smiled wryly to himself. The Dutch had been helpful. After only a year and a half among the foreigners, he had learned many things.

    The technical knowledge he had learned was not much. He was not a scholar in the Sendai tradition, but he still learned that certain things were possible. Things like the railroads so popular in this land. Geography and politics, however, were a different matter entirely. The barbarians—no, the Europeans—had some very interesting concepts on governance and political maneuver.

    Footsteps sounded behind him on the wooden deck. He turned smoothly to face them. A tall westerner stood before him. “Mr. Nimura, we should be docking in London in just a few minutes. Do you wish for me to have your belongings unloaded for you?”

    It took Osahito a moment to recognize Nimura, the assumed name he had taken when fleeing Japan. It probably was unnecessary, but Osahito was a cautious man from experience. “No, sir, it is not necessary.”

    The European mannerisms were quite different from what he was used to. Much quicker, less polite, especially for acquaintances. Westerners had a much higher tolerance for insult and disrespect as a result, something he would try to use in the years ahead. All that was predicated, of course, on politics in Japan. Things might have changed since.

    In his time in the Netherlands, Osahito had come to a stunning realization: the foreigners knew nothing about Japanese history or culture. The isolation policy had worked extremely well, then. It had always been a question amongst the intellectuals as to whether the policy worked. The Dutch had always been evasive when asked.

    Osahito grasped the rail as the sailor walked away. The cold rail seemed a England. All he had met at both the University and in the monastery had said that the English were masters of technical knowledge. His only reason to visit was to establish some form of preliminary contact with the English. However, he would likely spend more time here, if only to try to understand the European mentality. Truthfully, he admitted, that was the prerequisite to his return. Without such knowledge, Japan would surely be destroyed by any contact with Europe.

    He was determined that Japan must open, though in moderation. Allowing a flood of Western knowledge in would destroy Japan. It would need to be carefully measured. Perhaps the enclave system would be expanded, but the access the Dutch thirsted after could never be allowed until Japan stood as an equal.

    That had been a bit painful to realize. Japan, though proud of her place in the world, was backwards. However much the Mito school might argue that Japan was superior to the Middle Kingdom, Japan had nothing. An intervention such as the Europeans could do with a few ships could easily destroy the defenses of any port in the Empire.

    A cold thought, that. Any one of these nations could stretch out its hand and smash Japan without effort. There was a western saying: ‘Fortune favors the bold’. A fellow student at the University of Friesland had changed it to ‘Fortune favors the prepared’. Osahito grimaced at the cold wind that gusted through his cloak. Perhaps a mix of the two could carry Japan forward.
    Last edited by fj44; 13-09-2006 at 03:23.
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  14. #274
    kingmbutu: It does, that. Problems for me = interesting story for you.

    Rensslaer: The elites of Japan learn rudimentary Dutch, as they sometimes have to speak with the traders in Deshima. However, knowing enough to get one's point across is different from mastery.

    Mettermrck: Thank you for your kind words! I'll try to give you more good stuff.

    stnylan: Yes indeed. Fun stuff on the way.

    Sir Humphrey: Thanks for reading. It isn't that long yet, is it?

    coz1: Yes, though we shall see if the Peter the Great analogy holds over time.

    Hello again, folks. There will be a bunch of updates concerning Europe first, but soon--soon, my friends, we shall get some of the promised action.
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  15. #275
    Colonel kingmbutu's Avatar
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  16. #276
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    So Osahito is going to meet Vicky is he?

    Some interesting musings on his part. I wonder just how much this sojourn on his part is changing him as well? Will he recognise his home when he returns?
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  17. #277
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    A very interesting prospect, meeting Queen Victoria...

    And Osahito, as you well represent it, must be feeling somewhat vulnerable, on Japan's behalf.

    Can one man -- even the Emperor -- successfully prepare Japan for its own version of Westernization on Japan's terms?

    Looking forward to part 2!

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  18. #278

    A Prince in Victoria's Court (pt. 2 of 3)

    It was, thought Osahito, a cruel irony. The British were far more advanced than Japan. Their government was far more efficient, and ran far more smoothly than that of the Shogun. Their technical capacity was centuries ahead of Japan. Yet, for all that progress, the English nobility was just as arrogant and blind as the council of daimyo.

    None were willing to stake their Foreign Office careers on the line for a wandering prince. Of course, he could not guarantee success either. In truth, any English mission to Japan would be extremely expensive, and extremely dangerous. He himself was not sure that an enclave could be established. When he left, there was even talk of throwing the Dutch off Deshima by force. Osahito doubted Ieyoshi would allow that to happen. However, there was always the threat of samurai taking their honor in their own hands. Osahito winced. That would happen regardless of what happened.

    The chamberlain stood straight and still. The man stood half a head above Osahito, and did not show the superiority he surely felt over the short man. The chamberlain, clothed in elaborate scarlet and dark blue, inclined his head towards Osahito.

    “My Lord, do you wish me to announce your arrival?” It was not a question, merely a formality. The man stretched out his hand to take the ceremonial scroll prepared for this purpose.

    Osahito handed him the scroll and nodded. “I request an audience with the Queen of England.”

    The chamberlain unclasped the scroll, then opened the heavy wooden double doors. They swung open noiselessly, revealing a crowd of nobles clustered along a red carpet which led to a dais with a throne. In the throne sat a pale woman whose attention was focused on the open door. The chamberlain stepped inside the room, and sidestepped to the left. He dramatically opened the scroll to read.

    “Crown Prince Osahito of the Empire of Japan, King of Yamato, General of the Imperial Guards, and Defender of the Bakufu requests an audience!”

    The voice echoed out across the quiet audience chamber. Again it was a mere formality. It was not a request. The request had been made a month ago, and been approved last week for today’s audience. It was such an arduous method for giving audiences. In Japan, the audience was the sole method for interaction with the Emperor available to the common folk. As befits this ‘last refuge’ of the peasant, it was relatively easy to be seen on short notice. However, if the Emperor gave an unfavorable answer, it was not good to be the peasant.

    Osahito stepped forward into the chamber. He strode forward to where the dais began, and bowed deeply in the formal style. He would not take a knee, as that would imply that the English had power over him. “O Great Queen of England, I come to you seeking a favor on behalf of my Empire. For long, the Dutch have had exclusive trading rights in Japan. They have this right, not because they earned it, but because previous to your year 1758, we believed that the Dutch were the only Europeans. It is my intention to enter negotiations with your government over potential contact between our two nations.”

    A buzz erupted behind him. He thought that would get their attention. Hendrik had said that England had long looked for a way to compete with Holland in the eastern trade.

    The queen serenely leaned forward to study him. He looked back unflinching. She seemed to scowl a little bit, so her face almost looked like a hawk. That ran a chill down his spine. He was definitely the mouse here.

    “Very well, Prince of Japan. I will give my government permission to commence trade negotiations with Japan.”

    “Queen of England, I wish for you to assign your government’s representative to your holdings in…Singapore? Yes, in Singapore. The representative of the Empire of Japan will arrive there in three months.” Osahito ignored the gasps behind him. Perhaps he had pushed the bounds of politeness a bit, but it was necessary to keep their attention.

    He repeated his formal bow, and quickly strode out. There was a ship waiting.
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  19. #279

    A Prince in Victoria's Court (pt. 3 of 3)

    Osahito, laden with the one bag he had all his possessions in, stepped up the gangplank to the SS Snow Goose. No crewmen stood at the top. Not a good sign.

    “Prince Osahito.” The gravely voice was just loud enough for Osahito to hear. It was calculated not to carry. He looked behind the large wooden crates to the side. A cloaked figure stood from a crouch. “Prince Osahito, I am deeply gladdened to see you well.”

    “Who are you?” The man was speaking Japanese. It was difficult to understand after the years abroad. Perhaps his fluency had been impacted.

    The man threw his hood back. “Great Lord, I am Nishimura. I was sent by the Shogun to escort you home. There is…a crisis in Japan. The Shogun needs your aid to resolve it.”

    “You have passage on this ship?”

    “Yes, I have arranged to have your assigned bunk changed to the cabin I am in.”

    “Very well, we shall speak further on the ship.”

    --

    “…and that, Great Lord, is the crisis the Government faces.”

    Osahito looked at Nishimura in awe. Not at Nishimura, but through him at Ieyoshi. Who would have thought that the man could apologize, let alone admit he made a mistake? You give him too little credit, a little voice reminded him. That was true. Few had the willpower or ability to hold an Empire together in the absence of an emperor.

    “Very well, I shall aid the Shogun, though he will need to submit to certain conditions after the crisis. If he refuses, I will go to the council of daimyo, and select a new Shogun to head my Government.”

    It was a drastic step, true. However, it had been done four times in Japan’s history. Those times corresponded to the dynastic changes of the Shogunate for a reason. Osahito frowned at the bulkhead. He hoped Ieyoshi would see sense. It was Japan’s only hope for the coming time of trial.

    --

    William Lamb looked incredulously at the man seated in the chair in the corner of his office.

    “You can’t be serious, Henry! Did you hear the arrogance in his tone when he addressed the Queen?! The use of a royal audience to embarrass the Government is despicable. We cannot bow to the wishes of some eastern savage!”

    Henry John Temple merely looked back at his boss calmly. “The Queen gave me her instructions personally. She wants a consulate in Japan regardless of the price. And, William, so do I. It is worth the embarrassment if we can break the Dutch monopoly.”

    “Do you realize the gravity of the situation in the Far East already, Henry? The Chinese are harassing our merchants in Kowloon, several of our citizens have been kidnapped by the despicable Moros in the Philippines, and now this! Our credibility is stretched thin.”

    “I know that, William, but it will not be difficult. There are few within my office who would ordinarily be willing to go to some exotic land with no guarantees of success. However, I think we may be able to use this appointment to prop up the ministry. Perhaps we suggest some prominent Tory? Like Gordon?”

    “You know, that just might work, but we cannot contribute any resources beyond those already in Singapore.”

    “Of course, William. I’ll have Gordon out of the opposition benches within two weeks.”
    "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver" --Proverbs 25:11

    WritAAR of the week: Feb. 12, 2006, Sep. 19, 2006
    CharactAAR writAAR of the week: Jan. 1, 2007

    Dawn in the East
    "Her Home is on the Deep"

  20. #280
    Strategy GuidAAR Rensslaer's Avatar
    Crusader Kings IIHearts of Iron IIIEU3 Napoleon's AmbitionVictoria: RevolutionsEuropa Universalis: Rome
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    Great changes, and great plans come to fruition!

    Gordon, eh? Is this, presumably, the father of the Gordon of Khartoum? Or is there another I'm not familiar with?

    Excellent to see this moving forward again!

    Rensslaer

    EDIT: Ack! I missed an update. I'll be back...

    Okay... ALL very interesting!

    That must have been quite intimidating to treat with the Emperor of Great Britain and all that.

    But at the same time, she recognized the import of the visit, and took action upon it.

    Great work!
    Last edited by Rensslaer; 13-09-2006 at 18:33.
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