Japan is an island by the seas filled with volcanoes and it's BEAUTIFUL.
In the year -1,000,000,000, Japan might've not been here.
But in the year -40,000, it was here. And you could walk to it. So some people walked to it.
Then it got warmer, some icebergs melted, it became an island, and now there's lots of TREES. Because it's warmer.
So now there's people on the island. They're basically sort of hanging out in between the mountains eating nuts off trees and using the latest technology. Like stones. And bowls.
Ding dong, it's the outside world, and they have technology from the future, like really good metal, and crazy rice farms.
Now you can make a lot of rice, really, really quickly.
That means if you own the farm, you own a lot of food. Which is something everybody needs to SURVIVE.
So that makes you king.
Rice farming and and rice kingdoms spread across the land all the way to here. And the most important kingdoms were here, here, here, here, here, here, and here (Hi, Chikushi, Izumo, Kibi, Yamato, Koshi, and Kenu). But this one was the most, most important. (Yamato) Ruled by a "heavenly superperson", or "emperor" for short.
Knock knock, get the door, it's religion.
The new prince (Prince Shotoku) wants everyone to try this hot, new religion (Buddism) from Baekje.
"Please try this religion," he said.
"No," said everybody.
"Try it!" he said.
"No," said everybody again, quieter this time.
And so the religion was put into place, and all the rules had came with it.
And then the government was taken over by another clique. And they made some reforms. Like making the government govern more, and making the government more like China's government, which is a government that governs more.
"Hi, China," they said.
"Hi, dipshit," said China.
"Can you call us something else, other than dipshit?" said Japan.
"Like what?" said China.
"How about SUNRISE LAND? [nihon (japan)]" said Japan. And they stole China's alphabet and wrote a book about themselves.
And then they made lots of poetry, and art, and another book about themselves.
And then they stopped moving the capital every time the emperor died and kept it in one place for a while.
Right here (Kyoto). And they conquered the North, finally. Get that squared away.
A rich hipster, named Kukai, is bored with modern Buddhism, visits China and learns a better version which is more SPIRITUAL, comes back, reinvents the alphabet, and causes art and literature to be GREAT for a long time.
And the royal palace turned into such a dream world of art that they really didn't give a shit about running the country.
So if you live outside the palace, how are you supposed to protect your shit from criminals?
HIRE A SAMURAI.
Everyone started hiring samurai.
Correction: Rich important people hired samurai. Poor people who could not afford to hire samurai did not hire samurai.
The samurai became organized and powerful, more powerful than the government. So they made their own military government, here (Shogunate). They let the emperor still be "emperor", but the shogun is actually in control
BREAKING NEWS: The Mongols have invaded China.
"We've invaded China," said the Mongols. "Please respect us, or else we might invade you as well."
"Okay," said Japan. So the Mongols came over, ready for war, and died in a tornado. But they tried again, and had a nice time fighting with the Japanese, but then died in a tornado.
Then the emperor overthrows the shogunate, then the shogunate overthrows them back, and moves to Kyoto and makes a new shogunate. And the "emperor" can still dress like an emperor if he wants, that's fine.
NOW THERE'S MORE ART, like painting with less colors, collaborative poetry, plays, monkey fun, tea parties, gardening, architecture, flowers.
It's time for 'Who's going to be the next shogun?'. Usually it's the shogun's kid, but the shogun doesn't have a kid. So he tries to get his brother to quit being a monk and be the next shogun.
He says, "okay", but then the shogun has a kid. So now who's it going to be? Vote now on your phones.
And everyone voted so hard, that the palace caught on fire and burned down. The shogun actually didn't care, he was off somewhere doing poetry. And the whole country broke into pieces. Everyone is fighting with each other for local power, and it's anybody's game.
Knock knock, it's Europe. No, they're not here to take over (yet), they just want to sell some shit like clocks, and guns, and JESUS. So that's cool, but everyone is still fighting each other for control - now with guns. And wouldn't it be nice to control the capital, which right now is puppets, which no one controlling them.
This clan (Imagawa) is ready to make a run for it, but first they have to trample this smaller clan (Oda), which is in the way.
Surprise! The smaller clan wins, and the leader of that clan (Oda Nobunaga) steals the idea of invading the capital and invades the capital.
And it goes very well.
He's about halfway through conquering Japan when someone who works for him kills him, and then someone else who works for him kills him, and that guy (Toyotomi Hideyoshi) finishes conquering Japan.
And then he confiscated everybody's swords, and made some rules.
"And now I'm going to invade Korea, and then hopefully China," he said, and failed, then also died.
But, before he died he told these five guys (Ukita Hideie, Uesugi Kagekatsu, Mori Terumoto, Tokugawa Ieyasu, and Maeda Toshiie) to take care of his five-year-old son until he was old enough to be the next ruler of Japan.
And the five guys said, "Yeah, right. It's not gonna be this kid. It's gonna be one of us, 'cuz we're grownups." And it's probably going to be this guy (Tokugawa Ieyasu), who happens to be way more rich and powerful than the others.
A lot of people supported him, but a lot of people support not supporting him (Ishida Mitsunari). They have a fight, and he (Tokugawa) wins, and starts a government right here, EDO.
And he still lets the emperor dress like an "emperor" and have very nice things - but don't get confused, this (Edo) is the new government, and they (Tokugawa family) are very strict. So strict, they close the country. No one can leave, and no one can come in - except for the Dutch, if they want to buy and sell shit but the have to do it right here (Dejima).
Now that the entire country was not at war with itself, the population increased a lot. Business increased, schools were built, roads were built, everyone learned to read, books were published; there was poetry, plays, sexy times, puppet shows, and Dutch studies. People started to study European science from books they bought from the Dutch - we're talking geography, skeletons, physics, chemistry, astronomy, and maybe even electricity.
Over time the economic and cultural prosperity begin to gradually slow dow-
Knock knock. It's the United States. With huge boats. With guns. Gunboats.
"Open the country. Stop having it be closed," said the United States.
There's really nothing they could do, so they signed a contract that lets the United States, Britain, and Russia visit Japan, anytime they want.
"That sucks," they said. "This sucks!!!!" And with almost very little outside help (Great Britain), they overthrew the shogunate (Boshin War) and somehow made the emperor the emperor again (Emperor Meiji), and moved him to Edo, which they were renamed eastern capital (to kyo). They made a new government which was, "a lot more Western," (a New York Times review). They made a new constitution (Meiji Constitution), that was, pretty Western. And a military that was, pretty Western (large).
And do you know what else is Western? That's right, it's conquering stuff.
"So what can we conquer?"
They conquer Korea, taking it from its previous owner, China, and then go a little bit further (Liaodong Peninsula).
And Russia rushes in our of nowhere and says, "Stop, no, you can't take that. We were gonna build a railroad through here to try to get some warm water."
And Russia builds their railroad, supervised by a shit-ton of soldiers. And then, when the railway was done, they downgraded to a fuck ton - did I say "downgrade"? I meant "upgrade".
And Japan says, "Can you maybe chill?"
And Russia says, "How about maybe you chill?"
Japan is kind of scared of Russia. You'll never guess who's also kind of scared of Russia.
So Japan and Great Britain make an alliance together so they can be, "a little less scared of Russia". Feeling confident, Japan goes to war against Russia - just for a moment. And and they both get tired and stop.
IT'S TIME FOR WORLD WAR 1.
The world is about to have a war because it's the 1900's and weapons are getting crazy, and all these empires are excited to try them out on each other.
Meanwhile, Japan has been enjoyed conquering stuff and wants MORE, and the next thing on their list is this part of China (Qingdao) and lots of tiny islands. All of that stuff belongs to Germany, which just had war declared on it by Britain, 'cuz Britain was friends with Belgium, which was being trespassed by Germany in order to get to France to kick France's ass because France is friends with Russia, who was getting ready to kick Austria's ass because Austria was getting to kick Serbia's ass because someone from Serbia shot the leader of Austria's ass - er, actually, he shot him in the head. And Britain is currently friends with Japan. So you know what that means.
Duh, JAPAN SHOULD TAKE THE ISLANDS, which they wanted to do anyway, so they called Britain on the tele(gram) to, sort of, "let them know." And then they did it. And then they also helped Britain with some errands and stuff.
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