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Riccardo93

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HELLO! and welcome to the... latest AAR attempt by yours truly! Those of you who perused through the EU:Rome forums a few years back may recall the horrendous failures that were my first attempts at writing AARs; I was young, I was foolish, and I had no idea what to do! This time however, with my experience with the World in Revolution series and the Interactive AARs of Victoria II, I believe I may actually be able to craft a few concise sentences... and maybe even a semi-interesting tale!

Before I delve in, I want to actually describe what this AAR will be all about, and how I plan to go about it: I will be using the utterly fantastic Monumenta Iaponiae Historica mod by one Chatnoir17 (a veritable God amongst men) and the Genpai War start date; as such, I will have a full four centuries to balls around Kyushu! I hope to release an update on a biweekly basis, though due to schoolwork, family, and friends, I will may have to extend that until school is out. I don't know how far on I plan this AAR to go (though I would like to reach the Portuguese and lead a horde of cross-bearing arquebusiers across the lands of Nippon in a glorious crusade of shot and balls!), or at least until a time comes when I simply have nothing else to do (at which point, I will make some fantastical update about what the fate of the illustrious Matsura Clan will be).

Anyway, I suppose I should wrap up this inane introduction and actually get around to what you're actually here for, me utterly failing!

Quest for Kyushu - A Matsura Clan AAR


Chapter I: Kiyoshi's Warriors (1180-1182)
Chapter II: Prances in Woods (1182-1197)
Chapter III: A War to Remember (1197-1199)
Chapter IV: Of Courts and Conquest (1199-1203)
 
Last edited:

Riccardo93

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Chapter I: Kiyoshi's Warriors



Kiyoshi, A.K.A. Founder of Modern Japan​

Born in early 1145, Matsura Kiyoshi took command of the Matsura clan following the death of his father, Sunao, in 1175 at the age of thirty; by that point, he found himself with a wife, Kisa, and a ten year old son, the now heir apparent, Akira. He spent the next five years of his reign as a largely ineffectual leader of a backwater region; the powers of Kyushu resided elsewhere, and Sonoki was unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Despite the goings-on in the political arena between the Imperial family and the Taira clan, and the constant dynastic intrigues across Nippon, Kiyoshi took little note of them. He was a soldier, a rather poor one at that, not a statesman or merchant. The affairs of Heian were of no import to him.


Taira Kiyomori, the scary guy who owns everything​

This changed, however, when he appointed his cousin, the supremely talented Yoritada, as his Master of Arms in 1180; it was from him that Kiyoshi’s ambitions began to grow. Hizen needed a Daimyo, and Kyushu needed unity; could not the Matsura clan lead? Why must the Tairas and Minamoto clans dominate the island? In 1180, Kiyoshi resolved to make his clan respected and honoured, first by claiming control of all of Hizen for himself, and ensuring his successors a base from which Kyushu could be governed.


Matsura Yoritada, Master of Arms and all-around cool guy​

His first move, however, was simply to send his cousin, the Master of Ceremonies, to gather more taxes across Sonoki; despite his abysmal grasp on markets and economics, he still understood that that he would need an army to realise his dreams, and such an army would cost money, lots of it. So what if the peasantry was upset, he was their ruler! In any case, they would soon be screaming his praise for the wealth and prestige he would bring to them. However, he would not have his own people take up arms against him, so to ensure their loyalty, he dispatched agents of Yoritada to confiscate arms, supress any disloyal officials, and… silence talkative opponents.

The result of this policy was immediately felt; by the end of the year, his treasury has tripled in size and the people had been successfully cowed and any form of dissent squelched.

At the dawn of 1181, Kiyoshi sought out a wife for his now sixteen year old son; however, after several months of searching his envoys had found no suitable bride for Akira. In early March, though, their luck turned around when an emissary sent a letter describing the beautiful fifteen year old daughter of Kashiwagi Yoshikane, Kokujin of Gamo, named Yasha. On the 22nd of March, 1181, the two were betrothed and, on the 31st of May, they were wed. Her family may have been of little note, but her knowledge of military affairs was nearly comparable to the brilliant Master of Arms himself.


Akira and Yasha​

With that matter done with, Kiyoshi returned to his love, the military; by July of 1181, he had enlisted some two hundred and fifty infantrymen as his personal retinue; within a few months, another two hundred and fifty cavalrymen had joined his army.

At year’s end, the 28th of December, Kochou, daughter of Matsura Kiyoshi and his wife Kisa, was born. Celebrations were held across Sonoki for the next month. Following those festivities, Kiyoshi began his first true manoeuvres for the conquest of Hizen; starting in February, 1182, he secretly began carnering support for an attack against the Omura clan, whose lands, primarily the region of Takaku, were situated east of Matsura lands. He chose the Omura for a number reasons, chiefly among them being: the Omura are largely isolated, as they bordered on Sonoki and the lands of the Hizen-Goto, they were an integral part of Hizen and would easily advance his goals, and, secretly, he felt inferior to Omura Yukizumi, who, despite being a foolish, even naïve, diplomat, was widely held to be superior to Kiyoshi in all ways.


Omura Yukizumi​

After several weeks of plotting, Kiyoshi discovered that he had little in the way of support; not even Kikuchi Takanao, considered by most to be flamboyant, perhaps even mad, schemer, would back; time and time again, he heard that they feared for their honour. Kiyoshi knew the real reason, though; they feared him. They knew the Matsura clan was on the ascendant, and all greedily wanted to claim Hizen for themselves, rather than submit to their superiors.

Tired of waiting for support that was never going to come, Kiyoshi declared war on the Omura clan on the 22nd of March, 1182, raised his 750 man levy and personally marched his full army, numbering 1250 men of varying quality, in the Omura lands. His forces crossed the border and immediately began ransacking villages and farms that opposed their rightful rulers (Matsura clearly had the right to confiscate any goods needed to feed and supply his army); the five hundred cavalrymen of his army rode ahead of the main force and launched an impromptu siege of Takaku Castle the same day. Meeting no real opposition, save for the occasional peasant or rare skirmish, Kiyoshi contented himself with conducting the siege, and seizing any towns still not yet claimed by the Matsura forces.

Several weeks after the first heavy snow of winter, Kiyoshi decided that a good way to keep morale up would be to conduct drills in the form of snowball fights; this was all well and good until an incident in December. Twenty infantrymen from the reserve divisions were in the midst of one such drill when they inadvertently found themselves battling over a frozen lake. To their great misfortune, it wasn’t frozen solidly enough; when one of the soldiers was knocked down, the ice cracked and the twenty men drowned. Their commanding officer later informed Kiyoshi that he had lost twenty men in a raid further to the north…

As Spring returned in 1183, it became obvious that the Omura would soon be forced to surrender or starve to death. On the 21st of April, slightly over a year after the siege began, the keep of Takaku Castle was breached and the last of the Omura forces were captured; the following day, Omura Yukizumi and his entire family was slain. Takaku belonged to the Matsura clan.


I like to think the map looks a bit nicer​
 

Riccardo93

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Chapter II: Prances in Woods


Immediately following the liberation of Takaku from the treacherous Omura, Kiyoshi dispatched Yoritada and his agents across the region to keep the peace; the occupation went smoothly… until Yoritada was captured by an Omura loyalist. Kiyoshi could not afford to lose him, and quickly paid the ransom. However, following the incident, the crack-down on rebellious peasants became more severe and eventually the entire region was pacified.

The first half of 1184 passed with no major event; the fields were planted, a few more homes were built in small new village called Nagasaki, which quickly became a trade hub in the region. However, in June, Kiyoshi discovered that his Master of Ceremonies, Matsura Nobunaka, had been skimming tax revenues for himself; being an honourable and forgiving liege, Kiyoshi only ordered him to repay the embezzled funds. Following this, the remainder of 1184 was quiet, as was the first quarter of 1185.

On the 24th of April, however, Toshikane, son of Akira and Yasha, was born; the celebrations were cut short when Nobunaka was found embezzling funds again; Kiyoshi, done with this traitorous scum, had him executed in September. Kiyoshi then appointed his younger brother, the much more competent and loyal Kakomu, as Master of Ceremonies. The following two years were quiet, though Nagasaki continued to expand, soon becoming the largest town in the region.

In March, 1187, his young daughter Kochou began her studies with a nun in Kiyoshi’s kori; she wasn’t a brilliant student, but she did show her determination and some aptitude. Several months later, Kikuchi Takanao, easily one of the most powerful men on Kyushu, proposed that he and Kiyoshi exchange hostages; seeing this as a good way to build some support for later conquests, he eagerly agreed, and shortly after Akira had left the court, the young Kikuchi Tsunenao arrived. On the 26th of March, 1188, whilst living with the Kikuchi, a second son was born to Akira and his wife, named Kiyoshi in honour of his grandfather.

A few months later, the venerable Taira Kiyomori passed away at the age of seventy-two; he was succeeded by his younger brother, Taira Tadanori; unlike his esteemed elder brother, Tadanori was largely unexceptional. Kiyomori’s son, however, took command of his father’s estates; an utter imbecile and wholly unworthy of his father, rumours spread that the new Daimyo would run about naked in the woods, howling like a wolf in the midst of winter…


Taira Tadanori and his nephew, Munemori the Moron; neither seem particularly competent though...​

Shortly after the birth of his latest grandson, Kiyoshi began planning his campaign against the Hizen-Goto clan; controlling Kishima would certainly go a long way towards assuring Hizen would be controlled by his family. However, despite several months of searching, he again found no supporters in his plot.

In September, 1189, Kakomu was caught embezzling funds; however, being Kiyoshi’s brother spared him from any punishment; moreover, any theft he committed was of little importance, considering the great harvest in Takaku that year. The wealth and happiness brought in from that great harvest far outweighed Kakomu’s crime. The remainder of the year was quiet, as the people were content and the court exuberant.

On the 9th of October, 1190, Akira’s third son, Chikamoto, was born in the Kikuchi lands; a few months later, he was sent to Matsura Castle to be raised by his grandfather and his court.

As the past several months had been quiet, and the court inactive, Kiyoshi grew bored. At the behest of his brother, he ordered the expansion of the rice paddies across Sonoki; the project was such a massive endeavour that it marked Kiyoshi as a man of great ambition. However, with a project so grand, problems were certain to emerge; increased demand for labour, lack of supplies, poor infrastructure. All those and more hounded the project. Kiyoshi, however, would not tolerate any delays and poured in additional funds.

During the midst of this project (specifically, the 2nd of May, 1192), Kiyoshi’s second son, Takaai was born in Matsura Castle. Shortly thereafter, Akira returned home, only to immediately be sent off to the Hata clan, which ruled over lands farther to the north of the Matsura domain, to ensure that they would not interfere in Kiyoshi’s plans for Kishima.

The remainder of the year was quiet, with the only notable event being the completion of the rice paddy project; in early January, 1193, Kiyoshi resolved to further improve his realm, ordering the construction of a water mill near the small town of Nagasaki. The project slowly trundled along for the rest of the year, without incident.

The 1194 also proved to be a quiet year for the Matsura clan; the water mill was almost halfway completed, the crops were planted then harvested, and the people were content. Kiyoshi, however, was annoyed at the slow progress made with the water mill, and in May, 1195, ordered Yoritada to begin constructing some samurai mansions near Omura Castle, formally renamed Sunao Castle several years previously (in honour of Kiyoshi’s late father). That same month, a homeless samurai travelling to Matsura Castle to join Kiyoshi’s retinue developed a new archery technique, which soon spread across the ranks of the troops, drastically improving their ranged capabilities.


A depiction of said Samurai Archer​

Yoritada was so efficient that the project would be finished a month ahead of schedule; his success allowed several labourers to return to their rice paddies, which resulted in a much larger yield than expected.

On the 23rd of November, 1196, Kiyoshi’s third son, named Sunao after his grandfather, was born; shortly after his birth, the watermill was completed, and Kiyoshi instructed his brother to begin constructing a lumber mill. Several months later, in April, 1197, with the recent completion of the last samurai mansion, Yoritada was instructed to improve and expand the wooden walls around Sunao Castle and the chief towns in Takaku.


One of the mansions built by Yoritada and his men​

Shortly after the construction project began, word reached Kiyoshi of the death of Taira Tadanori at the age of fifty-eight; he had been injured during training. His nephew Tomomori took charge of the Taira clan; a brazen warrior, but utterly unschooled in tactics and strategy, some feared that he would ruin his vast domain with wars and mismanagement. Starting in July, 1197, Takaaki would receive an education from one of his father’s samurai retainers; his father hoped that he would be a better student than he, or Tomomori for that matter, had been.


Tomomori, a brave but unskilled commander​
 

chatnoir17

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It is the first AAR using MIH, as far as I know. I would announce this AAR in the thread of MIH.
I am also interested in your tough choice of playing as Matsura. Good luck. :)
 

DarthJF

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Cool seeing MIH AAR. Kyushu is a cool place to start from.
 

Riccardo93

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Chatnoir (God of Nippon): I'd like to think that I'm an innovator, not only choosing the road less travelled, but simply barrelling through the woods blindly. Also, I chose the Matsura solely on the basis of me liking their name (and who want to have a leader named Kiyoshi?). And whilst you're here, I'd like to fawn over you for making this wonderful mod... I don't know if I can go back to vanilla.

DarthJF: Kyushu is indeed a cool place to start from; glad to have you along :D

Also, the next update should be coming this week... possibly tonight, but before Saturday (probably).
 

Riccardo93

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Chapter III: A War to Remember

In early January, 1198, Matsura Kochou married Minamoto Tokimasa, the sixteen year old sun of the honourable Minamoto Yoritomo, leader of his clan and Daimyo of Hitachi, Sagami, and Izu; the union was a diplomatic coup for the Matsura clan, as it established dynastic ties with one of the most powerful families in Nippon.


Matsura Kochou​

Shortly following the wedding, Kiyoshi ordered the enlistment of five hundred horsemen for his personal retinue; he did so at the request of Yoritada, who was concerned that some of their more powerful neighbours, particularly the Kikuchi, would make a play for Matsura lands. Kiyoshi also sought out a second wife, for diplomatic reasons, rather than a desire for more children; as such, he married Totomi-Haru Mayo, daughter of Kiyomasa on the 21st of January. A woman with a sound mind for military strategy, he hoped her insight would help to further protect his lands.

Even with one thousand men in his personal retinue, Kiyoshi was still worried about a possible invasion, and began recruiting another two hundred and fifty infantrymen. His fears were realised shortly thereafter.

Kikuchi Takanao declared war on the 14th of May, 1198. Kiyoshi quickly raised his levy forces and began enlisting as many troops as he could into his retinue; he also appointed Kamachi Yukisue Master of the Guard and dispatched him to Mashiki to sow discontent and unrest against the Kikuchi.

At dawn, the 19th of July, 1198, the First Battle of Takaku took place; Matsura Kiyoshi and his 3,250 men (2,000 infantry and 1,250 cavalry) met Kikuchi Takanao and his 7,000 man force (4,250 infantry, 2,750 cavalry). Takanao’s forces landed on the beaches, and slowly began an advance toward Sunao Castle; however, whilst they were still reorganising, Kiyoshi launched a quick attack, using his momentary cavalry advantage to wreak havoc on the Kikuchi forces; only moments after this first assault began, it ended, and Kiyoshi resorted to minor skirmishes for the next few hours.


Contrary to this 14th Century illustration of the invasion, the Kikuchi actually landed unopposed​

By noon, Takanao’s forces were getting closer to Sunao, but he made the grave mistake of neglecting his left flank; a small force of men under the command of Yoritada snuck behind them, rushed them, and inflicted massive casualties. Takanao’s junior officers quickly moved reserves from the right flank to relieve them, which prompted Kiyoshi to launch another cavalry charge. Again, the Kikuchi forces were almost overwhelmed.

At 4:30, the centres of both armies met; after a brief skirmish by their respective archers, the ashigaru and samurai rushed towards each other. For almost two hours, both sides rushed in, inflicted as many casualties as possible, then fell back, only to repeat the process.

By the evening, Kiyoshi’s men were exhausted; they could not fight anymore. The two forces spent the night in troubled sleep, and the second day of the battle turned into little more than a fighting withdraw on the Matsura’s part. After several more hours of skirmishing, Kiyoshi ordered his men to fall back to Sonoki. Kiyoshi had lost the battle.

It was determined that over the course of the battle, over five thousand men were slain; the Matsura forces lost a rather paltry seven hundred and twenty-four, whilst the Kikuchi suffered a much more sobering 4,447, with Takanao himself being wounded in the battle.

Kiyoshi spent the next six months rebuilding his forces, hiring more men for his retinue, and training the levies. The Kikuchi, in the meantime, continued their siege for Sunao, which largely accomplished nothing.

On the 24th of November, Kiyoshi launched his counter-offensive; he and his 3,591 men ambushed Takanao and his 2,773 troops just before daybreak. The Kikuchi forces, caught completely unawares, were all brutally slain; only Takanao and his personal guard survived by abandoning his men like a coward. The Matsura, on the other hand, lost six hundred and fifty-seven men.


16th Century Woodblock of the "Kiyoshi's Charge"​

With the tide turning, the Matsura landed in Ashikita on the 10th of March, 1199; the following siege of the castle ended on the 16th of June when the walls were breached. Immediately after the siege, Kiyoshi and his forces sailed back to Takaku to defeat the Kikuchi, who had again besieged Sunao Castle.

Realising that he would be unable to catch the much smaller force, Kiyoshi proposed a peace treaty; Kikuchi Takanao, signed the treaty, in which he ceded Ashikita to the Matsura clan, on the 15th of July, 1199. With that, the Matsura had made their conquest outside of Hizen, and had proven that even a much larger clan would have to fight doggedly against this determined state.

((As some of you may realise, I might have maybe lowered the difficulty a little bit possibly... I had to play through this a few times, and the only way to not completely get devoured was to play on Very Easy; it made me sad... :( ))
 

Rensslaer

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Just read the first update. Excellently crafted AAR! I am able to pick up from your storytelling a little about Sengoku, which I've never played, and your writing style makes it easy to follow along!

I'll catch up on the rest of this soon...

Rensslaer
 

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Glad you've liked it thus far, Rensslaer! I've been a bit busy this week, but I'll try to get a more fleshed out update by Wednesday (preferably sooner).
 

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Glad you've liked it thus far, Rensslaer! I've been a bit busy this week, but I'll try to get a more fleshed out update by Wednesday (preferably sooner).
I'm glad you said something! I was concerned you might have disappeared!

Even if you don't see this until Wednesday, I wanted to highlight this AAR in the Weekly Showcase! (over in the general discussion area) Congratulations!

Here's what I said:

Rensslaer said:
In passing on the weekly showcase, I wanted to find an AAR by an author who hasn't been recognized recently. It occurred to me that there is a GAME that hasn't been featured recently (actually NEVER!). :)

And I've found a number of AARs in that forum which are of very high quality, but which don't get much traffic because few people have this game.

In the Sengoku threads, I found Quest for Kyushu - A Matsura Clan AAR, by Riccardo93.

His AAR really makes me want to buy Sengoku. It looks (I may be reading in) like sort of a CK-style personality-driven game, just set in feudal Japan. I can't tell 100% whether the game is providing rich details for him to write about, or if he's filling that stuff in from his imagination, but either way, Riccardo93's writing fully fleshes out a believable story of an ambitious noble who wants control over his region of Kyushu (or, ideally, the whole thing!). It's an enjoyable narrative (historybook style, I'm just saying he provides a great story besides), with or without the game.

And his simple but well-chosen illustrations that accompany the story really draw the reader in.

Please congratulate Riccardo93! And PLEASE go visit his AAR! He has precious few comments for such a well-done AAR! It's worth keeping track of long term, and while you're there, please also check out other enjoyable AARs by others.

Congratulations, Riccardo93! :) Please tell us something about yourself, and your AAR! And please remember to pass this award on to another in a different game-forum in a week's time (and let that person know)! Enjoy your week in the spotlight! (he may not appear until Weds -- he's indicated he is busy until then)

Rensslaer
 

EtzelHoveri

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Well deserved sir. I completely forgot about this game before Ren posted you as the winner.

After reading your AAR I am kind of interested in buying Sengoku. However, when I went on the page to look at the mods for it, it says they are private. Do you happen to know why?
 

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It could be because you don't own the game (is that a thing?) In any case, danke schoen fur der commenten(?), mein herr!
 

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I'm not either, obviously... I just like pretending I know this stuff
 

EtzelHoveri

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No tame ni arigato komento.

I believe that is more appropriate for this thread no?

Also looking forward to your next update.



Edit- I was thinking of reading one of your older AARs. Which would you suggest?
 

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Umh... none of them, really; they were utter crap. Well, the Roman or the Armenian one were somewhat sorta decent, I guess. They all just died brutal, short deaths.
 

EtzelHoveri

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So I just finished reading the Roman one. I love the concept and the way you did it. I may find myself doing one much similar to that. If you don't mind me doing that. You just used regular EU: Rome for this aar yes? No mods.


Edit- I'm not sure if you are interested or if you read the Game of Thrones books. I wrote an aar called the White Book. It follows the lives of each Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.
 

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Yep; pure, unadulterated vanilla. I would've kept it going if my old computer hadn't decided it hated the game and crashed all the time. And sadly, I've not had time to either read the books or watch the show; however, I skimmed through White Book, and it looks pretty good. Gonna have to check it out once I have a bit o' free time.
 

EtzelHoveri

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I'm glad you thought it looked interesting. Ever thought of doing another attempt at that Rome AAR?

I've had an idea in my head for a long time to do a 'bedtime story' aar. It would be an EU3 aar which centers in Japan. A father is putting his kids down to bed when they want for him to tell them a bed story. He agrees and eventually tells them a tale. Each post is another story he tells his son before bed. The one key concept that ties these stories together is a single family. It is actually the tales of their ancestors that he is passing down to his son.

Good idea?




Also I think I might start on that Rome game Tuesday.
 

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Hmmm that could be interesting; I'd definitely give it a read. And I've thought about trying another Rome AAR, I've just got to make sure the game stable on this computer.