Ōka no Kuni
Ōka no Kuni is a secluded island country ruled by traditional feudalism. The island this land resides in is called Sakurashima. Cherry blossoms bloom year round and is claimed as a natural occurrence on the island. The country occasionally gets travelers, many of which stay and marry into the society. The land is rich in beauty, history, and lore with a culture that is history to most nations.
The capitol is known as Ōka; this is where the royal family and many of the nobility reside. According to legend, the capitol is protected by the magical powers possessed by those in the royal family, who are descended from the goddess Amaterasu. The cherry blossoms around the capitol lull intruders to sleep and make it nearly impossible to find the city. Most travelers who make it within the village have awoken in the hospital, not remembering how they got there.
Most of the inhabitants are farmers or merchants. The farmers main crops are rice, tea, and herbs for the medical facilities located throughout the nation. Medicine is an extremely important profession, but only the very best and brightest who graduate from the Medical University in the capitol can become doctors and experts in the field.
Trade is another economic industry the country relies on. Despite its lack of contact with the outside world, Ōka no Kuni allows individual traders within its ports. The country lacks treaties with neighboring nations, preferring to remain to itself.
Peace is very important to the people. Hence why they are highly religious. Temples and shrines dot the land, with the highest concentration of places of worship within the capitol. Each village and town has at least one shrine. Education revolves not only around the typical reading, writing, and math skills, but philosophy, the arts, and diplomacy, not wanting issues, even between neighbors.
According to the history of Ōka no Kuni, the goddess Amaterasu founded the island and bestowed upon it, its immeasurable beauty. She fell in love with a human and gave birth to the man who would become the first Emperor. As punishment for loving a human, the other deities turned the goddess into a giant cherry blossom tree the resides in the center of the village and is blocked off by amulets and prayer tags. Only the members of the royal family are allowed access to the tree. It was the only life on Oka no Kuni to be unaffected by the plague, leaving all other trees with lighter colored petals and warped, darker colored bark.
Ōka no Kuni has a long line of Emperors. Time is kept in the land according to the reign of the emperor as well as the actual year. For instance, Kashikoi 22 would be the 22nd Year of the Emperor Kashikoi's reign. During their lifetime, the Emperor is referred to by his given name (ex: When the Yasashī Emperor was alive, he was referred to as Emperor Musashi). The name given at his death is used to refer to the time during his reign. Their surname, Hanamoto, is unknown by many.
Most Recent Line of Emperors
- Kashikoi Emperor: Seishiro = Emperor Seishiro was one of the most clever emperors to have ruled over the country. He brought great prosperity to the nation and reform such as the allowance for foreigners to marry the inhabitants of Sakurashima, which under former rulers was previously not allowed with many foreigners being restricted to certain parts of the island.
- Sōryo Emperor: Hikaru = Emperor Hikaru was different from his father and predecessor, the Kashikoi Emperor. He preferred concentration to be focused upon the culture of the country. One of the more religious Emperors, he impressed upon the people that the Royal Family were the direct descendants of Amaterasu, reminding them that they (along with the nobility) were above the average human. His rule showed a slight return to tradition for his frowning upon the mix of blood between foreigners and inhabitants.
- Yasashī Emperor: Musashi = Emperor Musashi's reign was one of the shorter reigns in the history of the nation, but he is remembered as one of the most beloved Emperors. It was Musashi who brought the Royal Family and Nobility back to the people. There was some turmoil between the Counsel and Emperor Musashi, since many of the council were remnants from his father's reign. He was more similar to the Kashikoi Emperor than the Sōryo Emperor. Alas, his reign came to an abrupt and tragic end, thanks to his younger sister, Hone-onna, known to the villagers as Mikoto. The power hungry woman caused not only his demise, but her own.
- The nation was in a state turmoil as the true heir to the throne is in the process of being located. It was rumored that Mikoto had an affair with a foreigner, only known by his surname, Senju. She left for a brief time, supposedly visiting the man's family as they were preparing to possibly marry. When she returned, it was said she looked as though she had put on "baby weight" and the Senju also disappeared from the country, never returning while the Princess Mikoto remained celibate for the remainder of her life. Recent information has come out that she possibly had two daughters, one by the name of Rena, and suspicion has been cast upon a shepherd named Hinagiku, who lived right outside the capitol. It would be Rena who ascended the throne.
- Heiwa Empress: Rena = Empress Rena also had a short reign like her predecessor, the Yasashī Emperor. She was the illegitimate daughter of Princess Hone-onna and was raised off the island. Unlike the past rulers, she practiced Buddhism rather than the traditional Shintoism. Rena was also the first female ruler. At the time she came to power, the country had been decimated by an incurable disease. Rena oversaw the treatment and recovery of the island. Her reign was dominated by internal discord due to the disease as well as the illegitimacy of her own birth; her blood was considered tainted by Traditionalists, however due to being viewed as the descendant of a Goddess, her blood was more "potent" than other nobles. She maintained a shaky peace between factions and also won support of the people when she got rid of many of the Royal Family's possessions in an attempt to help those in need. Rena married a man outside of the nobility in an attempt to maintain the fragile peace between the families, a move that displeased the Traditionalists. She died giving birth to her second child, Princess Hitomu.
- Seishun Emperor: Hiroaki = Emperor Hiroaki is the young ruler of Oka no Kuni, his mother, the Heiwa Empress, passing when he was at the tender age of three. His father was banished from the capitol after the death of his mother, his upbringing at the control of the Imperial Court. Only time will tell what the Boy Emperor will do.
Imperial Court (Nobles)
The nobles are said to have a little of the blood of Amaterasu running through their veins and are typically married to Emperors. The nobility began as those born to Emperors who did not gain the throne. The noble families have been narrowed down to specific families.
- Mizuki: The Mizuki family, although the smallest of the noble families, has a good deal of power, thanks to their status as the oldest of the noble families. Their current head is Mizuki Daichi and their potential candidate for the throne is Lady Aihime, a potential wife of the Yasashī Emperor. She has been entrusted with foreign diplomacy due to her polite and peaceful demeanor, one the of the most loving individuals in the capitol.
- Nishimori: The Nishimori is the largest of the noble families and were given a good deal of power under the reign of the Sōryo Emperor with the marriage to the Empress Azami. It is rumored that the clan is corrupt,
seeking to place the heir of the clan, Nishimori Tsugiri on the throne so as to continue the power the family has had since the Sōryo Emperor. A defining trait of the Nishimori clan is their love for religion, donating many of their fortunes to the temples. It is a face that the current head of one temple is a Nishimori.
But one rumor persists. Right before the absence of Princess Mikoto, the former potential candidate, Nishimori Masahide, was banished from Sakurashima due to his affair with a foreign woman who had spoken against the Royal Family, denouncing them as "Amaterasu's Children" and failing to obey laws. It was even suspected that the pair had been plotting to overthrow the Yasashī Emperor and take over for themselves. Fukatani Megumi, the widow of an Aoyama man, was sent to keep an eye on them and properly raise "any child to come into their care".
- Aoyama: The Aoyama is a very neutral family and was the most trusted clan during the rule of the Yasashī Emperor. They believe that the job of the nobility is to serve the Royal Family without hesitation. Many male
members of the clan become samurai and become direct bodyguards of the Royal Family. The current head of the Aoyama clan is Aoyama Atsutomo, who is also an important General. Their contender for the throne is Aoyama Chuuya, an officer in the Emperor's guard. It was Lord Chuuya who killed Princess Mikoto, right after she murdered her brother, the Yasashī Emperor. Believing her to be an intruder and after the discovery of the Emperor's body, Lord Chuuya shot an arrow at her, piercing her straight through the heart.
- Fukatani: The Fukatani are a minor clan with many talented physicians. It is the members of the Fukatani who typically become the personal physicians of the Royal Family. The Royal Midwives have all been of Fukatani lineage. As such, they are closest personally to the Emperor and his family and know every injury,
ailment, and genetic disorder. Their current head is Fukatani Fumihiko, the personal physician of Emperors Kashikoi, Sōryo, and Yasashī. Their contender for the throne is Fukatani Fumitake, the grandson of Lord Fumihiko. It was rumored that he was a close friend of Princess Mikoto as her personal physician and knows many if not all of her secrets.
It is also rumored that his elder sister, Fukatani Megumi was sent to keep an eye on the banished Nishimori Masahide and his wife. Her job also to "care for any child that should come under their care".
The Upper Class consists of the rich and educated elite, some of whom, marry into the Imperial Court.
1. Priests and Nuns: They have the most contact with the nobility other than the samurai. The Nishimori havea good deal of power over a few temples in the country.
2. Samurai: Those in the samurai class are guardians of the nobility, most notably the Royal Family. Many
samurai actually belong to the Aoyama family or can claim some form of lineage to it. They are stationed throughout the land, but their "homebase" is the capitol at Ōka. The most elite group of warriors are named the Shinsengumi and are required to wear a specific uniform
3. Physicians, Nurses, etc.: Those in the medical profession are regarded as extremely important within the country's society. Each village, town, etc. are required to have at least one physcian per every 20 households. They rely on more traditional forms of medicine and spend years in school. They start as scholars and only the brightest scholars are admitted into the Medical University.
4. High Scholars: Learned individuals that teach, learn, and record the history of the country. Some go on to become physicians. Many scholars are charged with architecture, archaeology, recording history, schooling, and the economy.
The middle class ranks follow as such...
1. Lower Scholars: These individuals do not earn as much as the High Scholars and are usually just starting out. Some still attend school. Many apprentice themselves out to High Scholars and Merchants.
2. Merchants: These include shopkeepers and traders. These people make their money selling, banking, and trading.
3. Employees of Merchants: Self explanatory. Ranges from shopkeepers to secretaries.
4. Hospital employees: These employees are secretaries and janitors.
5. Artisans: Potters, painters, dancers, singers, actors, woodworkers, etc.
6. Students and Apprentices
1. Courtesans: Geisha and Oiran; Not considered Artisans right now.
2. Higher Prostitutes: Charge more for their services and sometimes can compete with courtesans with artistic ability.
3. Landowners: Wealthy farmers or landowners who employ others to work their land (sharecropping).
4. Middle Prostitutes: Can afford their own homes and occasionally do other jobs.
5. Farmers: May own small plot of land or work for other Landowners.
6. Unemployed: Typically receive financial assistance.
7. Lower prostitutes: Usually must live with other prostitutes, on Landowner's land, or are homeless. Many live in oppressive conditions under a pimp or madame.
An area known for entertainment purposes that are sometimes frowned upon, the Courtesan District is a place that mainly interests the men of Ōka no Kuni, though has been known to attract women as well with its vast clothing and jewelry stores. It houses three well-known taverns and one major establishment dealing in lewd conduct.
A school ran mainly by the Shōgun and his or her men that really has no main area that they meet. Students are normally either hand picked by the Shōgun or the Emperor, for being a Samurai in the village grants one high honor and respect among the people. However, due to the pacifist nature of the village, the number of Samurai is limited.
A school ran by the Iemoto, the establishment focuses mainly on the arrangement of flowers and flowers themselves. A prominent feature of Ōka no Kuni is its flower shops, which are revered for their assorted arrangements, and this is where students (the majority of which are women) come to learn. It is located near the market district in the center of the village.
A medical university that has its sole purpose rooted in teaching students the different techniques associated with medicine, including herbal remedies and jutsu. However, this is not a school for medical-nin, as it does not teach any self-defense maneuvers or techniques. Its classes are held in the hospital rather than in a building and are taught by various medics.
Ran by the Ichō, the hospital in Ōka no Kuni is possibly one of the most famous for exceptional care and hospitality. Being a village that focuses mainly on healing and peace, it is no wonder this is so. The hospital is located within the residential area just before the Emperor's dwelling on the right.
Located in the residential district, the Emperor resides here on most occasions unless business calls him to his office in the back of the village. Situated in the midst of a lake, a single strip of land connects him to the rest of the village. A medium-sized cherry tree rests at the back of the house, shadowing it and giving it an otherworldly look. The home is currently unoccupied and closed off from any curious children or adults.
Located near the Emperor's office in the furthest area from the main gates, the people inside are specially trained sensors from the mainland and very few are blessed with the knowledge of them. Since the loss of life was so significant, remaining sensors in Oka no Kuni have since been given sentry duty alongside samurai. They travel the Outskirts, yet stray from the Forbidden Lands, to keep an eye on the rest of the island. These sensors look particularly frightening, even next to katana-wielding swordsmen, but they are effectively harmless on their own. They report any findings to the Captain of the samurai division- the decision on what should be done about any potential threats or anomalies is generally deferred to Council, though immediate issues are left to the Captain's judgement.
Located in what is now considered the Outskirts, the Forbidden Lands are the origin point of the unknown plague that decimated the island. Known as "Ground Zero" to some, this area is unusable for both living arrangements and farming, thus holds no use to civilians and has been effectively quarantined off by the religious sections of Oka no Kuni. If nearing these lands, one may notice a number of details about the area: barrier tags to ward off "wronged spirits" that supposedly haunt the land are hung from the many dead trees in the Forbidden Lands; the only life appears to be in the form of rust colored mushrooms, whose uses and effects on people have not been observed; and the huts of previous occupants still stand abandoned.
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The Goddess Tree. Tranquil by Logan Feliciano. Artstation
Goddess Tree 2. Sakura Garden by Merl1ncz. Deviantart
Geisha of Oka no Kuni. Geisha Artstation Challenge by Glory Jo. Artstation
Sensor Sentries. Under the Cherry Blossoms by Kyra P.. Artstation