The State of Kipan
Motto: "All in Balance, Together in Harmony"
Anthem: The Sun Rises Tomorrow
and largest city
|Government||Unitary presidential republic|
• 2018 census
• Per capita
|Time zone||UTC -7|
The State of Kipan is a Unitary presidential republic, formerly the Empire of Kipan, located on a series of islands off the coast of Aurelia. It is a land of contrasts from the calm spiritualism of their Achura philosophy to the pure chaos of raw capitalism. This dynamic has developed over the course of the people’s history. The nation’s population is 48,890,371, 90% of whom live on the island of Matigu. Kipan’s capital is the sprawling metropolis of Miyako. After centuries of Imperial rule, Kipan enters unchartered waters as a new Republic.
Known Kipanese history begins in the 5th Century where crude records show dozens of clans of various size fighting one another for control of the numerous islands of Kipan. None could maintain firm control over more than a third of the entire Kipanese islands. The Isa was the closest when they came to dominate all Posku. It is during this time that the clans would pay mercenaries called Kinsho, to fight for their side. The conflicts would end in 1015 when Tekagi, through a combination of diplomacy and strength of arms, unified the clans under one banner and established the Empire of Kipan, making his stronghold of Aso, as his capital following the Battle of Sagami. With peace over the Empire, this period would be considered a period of great art and beauty. There had always been a variety of beliefs throughout the islands, but during the subsequent two decades, Achura Spiritualism took the nation by storm and before long, everyone was an adherent.
Unfortunately, the period of peace would not last. During the reign of the Yellow Empire’s Zhanfang Emperor, a vast Treasure Fleet was dispatched to not just explore the world but to bring back wealth to their Imperial master. This fleet made its way into the Kipanese Islands. The first contact happened in 1248. At first, both sides had a mutual curiosity for the other and an exchange of culture and language occurred. But this quickly changed when the Fleet’s Commander demanded a tribute from the reigning Emperor. He refused and banished them from the Empire. In response, several Kipanese coastal cities are raided, their treasures taken. In the aftermath, the Emperor orders the construction of a Navy to fight off other potential attacks that may come from far away. The Yellow Empire and the Empire of Kipan engage in a few skirmishes over the next 250 years until the demise of the former in 1545. Kipan would be in isolation until the arrival of new foreigners: the Variots.
In 1624, a small fleet of 5 Variot ships arrived over the horizon from Kipan, seeking foreign goods to trade back home. Emperor Mito immediately responded by deploying his Navy to intercept them, taking the experiences of the conflicts of the past with the Yellow Empire, to heart. Though the Kipanese had more ships, they were not nearly as advanced nor as well-armed as the Variots. A standoff would endure for four days until the Emperor met the leaders of the Variot traders. A consensus is reached and Mito declares that the Variots may trade, but could only remain on a small island a short distance from the mainland in Nakazami Bay.
This relationship would last well into the 1800’s and be for the most part amicable except for an incident that occurred in 1691 where several Variot priests who had come over on a ship attempted to convert five Kipanese to their brand of Christianity. The Emperor was outraged and threatened to remove all Variots and destroy their trade monopoly. In response, the Variots pledged to cease any conversion activities to keep their lucrative trade alive.
The Variot monopoly and the country’s all-in-name isolation ended in 1851 when a joint Iverican/Limonaian flotilla of ships arrived, demanding the nation open to all. Emperor Seto refused to comply but his son, Udo, knew the tremendous power that could come to Kipan if it ceased its seclusion. Hence, Udo would conspire with the foreigners, forcing Seto to abdicate and giving the throne to Udo who immediately embraced western social and military institutions, while also merging Kipanese traditional culture for modern industrialization and globalization. Modern technology was eagerly applied across all sectors including transportation. Kipan became an industrial and urban country. Under Udo, he would declare the city of Miyako the new capital, abandoning Aso, which had been the capital since 1015. In just 25 years, Miyako grew to over a million inhabitants from just 100,000 as hundreds of thousands flock from the rural areas to take up work in the new factories.
Udo’s successors carried on the ‘Transformation.’ They would form the enhanced Imperial Army and brand-new modern navy. The rapid industrialization had improved the quality of life of millions but it put tremendous strain on the limited resources of the Kipanese Islands. The Emperors would establish a range of colonies along the coastline of (direction) (continent), out of the necessity of procuring the resources required to keep its factories running. There were some calls for democracy, along with the lines found in many Eurth countries at the time but these were negated through social welfare programs. At the turn of the century, the full-blown capitalist system that exists today emerged. Many of the large, vertical enterprises (Keiretsu) were formed including Samura Heavy Industries and the Obata Corporation, both instrumental in the military buildup of the Kipanese Imperial Forces.
[Some event occurs in 1941-1947] Thalassian War?
Following (conflict) end in 1947, the Empire’s ruler decided to relinquish its (continent) colonies in the spirit of goodwill and future cooperation. Doing this may have gained him international praise, there were some individuals both at home and in the now-former colonies who vigorously disapproved of the move. Those in the colonies felt they had been abandoned to their unworthy successors. This move would come back in the early days of the Republic. With their guaranteed resources taken away, the Keiretsus began their move to dominate the entire Kipanese economy over the subsequent decades. After the war, they had control of half of it. By 1980, they maintained nearly 75% through many smaller companies and subsidiaries they had acquired both at home and abroad.
The Emperor remained both the Head of State and Government throughout the latter half of the century though there were repeated calls for democracy. These only got louder in the late 1980’s when the National Police were called in to disperse several demonstrations calling for a constitutional monarchy. Though no one was killed, hundreds were arrested and released weeks later. Emperor Ozu, who had come to the throne in 1990 (born 1940), was already in his early 40’s when he succeeded his father. Ozu’s reign was along the lines of Udo’s generations before but he was a benevolent father to his people: offering them higher education virtually for free and near-universal healthcare for all. But he was a realist and knew that democracy was inevitable. Giving them social programs would only delay it. He died in the summer of 2018 and in his will and testament, formally abolished the monarchy. This paved the way for a true Republic to take root in Kipan. The Emperor’s late Chamberlain takes over a temporary caretaker until the work of the Hundred is complete.
With the Monarchy no longer empowered, a group of one-hundred individuals, listed by the former Emperor as an addendum to his testament were summoned to the small town of Ryuku to draft and implement a new constitution. This is completed is one month as they take the best practices and lessons from abroad, messing them with traditions at home. Amongst the delegates in the room are those representing some of the largest corporations of the country – who now run the economy. They would use their influence to morph the constitution in such a way to benefit their bottom lines. With the new Constitution approved, the Chair of the Committee is formally appointed as Interim President of the newborn Republic until elections were held a month later. In early October 2018, Kazuo Yamazaki became the 1st President of the State of Kipan, defeating Akio Ono 53%-47%. Now with a new leader, the real challenge begins, to steer the State into the future. It is not without challenges, however, the country faces a major housing crisis, fisheries are getting harder to come by, the former colonies want to rejoin Kipan, organized crime, and corporate interloping in the political system to a far greater extent. Only time will tell how this experiment will fare.
Geography and Climate
The nation is made up of several islands, the three largest being Matigu, Orieku, and Poksu, all located in the Thalassian Sea. As the nation has a limited amount of land, nearly 90% of the population resides in the country’s largest cities including Miyako, Nakazami, Jinyo, and Aso, making Kipan one of the most urbanized on Eurth. Mount Makapu is the highest point on the island of Matigu and is in the shadow of Miyako. It is a volcano which hasn’t erupted since the 1300’s, leaving many to suspect that it is permanently dormant but there have been reports that such an event should occur soon, adding to the challenges facing the new administration. The most important freshwater lake in Kipan is Lake Saaika, which provides Miyako with all its water. Another lake is Osara. There are several rivers of note including Saru, the Aka, and the Kiso. The islands of Motsu, Matias, and Oriteseru round out the Kipanese chain. Regarding climate, the islands belong in the temperate zone with humid subtropical classification, though there is some variation as to how far north or south you go on Posku or Orieku.
Prior to the Udo Transformation, the economy was dominated by the agricultural and fishing sectors. There was limited mining since the islands possessed limited mineral wealth. There were some individuals who focused on the production of luxury items desired abroad, taken away on Variot trading vessels. Once the nation was forcibly opened to the wider world, everything changed. Wide-scale industrialization and urbanization occurred. Vast textile plants, steel mills, and assembly plants were built – all demanding resources. This was rectified by the establishment of colonies. Taking advantage of the capitalist system, large vertical corporations or Keiretsu blossomed. Today, they control nearly 80% of the economy through their dozens of smaller firms and wider subsidiaries.
The major keiretsu are:
- Samura Heavy Industries
- Obata Corporation
- Renzu Corporation
- Kishiro Technologies
- Nishino Corporation
- Ariake Group
- Yashida Corporation
- Kamida Corporation
- Fuyo Group
- Sato Corporation
The major sectors of the economy today are dramatically different than they were during the mid-late Empire. These including Automotive, IT/Software/Technology, Tourism, Electronics, Pharmaceuticals, Heavy Machinery, Steel, Textiles, Processed Foods, Chemicals, and Shipbuilding.
Agriculture and fishing is still a component of the wider economy but with limited land and most of it unsuitable for farming, the number of individuals partaking in this sector is small. This is equally true of fishing as many of the traditional fisheries are running low on population. Between the two, this could lead to a massive food crisis for the heavily-urbanized population. This is just one other reason why there will be calls for former colonies to be reclaimed by the newborn Republic.
The national currency is the Ken (K) which is overseen by the Bank of Kipan. It has no fractional units.
Infrastructure and Transportation
The State has a robust transportation network including highways and railways. There are over a million kilometers of paved roadway. Out of the total, there are 8,000 kilometers of limited-access high-speed expressways connecting the major cities. These high-capacity roads are all tolled. Cars are driven on the left-hand side of the road. Though there is high car ownership, a considerable amount of travel is by rail.
Kipan Railways once had a monopoly over all rail but starting in the 1950’s the keiretsus got involved in the railway market. For them, it is associated with their relevant real estate divisions. Today, the private sector is responsible for over 60% of the passenger and freight movements on the national network. Miyako's Kaanaiisiga (Public Transport System) handles over 7 million riders every day.
Given the fact that Kipan is a series of islands, air travel is critical. Miyako’s Rishiri International Airport is the main aviation gateway. It is the hub for Kipan Airlines. Fuchsia Air, a low-cost carrier, is also based at the airport. The largest port is Nakazami. Ryuujin (a subsidy of the Renzu Corporation) is one of the dozens of cargo lines. Shukensha is a preeminent Leisure Cruise Line (and a subsidy of the Yashida Corporation), taking Kipanese all around the world.
Kipan is a unitary presidential republic, led by the President. He/she is the Head of State and Government, and the Commander-in-Chief of the Kipanese Defense Forces. They are elected directed by the People to a four-year term though they can run for reelection for as many times as they want. The President can issue pardons and commutations for offenses committed against the State. He/she can either accept legislation submitted to them by the Assembly or veto them. To help the President run the day-to-day affairs of Kipan, they appoint a series of individuals to serve in the cabinet, each with a portfolio of responsibility. The President can be removed from office by a 3/4ths vote of the Assembly.
The laws of the State are written, debated, and approved by the unicameral legislature, the Assembly. It is made up of 451 members of various political parties. Members of the Assembly are elected through party-list proportional voting using the D'hondt method. They are elected to four-year terms and can run for reelection for as many times as they wish. Each member represents a district of Kipan. Due to the heavy urbanization of the country, most seats are allocated to the major cities. This has caused tremendous frustration for the small number of individuals living in the rural parts of the islands. The three major parties are the center-right Rikken, the liberal Minshu, and the socialist Mindori.
Ever since the Udo Transformation, much of the judiciary has been maintained along the standards seen across much of the world. However, up until 10 years before Emperor Ozu’s death, the-then Empire had maintained the position that an individual was guilty until he was proven innocent. Ozu upended five centuries of legal decisions by proclaiming that the inverse would be adhered to going forward in all court cases. There are separate court systems for civil matters and those in the realm of criminality. The highest court in the entire State is the Supreme Court, which handles matters of constitutionality.
Despite good intentions, the Kipanese government system is flawed as the Keiretsu played a hand in developing the Ryuku Constitution, getting some of their watered-down clauses incorporated into the final document by threatening to destabilize the entire economy. A major success they had achieved is the minor level of interference the Government can have in regulating the economy across all sectors.
The Kipanese Defense Forces are the unified military forces responsible for ensuring the territorial integrity of the Kipanese Islands. It has 300,000 personnel on active duty across the Army, Navy, Air Force, the Masako (special forces), and Intelligence branches. For much of Kipan’s Imperial history, the military was strictly for defensive purposes. This role changed during the late Udo, as Emperor Zayasu, under the urging of the Keiretsus, used the military to claim a range of colonies to fuel the Empire’s constantly-expanding industries. After the Thalassian War, the KDF returned to a strictly defensive posture, a position the newborn Republic will maintain. However, there are elements who wish for the KDF to be used to reclaim the lost colonies. Samura Heavy Industries and the Obata Corporation have been longstanding suppliers to the military.
Law Enforcement and Crime
Enforcement of the laws across Kipan is handled by the Kipanese National Police (Kempeitai) who are vastly under-resourced and undermanned. The Police Commissioner is appointed by the President. The National Police were established under Emperor Udo as one of the first foreign institutions he adopted as part of his larger nationwide transformation efforts. The total manpower numbers just below 75,000 officers, 50% less than what is needed to keep proper order. Organized crime is high in many urban areas, especially in Miyako. These include Hogosha (who have ties to Samura Heavy Industries), the Kaizoku, the Kagemusha, and the Onikanabo. They have their hand in many activities, some quite illegal. Whenever the Police manage to arrest a member of these organizations, they tend to avoid incarceration either because powerful individual bribes their colleagues out or whatever evidence they had on them simply vanish. Because of the low level of keeping criminals locked up, police brutality is usually higher than what is deemed acceptable. The President intends to clean up the corruption in the police and increase incarceration rates. A battle between the underworld and the Government is inevitable and the Corporations are watching, closely. The National Police has access to the paramilitary 'Special Unit' to assist in high-risk operations.
Society and Culture
Kipanese society and culture is a blend of traditional and contemporary influences. There continues to be a lingering presence of cultural infusions from the former Yellow Empire Treasure Fleet to this day. The nation’s contemporary impacts were gained during the transformational Udo period.
Education in Kipan is mandatory at the elementary and secondary levels between the ages of 5-18. Most students attend public schools supported by the State but there are a small number who attend private academies, though this is usually most those who are very wealthy. Under many of the Udo Emperors, education was a priority to provide the burgeoning industrial plants with skilled laborers. Since the Thalassian War, the school system has been a means for individuals to climb the social ladder. The demand for highly technical labor hasn’t ceased and the curriculum has been focused on the STEM-related subject matter though all individuals are still given a well-rounded basic education. Most graduates at the secondary level move onto higher education at universities and technical institutes across the country. This was only made possible by former Emperor Ozu’s proclamation of making tertiary education virtually free for all. The most important educational institution in the country is Miyako University, founded by Emperor Udo himself.
The Kipanese have always enjoyed a free press, even under the Empire. There are numerous television and radio networks, along with newspapers and magazines. NBK (National Broadcasting Corporation of Kipan) is the state-owned operator, funded through license fees, though many of the keiretsus have their own private networks and channels. For the most part, variety shows, serial dramas, and news constitute most evening shows. Foreign shows are also widely broadcast. The Kyono Shimbun is the most-read daily newspaper in Kipan with a daily circulation of over 10 million. Almost all Kipanese households have access to the internet and at least one television set. Mobile communications have penetrated most of society with nearly 9 in 10 possessing a cell phone.
Kipanese people love movies, especially films set during the transformational Udo period, monster films, films about the nation’s organized crime element, science-fiction, and anime – both imported from Fulgistan and those created at home. The Yashida Corporation controls much of the entertainment market alongside Ariake. When they are not watching TV or movies in a cinema, the Kipanese are prolific readers and writers, much of it influenced from the Sunset Sea Islands or romance novels, based upon storylines from Variota. Poetry is widespread and actively taught in the school system. Music also plays an important element in Kipanese culture. Isa folk music formed the basis of much of the music produced until the Udo period. Classical music was brought over by foreign ships. While classical still plays an important pillar in the nation’s musical repatriate, popular music from both home and abroad have taken over, along with electronic.
Cuisine in Kipan is based on combining the staple food, which is steamed white rice, with one or several main dishes and side dishes. This may be accompanied by a soup. Seafood is widely consumed, meats less soon, though it’s beginning to rise. Noodles are big at any time of day. Spirits and tea are the predominant beverages. Beer as a beverage was introduced during the Udo and is now drank almost as much as traditional tea. Fast food consumption has surged in the last few decades.
Recreationally, Kipanese love sports ranging from football (administered through the Kipanese Football Association's K1, K2, and K3 Leagues) and sumo to boxing, motorsport, and tennis. Those of higher wealth engage in honorable fencing, and horse racing. Tado marital arts are also quite popular. Gambling is also big, even though it is technically gambling is illegal (the corporations would rather it be fully legal) and this has given the nation’s organized criminal element a space to occupy. Some of the largest criminal clans have raised tens of millions of Kens in ill-gotten bets on motor races, football matches, and sumo competitions. There have been calls from some members of the Assembly to make the enterprise legal to deprive the organized crime lords a vital source of income. There are four nationwide festivals that well-attended up and down the country: the Sakura Festival, the New Year Celebration, the Lantern Festival, and the Cherry Blossom Festival.