The Empire of Naipon
Ruler: Empress Tenshukan Sakura
The nation of Naipon is a series of islands to the distant east of Kith Kanaan. Until recently, very few in Kith Kanaan had even heard of the land, except for as some mythical place mentioned in the stories of Anaitha. Within the last thirty years or more, however, scholars and those who have regular interaction with Anaitha have heard of the distant land. Naipon is currently in a state of civil war. The former Emperor, Tenshukan, was assassinated using a powerful ritual. His daughter, still young, was placed upon the throne and the Clans began to compete to see who would hold influence over her. This escalated, spilling out of the court and onto the battlefield. Currently, the Empress holds power with the aid of the three Edo Clans, the Kurosawa, the Koketsu, and the Saotome. Opposing the Edo Clans are the Kigurai, Riyoku, and Toriko Clans, which are attempting to stifle the Empress’ influence and place their courtiers in control of the Court.
Code of Honour
The Naiponese hold to a strict code of honour. This consists of the Seven Tents and Four Principles of Bushido, and an abstention of the Three Sins. The code of Bushido is held by the noble caste, while it is expected for anyone of lesser caste to behave with respect and honour.
The Seven Tenets of Bushido
- Gi: (Justice)
- Yu: (Courage)
- Jin: (Compassion)
- Rei: (Respect)
- Makoto: (Honesty)
- Meiyo: (Duty)
- Chugi: (Loyalty)
The Four Principles of Bushido
- Chu: (Preservation of Ethics)
- Ko: (Filial Piety and Respect)
- Chi: (Wisdom)
- Tei: (Respect for the Elderly)
The Three Sins
- Desire: A truth of enlightenment is to be accepting of what one has, and to desire nothing. For when one feels desire, they may act contrary to the needs of their family and of their lord. One understands that their life is not their own, but belongs to their lord and to their family, and one’s own desires mean nothing in comparison.
- Fear: A true follower of bushido does not let fear control them. While they may feel fear, they act regardless, without hesitation. One who succumbs to fear hesitates, and is unable to act for their lord and family. A coward dies a thousand deaths in their mind, and puts the lives of all around them at risk, shaming their family and their lord. One accepts the presence of fear, but they never let it control them.
- Regret: Mistakes are made. If one did not make mistakes, they could not learn from them. It is best for one to accept these mistakes, learn from them, and carry on. One does not dwell on the mistakes of the past, they accept their actions and the consequences, and then step forward without looking back. Regret can lead one to hesitate, or question their judgement. A true follower of bushido never hesitates, and accepts responsibility for their every word and deed.
Purity: It is said that the Naiponese are obsessed with cleanliness, and it is not far from the truth. A typical member of Naiponese society washes at least twice a day, and usually more than three times. It is customary to wash when one wakes, during a break in the middle of the day, after any period of hard work or exertion, and before going to sleep. Because of this fixation on cleanliness, the Naiponese are very sensitive to body odour, often finding the smell of dry sweat and dirt to be extremely unpleasant. Bath houses are major community centres within Naipon, and hot springs are a luxury that is much sought after.
Blood and dead flesh are taboo to the Naiponese. They refuse to touch dead flesh or spilled blood, and will refuse to touch corpses or eat red meat. Leather must be properly sanctified and lacquered before they will consider touching it. One who has touched dead flesh or blood is considered unclean, and must wash and then be ritually purified. Naiponese refuse to eat red meat, but will accept bird or fish, and rarely will rabbit be considered (usually only be the poor and desperate).
Face: Face represents personal honour and respect. One does not show weakness or extreme emotion in public. An individual puts on a ‘mask’ or ‘face’ for the public, and carries themselves with dignity, being an example for all around them. To show extreme emotion (to act with excess) is to let one’s mask ‘slip’, and is considered a grave insult and a loss of honour. Extreme loss of face may result in an individual feeling shamed, and may shame one’s family and lord. In such cases, if restitution can not be made, an individual will often request seppuku (if they are of noble rank) or simply commit suicide (hanging is popular, as is drinking poison).
Familiarity is only allowed by those who are very close (such as best friends, and direct bloodline) in public, or in private. Each person has a personal space dedicated to them, and it is considered a loss of face to have that personal space breached by another. The higher an individual’s caste within Naiponese society, the more personal space they have (often represented by the angle of the person’s swords. The more of an angle, the more of a radius they possess). In private with family, or in a geisha house, a person may let their mask slip, and act more as a person and less as a servant to their lord and family.
Love: There are many love stories told in Naipon. Nearly every single one of them ends in death for both lovers. The reason for this is simple – love is a manifestation of the sin of desire, and prevents one from acting in accordance to the needs of their family and their lord. Marriage is often prepared for someone before their twelfth birthday, and the ceremony often takes place between the fourteenth and nineteenth birthday. Marriage is done for political reasons, to cement alliances, to keep bloodlines pure, or to raise someone’s station. Love is something that is expected to come later in a marriage, if at all.
To place one’s love for another before one’s duties is seen as a grave dishonour. Affairs are common, but it is expected that when it is time to marry, such ‘silly pass-times’ will be left behind and the person will accept their parent’s wishes. Affairs will often happen after a marriage, usually done quietly so as not to cause anyone in the household to lose face. Lovers are allowed, and are usually prepared by the wife of the household, as these mistresses must serve the wife, and peace must be kept in the household. An affair that is exposed often brings shame to the household, and usually results in seppuku, banishment, or at the very least, with the lord of the shamed person sending them off to perform a dangerous, and usually suicidal, assignment.
Love may be romantic, but it is not practical and should always be set aside for duty. Those who marry and find love (or are given the opportunity to marry those they truly love) are seen as particularly blessed, though such events are few and far between.
The Naiponese follow the Shinto belief system. To the Naiponese, every object has their own spirit, and each spirit is to be respected and in some cases revered. Above these spirits are the greater spirits, who guide the lesser spirits and ensure the land is in harmony. Above these are the Fortunes, each a god who guides the mortals of Naipon, each an embodiment of an ideal. Above these are the gods themselves. In addition, there are the ancestors, the souls of the people who have come before. The ancestors watch over and guide their descendants, helping them or punishing them as their descendants live their lives. The Naiponese have no respect for the Joshuite faith. Having their ancestors and the spirits around them called ‘demons’ and seeing this faith that reveres only one god, reducing all others to either ‘servants’ or ‘enemy’, angers the Naiponese. As such, as in Anaitha, the Joshuite faith is forbidden to be practised, including by members of the Joshuite faith. The penalty for practice of the Joshuite faith is crucifixion.
The Naiponese believe that they are the spiritual centre of the world, and that those outside of Naipon have no place in the spiritual afterlife (with the exception, perhaps, of Anaitha). It is believed that non-Naiponese do not have ‘souls’, as they have no connection to their ancestors and they do not follow the basics tents of cleanliness. As such, Naiponese act superior to the ‘gaijin’, and treat others as simple, or perhaps child-like. Naiponese are rarely deliberately rude, as doing so goes against the precepts of bushido, but the antics of someone outside of the caste-system of the Naiponese is given very little leeway if they insult a member of the samurai caste. There is no punishment for the killing of gaijin.
Each Clan holds a noble line, and a number of lesser families. Each individual is named first by their family name, and then their personal name, chosen when they come of age. Members not of the noble lines instead use the family name of their lord, and then their own personal names. Those of the lowest caste simply choose a name associated with an aspect of their life, usually connected to the job they perform (Tanner, Cutter, Sailor) or some aspect of nature (Wren, Plum, Peony). For extended families, names are done in the following format: <clan name> <personal name> noh <family name> noh <previous family if different>, such as Koketsu Ren noh Himitsu noh Kurosawa would mean that Ren is a member of the Koketsu Clan, his family is the Himitsu minor family, and that his mother married into the family from the Kurosawa family.
Male: Aki, Akio, Botan, Daiki, Daisuke, Goro, Hachi, Hoturi, Itachi, Jiao, Jiro, Kaman, Kenji, Makoto, Matsu, Natsu, Nori, Ren, Ryu, Samuru, Suoh, Tomi, Tsubasa, Uji, Washi, Yasu, Yukio
Female: Aiko, Aimi, Chika, Emiko, Gen, Gin, Haruko, Hitomi, Ichigo, Jin, Kaiya, Kyoko, Midori, Miyoko, Nariko, Nozomi, Oki, Reiko, Rin, Sakura, Seiko, Tama, Tomoko, Umeko, Uta, Wattan, Yachi, Yuki, Zakuro
The Naiponese, and to some extent the Anaithans, use a series of titles to denote status. Status is important to the Naiponese, and one speaking improperly may cause insult. The usual response to someone not respecting status is the immediate death if the person is not of noble status, and a challenge for restitution if the disrespectful person is of noble status. <name>-san The most common title, used when addressing anyone not in the immediate family. Used to address anyone who does not warrant the use of one of the other titles below. Often translates to ‘mister’ or ‘misses’. Sometimes used in regards to food or animals as a term of respect. Also used: <name>-han. This title is usually not used when referring to family members.
<name>-kun An informal and intimate title used towards males. Used by senior status addressing those of lesser status, by males roughly the same age and status, or by anyone addressing male children. Sometimes used towards male pets. Teachers address male students using -kun, while female students are addressed as -chan. The use of -kun when addressing male children is similar to addressing an adult as -san, to not do so would be considered rude, unless referring to one’s own child.
<name>-chan Used to refer to children, animals, and people with whom the speaker has known since childhood. -chan is used less for women than for men and requires considerable intimacy to be used with adults one has not known for long periods of time or since childhood. -chan is incredibly informal and intimate when used with a truncated version of the person’s name: Thus, ‘Hitomi-chan’ is informal, but ‘Hi-chan’ is considered very intimate. -chan may also be used for pet names or to refer to animals, or when speaking with very small children. -chan when used to speak of someone the speaker’s age is used mainly for women, if they are the same age or younger than the speaker. Using it to refer to a male of close to the speaker’s age is considered an insult unless said as a joke. Other versions are -chin or -tan. -tan is used for inanimate objects or for costume play where a woman pretends to be an inanimate object. -han is sometimes used when a male feels affectionate to a female.
<name>-sama The formal version of -san, used when addressing someone of much higher rank than the speaker, or when a professional (such as a merchant) is speaking to a customer or client. When one wishes to show deference or respect, -sama may also be used, or when speaking of a shrine object (such as a sacred stone). Individuals with exceptional traits may also be called -sama, denoting their talents, or their attractiveness. When speaking of a superior in an affectionate manner, the term -chama may be used (in much the same way -chan is related to -san). This is usually reserved for older individuals.