Horai is also notable climate-wise by having very pronounced seasons.
Prehistory (45,000 BCE - 3,500 BCE)
- ca. 45,000 BCE: First signs of habitation.
- ca. 10,000 BCE: First permanent settlements grow to city-size.
- ca. 3,500 BCE: Writing is widely utilized. History begins.
The Time of the Warring City States (ca. 3,500 - 2,000 BCE)
Kinubukisu - The King of Kings and the Kingdom (ca. 2,000 - 1,500 BCE)
The figure of the Kinubukisu is a legend himself,
Time without History (1,500 BCE - 274 CE)
- Was actually a time with history, is only called that because of the widespread collapse of civilization in the entire land.
The Cities and their Wars (274 CE - 399 CE)
The Formation of the Three Clans (399 - 410)
Time of Peace (410 - 1002)
- Not as peaceful as the name suggests
The Great Fragmentation (1002 - 1302)
- The Three Clans broke apart in a firework of violence and hate.
The Clan Wars (1302 - 1509)
The Mandate of Tsukine and its enforcement (1509 - 1670)
Time of Tranquility (1670 - 1899)
"Less of a nation and more of a never-ending argument!" (1899 - today)
Horai is subject to very pronounced seasons.
The Head of State and Head of Government of Horai is the Jinshu, the High Priestess of the vulpine deity Tsukine, the major deity of the Paganism of the Horai and Ruler of the Gods - not by his might, but by his cleverness. Currently, that position is filled by Yuki Kine.
Technically under the Jinshu and in varying positions of power and might are the Clans, a total of 46 Clans, of which the mightiest ten form the Council of Clans, an advisory board to the absolute Head of State, that is the Jinshu. The other 36 Clans usually try to align themselves into what might as well be called alliances and coalitions, which might as well be called political parties.
Horai has, under the international name of Armed Forces of Horai, a small Army, Navy and Air Corps, professional establishments mostly occupied with territorial protection and other missions within the territorial waters and the Exclusive Economic Zone. Deploying them to quell unrest within the country is forbidden.
Despite its small size, the last few years saw tremendous sums being spent on upgrading the armed forces with new ships and aircraft. While the Jinshu is the Supreme Commander on paper, the Armed Forces are under the command of Rikugensu/Field Marshal Kairi Seina.
The formal Armed Forces stand at odds with the less formal clan militias.
Societal Divisions: The Great House of Society
Society is largely separated into four divisions, the Pillars of the Great House, which are headed by the Roof of the Great House and which stand on the Foundation of the Great House. Due to the nature of this metaphor, none of the elements of the Great House look down on another one, mainly due to shared dependency: Without pillars, the roof would come down, without the foundation, the house would collapse, without the roof, it would rain in the house.
The Foundation is the first sector, mining, fishing, agriculture, such things. The Pillars are the four castes, namely Craftsmen, Merchants, Warriors and the Spirituality, which usually vie for the favour of the Roof, the Nobility.
Technically, the Nobility is comprised of people from every pillar, but practically, the majority of the Nobility stems from the Warrior Caste. Much of the Administration stems from the Nobility as well.
In addition to that, there are the Outcast, in the metaphor the dirt being swept out of the house.
The 46 Clans
The 46 Clans, also known as the Shirekaroku have approximately 1.7 million members, around a quarter of the population. Being a member of the Foundation, the First Sector, does not exclude someone from being a clan member, but the majority of the First Sector does not go through the hassle of becoming part of a Clan. These clanless have, by law, no repercussions from not being clan members, but socially,
On the other hand, for those working in the Secondary, Tertiary and Quarternary Sectors have substantial advantages, the vast majority of the clan members come from these Sectors.
Originally, the Monomi were an order of scouts, spies and assassins,
Nowadays, the domestic intelligence service of Horai are the Monomi, the only one they have to answer to being the Jinshu. However, Freelance Monomi offer their services to anyone, who can buy them, including the other clan heads. There haven't been any political assassinations in Horai since 1842 - officially.
Foreigners like to refer to the Monomi as "Horai's Ninjas."
Economically, Horai is generally considered an economically weak nation, with a weak manufacturing sector and a huge agricultural sector, the tertiary sector growing over the last few decades substantially, especially the tourism businesses.
Around 65 percent of the workforce belong to the Primary Sector in all of the many variations, but especially food production: Farmers and fishermen, mostly. Livestock is held, but only selected livestock in selected areas, as the vast majority of the country is simply unsuited for cattle ranching (see Main Article Cuisine of Horai for details).
Around 20 percent of the workforce belong to the Secondary Sector,
Usually, by standards of society, the Secondary Sector is mostly filled with Craftsmen and Merchants, although the society and the political leadership is well aware, that this is a very broad brush, with which they paint.
The remaining 15 percent of the workforce belong to the Tertiary Sector,
DemographicsMimio. The Mimio themselves differ between Shippo, 'those with tail', and Onashi, 'those without tail'. While in times long past it was a means of social stratification, it is nowadays a category of the census. Around three quarters of the Mimio are without tail.
It is often presumed, that the Spiorad Ainmhithe, who live in the Free Lands, are related to the Mimio, something, which can neither be denied nor confirmed. The fact, that the Spiorad themselves speak in their Myths and Legends about the Gods coming from a land they call Gwlymynyd, the Land of Mountains, and that many stories find counterparts from one side to the other, certainly lends credibility to the idea. The Spiorad themselves see the Mimio as kindred spirits, which is returned.
- See Main Article: Paganism of the Mimio.
The Mimio are Pagans,
The Red-White Colour Scheme usually signifies a connection to the Pagan Cults of the Mimio, be it a former connection (like in above case of Suruken Miri) or the example to the side, Yuki Kine herself. Tending to the shrines and temples is an exclusively female job, with men not allowed to join the ranks of the Spirituality.
Horai can be seen as a classical example for an honour-shame culture according to the Guilt-Shame-Fear Spectrum. The greatest punishment for the Mimio is ostracism,
ArchitectureThe architecture is very much shaped by the landscape and local requirements. One will hardly find skyscrapers or similar structures, simply because they aren't needed.
Dominant are houses of wooden construction, usually elevated slightly off the ground. Stone is rarely used, mostly due to the absence of useable building stone in Horai. Solid walls are rare as sliding walls allow different internal configurations for different occasions. The roofs are usually tiled, but thatched roofs are not unheard of (and usually either seen as a sign of poverty or a functional building). The load of the gently curved roof rests on posts and lintels. The roof usually extends far beyond the walls, covering walkways and verandas, usually held up by additional posts.
The main room in the house is known as the poch, which is often likened to an atrium, a central room for the whole family, where the life of the family takes place. Guests are received here, too. Every room in the house can be reached from the poch. While an outsider might assume, that the verandas are part of the house, they are the fluid space between the inside world and the outside world, depending on where in the house they are.
The houses are usually built to seamlessly fit in with their surroundings.
If decorations are used, they usually play with the perception of what is part of the decorations and what isn't, what is loab-bearing and important and what isn't, a little vabanque-game of perception and decoration, of what is seen and is to be seen. Other styles, like those, which tell a story on every post in pictograms, are also in use.
Temples and private homes usually aren't that different from each other, making it easy to convert a private home into a temple and (theoretically, that has never been done) back again.
During the many millenia of history of Horai, wars and conflicts have been fought, which made the building of fortified positions necessary. As nowadays wars are replaced by trials by combat or discussions, fortresses, called Shiojo, nowadays mostly have ceremonial functions. Signifier of a place either being or once having been a fortified position is the syllabe jo- in front of the name.
That has not always been the case.
Where wooden stockades once guarded strategically important positions, the fortifications evolved under the premise of incorporating the landscape more then their counterparts in other parts of the world. Although still primarily built of wood, Shiojos used more stone then private buildings. Usually, Shiojos were built atop hills, the few examples built on flat terrain usually served either as an example of how and where not to built a fortification or as showpieces of richness and power.
The reason for the enormous stone consumption was the foundation, an artificial mount created as a base from stones up to six meters in height. Sloping upwards, these artificial hills made it difficult to attack the fortification and made the control of the surrounding areas easier. For those still trying to scale the artificial hills, the besieged usually had a number of provisions in store, from caltrops to logs to be rolled downhill.
Walls usually were of stone, too, oftentimes containing or being part of the wall around a small fortress town, usually the innermost district of a city. Buildings inside of the castle sometimes sat atop their own little artificial hills, but were usually built much like civilian houses - the most remarkable difference being the plaster covering the support beams, which makes the buildings surprisingly fireproof.
Shiojos are usually arranged in a number of rings, the exact location depending on the topography, every ring being surrounded by another ring, baileys, as they would be called in other countries. The central ring would house the keep and the quarters of the garrison, as well as storerooms. Outer rings housed the additional complement of the castle and retainers, then bureaucrats and craftspeople and finally, peasants could find shelter in the outermost circle or live there, depending on where they worked. This outermost ring usually also contained amenities.
Gatehouses and courtyards followed a complex and well thought-out arrangement to both confuse and bottleneck the attackers, as well as to make it easier the internal garrison to retake fallen portions. The walls here, above these ways, which the invader had to take to advance, were full of arrowslits and drop holes through which stones or boiling oil could be dropped onto the enemy to devestating effect. Towers were placed so that archers had an easy time picking apart the enemy in these courtyards and streets.
- See Main Article: Cuisine of Horai.