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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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CatKnight

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Author's Preface:

Surprise. A Divine Wind AAR. Though I haven't checked as I write this, I greatly doubt I'm the first.

The Sengoku Jidai has fascinated me for years. If the knight, king and priest serve as symbols of my (western) past, what can be more iconic for Japan than the stoic, honorable samurai sworn to serve his master, the beautiful geisha courtesans who served as artisan and companion, warrior monks who exemplify what we now consider the (unarmed) martial arts, or the sneaky but also-honorable-in-his-own-way ninja? Certainly all these professions existed earlier, but at no other time do they come together in such a display of violence and chaos.

The Sengoku period is similar to the western Dark/Middle Ages. It serves as a bridge between the ancient world and the beginning of the modern, when old institutions crumbled to be replaced by new, stronger ones. Whereas before, even when the emperor happened to be strong and active, people thought of themselves in purely local terms: A member of x clan or y city, a century of blood and toil gave them a taste of what it meant to be Japanese. It taught them that those things which were truly important: The Bushido Code with its focus on family, duty and loyalty as well a devotion to the fine arts and natural beauty, bound them together more than petty rivalries and power plays could tear them apart.

Aside from the necessary fictions once the game starts, there are big ones right in the prologue. Simply put the DW setup for Japan is wrong during EU3's timeframe. The four clans given: Taira, Fujiwara, Tachibana and Minamoto did exist and did fight each other for dominance. In the Heian period which ended in 1185.

This will be my first game of DW (though I've managed to become at least competent at HttT.) Therefore I'm certain I'll make stupid mistakes as I get used to the new mechanics. That's one of the fun parts you'll hopefully get to watch in this AAR. I have a few house rules I try to live by:

1) Short of the game crashing, I don't reload when I AAR. The defeats and stupid mistakes are sometimes more fun to write about than the victories. Similarly, if you're expecting a WC than you are in the wrong thread.

2) Unless DW has done something drastically different with infamy that I don't know about yet, I cannot willingly go above half my total.

3) I try to follow missions as they give me insight into my ruler's personality. I don't have to be suicidal about it though: For example, if I get a mission to have a larger army than Ming then..uhm...no. I cannot change missions until 3d6 (three six-sided dice, or 3-18) years have passed. I MUST change missions (if allowed) when my ruler dies.

4) On a related note, I try to roleplay my rulers. Which again could lead to more insanity.

5) I don't know if there are any events or decisions involving the emperor telling me what to do, but if so I MUST obey. My clan may be full of scheming, power hungry warmongers, but we're LOYAL scheming, power hungry warmongers.

6) My knowledge of Japanese culture is limited. Feel free to supplement it. Just remember this is a work of fiction and since I'm obliged to deviate from history before I even load the game, weirdness is likely to ensue.

I have very definite victory (and loss) conditions. This AAR will end if:

A) I unify Japan. (This is a victory)
B) Someone else unifies Japan. (This is not a victory)
C) The year is after 1600. (I took too long)

PS: Yes, I stole "Legend of Fire and Ice" from the series by George R.R Martin. If the Sengoku period doesn't typify "Song's" themes of noble scheming, betrayal and war, I don't know what does.

Prologue:
Translator's Preface
Onin War (1467-1477)
The Four Clans
 
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Translator's Preface:

"Legend of Fire and Ice" was written in Kyoto c. 1610 by Sasaki Sumiko, one of Japan's early great historians and perhaps the first woman to assume the role.

Literacy among noble women in Japan began increasing during the Heian period (794-1185). Whereas male courtiers at the time continued to write using Chinese characters, women began using kana - different characters which in time became distinctly Japanese. For example, Lady Murasaki (Shikibu) wrote 'The Tale of Genji' during this period while her rival, Sei Shonagon, wrote 'The Pillow Book.'

Sasaki Sumiko was born c.1582 near Osaka. We know very little of her childhood, though her father was a samurai and retainer for the shogun. Through his influence she gained a position at the court of Emperor Go-Yozei. In 1607 she wrote Japan's first serious (albeit inaccurate) attempt at understanding 'A History of the Christian People' through interviews with Jesuit priests and visiting tradesmen. She presented it to the court and, we are told, was rewarded with her own suite of rooms from which she began working on her seminal work.

With "Legend of Fire and Ice" Lady Sasaki returned to what was no doubt safer ground for her, the Sengoku ('Warring States') era which had just passed. She no doubt had access to contemporary records and interviewed a number of nobles and scholars. We therefore consider this work to be factual and reliable, though biased towards the Taira clan the Sasaki family joined with during the fighting.

Interestingly, Lady Sasaki does not begin her work with the Onin War (1467-1477). Instead she passes over that period and instead focuses on the Four Clan phase when the local family daimyo unified into four alliances. She describes the history and background of these alliances then proceeds into her narrative.

I have taken a handful of incidental liberties with this work. Primarily I have used our Christian dating system throughout to prevent confusion, cleared up syntax (Japanese grammer is different from our own), and changed some titles into their English equivalents.

On a side note, this writer has witnessed a handful of amusing but poorly researched speculative works on what would have happened if the combatants hadn't unified into four clans at this time and instead devolved into several dozen petty fiefdoms. Such a notion is absurd. The Onin War crippled the Ashikaga shogunate but did not destroy it entirely. Once the shogun began rebuilding his prestige and uniting families under his banner it became inevitable that his rivals would do the same simply to survive. This was not Dark Ages Europe. The idea of 'each fief for itself' is foreign to the Japanese character.

It is with this in mind, and the hope it engenders improved communication and understanding with our Pacific allies, that I proudly submit this.


- Dr. Cornelius Lynch
Professor of Asiatic Studies
Oxford University
25 April, 1938
 
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TairaButterfly.gif

The Onin War (1467-1477)

Any serious study of the warring states must begin with its chief criminal and the calamity which followed.

As you are aware, the Ashikaga first took power when they overthrew the Emperor Go-Daigo in 1336. While reasonable men may discuss whether Go-Daigo's efforts to reclaim power from the shogun and other great families was in Japan's best interest, none question that he had the right to do so. By raising their hands against the Son of Heaven they defied divine law and so greatly earned the retribution which followed.

It would be a retribution slow in coming however as over the next century peace reigned. The arts flourished here in Kyoto and elsewhere. Trade with the Ming and Joseon flourished while the daimyo cooperated with the bakufu (literally 'tent office' - the Shogunnate government) to ensure everyone's prosperity. As time passed, however, so the Ashikaga grew weak and lazy. When earthquake and farmer threatened our heimin (commoners), they did nothing. When monks taught them the ways of war so they rose against their lawful lieges, the Ashikaga did nothing but instead forced local daimyo to restore order. When Chinese merchants demanded preferred trading rights within Kyoto as well as their own quarter the Ashikaga preached patience and goodwill such that in another century's time we would have been part of the Dragon's empire.

All of this might have passed if not for the particular depravity of Ashikaga Yoshimasa. As shogun Yoshimasa attended not to his duties but instead to his hobbies of flower arranging and poetry. As he aged there was some question of his successor. He wanted to retire and so appointed his brother, Yoshimi to succeed. Yoshimi was a monk and wished to remain so but relented out of love for his brother. Then his wife surprised him with a son, Yoshihisa.

The shogun then attempted to displace his brother. Yoshimi refused to yield and was joined by Hosokawa Katsumoto, one of the shogun's deputies. Opposing him was his father in law, the depraved 'Red Monk' Yamana Sozen, who chose to war with his daughter's husband over trivial rivalries. Out of pure spite Lord Yamana supported the infant Yoshihisa. The two men drew in their families, who drew in allies and so forth until Kyoto itself groaned with the sheer mass of soldiers and retainers taking residence. By 1467 both men had over eighty thousand men within Kyoto.

In February 1467 a Hosokawa mansion 'mysteriously' burned. Katsumoto responded in April by attacking a rice shipment. Then he learned the Red Monk planned to kidnap if not murder the royal line and so evacuated the Emperor, his retired predecessor and family to the Shogun's estates. Yamana attacked the Imperial estate. Hosokawa burned one of his rival's mansions.

The Yamana counterattacked and now open fighting broke out through Kyoto. By September those who could leave had done so and still the war continued with entire districts of the city in flames.

Ashikaga Yoshimasa held tea parties and plotted how to extort enough taxes for a Silver Pavilion to rival the Golden one built by his grandfather.

The weakness of the Ashikaga did not end there however, for in a series of behind the scenes deals and betrayals Ashikaga Yoshimi joined the Yamana. Yoshimasa finally awoke to his danger and declared the Yamana rebels. With the backing of the emperor Hosokawa Katsumoto resumed his offensive with trebuchets hurling the heads of his enemies through the city.

(Note: Up until this point this is OTL, though obviously slanted. Now we begin deviating...)

As the Hosokawa inspired loyalists fought rebels for control of Kyoto, so the lords both greater and lesser in lands farther from Kyoto watched and worried. If the Ashikaga could no longer guarantee the peace in their home province, what hope did the outlying regions have except to rely on themselves?

As unnerving a prospect as that might seem to some, the lords of northern Honshu and Kyushu were not weak men. Though their lands also suffered from natural disasters in the last twenty years, local trade and improved agriculture helped forge local alliances based on common ties and the advantages of cooperation. Soon these families found it advantageous to send joint patrols to fight bandits and guard their frontiers against the escalating violence in near Kyoto.

By 1475 the fighting in Kyoto died down as Yoshimasa ordered his shugo-daimyo (deputy lords) out of the city. Most obeyed. Several remained and continued to batter each other as the shogun failed to restore order. Both the Red Monk and Hosokawa Katsumoto died and their successors had little idea how to either stop or continue the war. Utlimately both sides abandoned their trenches leaving the Imperial capital a ruined husk fit only for looters or the desperate. Here the Emperor stayed in his misery 'protected' by the ineffectual Ashikaga.

While the fighting temporarily ceased, there would be no formal peace. The eastern and western lords prepared for what they felt would be the final contest for control of the shogunnate and so the Empire. To the west Yoshimasa scrounged for allies and in desperation forgave the Yamana. Several families rallied to his banner. In an effort to rid themselves of the stink of their failure this new alliance styled itself the Minamoto Clan after the famous family of shoguns in the Heian era.

The Hosokawa and their allies chose not to be destroyed one by one. They too met in Settsu and forged an alliance. They took the name of the Taira, a rival of the Minamoto who nearly placed their child on the Imperial throne during the Genpei War.

As central Japan unified into two great powers, so the north and south did the same. The north styled themselves the Fujiwara, who in times past served as regents and parents for several generations of emperors. The southerners took inspiration from the Tachibana clan completing the quartet of clans dating back to the Heian era.

japan.png
 
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Milites

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A Catknight AAR, what a splendid treat for a tired clerk bored at work :D

I really liked you last, short, Sengoku AAR and with the new features of DW under your belt this one seems destined to score even higher.
 

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Surprise. A Divine Wind AAR. Though I haven't checked as I write this, I greatly doubt I'm the first.

Well, not if you count the dev AARs :D.

This looks very interesting. The DW setup for Japan gives the player much more to do than just sit around waiting for an opportunity to attack the mainland. It will also be interesting to see how the new mechanics and events affect gameplay.

Is unifying Japan your ultimate goal, or will you play on if you unite the country before 1600? An invasion of Korea would be the next logical step, and you'll have more manpower to do it with than in HTTT.
 

CatKnight

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Milities: Never admit you're bored at work. That's giving your boss permission to give you a hard time. :)

Dewirix: I honestly expected to come on and find half a page of DW AARs in the first day. I guess everyone's being more sane than I am and waiting. :)

Regarding attacking Korea after unifying Japan: Maybe. I wanted to set a clear goal. If I'm still excited about continuing after unification then we might go on.

gabor: First off, DW apparently believes Japanese daimyo are idiots...
 
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CatKnight

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The Four Clans

Before I undertake the task set before me and describe the events of the Sengoku wars, let us take a step back and look at the realm the Ashikaga shogunate failed to protect as well as the four clans that replaced it.

The Emperor Go-Daigo's attempts to reform the government in the 1330s angered samurai eager to keep their privileges and autonomy as well as peasants and monks who felt threatened by sharp increases in violent crime during his reign. The samurai turned to the Ashikaga for succor and they responded by seizing Kyoto. Go-Daigo escaped but would never regain power. The early part of the Ashikaga period was spent fighting loyalists and solidifying their power.

During this time the Ming made contact offering to help us suppress wako (pirates) who infested the trade lanes of both of our empires. For once the Dragon's interference proved helpful as this allowed honorable men to reclaim the Inland Sea. Trade flourished with our new partners and with it came prosperity. Renewed exposure to Chinese literature and art encouraged our own and for a time it looked like we benefited from Ashikaga leadership despite their dishonorable beginnings.

The kami (spirits) remember however, and after a time they turned their back on the shogunate. Harsh winters plagued the north while broiling summers tormented the south. Food grew scarce. Avalanches closed the passes between east and west and earthquakes destroyed entire villages. Men grew desperate and abandoned their vows to become ronin('wave men' - unaligned samurai) or bandits. The land required a strong, fair hand to carry us through but instead the Ashikaga degenerated with each generation. When Yoshimasu longed to retire instead of keeping to his duty and so appointed his brother, the Yamana and Hosokawa families used it as an excuse to war with each other and nearly destroy Kyoto in the process as we have discussed.

Fujiwara

FujiwaraIntro.png


The northern lords took counsel. As it grew obvious that the Yamana and Hosokawa alliances were not going to simply dissolve and the Ashikaga were powerless to stop the fighting, they chose to forge their own 'clan' first for mutual defense, then with the hope of restoring the peace.

These northerners were bound by cultural ties that made them different from the other three clans. As you know, they have their own dialect and way of speech which is almost foreign here in Kyoto. They are hardy men used to the cold and less civilized conditions in northern Honshu. After a time they stylized themselves the Fujiwara and agreed to follow the banner of Imagawa Mitsunaka. It was by no means unanimous however, and the Hojo family also came to prominence during this time ready to step in if Mitsunaka stumbled.

Tachibana

TachibanaIntro.png


On Kyushu and Shikoku the great daimyo also met to discuss their options. Here to there were cultural differences including a love for the sea that the Minamoto at last couldn't understand, and here also there was growing dismay over the chaos around Kyoto. At first the Shikoku daimyo planned to stand alone, but realizing their relative weakness they soon allied with the powerful Shoni and Otomo families. In the end Shoni Ronin won the support of his rivals.

Minamoto

MinamotoIntro.png


In Kyoto the Emperor Go-Tsuchimikado was quite angry with the virtual destruction of his capital. For over a century six emperors remained silent as the Ashikaga ruled in their stead, but here for one shining moment Go-Tsuchimikado rose from a lifetime of enforced torpor. He ordered Yoshihisa, Ashikaga Yoshimasa's twelve year old son and shogun for four of them, to step down. He then attempted to order Yoshimasa to choose another - an adult this time - but he was nowhere to be found.

ShogunIntro.png

Shogun decisions

At any rate, with four clans dominating politics the emperor's actual power was more limited than ever. The Minamoto took it upon themselves to pick their champion and submit his name to the Chrysanthemum Throne. With the Ashikaga disgraced they asked Yamana Tadatsune, grandson of the original 'Red Monk', to lead them. Tadatsune entered Kyoto in May 1477, swore personal allegiance to the emperor, and so was named Seii taishogun ('great general who subdues barbarians'). The shogun's greatest rival in the early years would not come from the Taira or Tachibana, but from the Ouichi family who coveted the title of clan leader for themselves.

Taira

It is the Taira I will focus on for the remainder of this narrative. As the eastern lords met to choose their champion to fight the Ashikaga and Yamana many names came forth.

TairaMap.png

Yes, those are really my daimyo's stats. Yes, I'm serious.

The Toki earned some support but the Hosokawa maintained dominion. For once it was a poor choice, for the daimyo of House Hosokawa was no warrior.

Hosokawa Iesada, a cousin of Katsumoto, was in his early thirties when he took over the Taira. A lean, small man he showed little aptitude for management and none for anything else. He was a spiritual man, a mystic who in many ways turned his back on the world. How he came to lead his family is a simple question of succession law. How he came to lead the entire Taira clan can be explained as a continuation of the Yamana/Hosokawa conflict that ignited the Onin War. If his fellow daimyo expected him to lead however, they would be sorely disappointed.

Iesada in many ways was like Ashikaga Yoshimasu and perhaps in the modern age under your benevolent sponsorship he would have fit in well, but he was very out of place in the early Sengoku Taira and not disposed to take care of the problems facing his people. He enjoyed plays and song, wrote some of the finest poetry of Go-Tsuchimikado's reign and showed an admirable devotion to the kami in particular and ritual in general, but he was no warrior.

It will therefore come as little surprise who came to support his court.

CultureFTW.png

I think I have to hire this guy.
 
Last edited:

tedescooo

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This is going to be very nice. Looking forward to the next chapter. :D
 

Milites

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It warms my heart to see Echigo removed from Fujiwara control. Is there any chance at all of Clan Uesugi wrestling loose?
 

Arilou

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The japanese setup really angers me, honestly.
 

Dewirix

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I think I have to hire this guy.

Paradox seem to have a thing about demoting shoguns to advisers. In HTTT Ashikaga Yoshimitsu was a diplomat adviser in 1399.

It does seem that all the non-shogunal daimyos are absolutely rubbish though - Fujiwara is the best of a bad bunch, while the Minamoto ruler is a good all-rounder.
 

CatKnight

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tedescooo: Welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride. So far it's....well, it's different.

Milites: It depends on what you mean. If you mean as an independent state then no. There are no other tags or cores here than the four clans and the emperor (Japan). However, I am keeping track of some of the major families. It's possible the Uesugi might wind up in control of the Fujiwara clan - or if I take Echigo they might switch to our side. Now that I know you favor them I'll see what I can do.

Arilou: It's ahistorical. I think I understand why it was done this way - the mechanics surrounding the shogunate sound like they would have trouble with too many daimyo. Certainly the more tags you add, the slower the game goes. As it stands this requires significant imagination and interpretation to be even a little plausible. That's my main goal for the narrative.

Dewirix: I found it funny that the shogun I spent a good hour writing about and blasting showed up on my advisor list. Ultimately I couldn't resist. And yes - the Shogun daimyo is a 6/6/7. Fujiwara is a 2/3/5, Tachibana 3/2/4. At 4/2/1 my daimyo is definitely...rubbish. I wonder if it's some kind of penalty because we don't run an actual country (in theory), or if the DW changed the scale. Last I checked it was impossible to have a rating below 3.
 

CatKnight

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tairasmall.png


Part I: Hosokawa Iesada
Chapter 1: The Shogun Grows Bold (1477-1481)

(Subtitle: This isn't last week's EU3!)
******​

In This Episode:
Code:
Hosokawa Iesada - Taira Clan Daimyo (1477-)
Yamana Tadatsune - Minamoto Clan Daimyo, Shogun (1477-)
Imagawa Mitsunaka - Fujiwara Clan Daimyo (1477-)
Shoni Ronin - Tachibana Clan Daimyo (1477-)

Ashikaga Yoshimasa - Taira Clan Advisor (Artist-2), Shogun and Ashikaga Daimyo (1449-1473)
Asakura Nakoshimi - Taira Clan General
Asakura Yoshitada - Taira Clan General, Nakoshimi's deputy
Hosokawa Katsumoto - Hosokawa Daimyo (??-1473), Kanrei to the Shogun

"The Red Monk" - Yamana Souzen - Yamana Daimyo (??-1473), Kanrei to the Shogun
Iehisa - Commoner.  Rebel scum.
Amaterasu - Kami of the sun.  Traditionally the head of the 'pantheon' and the mother of the Imperial line.
Go-Tsuchimikado - Emperor (1466-)

[b]Families:[/b]
Taira Clan:  Toki, Oda
Fujiwara Clan:  Uesugi
Minamoto Clan:  Ashikaga
Tachibana Clan:  Otomo


[b]Japanese Terms[/b]
Sengoku Jidai - Age of Warring States				Ashigaru - Peasant/Common soldier
Katana - A samurai's longsword					Han-kyu - A short ranged bow that can be used on horseback
Seppuku - Ritual suicide, usually to atone for shame.		Yari - spear
Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu - Japanese islands, north to south	Taisho - general
Ikko-Ikki - peasant mobs trained by monks


For Want of a Cherry Blossom

It is possible that in my earlier writings I was too harsh on Hosokawa Iesada, daimyo of his house and champion of the Taira clan. If that is so then let's correct the narrative.

Iesada was the kind of man any culture needs to thrive and be considered civilized. As I wrote before, he was a deeply spiritual man and a formidable poet. He remained serene as chaos surrounded him on all sides. Yes, in another age he might have done quite well. As it stood he lived at the dawn of the Sengoku Jidai and so is remembered with confusion and scorn.

Having won control of the clan in recognition of his cousin's efforts in the Onin War, Iesada appointed men to fill his court and immediately showed the world his one saving grace: He might have welcomed and given estates to former shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa out of mutual esteem, but otherwise he surrounded himself with men who knew their jobs much better then he cared to. These men, in fact if not on paper, led the clan during its formative struggle.

Court1477.jpg


Eight thousand men passed for Taira's army: Under-equipped, demoralized, and with little sense of or loyalty to the clan. Like its rivals, Taira relied heavily on ashigaru spear and bowmen led by house samurai. Samurai also formed a cavalry contingent armed with katana and han-kyu (a short-ranged bow with its grip near the bottom to facilitate use on horseback and to help control vibration.

This army was led by Asakura Nakoshimi (F1 Sh2 M1 Sg0), a short, no-nonsense commander who perhaps paid more attention to the letter of the Bushido Code as his mentors taught him rather than the spirit. This made him rigid and predictable, but in these uncertain times his men found predictability and certainty valuable traits.

Nakoshimi's initial plan was simple enough: Deal with his master's enemies by seizing their strongholds. He therefore proposed to split his army into two, with one unit dealing with those samurai in Shizmo who refused to submit to their Toki overlords while the other cleared Settsu for the Hosokawa. Like most military plans this one was doomed from the start, but this time not from the actions of his enemies.

While visiting the Oda family, Lord Hosokawa proposed a painting contest in honor of the upcoming Cherry Blossom festival. While there he learned of a young man - the son of a powerful merchant just establishing a route to Kyoto - who allegedly could create paintings that would make Amaterasu herself weep at their beauty. This boy's friends tried to earn him a place in this contest but Iesada rebuked him. "How could a commoner," he demanded, "so far removed from the kami, possibly be refined enough to create anything resembling art?" (Slider: Aristocracy +1) His father simply shrugged and returned to his duty, as was proper. History does not record what happened to the son. His friends however, being young, foolish and wrong-headed, took their own counsel and chose to spread sedition and treason. Soon their lies bore fruit.

1477BurgherRevolt.jpg


(Throughout this chapter I'll add my commentary since the AI's acting much differently now. I'm not sure whether I find it challenging or annoying yet - perhaps a little of both. It's definitely interesting.)

The criminals were led by a man-child named Iehisa. Iehisa's rebellion bore fruit in Etchu province, an Asakura stronghold. He coordinated his attack well and even had support form local yoriki (police). Within a matter of weeks most of the towns and villages were in his hands while loyalists took refuge in a handful of shiro (castles). (The rebels almost immediately assaulted. That surprised me since there were only five regiments. I sat back and waited for them to lose morale...but they won.)

This was more than Asakura Nakoshimi could abide. He waited to receive Iesada's permission then launched a fierce counterattack. There was little grace in his campaign: Nakoshimi's men lacked the training for advanced tactics, and anyway Iehisa's resistance didn't require any. Between June and October he reclaimed Etchu, rooted out and executed sympathizers, and finally captured Iehisa attempting to escape by boat.

(A ping pong match reminiscent of NA/IN followed.)

In an age renowned for its severity Iehisa's execution nonetheless stands out. With little direction coming from Kyoto, the Asakura lords who he tormented decided his fate. Being a commoner, seppuku was never an option and they felt decapitation too quick. Instead he was paraded through the province on horseback with a heavy stone tied around his neck to force his head to bow. Then at a busy crossroads they placed him in a box with only his head showing. They used swords to cut into his shoulders and so set the groove, then left him there with bamboo saws and guards who exhorted (required) passersby to join in. Afterward they used his body to test the sharpness of new blades.

With order restored, Nakoshimi once more planned to split his army and deal with the traitors in Shizmo and Settsu. Once more events ran away from him.


Diplomatic Overtures

No land outside Japan showed the least interest in the Taira. The Dragon, as usual, turned its attention inward while the Joseon and Manchu dueled and the southern kingdoms battled back and forth. This is as well for Iesada's court dealt with its rivals with mixed success.

Shogun Yamana Tadatsune was eager to renew his family's rivalry with the Hosokawa, especially given Iesada's rumored weakness. He therefore requested an audience with the emperor during which he claimed that Hosokawa Katsumoto, daimyo during the Onin War, ceded Settsu to the Yamana in exchange for the Red Monk's daughter as wife. Since no one alive could confirm nor dispute Tadatsune's claim, the emperor made no stand but instead encouraged the two families to come to some form of agreement. Nonetheless the provocation was there, and the Shogun used Nakoshimi's plan to move half his army there as an excuse.

MinamotoDiplomacy.jpg


In response to this, Iesada made overtures to the Fujiwara and Tachibana courts. The Fujiwara were a curious case. Imagawa's hold on that clan already showed signs of weakening before a determined Hojo assault where the latter accused the clan leaders of complacency regarding the ongoing rebellion in Uesugi lands. This meant the Taira envoy had to deal with two courts and managed to irritate both. After much debate the Fujiwara answered him with unusual rancor. Speaking for his clan, Imagawa Mitsumaka informed him that he knew that "Lord Hosokawa is a weak man, lacking in virtue and backbone." Therefore he would be happy to protect "those families who fear the Shogun's aggression."

FujiwaraDiplomacy.jpg

This happened on the same day.

Since time immemorial families have secured the peace - and their own influence - through intermarriage into rival families or the Imperial court. This was Taira's plan for their southern neighbor in 1477: Iesada's court didn't plan to contest ownership of Shikoku and other than that the two clans were too far away to influence each other. The marriage was therefore designed to foster goodwill. It also brought strange gifts from pale faced, round-eyed barbarians on a tall ship bearing the flag of a golden platypus.

TachibanaDiplomacy.jpg


One month later the Shogun, citing his claims on Settsu, declared war. Fujiwara immediately joined hoping to crush the Taira on two fronts.

(Bug? Unusual result? Improved AI? Fujiwara was indeed allied to us both. Apparently before I could react (and I shouldn't have had to being the defender), Minamoto called them in as allies. They accepted.)

Through the Winter of 1477-1478, officials attempted to reassure house daimyos and merchants while coming up with a cohesive response. Hosokawa Iesada had very little to add to the discussion and so, perhaps wisely albeit worryingly, retired to his haiku and paintings with the former shogun. Yoshimasa at least made a token effort to stop the fighting by ordering the Yamana to withdraw, but by now his family and clan both considered him worthless if not a traitor.

In March 1478 Lord Yamana at the head of twelve thousand men successfully conquered Settsu. By then, however, he had far more to worry about.

Diplomats worked feverishly in the Otomo and Shoni courts convincing them that a Taira defeat would make the Tachibana position that much more difficult. Better a powerful ally in the center of Honshu, they reasoned, then two clans with no reason whatsoever for gratitude. They agreed and through the winter first agreed to a defensive alliance, then applied it retroactively to current hostilities. By March all of Japan was at war.

1478CalltoArms.jpg

Call to Arms! is my new favorite toy


Shogun's War - Northern Campaign

Asakura Nakoshimi abandoned any plans of relieving Settsu and recalled the men he sent there, instead focusing on subduing the traitors in Shinano and using it as a forward base. He began a series of raids along the Fujiwara border meant to disrupt supplies and disperse reinforcements. (And kill new regiments.) This did not always go as planned. For example, one of Fujiwara's militia groups continually dodged retribution and wasn't brought to heel until they reached Kyoto, almost linking up with the Minamoto.

(There are two major changes I've noticed with AI behavior. Here we see that the AI really does not like fighting at a disadvantage and will try to dodge, run around or otherwise avoid a decisive battle. I didn't get to one of their regiments in time. It ran. I pursued and it kept running.)

Having returned from Kyoto, Nakoshimi advanced into Echigo and helped those Uesugi rebelling against the Fujiwara cause retain control. Through the summer and autumn the two clans traded skirmishes and raids. The Fujiwara began recruiting ashigaru from the northern provinces where Nakoshimi didn't or couldn't go and slowly their army bulged.

By October 1478, Nakoshimi chose to risk the throw. At that stage his army consisted of six thousand men, having sent a small number south to try and retake Settsu from Yamana occupation. Imagawa Mitsunaka led an army of six thousand in defense of Musashi. The two armies were nearly identical in composition with spear and bowmen dominating while cavalry acted on the wings. Following the usual challenges the two armies settled into roughly parallel lines and slammed into each other.

This was a cruel, desperate battle with honor yielding to the pragmatism of survival. Samurai slashed at each other and their lessers with equal ferocity only to find themselves cut open by yari or barbed arrows. Entire commands lost sight of or interest in their commanders' signal banners and so acted without order but some effectiveness. Finally at a crucial moment towards afternoon Mitsunaka's horsemen broke through and threatened to cut off Nakoshimi's staff. He withdrew in good order with two thousand wounded and killed. Fujiwara's losses were similar and they dared not pursue.

Up until now Iesada's court strictly forbade allocating more than basic supplies to Nakoshimi's army, acting on their daimyo's desire to save money for trade and crafts. His defeat caused a ripple of panic and now the court reacted too far in the other direction, abandoning any and all pretext of worrying about the future. This general unease worried farmer and merchant alike and as goods grew scarce, so prices rose to the dismay of commoners already living in fear of famine and disease. (Minting on full.)

Through the winter Nakoshimi's army grew until by 1479 it numbered twelve thousand versus ten thousand under Mitsunaka's command. In May 1479 Nakoshimi once more advanced hoping to deliver a decisive blow. Once more the two armies clashed in Musashi province. This time the Fujiwara benefited from improved morale - the belief that they won once and could do so again - and maneuvering Nakoshimi's army between two large groves where he forfeited his numerical advantage. This time Nakoshimi lost over three thousand, while Fujiwara losses were somewhat less.

Once more panic gripped the court and men called for Nakoshimi's removal and hints that he should 'apologize' for his failure - permanently. Iesada retorted that "removing valuable men (from power) during a crisis is foolhardy." He did appoint Taisho Asakura Yoshitada (F2 Sh3 M0 Sg1) as Nakoshimi's deputy.

Yoshitada was a good choice: Not only was he tactically competent, but he valued humility. Given that the two commanders happened to be from the same family, he saw no value in competing with Nakoshimi for laurels and quietly submitted to being his deputy. Yoshitada's first mission concerned the army's continued rapid expansion: By November, when the Fujiwara decided to end this once and for all, the Taira army boasted fourteen thousand men.

Imagawa Mitsunaka actually didn't plan to fight the Taira. Given the fluid situation down south, he more than did his share of the war's workload simply by keeping Nakoshimi busy. He planned to attack Echigo and so subdue the rebels within the Uesugi faction once and for all.

Through the autumn of 1479 the two armies engaged in a strange dance of maneuver and second guessing. Mitsunaka didn't want to fight a numerically superior army and so threatened Shinano. Nakoshimi ceased marching and formed a defensive line. Satisfied, Mitsunaka resumed his attack on Echigo. The Taira army resumed its march to defend the rebels.

(This is part of the behavior I described avoiding disadvantageous battles. Several times they began marching towards Echigo. I'd reply. The AI then shifted its march to Shinano which would presumably be unoccupied by the time they got there. I stopped marching. The AI would then attack Echigo. I'd start marching again. Etc. I don't know if there's some sort of counter preventing the AI from doing this forever or if it missed a click, but finally it decided to go for it.)

After a long period of maneuvering for position the two armies clashed in Shinano province in late November. A cold drizzle fell during the night changing to light snow and fog by dawn. This warped bowstrings and reduced visibility impeding Imagawa's ability to deal with the defenders. He hadn't been idle however, and by now the Fujiwara army numbered eleven thousand. Nonetheless Nakoshimi's army numbered twice as many cavalry. These samurai could dart in, slash back and forth, then disappear into the mist as resistance stiffened. For an entire day the two armies clashed. Only with evening and clearer skies did the day's result become clear and the Fujiwara withdrew losing five thousand to perhaps three.

This time Nakoshimi pursued and once again the two armies met at Musashi. The Fujiwara army was scattered into small pockets of resistance across several square miles however and never formed a line. Over the next two weeks entire commands surrendered, their samurai officers committing seppuku in disgrace, or simply vanished.

By January 1480 Fujiwara resistance had ended. Nakoshimi left his deputy in charge while he rushed south to make sense of the chaos engulfing southern Honshu.

1480FujiwaraCover.jpg

Note the different colors for unit morale with the number of men like Vic2. Green = good, Red = bad, Yellow = middle


Shogun's War - Southern Front

There is little to say from the Taira point of view about this early stage of the war on the southern front except this: It is a shame that history does not record the name of the diplomat Iesada's court sent to the Tachibana, for he in all probability saved his lord an embarrassing defeat.

After Yamana Tadatsune seized Settsu at the head of twelve thousand he had the opportunity to seize the rich towns along the Inland Sea. One can assume that, robbed of their 'protector', the merchants and officials here would have forsaken their duty to resist and simply defected. Perhaps that was Tadatsune's plan all along. Shoni Ronin, daimyo of his family and of the Tachibana clan, ruined any such hope by invading from Kyushu in May 1478.

Tadatsune rushed southward which gave Nakoshimi the opening he needed to release a small number of men to retake Settsu during the summer. The Tachibana used Settsu as a staging area of their own attacking Minamoto's northern holdings. By the spring of 1479 they seized Harima and attacked shiros in two other provinces.

Failure to achieve naval superiority prevented Tadatsune from counterattacking so he marched back to engage the Tachibana armies plaguing his realm. They avoided decisive battles and so he contented himself with retaking lost towns and building forts in place of the castles Ronin destroyed.

By January 1480, when Nakoshimi defeated the Fujiwara and marched south, Tadatsune had retaken Harima but lost two other provinces.

1480Meanwhile.jpg



End Game

In February 1480 Nakoshimi arrived in time to receive Settsu's surrender. He barely hesitated, crossing the border and attacking Tanba on the Minamoto north coast. As Tanba previously fell, the wooden forts Tadatsune left them with were no match for a series of determined attacks and the province surrendered by summer.

Tadatsune chose this opportunity to switch tactics. Having failed to win the war of maneuver he tried to force a decisive battle against the Tachibana in Bingo. On August 9, he engaged with fifteen thousand against ten thousand. Nonetheless Shoni Ronin continued to avoid battle sacrificing small commands and even an entire company of house samurai cavalry to prevent defeat.

His stratagem worked, for at dawn the next morning Tadatsune found himself flanked ... by the Taira! Nakoshimi's spies received word of his rival's intentions and he force marched for four days cross country to join battle.

For another day they battled. The allies acted as if they coordinated a classic hammer and anvil strategy, but there's no indication the two commanders met or exchanged messages until after the battle. The Minamoto army retired into the mountains that night leaving over five thousand wounded and slain. The allies lost about two thousand in two days, most of those from Ronin's army during the first desperate delaying actions. Tadatsune's army dissolved over the next few weeks as house samurai returned to defend their homes.

The war continued for another year but by now all that remained were mopping up actions. Nonetheless the Fujiwara and Minamoto proved adept at their own delaying actions.

In the north Asakura Yoshitada split his army into small commands and sieged each Fujiwara castle in turn. They won more battles than they lost, but the disciplined Fujiwara reinforcements now fought for their homes and to prevent disgrace. Desperate cavalry sorties relieved several castles, while ashigaru and allied monks leading ikko-ikki (literally 'single-minded legion' - peasant mobs) in attacks on supply lines and isolated samurai.

Yet over the several months they failed to relieve Deva, Mitsu or Totomi. By August 1481 Yoshitada imposed an embarrassing, but ultimately harmless peace where the Fujiwara repudiated all their alliances. (The lesson here is that 'covering' doesn't work as well as it did in HttT. Fujiwara's freshly recruited troops fought my sieges off more than once.)

In the south, Asakura Nakoshimi pursued a more methodical approach. In the beginning this was more a policy of necessity than design, as Ronin's Tachibana army held most of southern Honshu under siege. After they forced a humiliating peace on the Shogun in October 1480, Nakoshimi maintained two sieging armies and a third one to hunt down stragglers. (Where the AI showed a gift for war of maneuver. When I thought I pinned them on the south coast of Honshu, the Minamoto army tried to end-run me by way of Shikoku and Kyushu. I checked - we daimyo all seem to have permanent military access rights with each other. Ick...but probably necessary since daimyo need to have an army in Kyoto to claim the shogunate.)

Within the next year Taira and Tajima both surrendered while the Minamoto never won another battle. Tadatsune bowed to destiny.

1481PeaceTreaty.jpg


After four years of war the Minamoto clan lost two valuable provinces and irreplaceable resources. Worse, Emperor Go-Tsuchimikado was outraged this his shogun would throw the entire country into civil war. He stripped Yamana Tadatsune of his title.

Yet there would be no successor, not right away. The Imperial Court favored the Taira clan to try their luck, yet Nakoshimi was too loyal to try to overreach his master, while Yoshitada continued to shy away from success.

As for Hosokawa Iesada, he still had a painting contest to organize.
 
Last edited:

unmerged(90806)

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It's a bit confusing with all these names, still gripping story-wise.
Interesting observations on changes in DW; but I have to ask are there any constrains as to how much you take from another daimyo, or does it play like any other war -> peace negotiations.
My only experience with playing in Japan is through MM and there are so many more daimyos, that the DW set-up seems a bit bland. So, tag number aside (I'd rather have a try on historically accurate Japan than tags of Gotland or Crete), why so few, only four?
 

Stuyvesant

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Ooh, you started a new one! And with Japan! Finally grown immune to the siren call of the Teutons? ;)

I have to agree with gabor that the names can be a bit confusing, since I don't have anywhere near the grasp on them as I have with European names, but the general sense of what's going on is still there, amply assisted by the maps.

I look forward to seeing where you can take this and if you'll finally be able to achieve unqualified success. :)
 

CatKnight

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General Feedback:

I'm still working on the next update, but I had a quick question.

On my last post I added a section on top listing who would appear as well as the Japanese terms I used. Would that kind of thing help going forward? Do you have another idea?
 

Storey

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General Feedback:

I'm still working on the next update, but I had a quick question.

On my last post I added a section on top listing who would appear as well as the Japanese terms I used. Would that kind of thing help going forward? Do you have another idea?

I think the nature of the beast is that most of us aren't confident with Japanese names and show no hope of becoming so.:) However I've seen this problem with many AARs that rely on many different personalities to tell the story. Believe me it isn’t much easier if the story is filled with let’s say Polish or Greek names that sound or look similar. Not sure how you can resolve the problem other than using fewer personalities in telling the story. Still it's not too bad following what's going on.;)
 

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General Feedback:

I'm still working on the next update, but I had a quick question.

On my last post I added a section on top listing who would appear as well as the Japanese terms I used. Would that kind of thing help going forward? Do you have another idea?
Storey's suggestion is true, but not necessarily workable. :)

I did find the glossary/cast of characters helpful - if nothing else, I can refer back to it when the names start flying thick and heavy.

As far as other suggestions... Well, "The Red Monk" was instantly memorable, so perhaps a few more nicknames? Of course, then you run the risk of sounding more like a Mafia movie ("The Chin", "Fatso", "Machinegun Kelly", etc. etc.) than a Japanese history book. Maybe more adjectives to more easily distinguish the characters? "The honorable Shigeru" or "the craven Hiromoto"? Of course, then you'd have to repeat it to hammer it home, which would get, well, repetitive... As a last-ditch measure I could suggest coloring the character names in accordance to their faction colors, but that would be a tagging nightmare.

So, in the end, I guess I don't really have any useful suggestions. Sorry.