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Dewirix

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The Yamato Destiny: A Japan HTTT AAR

Contents

Overviews
State of the Nation: 1399 to 1499
State of the Nation: 1499 to 1599
State of the Nation: 1599 to 1699
State of the Nation: 1699 to 1799
State of the Nation: 1399 to 1821


Chapters

Cautious Opportunism: 1399 to 1478
The waiting game: 1399 to 1421
To the mainland: 1421 to 1441
The opening of Manchukuo: 1441 to 1478

The Chinese civil war: 1478 to 1668
New World Order: 1478 to 1497
The Great Realignment: Part I, 1499 to 1519
The Great Realignment: Part II, 1519 to 1522
The Great Realignment: Part III, 1522 to 1524
The Long Peace: 1524 to 1580
The Three Chinas: 1580 to 1582
Against all Comers: 1582 to 1591
The Nanchang Incident: 1591 to 1605
The Bozhou Strip: 1605 to 1619
The Golden Age: 1619 to 1631
The Mandate of Heaven: 1631 to 1668

Further afield: 1668 to 1777
To the South Seas: 1668 to 1701
Rangaku Kotohajime: 1701 to 1744
Winds of Change: 1744 to 1748
A bigger pond: 1748 to 1770
Self-strengthening: 1770 to 1777

Taming the Lion: 1777 to 1785
Tides of War: 1777 to 1782
Annus Mirablis: 1782 to 1783
Springtime of Nations: 1783 to 1785

The Great Austrian War: 1785 to 1800
Into the Maelstrom: 1785 to 1788
Opening moves: 1788 to 1790
Triumph and Disaster: 1790 to 1795
Novus Ordo Seclorum: 1795 to 1800

The Japanese century: 1800 to 1821
Brave New World: 1800 to 1808
Journey's End: 1808 to 1821


Interludes
Interlude - The Battle of Hinggan
Interlude - The Court on the Yangtze


Preamble
This is the first AAR I've written for anything and initially I didn't intend to write one for this playthrough. I'd been toying with the idea of doing a Japan AAR and this was the second test game I played to see if I could actually handle it. It turned out so nicely I thought I'd try and stitch an AAR together from whatever saves I made as I went along.

This is the lazy way of doing things and has a few drawbacks. Firstly, I don't think I've got any saves of mid-war situations: I tend to save before I declare war, but not after and not when someone declares war on me, so don't expect any exciting pictures of battles or sieges (UPDATE: In the interests of narrative I've decided to re-fight some of the wars).

Secondly, the nature of an after-the-fact AAR detracts somewhat from the tension. I'll try to keep a degree of suspense, but will probably not manage a PrawnStar-style white knuckle ride.

More seriously, it means that I can't benefit from anyone's feedback. I'm still learning the game (this is my first proper run through with a non-Western country) and I certainly don't play optimally. That said, please feel free to point out what I could have done better and I'll take it into account for next time.

This has been a lot longer than I intended it to be! I hope some people are still reading.

Ground rules
I'm trying to play as 'realistically' as possible in a foreign policy sense. As an expansionist young power in North East Asia we'll be looking to expand onto the mainland nearest to the home islands. I realise that it might be easier to beat up on Brunei or one of the smaller South East Asian states, but if Japan wants land it has to get it from Korea, Manchu or Ming.

I'll also want to westernise at some point, partly because I haven't done it before and partly because as a Civ player it horrifies me to think of being so far behind in technology.

This won't be a world conquest. I'll stick to a 'natural' expansion onto the mainland and anyway didn't want to overextend myself and fall further behind on tech.

I'll be playing on normal difficulty, lucky nations on historic and using the HTTT 4.1b patch.


Part I: Japan in 1399

Overview


So here we are at the start of the game. Emperor Gokomatsu Yamato sits on the Chrysanthemum Throne and the Ashikaga shogun has inexplicably chosen to retire just seven years after defeating the break-away Southern Court.

This screenshot has a few key points. Firstly we're Shinto: this comes with a rather nice +0.50 morale bonus, but a truly awful -20% national tax modifier. However, since Shinto is bound up in foundation myth of both Japan and the Yamato house we won't be switching out of it.

The second key point is the diplomatic summary. Manchu and Korea as natural rivals, Ming as the big threat. Can't argue with any of that at the moment.

We also have CBs on the Oirat Horde (who we can't get to) and Ryukyu. I'm going to ignore both of these for now as I don't see the need for another base tax 2 province.

Also, the 'realistic' rule means no day zero DOWs on Korea or Manchu. It's not like Ming would have historically stood by and let me carve out a little empire for myself on its doorstep.

The numbers


And here are the sinews of war themselves. As usual my first move is to get stability to +3. No early war means no need to mint for an army. We'll get to +2 in May 1400, which is pretty good going.

The godawful Chinese technology group is another matter. Japan techs at 40% the rate of the Western tech group. At full investment it will take until June 1429(!) to hit Gov 4 and our first NI.

At our current stability we're making 38.57 ducats annually which isn't too bad considering there's nothing to spend it on.

The court


Emperor Gokomatsu is nothing to write home about and has no legal heir. I'm going to do my damnest to keep the Yamato line going and won't be switching out of monarchy unless completely necessary.

And that's where the Ashikaga shogun went! He's become a diplomat (and possibly a Catholic cardinal). Poor man's obviously mad - he doesn't even remember where he was born. No early war means nothing for Yoshimitsu to do, so he'll be retired at the first opportunity, which will give us even more lovely money.

The military


Japan starts the game with a large navy and a small army. We're at just over a fifth of our land force limit, but near the naval one. This would be good if the local bully (Ming) didn't start with an even bigger navy. They have all galleys, I have 18 and 9 carracks. I don't know if this gives me an advantage, but I don't want to risk it all and then find out that it doesn't.

For now I'm going to sit on these numbers and let the cash pile up.

The bureaucracy


I nearly cried when I saw these for the first time. Full serfdom, +2 narrowminded, fully mercantilistic. Quality over quantity is nice, since we'll be relying on superior morale to win our wars. I do not want to get involved in a war of attrition with Ming!

Our first slider move is towards centralisation, which provokes a 'large' 4 regiment revolt that our current forces handily put down.

Over time I'll look to get the sliders in a position to westernise. I'll get centralisation to 0 and then work towards innovative and free subjects.

The neighbourhood


And this is how the near abroad looks. Korea and Manchu are my natural rivals, although I don't have a casus belli on either of them and I couldn't get border friction even if my monarch was a good diplomat. For now it's the waiting game...
 
Last edited:

PrawnStar

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*Subscribes*

I'll be interested to see how you do with Japan. I've tried them but didn't really get into the game. Personally I'd go for Ryukyu simply cos if you don't someone else will.
 

DarthJF

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I'll be following this one. Never tried Japan myself because they're so ahistorically presented, but it'll be interesting to see how you will end up with them.
 

dinofs

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Ah, a Japan AAR. Always nice. I don't personally like to play as Japan in EU3, because of how unrealistic it is, but it's fun to read about.
 

Dewirix

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PrawnStar - Someone else does go for Ryukyu, but I'm not sure what difference it makes.

esk1m0 - I did play this a while ago, but still agree on pagan converting (until I go innovative and run out of missionaries.

DarthJF/dinofs - Why is Japan seen as so ahistorical? Regardless, always fun to be a bit aloof from the continental powers.

soulking - Korea is a good start, and there's historical precedent.
 

Dewirix

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The waiting game: 1399 to 1421

Gokomatsu, May 1382 - Sept 1411

The reign of Gokomatsu was an inward-looking affair. Ming - as befits its status as the great continental power - variously guaranteed, allied or SoI'd the states that offered Japan a route to the mainland.

Not content with this, Ming also declared war on Ryukyu and quickly annexed the tiny island kingdom. The Japanese court was given an unwelcome reminder of Ming's naval prowess.



To deny any easy foothold in Japan, the northern island of Ezochi was given a level one fort and the natives were converted to the true faith.

Having run out of heathens to convert at home, Gokomatsu sent colonists to Taiwan to found a colony and teach Shinto to the natives. However, after two years of compulsory religious education the indigenous population had had enough and burnt the colony to the ground.

The shock of the news proved a bit too much excitement for Gokomatsu, who died a few months later leaving a four-year-old heir.


Regency council, Sept 1411 - Oct 1421

Though scarcely possible, the regency council was even less active than Gokomatsu had been, although it proved more effective in its efforts to colonise Taiwan, the old settlement being reoccupied in 1419.

In October 1421 the regents stood down in favour of 14-year-old Sakuramatchi, whose warlike character was to usher in a new era for Japan.


Author's notes

Sorry for the lack of action in this update - I could blame it on the regency council, but I doubt much would have changed whatever happened.

Tech-wise kept trucking towards Gov 4. Stability investment and the Chinese tech group means that two decades isn't enough for our first advance.

Magistrates went alternately towards raising cultural tradition and land reform. Cultural tradition is nice as it allows you to buy top of the line advisers when you get to 100%. My current batch all contribute towards tech investment, but are a mixed bag.
 
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dinofs

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DarthJF/dinofs - Why is Japan seen as so ahistorical? Regardless, always fun to be a bit aloof from the continental powers.
There's nothing about the Sengoku Jidai, the various clans, the daimyos, or even the Shogunate. Japan is shown as a happy, completely united country with no internal troubles, which is of course not true.

Regardless, it is a pretty fun country to play.
 

sprites

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with some luck you could get tea on taiwan :D
 

DarthJF

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Heh, looks like China and Japan switched their island colonies.

There's nothing about the Sengoku Jidai, the various clans, the daimyos, or even the Shogunate. Japan is shown as a happy, completely united country with no internal troubles, which is of course not true.
Yes, and I would actually prefer if Shogun would be used as a monarch for Japan. When there existed central authority it was the Shogun who would wield power and govern the country, so it makes no sense to have Emperor running around commanding armies and making decisions, when in reality he would just be sitting around imperial palace in Kyoto.
 

Dewirix

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dinofs/DarthJF - Points taken, although it's a bit early for the Sengoku Jidai. As I mentioned above we should be under the Ashikaga shogunate, but Emperor Go-Daigo had made a pitch for power in the mid-14th century, so it's not an unprecedented change.

Sprites - And luck we have!

 

Dewirix

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To the mainland: 1421 to 1441

Emperor Sakuramachi, Oct 1421 to present

Unlike his father Gokomatsu, who showed few signs of talent, Sakuramachi demonstrated great military aptitude (as the picture shows his stats are A4/D3/M8). He immediately ordered a military expansion which saw Japan's army increase from 4 regiments of infantry and two of cavalry to 18 infantry regiments and 4 cavalry.

The navy was also enlarged to add nine more carracks, bringing the fleet up to a total of 32 warships and 10 transports. The new regiments were organised into two 8/2 stacks with a 2,000 man reserve force.

Government Technology 4 was reached and Sakuramachi had no hesitation in instituting military drill as Japan's first national idea. Investment was redirected towards land, although the emperor was unhappy to hear that level 4 would not be reached until August 1435.

Although naturally more aggressive, Sakuramachi had something of his father's patience and would not be hurried to war. After over a decade on the throne the emperor judged that the time had come.


Japan on the eve of war, July 1432


The above image shows the state of the nation in 1432 before our first war. The economy is in good shape, although the surplus will turn into a 6 ducat deficit when the cost of mobilisation kicks in. Thirty years of inactivity have left us with a nice reserve that will easily see us through the coming war.

You'll also note we've got cultural tradition up and have used this to buy the first great man, Tenji Ikeda, a 5* statesman to boost Gov tech. I have to say that my tech strategy was all over the place to begin with - I should have beelined for workshops really, but I was desperate to keep up in land tech and love government tech.

As far as sliders go, Japan is now as centralised as it can get without incurring happiness penalties, so I've started working on becoming more innovative. I also took the side of the nobles against the merchants to go fully aristocratic.


Korean War, 1432-34


This shows the reason that Sakuramachi struck when he did. Korean has no allies and its only hope of protection is Ming as defender of the Confucian faith. Normally this would be a worry, but Ming has just started a war in South East Asia and has taken a horrible stab hit for its troubles. Japan gambles that this will mean that it doesn't want to fight another war right now.

Of course, if this is a miscalculation then there'll be trouble. Ming's navy is still bigger than mine. I don't know how its all galley fleet will compare with my mixed but carrack heavy force, but I don't really want to find out. I decided to take the three stability penalty of attacking without a CB and with a royal marriage as I'm certain this is the right time and don't want the chance to slip away.

Luckily the gamble pays off - I unpause the game after ordering my pre-positioned first army to disembark.



The Koreans stay put in Gyeongsang with all their forces and my navy lands a further 10,000 men in Gangwon to the north. Both Japanese armies converge on Gyeongsang, arriving the same day, and put the badly outnumbered Koreans to flight. The Korean army is run down and the rest of the war is just siegework. The last province falls in 1434 and we take everything but the capital at the peace deal, netting five provinces, 20 Infamy and a border with Manchu.

By 1441 the map of Korea looks like this:


Manchu are guaranteeing Korean independence, but that might not prove to be the best of ideas as they're my next logical target. Note that Haixi cuts Japan off from directly bordering Ming. At present, that can only be a good thing. Ming have managed to clamber to -1 stability and are at peace. Omniously, they now view Japan as their natural rival.

In 1441 revolt risk in the Korean provinces is still in the red. Ideally I want to convert them to Shinto, but at present that's only asking for trouble. I also have to burn infamy for a while, so there'll be no further wars for a bit.

State of the Nation, 1441


We're making a healthy surplus and manpower has climbed to 20,000. That's a big consideration of Ming declares war as I'm afraid they'll grind me down far too quickly. Korea gives me a foothold which means I can build up troops without worrying about being bottled up on the home islands by Ming's bigger navy - of course, if they decide to invade I'll be in trouble, but fortune favours the bold!

Sliders looking a little bit better too. Working my way towards a more innovative, freer Japan, but also a much bigger one.

From a gameplay perspective, are infantry heavy armies the way to go with Japan? I'm using the European model 2 cav/8 inf, but that might not be right.

I'm also not really trying to trade outside Settsu. Our poor tech and mercantilist sliders suggest that I'd be wasting money trying keep merchants in other CoTs - is this correct?
 
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Mico94

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don't worry about the navy, the starting Japanese fleet will cream Chinese Galleys
your carracks will massacre them
 

Dewirix

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The opening of Manchukuo: 1441 to 1478

Sakuramachi, Oct 1421 to Oct 1462

Sakuramachi lived for almost three decades following his devastating victory over Korea. During this time the emperor sent missionaries to the newly acquired territories to bring them into line with proper Japanese customs.

The conquest of Korea had made Japan something of an international pariah and Sakuramachi decided it was wise to curb his militaristic nature. He was supported in this by his son and heir, Sanjo, whose instinctive grasp of diplomacy made the grief felt at his early death all the keener.

To the joy of the emperor and the relief of the court another son was born to the Yamato line in 1452. Every bit as skilled a diplomat as his late brother, Itoku was more interested in the running of the state than the finer points of war, but understood that a strong Japan needed more territory.

Sakuramachi died on October 14 1462 after over 40 years on the throne. Itoku was still a minor, but the regents who ruled in his name were steadfast and loyal if not particularly imaginative. It would require a new emperor on the Chrysanthemum Throne to once more pursue the Yamato destiny.


Itoku II, Mar 1467 to present

Itoku's first policies as emperor were to regularise the status of Korea. At the end of the last war the remnants of the Korean kingdom had been allowed to live on Chungcheong. Japan's neighbours would not have stood for the total destruction of Korea at that time, but memories had faded over the decades and Itoku sought to remove the last vestiges of the old regime before turning his eyes further afield.


Second Korean War, 1472

Much like the first, the Second Korean War was a happy coincidence of Japanese ambition and international circumstances. The Manchu warning to Japan had been allowed to lapse in the long peaceful decades of the mid-15th century and only Ming's position of defender of the Confucian faith remained. However, Ming's own foreign entanglements had once again got the better of it.


Although to Japanese diplomats half the names of the belligerents meant nothing at all, Ming's preoccupation with foreign wars was an auspicious event. Itoku lost no time in declaring war and sweeping aside the Korean king's pitifully small royal bodyguard.


The inevitable capitulation and annexation of Chungcheong left the empire stronger than ever and marked the end of the first chapter of Japan's continental adventures.



Towards Manchukuo

While his father had had to content himself with Korea, Itoku knew that he had to keep pressing further onto the mainland or risk losing everything. However, Ming's armies were vast and its reserves almost five times those of Japan. There was no question of meeting the giant head-on.



Instead, Itoku followed the advice of his generals and began to plot the invasion of Manchukuo. The opportunity Japan had been waiting for was not long in coming.

The 1470s were the beginning of a turbulent and violent period in the history of north-east Asia. After countless decades of dominance the mighty Ming empire was beginning to falter under its own weight.



Where his father had excelled as a horseman and swordsman, Itoku prefered to use his wits in a different arena. The province of Ninguta had long belonged to Manchuria, but the emperor had patiently been working on bringing it into the Japanese orbit. In 1478 his efforts bore fruit when both Japan's neighbours and the local nobility recognised Ikoku's claim to the province. A war of reconquest swiftly followed.




Manchurian War, 1478
As with the first Korean war, Japanese troops outnumbered the enemy more than two to one. The Manchurian forces recklessly attacked one of the two invading armies and were routed by the superior morale of Japanese troops.

The beaten remnants retreated to Manchuria's capital where they were comprehensively destroyed.



Japanese forces swiftly reduced Manchurian fortresses and quickly brought the country to the negotiating table.



Despite the potential for further gains Itoku hesitated to press his advantage further. The news from the south required a radical reassessment of Japan's strategy:





Author's comments

No sense pretending that this didn't make things a hell of a lot easier. I may have given Ming a nudge by inciting rebellions here and there, but it was a shock to see them collapse like this.

In the short term it doesn't actually make much difference. They don't exactly like each other, but pretty soon set up a web of alliances and guarantees which make it difficult to pick on the weaker states at will.

However, my naval advantage over Wu (Ming got to keep the fleet), makes the three detatched northern Wu provinces look pretty tempting.
 
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Dewirix

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don't worry about the navy, the starting Japanese fleet will cream Chinese Galleys
your carracks will massacre them
That probably explains why they hide in port rather than giving battle.

Still not sure what the point of galleys is if carracks are so superior. It's not as if naval upkeep is much of a problem.
 

Dewirix

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New World Order: 1478 to 1497

Itoku II, Mar 1467 to present

The chronic rebellions that had racked the Ming dynasty had finally resulted in their complete loss of control in the south where a new state, Wu, had arisen. The Japanese court reacted to the news with caution. Itoku could sense the opportunity it presented, but was wary of making the first move. Patience had paid off for Japan in the past so why rush to action now particularly when both Chinese states had reason enough to fight one another?

The emperor's instinctive caution was not shared by all in his court. A vocal party urged him to seize the rich Manchurian province of Heilongjiang, while others reminded him of his duty to liberate his 'oppressed subjects' in Liaodong after another triumph of Japanese diplomacy had convinced public opinion of the righteousness of what was in reality a shaky claim at best.



The addition of Ninguta to Japan's continental possessions in 1478 brought with it a five-year truce with Manchuria which would be damaging to violate, but once this had expired Itoku had to quickly find an opening or risk losing face in they eyes of his own nobility.

Fortunately the opportunity was not long in coming. In March 1486 Wu declared war on Dai Viet, a state far to the south of Japan, but crucially one that was allied with the Ming court in the north. That a large-scale war could come from so insignificant a nation seemed absurd to Itoku, but he at once recognised that his chance had come. Manchuria followed Wu to war against Ming and were to be caught unprepared by an opportunistic attack by Japan.




The second Manchurian War, 1486
By the time Japan entered the war, Wu was facing off against a much larger coalition comprising Ming, its allies and its vassals. However, Itoku was careful not to associate himself too closely with this group - he wanted to keep a free hand in shaping the post-war settlement.

This determination to remain aloof from the wider war could have been risky, but the Japanese court believed that Wu had badly misjudged in allowing itself to be drawn into a war with Ming. Wu and her allies outnumbered Japan, but were not so superior as to be overwhelming. Crucially Japan retained the naval advantage, which Itoku was to employ to devastating effect.



Japan's initial war aims were to strip Heilongjiang and Haixi from Manchuria. This would cut the latter country in half and provide a border with the disputed province of Liaodong against the time that Japan was ready to take it from Ming. As with the previous Manchurian War Japanese forces began by crossing the border to occupy the target provinces and the Manchu capital of Hinggan. The Manchurian army had set off to besiege Ming's ally, the Oirat Horde, and would not return until it was too late



Mindful of the need to share in any Ming-led dismemberment of Wu and impatient for a swift victory in the north, Itoku ordered his generals to press home the assualt on Manchu's fortresses. The loss of life on both sides was tremendous, but superior Japanese morale carried the day. Unable to withstand such a battering and with their troops badly out of position Manchuria was brought to a second humiliating peace with Japan.




The War against Wu, 1486-1488

In the south Wu was now faced with a war against the combined might of Ming and Japan. Either one of those powers would have presented a challenge, but both at once were beyond the southern court's capacity to deal with. Tentative diplomatic approaches were made to Itoku and his ministers, only to be rejected out of hand. The Japanese emperor simply could not afford to allow Ming to dictate terms to Wu while Japan was bound by a five-year truce.



Japan's navy would play a crucial role in the war. Though criticised by some for failing to bring the enemy to a single decisive battle to secure control of the seas, wiser heads appreciated that the same effect had been achieved without loss of life. The Wu fleet would not put to sea while Japan and Ming patrolled the coasts and Itoku's generals were able to make attacks on Hainan and Macau unmolested.



It was at this point that the Japanese court reached agreement on the desired outcome of the war. Hainan and Macau could be held indefinitely given control of the seas and Japan enjoyed superiority over Wu in this area. Furthermore, they were rich provinces which would contribute far more to the Japanese exchequer than the conquests in Manchukuo or Korea had. Despite the arguments of some ministers who wanted to take territory closer to Japan's existing possessions the attitude of Itoku was decisive in settling the argument in favour of the island strategy.

However, the Wu court would not prove so co-operative. They too recognised the strategic importance of the islands and would not, as one diplomat memorably put it, "hand Japan the sword by which she might cut our throats". It was clear that the war would continue until the deadlock could be broken, but Japan was running out of room to manoeuvre. Ming had already conquered many Wu provinces, including the capital.

Itoku decided that Wu needed to be isolated diplomatically to show her that no help would come from the alliances she had made. Contacts were made with the other partners remaining in the alliance, Tibet and Taungu. As these states had seen little fighting they were unwilling to simply abandon an ally for Japan's benefit with no gain to show for it. With distaste, Itoku agreed to a form of words which suggested that Japan had been bested by these two insignificant nations. He reasoned that the damage to Japan's prestige would be more than undone by victory over Wu herself.



Isolated and facing complete collapse, Wu gamely fought on for another year, despite now mustering barely a third of Japan's troop numbers. Itoku's admiration for Wu's fighting spirit was tinged with contempt at her inability to accept the fact of her defeat.



Eventually Wu did bow to the inevitable, conceding defeat to Ming in a desperate attempt to buy time and resources with which to resist further Japanese incursions. Unfortunately the move had been anticipated by Itoku and his generals, who wasted no time in laying siege to Wu's capital and other coastal provinces. The battered garrisons quickly fell and Wu was forced to concede to Japanese demands in full.



The war marked a turning point for Japan. Up until now she had been content to nibble around the edges of the much greater power of Ming. The Chinese civil war had now provided an opportunity that the Yamato dynasty could not afford to pass up.

By the end of the century Japan was larger and wealthier than ever before. The chinese courts of Ming and Wu were still racked by rebellion and dissent, while Japan enjoyed peace and stability. Under the wise guidance of Emperor Itoku II - who had now ruled for three decades - the court was confident about the future.



While Japan basked in its new position as a major power in Asia, stories were circulating of the lands to the far west. Although reports were still unclear it seemed certain that these lands were so far off that they would never disturb the course of the Yamato destiny.

 
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PrawnStar

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Some nice gains there but you definitely want those northen Wu provinces before Ming reclaims them.
 

Dewirix

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PrawnStar - I couldn't take them all in the last war as one was the Wu capital, Jinan. They've moved it now, which is good and bad in that I can now get both of them, but can't take the Wu capital so easily.

Besides that. I'm not too keen on holding disjointed possession as it means I have to defend more places at once and if I lose control of the sea to Ming then there's nothing I can do to stop them from being sieged.

Van5 - Only in taking provinces off the Chinese. If I had an army westernised to late-19th century standards then we could really have some fun!