Empire of Japan
- The Empire: Being the dominant power in East Asia and the Pacific Ocean, the Japanese Empire reigns over the largest population in the world.
- Mega-Corp: There are major Zaibatsu in Japan, which hold significant power and prop up a large portion of the economy of the sphere. When the Yasuda Holdings zaibatsu gets implicated in a corruption scheme and the stock prices go into freefall, it nearly destroys the economy of the entire sphere, triggering the "Economic War".
Born April 21st 1901, Prince Hirohito was the first of the Taisho Emperors 4 sons. Hirohitos military education hardened him and, after assuming the regency in 1921, would inspire his future rule. Hirohito would ascend to the throne in 1926 and lead his increasingly militarized empire outwards, grabbing concession in Manchuria, then all of China, and finally coming to dominate all western holdings in the Pacific.
With the end of the Great Pacific War, Japan's status as a great power was cemented. The acquisition of large sums of territory brought great riches to the empire and cemented the Emperors divinity. The Emperor is near exclusively absent from public life, only ever communicating to his subjects through edicts over wire. As the Emperor of the Showa period ages, his empire grows unstable. Soon, great change will come and rattle Japan to its core. What will the people have to hold on to but his divinity, the Emperor?"
Ino is a firm believer in the Imperial system, and desires to keep the Emperor above most political discussion. Inos party, the Imperial Rule Assistance Association, is the sole legal party in Japan and encompasses a broad coalition of representatives with various ideologies, but can be corralled into keeping the Chrysanthemum Throne safe and secure from the rough-and-tumble politics of the Diet. However, Ino is rapidly losing control over his own party, and his departure from the office of Prime Minister seems all but inevitable.
Many within the Diet who would like to see Ino ousted much in the same way he once bested Tojo and Kido, including Kido himself, who has found ways to still remain relevant in Japanese politics. If Ino wishes for his ideals to be upheld and for his faction to survive, he must once again find his way safely through Japans murky politics, as he has done so many times before."
- Meet the New Boss: Ikeda is a faithful follower of Ino and vows to continue his principles as long as possible.
Likewise, Takagi enjoys much support from reform-minded members of the Imperial Diet, and student activists, who want to liberalize the economy and expand civil liberties, respectively. To these students, Takagi represents a future of liberty and free expression. And to the members of the Diet, he's a desperately-needed solution to Japans economic woes.
In truth, Takagis support is less stable than it looks. The IJN is only content so long as they are prioritized over the army, no matter who is in charge, and activists are infamously prone to sectarianism. If he is capable of navigating Japanese politics like he once did the waters of the Pacific, and he implements the reforms he wishes to achieve, then Japans future indeed looks as bright as the rising sun."
There were only so many deals that Kido could cut with special interests before Ino gathered the Diets approval to supplant him. When Ino too fell into this same pit, Kido returned to power. And now that hes back, the Imperial Diet is beginning to remember why they wanted him gone in the first place.
Perhaps one of Kidos few advantages in these times is his close relationship with the Emperor. During the Second World War and for some time after, Kido served as Hirohitos closest advisor, and he continues to hold the utmost concern for the honor of the Chrysanthemum Throne. But with the ever increasing distance between the Emperor and the Imperial Diet, Kido may be losing his edge.
For Koichi Kido, surviving this political turmoil means avoiding the same mistakes he made before. And while experience is a valuable thing, the past is as good a predictor of the future as any."
- Darkhorse Victory: Kido discredited himself during his previous tenure as Prime Minister, and his comeback into the big politics after the fall of Ino, the very same man who toppled him, is met with a large surprise from the Japanese public.
- Last-Second Chance: By becoming a Prime Minister again, Kido is granted with a second chance to not repeat his past mistakes.
- Allohistorical Allusion: Instead of the Four Modernizations (of agriculture, industry, national defense and science with technology) set during the reign of Deng Xiaoping in OTL, there are Five Modernizations (education, technology, industrialization, militarization, and reunification) outlined by President Gao Zongwu.
- Authority in Name Only: Formally, the Republican government in Nanjing is the governing body over all Chinese states but Manchuria. In reality, it only controls the eastern portion of the country.
- Les Collaborateurs:
- The Reorganized Government of China was formed by the collaborationist regime of Wang Jingwei during the Second Sino-Japanese War.
- Within the RGOC government, there are pro-Japanese factions that want to further integrate China with Japan.
- Occupiers out of Our Country: Despite being controlled by a collaborationist regime, the anti-Japanese sentiment is still very strong. To prevent Japan from cracking down on Gao's government while rebuilding itself, China needs to manage its internal factions and prevent conflicts. However, when China does fully rebuild itself, fighting a war to liberate China from the Japanese might not be out of the question...
- Shoot the Dog: Industrialization for backward China is extremely difficult, and many tragic stories of poor folks in China suffering to power the industrialization can appear throughout the playthrough. Yet despite all the hardships, industrialization is absolutely required to achieve the greater good of lifting China back up its feet again.
Although relatively Anti-Japanese in the Reorganized Government, he stayed and gradually became more and more powerful. Now, after the death of Wang Jingwei, Gao has taken leadership of China. He aims not to create a cult of personality and a dictatorship, but to become more democratic and to defeat Japan.
Gao Zongwu leads China into a new era, an era where it will either be put down by the harsh ways of the Imperial Japanese Army, or an era of independence and democracy."
In the years that followed Wang Jingwei's death, the Reorganized Government was fractured and powerless. As Japan increasingly tightens China's sovereignty, the government factions decided to compromise elect Gao Zongwu, the diplomat who intermediates between Nanjing and Tokyo. He was politically unknown, and capable of negotiating with the Japanese. However, beneath his spectacles, Gao Zongwu was a firm believer in the nationalist ideals of Dr. Sun Yat-sen. He had witnessed how far China had strayed down the wrong path, and would do anything to correct China's mistakes.
- Book-Ends: One of the first events for China is Gao taking a morning walk near Sun Yat-sen's Tomb, wondering if the Chinese people will ever be free again. If Gao's modernizations result in failure and his actions lead to a stronger Japanese presence in China, he takes a morning near Sun Yat-sen's Tomb, wondering the same thing again, but this time he asks himself not in his anticipation of the great changes for the republic, but in a sorrowful expectation of the dark days ahead.
- Historical Hero Upgrade: Gao Zongwu in real life is known for facilitating negotiations between Wang Jingwei and Japan, then defecting from Wang Jingwei upon learning of Japan's extremely harsh terms and exposing Wang's plans in 1940. In TNO, President Gao Zongwu is even more of a nationalist, and works to totally rebuild China and possibly even rebel against Japan's occupation.
- Realpolitik: Gao Zongwu is an ardent follower of Sun Yat-sen, including Chinese nationalism. However, trying to rise up against the Japanese as a weak China would spell certain defeat, and bowing in fully to the Japanese would mean betraying the dreams of Dr. Sun. As such, Gao acts as a mediator between the government factions and Japan, balancing all the different factions to achieve long-term goals.
- Worthy Opponent: Gao considers Chiang Kai-shek to be this, even in his death. For all what can be said about the man, Gao respects Chiang for that at least his state was truly independent of any foreign power."Chiang's KMT was many things", pondered Zongwu, "but at least they were free."
"Maybe we too shall be free"
- Crapsaccharine World: Compare to the mess that China, Russia, and Europe is in, Manchuria appears to be a fairly modernized and stable Japanese puppet state. Despite this, the rural areas are still rife with low-level rebels, the Amur coastline is more or less completely lawless, and the government does not fully control the Kwantung Army, who may be planning for something big of their own...
- Deadly Gas: Unit 731 is still working in Manchuria, producing biological and chemical weapons.
- Deal with the Devil: When USSR collapsed, the Kwantung Army annexed a big section of the Amur coastline. These Russian territories are majority Russian and largely lawless, with only Vladivostok being useful to the administration. Manchukuo can either send colonists there or use them as a bargaining chip with the powerful warlord of Amur, who is none other than the Russian Fascist, Konstantin Rodzaevsky.
Aisin Gioro Puyi
- Allohistorical Allusion: Some of Puyi's experiences, as detailed in his diaries, are based on the real experiences of the real Puyi, who lived as an isolated former emperor in Manchuria and Communist China.
- Gilded Cage: Puyi is more or less under a house arrest in a big fancy imperial palace, only ever leaving for trivial state duties.
- Manchild: Puyi was never raised as a responsible person and he is reaching 60. As he talked about himself in real life:"For the past forty years I had never folded my own quilt, made my own bed, or poured out my washing water. I had never even washed my own feet or tied my shoes"
- Puppet King: Manchukuo is in practice directly ruled by Japan. Puyi has very little power and is under effective house arrest for the past three decades, which depresses him greatly.
A warlord state located in Ningxia, ruled directly by ambitious and ruthless IJA officers who are looking to expand their powers while terrorizing the locals.
- Army of Thieves and Whores: Originally established as a state existing solely to demonstrate the pan-Asianist ideology of Japan, the army of Tsuji quickly turned into a bunch of thugs who are regularly organizing bandit raids in the countryside.
Mengjiang is a Japanese puppet state led by Prince Demchugdongrub, occupying Mongolian territory in both Outer and Inner Mongolia. Officially part of China as the Mongol Autonomous Federation, Mengjiang is de facto independent. It has been fighting a civil war with Tsagaan Mongol Ulus, who resist against Japanese rule.
Tsagaan Mongol Ulus
Tsagaan Mongol Ulus (White Mongolian Republic) is the remnant of the Mongolian People's Republic, and a force of resistance against Japan's attempts to dominate over all of Mongolia. The resistance is formed from the remnants of MAN (Mongol Ardīn Nam; Mongolian People's Party) and led by Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal, who had abandoned communism in favor of anti-Japanese nationalism. At the start of 1962, Mongolia is in a civil war between the resistance and Mengjiang.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: Tsaagan is doomed to face defeat by Mengjiang, no matter what.
- La Résistance: Tsagaan Mongol Ulus is a Mongolian nationalist resistance against the Japanese.
Empire of Vietnam
During the Second World War, Vietnam was a part of French Indochina, which was controlled by the Vichy regime but with Japanese military occupation. Following the end of the war, Japan replaced France as the main overlord of Indochina, and decided to reorganize Indochina into several loyal client states. Emperor Bao Dai installed as Japan's loyal collaborator in Vietnam.
Since then, Vietnam was reorganized to serve Japanese interests. A Japanization process was launched in Vietnam, with Japanese colonists settling in Vietnam and Vietnamese culture being replaced with Japanese ones. However, the Vietnamese nationalist resistance, which sprang during the French era, had consolidated and strengthened in these years, and wages an insurgency against the Japanese regime. The communist Vietcong led by Ho Chi Minh is a major force in Vietnam, and the regime struggles to stamp them out.
The current Prime Minister, Dr. Phan Huy Quat, oversees a failing nation with oppressive Japanese overlords and resentful Vietnam populations. Restricted by the Japanese, Quat is unable to form an army to end the insurgency, and unable to reform anything to appease the Vietnamese people. With Quat assassinated in 1962, Vietnam now stands at a turning point for change to happen, for better or for worse.
As emperor, Bao Dai has grown increasingly autocratic in his rule, preferring to rule without the help of his council. Which is ironic, considering those he relies upon to do his bidding are themselves loyal more to their paymasters in Tokyo than to the Emperor. Most of the rest of the country is indifferent to his decrees in any case, as Vietnam churns with rebellious sentiment and insurgents, just as it did in the last days of French rule. Ho Chi Minh lurks in the shadows, ready to pounce, and the overlords wait for a misstep to justify further intrusion.
Bao Dai sees his present and yearns for lost futures, for the dream of an independent and strong Empire that died when the Japanese marched in. His regrets are Vietnams own; but unlike him, Vietnam has a chance of forging its own path and making it out alive. Bao Dai knows that when the future comes for him, he will be swept away, just another cobweb in the dusty hall. Its not like he has a choice in the matter."
Nguyen Ton Hoan
Nguyen Ton Hoan is a rising reformist politician, emerging out of the Quat administration as a major political figure and possible successor to Quat. He has expressed a deep interest in reforming Vietnam into a truly democratic state.
- Internal Reformist: He can reform Vietnam into a more democratric and independent country.
Ngo Dinh Diem
Ngo Dinh Diem is the right hand of the Quat regime, and direct competitor to Nguyen Ton Hoan for the Prime Minister position. A zealous Catholic heavily inspired by the regimes of Germany and Italy, Diem dreams of rebuilding Vietnam in their mold.
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: He can choose to follow "National Socialism with Vietnamese Characteristics."
- Arms Dealer: Diem can turn Vietnam into the "Arsenal of the East."
- Child Soldier: Diem can create the "Vietnamese Imperial Youth" out of war orphans.
- Cult of Personality: Diem establishes a full-blown cult of personality, similar to those of the Kim family.
- The Fundamentalist: Diem is a very zealous Catholic and he will try to eliminate any other religion on the Vietnamese land, not even sparing the Japanese Shintoists.
- Government Drug Enforcement: Diem can produce and sell opium, heroin and methamphetamin across Asia.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: Real Diem is a rather controversial historical figure up to this day, but he was nowhere near the level of his New Order counterpart.
- Illegal Religion: Diem attempts to ban any religion that isn't Roman Catholicism.
- POW Camp: He can set up prison camps for dissenters, where they are worked to produce rubber. One focus is even called "Work Will Set You Free."
- The Purge: He can enact the "Night of the Truncheon" to kill any opposing official, along with Bao Dai.
- The Spartan Way: Diem can adopt some tenets from the Burgundian System, encouraging spartanism on the national scale.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: If Diem goes too far with his atrocities and refuses to stop, the horrified Japanese will try to invade Vietnam and remove Diem from the power.
Ho Chi Minh
- La Résistance: The Viet Cong, a group of Communist rebels led by Ho Chi Minh, who fight against the pro-Japanese regime in Vietnam and wage a large-scale guerrilla war in the countryside.
- We ARE Struggling Together: The Free Indonesian Republic doesn't have a purpose that unites all its members aside from resistance to the collaborationist government. Pro-Japanese Indonesia can exploit their contradictions by drawing several groups, like the Balinese Hindu and rural Islamist elements, to their side.
Sukarno is a beloved figure to his people, and not even the most radical Islamist or rebel would claim that Sukarno does not care about those he leads, only that the way he does it is wrong. While Sukarno's regime has been loyal to the Co-Prosperity Sphere for decades, his fierce belief in Indonesian independence and freedom is troubling to the more suspicious in Japan, and it is clear that Sukarno will serve the Sphere only as long as he believes the Sphere serves him and his nation. And no matter how loved a man is, a dictator will always have forces that resist him. Despite Sukarno's vision, Indonesia is still vastly diverse, and some doubt that even Sukarno can hold a country like that in one piece. It's his job to prove them wrong."