Here's one more map entry for the RDNA-verse, right in time for the end of the year, covering the remaining Free Nations of East Asia, an element of the setting that until recently had been largely ignored. The DeviantArt version can be found here
The map, in addition to being a distant descendant of this 2010 entry
, serves as a significant retcon/rework for both the Sovereign State of Free China
and the Empire of Japan
, which both haven't really seen any development since 2011. It's also an opportunity to much more properly begin fleshing out the lore for both powers, as well as the Kingdom of Joseon, and their significance in the wider setting. It's at once familiar yet rather difference, to say the least. I also made a point to incorporate various elements of each nation's respective histories in a way that would make sense in-universe.
Also, and once more, this is a work of fiction. This is not a political or ideological screed. The politically incorrect details in the map and text as deliberately in-verse. In addition, depiction is not endorsement.
At any rate, hope you enjoy. Banzai!
The Free Nations of the Far Orient: General Introduction
Encompassing nearly 12,000,000 square km., the vast expanse of East Asia has historically been among the most significant regions of the world. Indeed, many of the Oriental peoples who reside here go back thousands of years into Antiquity, most notably the Chinese. Such cultural and political legacy endures still among the surviving Free Nations, for good or ill, in spite of being at the very fringes of the Collectivist Internationale.
The history of this corner of the globe, varied as it is, is at once distinct yet tied with its most prominent cultures. Over the course of a few centuries, the ancient lands of China saw the fall of the Ming Dynasty in 1640, the subsequent ascension of the Manchu or Ch'ing Dynasty, and an uprising in 1754 that brought about the native Fanrong Dynasty. This latter period, in turn, saw a gradual consolidation of power and by the mid-19th Century, a push for modernization that made the so-called Middle Kingdom on par with the Great Powers by 1910. In the islands of Japan, meanwhile, an age of civil war (known locally as the Sengoku Jidai
) led to the rise of the Edo Shogunate in 1606 and a period of relative isolationism. This state of affairs was shattered in the 1850s amidst both growing pressure from Western powers and Fanrong reforms, resulting in the old Chrysanthemum Throne being properly restored in 1863 and a similar if even more ambitious drive towards modernizing itself. Then, there's the Kingdom of Joseon, which though nominally a "tributary" to the giant realm across the Yalu River and Yellow Sea, managed to preserve its integrity and Korean culture. This firm desire to hold itself from being at the mercy from either its neighbors or the Europeans approaching their ports would make it a neutral mediator and trading hub, which served the ruling House of Yi well.
While the Terror's impact in East Asia was not as dramatically immediate as in Europe, it would nonetheless leave lasting scars on the region's remaining Free Nations. The crumbling of old Russia, combined with the breakdown of economic trade, prompted the Chinese Empire to enact increasingly stringent measures to clamp down on dissent, which were made more complicated by both secessionists and growing political discord. With the assassination of the Yongli Emperor in 1928, however, a Provisional Regency was hastily established in Nanking, which proved incapable of holding the fraying country together. As more provinces succumbed to disloyal governors and militant groups backed by the Internationale, the Regency was forced to move further south to loyalist-held territories in Fukien, Formosa (also known as Taiwan), Canton and Hainan. Allying with the Japanese and American Federation, these "Free Chinese" soon established a network of fortifications to fend off the slowly encroaching Collectivists. Yet by the 1930s, any hopes of liberating the mainland in its entirety within a decade dissipated. Combined with a growing perception that the Mandate of Heaven was lost forever, this contributed to the Enlightened Revolution of 1937, with republican elements within the Regency (known as the T'ung-meng Hui
or "United League") abolishing millennia of Imperial rule. It wouldn't be until the Min-ch'uan
Reforms of 1958, however, that proper democracy would be embraced and the Sovereign State of Free China truly began reasserting themselves as a major power in their own right, warts and all.
The Empire of Japan fared somewhat better by comparison. Although Imperial Japanese forces failed to stop the Collectivists' march through the shattered remains of the Russian Empire, and were themselves forced out of what was Karafuto Province in 1929 (though not before heavily fortifying the Kuriles), their efforts were said to be instrumental in slowing the enemy's expansion and allowing many more Russians to escape, including the somewhat assimilated Roshiajin
in the island of Hokkaido. Through its alliance with the Free Chinese, a defence pact with Joseon (until 2003) and the support of the Royalist "Three Crowns," the realm also became (and remains to this day) a crucial military, naval and atomic vanguard against the Internationale in the region. The Japanese are also known for more than their martial prowess, however, or for the samurai
clans that have since joined the aristocracy. Despite the constant threats, these have failed to stifle the gradual democratic reforms that had been enacted since the Restoration of 1863. Though barely noticeably at first, this eventually brought about the emancipation of natives like the Ainu, greater liberties for all citizens and the establishment of a firm civil counterbalance against any internal threats, among others. That this aided in its rise as an economic and technological power on par with the New World, as well as its emergence as a hegemon strong enough to influence Free China in a manner that mirrors somewhat the predicament of the Legitimate Union of Brazil, could not be discounted, either.
The Kingdom of Joseon likewise fared admirably, at least initially. Despite sporadic attempts by rogue Chinese generals and later Collectivist forces to invade the peninsula from 1929 to 1950, the Koreans proved themselves to be stubbornly defiant, winning a series of valiant if costly battles before permanently securing the Yalu River from further incursions. As time went on, however, growing fears of subversive elements within Joseon's government and alleged interventions by the Japanese in local affairs began breeding militant groups and secret societies, many of which became enamored by the examples set by Australia, Colombia and other Reactionary states. Codifying a form of Reactionarism promoting the supremacy of the Korean race, a firebrand military commander named Chang Myon-seon secretly brought the disparate factions under one banner (known in English as the "United Front") in 1988, while gradually building up support for his cause among the Royal Armed Forces. Eventually, this boiled over with the 2003 Summer Coup, ostesibly in response to a supposed ceding of sovereignty to Japan. Though superficially retaining elements of the Royalist government, to the point of paying homage to the Phoenix Throne, in practice the new regime almost immediately proceeded to remake Joseon in its image, with King Yeong said to be in power only as a puppet. Severing ties with its neighbors, it joined the League of Neutral Defiance in 2007 and has since been extolling the return of Joseon to its rightful place in the world. Although there remain dissidents, backed by exiled opposition officials, the armed strongholds along the borders, now bolstered with Australian arms, have remained firm. At least for the moment.
Even in such a reduced form, the remaining Free Nations of the Far Orient still offer much for enterprising visitors and foreign powers alike. Few would deny that they have not earned their place in the Free World, or done their part in keeping the flames of freedom against the darkness and its obliteration of the self in the name of its Will.
- "The World Almanac of Nations." American Federation. 2023 Edition.
For added trivia, the Romanization for the Chinese terms and placenames used is derived from the archaic Wade-Giles system
, which in real life was eventually replaced by Hanyu Pinyin (though variations persist in modern Taiwan). Amoy, for instance, is the older rendering of Xiamen, while Fukien is that for Fujian. Similarly, the Korean used is based on the McCune-Reischauer system
, which in real life was used in South Korea until 2002 and remains utilized in altered form by North Korea.
The Free Chinese flag is based off of the Five Races Under One Union
flag (itself derived from the Five Elements in Chinese symbology), meant to represent the five major ethnic groups of Imperial and later Republican China (the Han, Manchus, Mongols, Muslim "Hui" and the Tibetans). The emblem is that of the Twelve Symbols
(also based on traditional Chinese symbolism).
The ruling T'ung-meng Hui
is a reference to the real life Tongmenghui secret society/underground resistance, which eventually became the Kuomintang/KMT. Coincidentally, the Min-ch'uan
Reforms are a nod to Minquan
, one of the Three Principles of the People in Sun Yat Sen's republican philosophy, which translates to "democracy." While the last Fanrong sovereign is named posthumously (if ironically) after the last monarch of the Ming Dynasty, the Yongli (or "Perpetual calendar") Emperor
In addition to the Japanese flag incorporating a stylized version of the Imperial Seal (based on the Emperor's own Imperial Standard
), the country's evolution is based on both Taisho Democracy and to a degree, Post-War Japan.
The Kingdom of Joseon's flag and emblem are a combination of the real life ones
used by Joseon until the 19th Century and those of the short-lived Korean Empire
(which lasted until 1910). The rise of Reactionarism among the Koreans in the timeline, however, is a combination of the militarist takeover of Japan in the 1930s and the rise of Fascist Italy (complete with the retention of a powerless monarchy).