The village/country/continent in a Medieval European Fantasy
world which has inexplicably (and suspiciously) fashioned
itself off Jidai Geki
. Filled with ninja
and/or samurai, this is where katanas, oni, kitsune, pagodas and sushi all pour out into the rest of the world.
These places are frequently a mashup of various Japanese eras
, maybe flavored with a little bit of China, and — in a nod to real history — are usually xenophobic
. The background music will be stereotypical Asian instruments, if not a public domain tune.
This can perhaps be attributed to the fact that most console RPG publishers are Japanese. However, such a place may not stand out so much if the setting includes other non-European Fantasy Counterpart Cultures. Katanas Are Just Better
, Everything's Better with Samurai
, and Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja
are related phenomena. See also Jidai Geki
and Far East
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- Fullmetal Alchemist: The country of Xing is very China-esque, as opposed to Amestris, which feels a lot more like No Swastikas Nazi Germany. It's a totally different country, and across a vast desert, so the differences are justified.
- Saber Marionette J: Japoness.
- There is an island in One Piece somewhere in the extremely dangerous stretch of ocean known as the New World that's themed on feudal Japan. It's even called "Wa no kuni" (or Wano country in some translations), which was a name given to Japan.
- There's also Amazon Lily, which is clearly based off ancient China, and shares similarities with Jungle Japes.
- The Fabled Lands had Akatsurai, based on Japan at around the time of the Meiji Restoration.
- Fighting Fantasy has Hachiman (medieval Japan) and the Isles of the Dawn (China-like).
- Protector of the Small The Yamani Islands, first introduced into the Tortall Universe in this quartet. Apart from the magic aspects of the setting, there's not much difference between them and feudal Japan.
- The Agatean Empire in Discworld.
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- The sourcebook Oriental Adventures details Asiatic lands further, with their own races, classes, and politics. It even presents Rokugan (originally a standalone game) as a D&D setting featuring nothing but this. The trope is played straight if one is playing Spelljammer and feels like visiting the Rokugan world.
- Forgotten Realms: The original 1st edition of Kara-Tur had Kozakura representing Sengoku/Warring States-era Japan, and Wa representing Tokugawa/Bakufu-era Japan.
- Eberron has Sarlona, although that one's more like North Korea than China or Japan. Adar greatly resembles Tibet, too.
- The GURPS Sourcebook GURPS Banestorm includes, amongst its many pseudo-European and pseudo-Arabian nations, the nation of Sahud, a definitely Japanese-inspired kingdom with strong Chinese, Korean, and Mongolian elements. This is justified in that, like all of Banestorm's human cultures, Sahud was founded by humans from the very cultures it represents.
- Pathfinder: The iconic setting, Golarion, has its own version in the form of the continent Tian Xia.
- Magic: The Gathering has a pseudo-example in the plane of Kamigawa.
- A better example is the Empire of Madara on the plane of Dominaria.
- In Warhammer 40,000, the Tau are this to the Imperium of Man. The Tau borrow heavily from Japanese, Chinese, and even some Indian culture mixed in with Animesque Mini-Mecha, while the Imperium is pretty much all the worst from Nazi Germany, The British Empire, The Soviet Union, and Inquisitorial-era Spain wrapped up in one big galaxy-spanning package. Not that the Tau are much better, mind you.
- Before this, the Eldar came across as very oriental. Their Aspect Warriors train in temples to combat styles named after animals, and if that isn't enough, maybe the curved swords, shuriken guns and back banners might do it for you. They also view the western-stylized humans of the setting as hairy barbarian upstarts, and isolate themselves on their planetoid-sized colony ships. However, since the introduction of the Tau, they've moved away from the Asian theme somewhat, with more influences from Celtic mythology and culture being thrown in along with good old Tolkien-esque Elfish-ness.
- Legend of the Five Rings have an inversion of this trope: The Unicorn Clan. They started as Kirin clan, went to the European equivalent of this world (long story), and then return significantly changed. For starter, they are the only ones who can touch dead bodies without losing honor.
- BattleTech features two flavors of this. The first is the military dictatorship of the Draconis Combine who follow a Imperial Japanese style complete with Mechwarriors who follow Bushido, and have samurai themed mechs. The second is the Capellan Confederation who are more of an autocratic China.
- In 1701 A.D.: The Sunken Dragon - the Asian empire features prominently.
- Dragon Fable and AdventureQuest Worlds both have Yokai Isle, which is quite Japanese in general motif, but which also celebrates the Chinese New Year every so often.
- Breath of Fire IV: Hesperia.
- Dark Souls has the unvisited mysterious Far East, which serves to mainly as a source of samurai and ninja for the game.
- Diablo III has Xiansai, where both Covetous Shen and the Wizard hail from, and is quite Chinese in general motif, but is never visited in-game.
- Dragon Quest III: Zipangu, one of many Fantasy Counterpart Cultures in the game.
- The Elder Scrolls: Akavir is a mishmash of Chinese (Ka Po' Tun), Japanese (Tsaesci), and less prominent Indian (Tang Mo) and Mongol (Kamal) Fantasy Counterpart Cultures. Of course, these lands have never been represented in an actual game so far, and exist in the lore pretty much to justify the appearance of katana and tanto in the weapon list.
- This is more justified than in many western fantasy settings, as the provinces of Tamriel do draw on very different cultural backgrounds for inspiration. Whilst Cyrodiil and High Rock are typical medieval fantasy settings (High Rock being more British and Cyrodiil being more Roman), Hammerfell is grounded in Arabian Nights Days, and Skyrim has a similar (but distinct) Norse theme, Morrowind had a setting radically different to most western medieval settings, and the other provinces which have not been shown in games are shown to have very different cultures.
- Enchanted Arms has a city that is in fact called Kyoto City (one of three cities named after real life counterparts) full of samurais, ninjas, a shogun, and Oriental-esque music.
- Final Fantasy:
- Final Fantasy VII: The infamous Wutai for which this trope is named.
- Although, first there was Eblan in Final Fantasy IV. If you wanted to, you could argue that the nation of Fabul in the same game has parallels to China, as well.
- Doma from Final Fantasy VI, although Cyan is the only representative from that culture that the player sees during the game, considering the rest of the city gets wiped out in his introductory cutscene.
- Gaia Online has the Zen Gardens, a Japanese Botanical Garden filled with Sakura Trees, animated japanese decor, and an adorable Miko. Oh, and Ninjas.
- Golden Sun series:
- The village of Izumo. Every single village/town/city is based on some culture from around the world, as is every landmark, if you look into it enough.
- The sequel, Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, has the China-like countries of Kaocho and Sana and the Japan-like village of Yamata (which is part of the island chain of Nihan, itself named after the Japanese name for Japan, Nihon, and vaguely shaped like Japan as well).
- Guild Wars The first expansion takes place in Cantha, specifically designed by the game's American producers as a blend of ancient China, Japan, India, Thailand, and virtually everything else from southern and eastern Asia, from landscape to culture to art design, and it works magnificently and believably, given that it's its own distinct section of the world, separated from the conventionally European fantasy realms by a wide ocean.
- LittleBigPlanet: The Islands.
- Magic Knight Rayearth: Fahren. Fuu specifically muses on how it seems to be a combination of Japan and China, much to its princess's irritation.
- In Mega Man Battle Network, Electopia is basically modern Japan. We meet its Wutai area, End City, in game 5.
- Mushroom Men: Shiitake Town . Technically, it's found in the same, vaguely-located town of Meteor Falls as the rest of the game, but it's where the ninja-like Shiitake Warriors live. Oh, and it's made out of old sushi boxes.
- Neopets has one, Shenkuu.
- Painkiller Overdose: The second level, Japanese Massacre, is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- Though it (like most nations) went unnamed, Phantasy Star Online had a country on the homeworld of Coral that was this. It was the source of the legendary katanas—Sange, Yasha, Kamui and Agito.
- Although they were sardonically referred to by many players as "Space Elves," the Newmans of Phantasy Star Universe were actually this. One of several races created by humans, the genetically engineered Newmans eventually founded their own society on the planet Neudaiz. Everything about PSU Newmans is like an idealized aspect of Japan—they are responsible for almost all of the Asian or Japanese-flavored cultural artifacts in Universe, and their language is Japanese (though written in Romaji using an alphabet that resembles Japanese characters).
- Phantasy Star Online 2 introduces Planet Harukotan in Episode 3, which has a planet-wide civilization resembling feudal Japan. The dominant race on this planet resemble Japanese oni demons.
- Pokťmon Gold and Silver/Crystal/HeartGold/SoulSilver: Violet and Ecruteak Cities, specifically based on Nara and Kyoto respectively. Both of the real life cities are former Japanese capitals and are known for their traditional architecture.
- It can be argued that all of the Pokemon world up until Black & White are this to the rest of the planet, since they're direct geographical counterparts to various of Japan (or regions that have been part of Japan in the past, in the case of Pokťmon Ranger). Black & White was set in a region based off of Manhattan, making it the first American region. X & Y's region is based of of the entire country of France.
- Ragnarok Online: A Korean MMORPG based on the manwha series Ragnarok (itself based on Norse Mythology), has a very Japanese village called Amatsu. It has a few other cities patterned after other countries, too: Louyang (Mainland China), Kunlun (Taiwan), and Ayothaya (Thailand).
- The above-mentioned cities are considered "World Project" cities—none of them have any connection with the manwha Ragnarok Online is based upon. Rather, they're a sort of Shout-Out / Fanservice for specific nationalities which had a huge (and legit) RO player base. Originally a wild west-themed city was also planned to represent the United States, but was scrapped (the songs "Big Guys Love This" and "Antique Cowboy" were probably written for the town and its surrounding fields). Years later, a Russian-themed city was made in its place (Moscovia).
- Einbroch kind of represents the Wild West, though it probably qualifies better as a tribute to steampunk culture in general.
- There is, however, a Wutai in the Ragnarok world, so to speak, which appeared in the original manwha and had major significance—Payon, which draws very heavily from Korean (and general Asian) culture in a world that's heavily flavored with Norse.
- The Rance universe. JAPAN is the East Asian themed land. Of course, Sengoku Rance, appropriately enough, takes place in JAPAN.
- The Rune Factory series. There's apparently one somewhere in the world. We don't get to see it, but there's some characters that very obviously come from it, such as Yue from Rune Factory 2. It's called "Yamato", according to Uzuki of Rune Factory Frontier.
- Sa Ga 2 (aka Final Fantasy Legend II): The Edo plane, complete with a black market in opium (bananas in the English version).
- Sa Ga Frontier: Kyo, home to the Mind Magic dojo and at least one Opium Den. It's more like a drug factory run by a minion of the Big Bad
- Scott Pilgrim Vs The World: The Game: Level 4 (after the part inside the bus).
- Shadow Hearts: From The New World: Lampshaded when you visit McNinja Frank Goldfinger's home town in Brazil and find out that it's a cheesy Japan-themed amusement park.
- The Sims 2 adds one in the Bon Voyage Expansion Pack called Takemizu Village.
- Skies of Arcadia: Yafutoma, one of many Fantasy Counterpart Cultures, has elements of China (such as a wall resembling the Great Wall) as well as Japan.
- It has a large distinctive looking blue mountain and according to myth a "divine wind" saved the country from destruction.
- Although Sly Cooper loves its Asian settings, it didn't have a Japanese world until the fourth game, and in that case it was the feudal version. It's home to the ninja chef Rioichi Cooper, and the place is gorgeous beyond belief. Except it's also been taken over by a Fidel Castro expy.
- World 3 in Something Else has a distinct Japanese motif. It even has Cherry Blossom Trees, Miko and a Pagoda
- In the Sonic the Hedgehog series:
- Sonic Unleashed has the country of Chun-nan and its Dragon Road Zone, though with kung fu masters, shaolin temples, world-famous baozi, pandas, and even its own Great Wall, it seems to be specifically China rather than Japan.
- Sonic Colors has Aquarium Park, which is closer to feudal Japan, with traditional architecture, koi, samurai, and, according to Dr. Eggman and Tails, specializes in serving sushi. This being Sonic, it cannot play completely straight; the twists are that this a robot feudal Japan made of iron and steel in space that's partially submerged underwater while still being fully inhabited.
- Rainy Turtloid's stage from Mega Man X6 sets in a futuristic feudal Japan-based area.
- One NES game based on The Flintstones, The Rescue of Dino and Hoppy, has the usual platform environments of jungles, ice, sea etc. but one level appears to be the prehistoric version of feudal Japan (huh?), complete with sakura trees, karateka and even Umbrella Ghosts. At the end Fred must fight a sumo fire-breathing dragon for no reason at all.
- Star Control: The Shofixti are an entire race of fuzzy beings that resemble tanuki and present with many other Japanese stereotypes including plenty of Engrish. To top it off, they use weak-yet-fast ships and have a "Glory Device" that is used to kamikaze their ship as a last resort.
- Suikoden: Rokkaku, a hidden ninja village that's oddly small even by RPG standards. Then again, they are ninjas, so maybe the player character only sees as much of the village as they want him to see.
- The series also has several other Japanese-looking and -sounding characters who explicitly have no connection to Rokkaku, with not even vague hints as to where they do come from. Some even live in the Medieval European Fantasy towns, with no other residents finding anything odd about this.
- At least in the first two games, there are certain towns that have a decidedly eastern style of architecture, while others are more western. Seems like quite a big difference for cities within the same empire/nation.
- Super Mario Bros.:
- Super Mario Land has World 4, the Chai Kingdom, with a music track that fits the theme and Pionpi enemies that resemble Chinese Vampires.
- Super Paper Mario has the Sammer Guy kingdom, modeled after ancient Japan, complete with fitting music, falling cherry blossom leaves, pagodas, an emperor, and ninjas. The goal is to beat 100 Sammer Guys, one at a time, in succession, only being allowed to save after every 25. Of course, the first time you try, the world is absorbed into nothingness after the 20th Sammer Guy.
- Super Mario 3D World has a world with levels that feature plenty of traditional Japanese architecture.
- Tales of Symphonia has Mizuho. Lampshaded when one of the characters convinces the others that they'll be visiting The Theme Park Version of Feudal Japan, much to the irritation of the one character who's actually from there.
- There's also the hidden Ninja village of Tales of Phantasia. Note that this game is predominantly Norse in its mythology.
- They're also kind of strange about isolationism. Both are Hidden Ninja Villages staying hidden to maintain their culture, but don't seem to mind outsiders coming in.
- Ashihara, the Japanese representant of the culture-mix that is Tales of Innocence.
- The Tengai Makyou series is set in the land of Zipang, a sort of ancient Japan as seen through the interpretation of an apocryphal 19th-century Orientalist.
- Tomba!: The Hidden Village of ninja.
- Freedom Planet's Planet Avalice is described as an oriental world, and it shows in the planet's building architecture and use of Chinese alphabet.
- Valkyrie Profile: Yamato.
- The Warcraft universe. The island nation of Pandaria, though it's based more on China than Japan. It's also the focus of the fourth expansion pack "Mists of Pandaria".
- Pandaria started off as the Far East but over time has become a straight-up Fantasy Counterpart Culture of China due to complaints from Chinese, who thought the depictions of pandas combined with aspects of Japanese culture was offensive.
- Wario Land: Shake It!: While not inhabited by anything other than enemies, and without Ninjas, has both Mount Bighill and Bamboozle Village with this kind of area theme.
- Harvest Moon: A Tale of Two Towns has the town of Konohana, which is meant to be a contrast to the other town in the game, the western-style Bluebell. Still, the other games in the series take place in western-style towns anyway, so while Bluebell looks the same as the towns in the previous games, Konohana feels very unique.
- Ionia in the League of Legends setting.
- While the Ura from Bastion aren't completely this, they do have at least some of the traits, mostly in the physical traits and position of being at odds with the main character's country.
- The Far East Village (although not being particularly far east, but it is a village) from Shining the Holy Ark is a village made up of Ninjas and have a very Japanese feel to it. It's also isolated from the rest of the map by a series of mountain ranges.
- The Dragon Clan in Para World is, essentially, Japan with dinosaurs.
- In the MUD Asylum, there's a section of the game that's mostly based off Japanese mythology, with a little China and other asian influences thrown in for good measure. Players must travel here in order to become a bare-fisted Monk.
- The Japan stage of Dynamite Dux fits this trope.
- In Fire Emblem Awakening, Say'ri's support conversations with the Avatar hint that Chon'sin is this, complete with cherry blossoms and sushi; every Myrmidon and Swordmaster, with the possible exception of Owain, seem to trace their origins from there. It's the first occurrence of this trope in a franchise that has almost solidly stuck with Medieval European Fantasy.
- Parodius Da! puts a characteristically bizarre touch on this theme with Stage 4, which features pagodas, sumo-wrestling animals, cherry trees that move around, and volcanoes that spew eggplants.
- While you never visit it (as it vanished centuries ago), Bravely Default has the land of Wa which is mentioned in the description of some items and has things like Oni and Samurai.
- In The Gamers Alliance, Yamato is based on Feudal Japan with all the samurai, geisha, ninja, shoguns, emperors, kitsune, and monks among other things.
- Tasakeru: The squirrel culture, mostly based on Feudal Japan.
- In Tales of MU, the island nation of Youkan is a direct equivalent of Feudal Japan, but modernized in the same way that the main setting is, including an equivalent of anime that the FoxGirl Sooni is very fond of.
- Ninjago takes place in a fictional Asian country populated entirely by Lego Minifigures.