In contrast to many other nations within the Middle Kingdom, Japan is open to western influence, something seen as heresy and outright betrayal by more traditional supernatural factions. The massive amount of Tainted Chi following the episode at the end of the Second World War in which the United States threw a nuclear bomb in two major cities of Japan also allowed the Yama Kings a much easier hold on these lands (particularly Mikaboshi).
The gaki, as Japan's Kuei-jin refer to themselves, proudly display a sense of history and purpose that remain definitively, vehemently Japanese, and most defy the dictates of the Quincunx. Japan's Kuei-jin see themselves as the custodians of the delicate web of dragon lines and Chi reservoirs that give life to this chain of islands, a task that is gotten harder due to the massive pollution of dragon lines following 1945 and the rapid assimilation of western culture. Tensions with rest of the Middle Kingdom following World War II, where the gaki followed the Japanese conquests and took many dragon nests from their custodians, still blemish the relation with the rest of the Kuei-jin, but the gaki are still enlisted in most of the Quincunx efforts, the newest being the Great Leap Outward.
The modern gaki are the remnants of the former Azure Dragon Court and the native Kuei-jin who had fought and lost to retain their independence. It was only after the Mongol invasion of China and the founding of the Yuan dynasty in 1271 that the gaki could oust the foreign occupators, in a event known as the Year of the Black Kites. Every gaki is organized in a Clan (called uji), the most powerful being Clan Bishamon ( who are staunch traditionalists) and Clan Genji (who embrace the cosmopolitan lifestyle of modern Japan and wish to modernize the Kuei-jin). Other smaller Clans are the Iga and Koga, who act as assassins and saboteurs for the gaki. A more obscure Clan are the Sotogawa No, an uji that dedicated itself to the heretical dharma of the Spirit of the Living Earth. Despite many attempts to purge them, the Cerulean Veils persist as hermits and continue in their task to serve the spirit courts.
Western vampires find it easier to come to Japan than any other part of the Middle Kingdom. The constant chi pollution as well as the great westernized cities give them plenty opportunity to indulge their appetites and hide themselves from the vengeful natives. Regardless, only a handful of Cainites actually make their home on Japan. The Tremere are particular persistent, housing one of their two chantries in the Far East in Tokyo.
Many Running Monkeys of the Kuei-jin have a sympathetic ear for the Sabbat, seeing their way of unlife as a welcome alternation of the strict dictates of Gaki society. As a result, small Sabbat enclaves exist within the greater cities of Japan, most often headed by Tzimisce, whom the Kuei-jin find fascinating.
The native Hengeyokai are faced with the enormous presence of the Weaver and the Wyrm within Japan's borders. The Weaver's agency in the mortal world, Shinzui, has their headquarters on Japan, experimenting with cybernetics and other Weaver-tech. The Weaver prospers in the ever-growing cities of Japan, while Wyrmish creatures arise from the scars left by the two nuclear bombs. Many Fera fear that if the pollution unleashed by Hiroshima was not enough to usher the Sixth Age, what disaster has to comethat the Wheel of Ages can turn.
But there still remain parts where the Hengeyokai are strong. Hokkaido is the spiritual stronghold of the Hakken, even though they are firmly entrenched in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto as well. Mount Fuji is a place of great power, and the most secretive Cherry Phoenix Court does its best to beat away the spiritual decay of the land there. Tengu wereravens maintain a close watch on the rapid developments of japanese industry and economy. The Kitsune are rumored to have originated on Japan and most of their customs and titles reflect this connection. Kumo werespiders dwell in spiritual polluted landscapes and Nezumi wererats have built great hives beneath the cities. Japan's coastlines are home to the Same-bito weresharks, who are regarded as apostates by their deep-dwelling brethren.
The Technocracy and their eastern brethren, the Five Elemental Dragons, have worked together to insert themselves deeply into the structure of Japan. Using their allies knowledge of Feng shui, the Technocracy has seized many dragon nests and modified them to accommodate their paradigma. Syndicate agents and Zaibatsu work together to strengthen the japanese economy, while Void Engineers focus on Japan's experiments with simulated environments.
Among the traditions, Virtual Adepts are the most common mages found in Japan, excelling in the futuristic atmosphere of the metropoli. Dreamspeakers cling to the few native traditions of people like the Ainu and members of the Akashic Brotherhood venture there to hone their minds by studying the teachings of ancient Zen masters.
Crafts operating in Japan include the Wu Keng, who maintain a strong presence in Tokyo, and the Wu Lung, who have fled communist persecution in their chinese homelands and now plot to eventually return. Another native craft are the Go Kamisora Gama, who emulate ninja philosophies and styles.
Japan suffers under the yoke of the Yellow Springs, being the most rebellious nation among the Conquered Territories. During the Fifth Maelstrom, the Fist of Nippon briefly managed to drive the chinese wraiths out of their country and the wraith of Oda Nobunaga, the leader of the resistance, challenged Yu Huang to a duel for the freedom of Nippon. The Emperor agreed and let Nobunaga slice through his corpus one time before he tore him to shreds by manifesting a great dragon-like being from his remains. Afterward, the occupiers cracked down even harder on the wraiths of Japan, but revolt is a constant fact of unlife for the Imperial Army there. Most japanese wraiths resort to guerilla tactics and to learning new Arcanoi, particular Inhabit. The Imperial Army controls most of the Necropoli within Japan and most enfants are immediately enslaved or soulforged by their Reapers. Rebels and occupators alike, however, shun the ruins of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where two gigantic Nihils mark the hit point of the two nuclear bombs following the end of World War II. Spectres under the leadership of the Malfean Pika Don rule these lands and attack anyone who comes near to their territory.
Recent developments worsened the situation, as the Sixth Maelstrom roared through the Underworld and did a great deal of damage to the wraithly infrastructure.
Japan is part of the Nihon province of the Hsien. The fae struggle against the encroaching banality that is brought through the rapid westernization and industrialization. They are aided by a recent resurgence in Shinto faith within Japan and the following religious rites.
Strike Force Zero has its headquarters in Tokyo and tries to scrutinize the supernatural activity in Japan. Most supernaturals have learned to act from the shadows, using mortal pawns so that they do not attract notion of these fanatical hunters. Disparate Shih wander the lands, scrutinizing the supernatural population for signs of corruption.
- 1192 CE: Japan's Emperor gives Minamoto Yoritomo the title of "shogun," or "barbarian suppressing general."