You join me on the 26th August 1938. Things have not being going well for Japan. They have suffered a series of defeats with very little ability to respond. Where they have been able to respond on the ground they have in general been defeated, forced to retreat and regroup.
* Manchuria lost and now run by a Shanxi puppet government.
* Taiwan lost.
* North Korea lost.
* Iwo Jima lost.
* Toyohara lost.
* Naha lost.
* Various other pacific islands lost.
Japan's economy is collapsing under the strain and they are about to run out of both money and the raw materials they need to run their industry. Their air force has served them well so far though. However, fuel reserves continue to fall.
How did this disaster happen?
Back in 1936 the Japanese central government decided that they had had enough warmongering. They would adopt a peaceful isolationist stance, with a military focused on defence of their homeland. As such they disbanded the entire navy and most of the army. Only some planes from the carriers were saved.
In July 1937 various Chinese factions however took this as a sign of weakness and came up with a ruse for invading Manchuria. At this point while japan had some troops on the Japanese mainland it lacked any means to transport them to Korea or Manchuria to aide its defence. The only thing it could do to respond was send bombers to Chinese ports and industry. Manchuria never stood a chance and quickly fell. Shanxi placed a puppet government to rule over the area. Their one condition was that they would not directly attack Japan.
The phoney war Autumn 1937 -> Spring 1938
After that there was a lull. Neither side seemed to be able to attack the other. Manchuria was not directly in the war. And so did not attack Japanese Korea. The Japanese Naval bombers had managed to mop up any chinese troop transports they could find and so no invasions of Japanese islands seemed likely. Japan still had no troops to directly defend Korea.
Defence and retreat on the Korean Peninsula April 38 -> August 38
In April 1938 Shanxi and Manchuria finally started sending troops into Korea. While officially Manchuria was not at war Japan suspected that it was sending troops and supplies to aide the Shanxi advance.
Luckily at almost exactly the same point Japan managed to get some troops to send to Korea. 5 Divisions of new Paratroopers, having just passed thei basic jump training they were sent straight to war. Their equipment was good. Their leaders and NCOs were excellent, but they were GREEN.
Quite simply 5 divisions could not hold the Korean border with Manchuria. Attempting to execute jumps or encirclements put the paratroops at more risk. The Shanxi troops were using Cavalry to break through and the paratroopers could not keep up.
In an effort to avoid disaster the Paratroopers slowly retreated back to a defensive line further down Korea. Meanwhile Japanese bombers kept harassing any troops they could find.
It was during this shift of focus back to Korea that Chinese troop transports managed to slip past Japanese naval bombers and start invading anything they could find.
Things are looking grim though. A simple static defence of Korea will ultimately fail. Chinese troop landings behind the defensive lines could prove disastrous. Japan needs to push them back and take the battle to the Chinese. However with no ships they have only planes to help them out.
Luckily their planes are well equipped and well trained :