Lore Bite: the Shogunate

Lore Bite: the Shogunate

Division 1 Report, File 0000000000112.25.85

The Shogun represents [sic] the temporal power of the Empire, presiding over the military and civil governments of the nation, leaving spiritual leadership and ultimate authority in the hands of the Empress. This structure has been in place for almost a millennium, with the Shogunate originally established after the violent reign of Emperor Akamono, the Wind Seer, whose religious fervour tipped the Empire too far towards Change, away from Balance.

The office of the Shogun is currently empty, having been barred from occupation by Empress Miwagami at her ascension 198 years ago. This was in direct response to the Rationalization mandate of Shogun Kinumoto during the Starmetal Court, where spiritual commitment and belief in the supernatural was quashed in favour of science and engineering (in turn a response to the Rampage of Hofuku, see entry XYZ.) Empress Miwagami subsumed all the powers of the Shogun under two new offices, the Imperial Commander and the Magister, and shuttered the Steel Keep, the Shogun’s castle on the shores of Lake Akakami.

This injunction ends in two years. The Empress has receded from public life, and there has been no official statement from the Court of the Moon on if, or how, the Shogunate will be reinstated. There is no political vacuum, as the city and Empire have settled into a quasi democratic structure with temporal power distributed between the National Legislature under the Prime Minister, the Directorate as led by the Magister, and the Imperial Military under its Commander. While not always convivial, these three institutions courteously share responsibility for the Empire’s daily well being. All three of those offices (the Prime Minister, Magister, and Imperial Commander) were created after the injunction against the Shogunate, so academics and pundits hotly debate the utility and implications of forcing a feudal-era overseer onto a functioning government. 

But the Shogun, before Empress Miwagami, was the sole power in the Empire during the Starmetal Court. And while the Empress was powerful enough to bar any new Shogun at her ascension and has been able to maintain that injunction through her reign, the momentum of history is catching up with reality. The city seems to want a new Shogun. Movies, music, poetry, novels, political parties, youth groups, gangs, and street prophets pop up daily, advocating for the return to the balance of a Shogun and an Empress. In a world where belief defines reality, that collective conviction carries weight. 

In the city’s centres of influence, there seems to be no other subject more important than the potential rise of a Shogun. Crime, social justice, global politics, economics, Balance and Change, spirituality, war… these key topics all circle back to the “what ifs?” of a dramatic shift in the power structure of the Empire. Duty and honour beckon. Wealth and influence beguile. Fate… Fate waits. 

There is no official candidates list, and iceberg theorists go deep. Obvious names like Kinumoto and Toru are noodle shop gossip. Street pundits and talk show hosts natter about names like Handakawa, Fuyu, and Ren. Rebels, idealists, and idiots foist more obscure names into the ring, creating hype around families that would otherwise have no chance: Kiiro, Nix, Hojo, Yamashita. 

It is bound to be a messy two years.

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