|National Language:||None (multiple Japanese dialects)|
|Government:||Unitary parliamentary Constitutional monarchy|
|Status in OTL:||Active|
Japan, also called Nippon or Nihon, is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south. The characters which make up Japan's name mean "sun-origin", which is why Japan is sometimes identified as the "Land of the Rising Sun".
Japan is an archipelago of 6,852 islands. Japan has the world's 10th-largest population, with about 128 million people. The Greater Tokyo Area, which includes the de facto capital city of Tokyo and several surrounding prefectures, is the largest metropolitan area in the world, with over 30 million residents.
Archaeological research indicates that people were living on the islands of Japan as early as the Upper Paleolithic period. The first written mention of Japan begins with brief appearances in Chinese history texts from the first century A.D. Influence from the outside world followed by long periods of isolation has characterized Japan's history. From the 1850s on, Japan has maintained continued participation in global affairs, industrializing along the Western model. From the end of the 19th century into 1945, Japan engaged in colonial adventuring, participating in in both World War I and World War II. As a member of the Axis, Japan was defeated at the end of World War II. Japan is the only country to have been attacked with nuclear weapons. Since adopting its constitution in 1947, Japan has maintained a unitary constitutional monarchy with an emperor and an elected parliament, the Diet.
Japan in "Birdwitching"
Japan in The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump
In the late 20th century, Japan had figured out how to power the looms that made their flying carpets by kamikazes-divine winds. This development had negative impacts on flying carpet industry in the Confederated Provinces. The General Movers plant in Van Nuys closed down, and Detroit lost most of its flying carpet business.
Japan in "Character"
Steve, a fictional character who understood he was fictional, was sent back in time to medieval Japan by his author. His mind inhabited the body of the legendary Benkei just prior to Benkei entering the service of Minamoto Yoshitsune. Steve/Benkei and Minamoto Yoshitsune had numerous adventures against the backdrop of the establishment of the shogunate under Minamoto Yorimoto.
Japan in Crosstime Traffic
Crosstime Traffic was aware of an alternate in which China had kept European trade out of the Indian Ocean. However, it was subsequently conquered by Japanese warlords. Michael Fujikawa and his parents went on a mission to this alternate.
Japan in Gunpowder Empire
Japan was known as a pirate nation, with trade relations reaching as far west as Dacia. It raided the coast of the powerful Chinese Empire and was often compared to the Scandinavian pirates who preyed on ships of the Roman Empire.
Japan in The Disunited States of America
Japan was one of the world's great powers in the late 21st century.
Japan in The Valley-Westside War
Japan in Days of Infamy
Japan invaded Hawaii on December 7, 1941, and subjected the archipelago to its iron-fisted rule until the summer of 1943. Commander Minoru Genda insisted as early as March 1941 that simply striking the United States forces at Pearl Harbor would be insufficient to shield its expansion in the Pacific rim once the U.S. began an earnest war effort. Genda persuaded Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto of the plan's merits. Thus, Japan invaded and conquered Hawaii after a period of bloody fighting from December 1941 through February 1942. However, despite a bloody victory over unprepared but tenacious American defenders, supplying the islands became an ever-greater challenge in the face of distance and US submarine attacks.
Japan's rule was cruel for POWs and civilians alike. POWs were used as slave labor, civilians were forced to grow crops, and women were forced into prostitution.
Despite the ever-present menace of submarines, the Imperial Japanese Navy defeated America's first counter-attack in June 1942, sinking the carriers Yorktown and Saratoga, and crippling the Hornet. Following their victory, the Kingdom of Hawaii was restored as a puppet akin to Manchukuo. But a year later, the much-enlarged US Navy hurled an enormous fleet at the islands. The carriers Akagi and Shokaku were sunk by sheer numbers, costing Japan any hope of contesting US air superiority. The Japanese Army garrison and its Hawaiian allies were steadily overwhelmed by the US Marines and their overwhelming firepower, and the last Japanese holdouts in Honolulu and Pearl Harbor were crushed by the summer of 1943.
Japan in "La Différence"
Early in the 21st century, Japan had re-militarized and had re-adopted the traditions of bushido. A dispute over mining rights in the Asteroid belt with United Europe led to open war sometime after 2069. Japan launched military operations with a surprise attack on Sengen Base, a United Europe research station on Io.
Japan in The Hot War
Japan remained under U.S. occupation when World War III broke out in early 1951. Unlike West Germany, Japan was not directly attacked or impacted by the new war. The U.S. did fly bombing missions out of an airbase near Fukuoka for the first year.
Japan in The House of Daniel
Japan in In the Presence of Mine Enemies
The Empire of Japan was victorious at the end of the Second World War, emerging as a major world power rivaling the Greater German Reich. The Emperor of Japan was the only ruler truly independent of the Führer of Germany. During the Third World War, Japan and Germany waged war on the formerly neutral United States, defeating their rival through the use of atomic bombs.
By 2010, Japan's colonial territories included China, Manchukuo, all of Southeast Asia including Indochina, the Malay Archipelago, Australia, New Zealand, a large part of the Indian Ocean and most of the Pacific Islands.
While Japan was less powerful than Germany, it did have enough nuclear-tipped rockets to establish a balance of mutually assured destruction. Like the Reich, Japan had its own retinue of puppet rulers, including the Emperor of Manchukuo. With "an ocean of slave labor" at its disposal, Japan concentrated on developing sophisticated high technology.
Though the Japanese were officially allies of the Reich, rivalry nonetheless existed between the two superpowers. In line with the racist policies of the Reich, the Germans considered the non-Aryan Japanese to be inferior, citing Japan's so-called decreases in technology as proof. Yet, some German engineers considered Japanese technology, while ugly, to be more easy to use and even adapted some of the designs, citing the same process when the Wehrmacht adapted some of the Soviet tank designs. Japanese beer was prohibited in the Reich, as it did not measure up to the Reinheitsgebot, the German beer purity law which still used the standard of the Middle Ages.
Despite this rather tense atmosphere, Japanese were allowed to visit the Reich as tourists and students. One former Japanese university student established a restaurant in Berlin called Admiral Yamamoto, which was popular among German officials from the nearby government district.
Japan in Joe Steele
Japan was jointly invaded by the United States (led by President Joe Steele) and the Soviet Union (under Leon Trotsky) during World War II, resulting in a deadly stalemate and the division of the country into North Japan and South Japan. This division led directly to the Japanese War, in which atomics were dropped on major cities in both countries.
Japan in "The Last Article"
Japan emerged from World War II as a victor, dominating China, Siberia and the Western Pacific. In 1947, Germany warned the United States not to interfere with the Japanese Empire; Germany was busy negotiating trade agreements between Manchukuo, China, and Siberia.
Japan in "Last Flight of the Swan of the East"
The Empire of Japan joined the leviathan arms-race comparatively later than the European powers. Initially resistant to the new airships, Japan had no choice but to accept their value when the Russian Empire's leviathans thoroughly demolished Japan's wet navy at the Battle of Tsushima in 1896. Japan stepped up development of its own fleet, in part by copying the efforts of the United States, who were also behind Europe. Thus, Japan's rivalry with Russia begat a secondary rivalry with the U.S., which was intensified as both the U.S. and Japan competed for influence in the Pacific, and each built substantial leviathan fleets.
In July 1914, the Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were assassinated in Sarajevo by a Serbian nationalist. Austria-Hungary issued a series of six ultimata against Serbia relating to the incident. Serbia, supported by its ally, Russia, accepted five demands, but refused to allow Austrian investigators to come to Serbia to help the investigation. In response, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Russia declared war on Austria-Hungary. Austria's ally, the German Empire, declared war on Russia. France, allied with Russia, declared on Germany. Japan, seeing an opportunity for revenge against Russia and worried by Russian ambitions in the Pacific, declared war on Russia, allying herself with Germany and Austria-Hungary. The United States, concerned about Japan's ambitions in the Pacific, allied herself with France. (Of the "great powers", only the United Kingdom remained neutral.)
In "The Wind from the Sky" by William H. Keith, Jr., Japan successfully conquers Chile in 1911. In Turtledove's "Last Flight of the Swan", Chile is described as neutral in the Great War but favoring Germany; Japan's recent conquest is not referenced.
Japan in The Man With the Iron Heart
Japan kept fighting for some months after its co-belligerent, Germany, was defeated and occupied by the Allies in May 1945. German Freedom Front leader Reinhard Heydrich hoped that Japan's stubborn and violent fight against the United States would divert American resources from its occupation of Germany. Heydrich also adapted the kamikaze techniques employed by Japanese forces for the GFF's new strategy of suicide bombing.
Japan in "Les Mortes d'Arthur"
Japan was a wealthy country and a great military power in the 22nd century. It could afford to send a large team to Mimas, a moon of Saturn, for the Sixty-sixth Winter Games. Japan was wealthy enough to have its athletes train there in the low-g environment prior to the Games. In the late 21st century, Japan had revived the traditions of bushido.
Japan in "Must and Shall"
Japan in "News From the Front"
Japan's efforts during World War II were bolstered by the American media, which was hostile to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Indeed, thanks to stories which revealed American military plans days in advance, Japan was able to hold Midway and its other conquests in the Pacific.
Japan in "Next Year in Jerusalem"
Japan in "The Phantom Tolbukhin"
Japan in "Ready for the Fatherland"
Japan was invaded by the United States after the Soviet Union made a separate peace with Nazi Germany. Before the U.S. could fully occupy the Home Islands, the Soviet Union was able to occupy Hokkaido. In 1953, the Soviet Union destroyed Tokyo with a sunbomb. The United States dropped one their own sunbombs on Vladivostok. Only the efforts of German Chancellor Erich von Manstein and the death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin prevented the incident from leading to full-blown war.
Japan in "Shtetl Days"
While Japan's independence is alluded to in the text, the extent of its empire, if any, is never addressed.
Japan in Southern Victory
19th and early 20th Centuries
In 1854, the United States Navy flotilla commanded by Admiral Matthew Perry was sent to force Japan out of a centuries-long voluntary isolation. The Japanese faced the daunting task of adopting Western technologies fast enough to avoid falling into a colonial or semi-colonial status, as happened to virtually all other Asian countries.
The Japanese showed great determination and perseverance, and might have succeeded even under more difficult conditions in becoming the only non-white country to compete with Europe and North America on equal terms. However, it was of considerable help to them that within less than a decade after sending Admiral Perry to their shores, the United States broke up into two separate and mutually-antagonistic nations, which engaged in periodic bloody wars with each other, greatly limiting the resources which either could spare for the other side of the Pacific.
Moreover, the circumstances under which the Confederacy achieved its independence set the United States and the British Empire on a course of enmity and hostilities, which was to last for nearly a century - ruling out any possibility of cooperation between them to check Japan's own naval ambitions.
Thus, Japan emerged victorious in her wars against China and Spain, annexing Chosen, Formosa, Guam and the Philippines. At least some of these achievements might have been denied to Japan had the United States remained a single united nation and used to the full its potential of expansion across the Pacific. Also in later stages of its imperial growth, Japan would repeatedly benefit from the fact the United States, faced with the direct Confederate threat in its close proximity, could only spare limited resources for more distant naval wars.
Japan fought on the side of the Entente during the Great War but did not formally join its alliance system. The Japanese overran Germany's colonies in the central Pacific and supported Britain against the United States. Previously regarded as a lightweight nation who had beaten only weak opponents (including Spain), the Japanese Navy's performance in Battle of the Three Navies earned Japan the respect (and fear) of the white man. Japan was the only nation of the Entente not to be decisively defeated, and simply discontinued fighting once the other Entente nations had asked for armistices. Alone of the Entente powers, Japan gained territory and sustained minimal loss of manpower.
The Interwar Years
Emboldened by the European defeats in the Great War, Japan spent the 1920s expanding her empire. Much influence was gained in China and Manchuria became a Japanese holding, while France and the Netherlands were 'persuaded' (with suitable compensation) to hand over their colonies in Indochina and the Dutch East Indies. Britain counted itself lucky that Japan didn't do the same to Malaya and Hong Kong.
Japan's foreign policy in the eastern Pacific proved less successful. Attempts to set off an uprising in US-occupied Canada led to the Pacific War in 1932. While the Japanese successfully bombed Los Angeles in October that year, the US Navy managed to prevent any invasion of the Sandwich Islands. Neither country could fully prosecute the war though: America's funding-starved military had to defend a long land border with the CSA, while Japan had the Russians sitting over Manchuria. The war ended inconclusively in 1934 with no territorial changes.
Second Great War
During the Second Great War, Japan was much more active. The Japanese navy was able to capture the island of Midway from the weakened U.S. in 1941 and pushed the Americans back to the Sandwich Islands. Later that year Japanese airplanes destroyed the USS Remembrance, the only American airplane carrier in the Pacific. However, despite these early advantages, the U.S. Navy managed to hold the Japanese out of the Sandwich Islands until it was reinforced, at which point it began pushing the Japanese out of American territory. The net effect was to reaffirm the partition of the Pacific into American and Japanese spheres of influence.
With no further American pressure on them, the Japanese started a war with Britain over Malaya, in effect becoming the undeclared ally of the United States and Germany, as the Japanese offensive served to draw British forces and resources away from the Atlantic.
At the time of their surrender in 1944, Britain and Russia were Japan's allies in little but name. In addition to having attacked British territory during the war itself, Japan had turned on the other "ally", Russia, making use of its weakness after the destruction of Petrograd and demanding territory in Siberia.
Altogether, Japan again came out of another global war with minimal loss of life and with territorial gains. Moreover, Japan was the only major world power to come out of the last phase of the war without having been subjected to superbomb attacks.
The Japanese efforts to achieve a superbomb were partly responsible for the ruthless US decision to liquidate Henderson V. FitzBelmont, the main Confederate nuclear physicist, for fear that he might help the Japanese or Russians to build such weapons.
Japan in State of Jefferson
Japan and the United States had fought fiercely against each other during World War II (with one Japanese aerial raid doing minor damage in the State of Jefferson), but by the 1970s the two nations were on good terms with each other. In 1979, a Japanese ship, the Heiwa Maru, brought the Yeti Lama, a man of peace, for a visit to Jefferson.
In early 1980, Japanese fishing practices, combined with those of Russia and Korea, had begun to deplete the coastal waters off the west coast of the U.S., negatively impacting the food supply of the merfolk who resided off of the coast of Jefferson. When the merfolk turned to consuming salmon that swam into the Klamath River, they in turn cut into the food supply of the Karuk Indians.
Japan in Supervolcano
Japan's weather was impacted quickly after the Yellowstone Supervolcano erupted. By and large, the country grew colder. Hiroshima remained comparatively warm, but it was more humid than usual. The country received a foot (30 centimeters) of snow.
Japan in Through Darkest Europe
Japan, rarely referred to by outsiders as Nippon, was one of a handful of nations where Buddhism remained the majority religion. After rejecting modernity for a long time, Japan finally decided it was time to adapt or go under. Japan's best known industrial products included assault weapons which were popular among terrorists.
Japan in The Two Georges
In the late 20th Century, the Empire of Japan was considered a second tier power. The empire consisted of the Home Islands, the Korean Peninsula and the Island of Formosa. The stable world situation meant that Japan could be secure in continued possession of these colonies but had little or no prospect of gaining further territories.
Japan in The War That Came Early
The Empire of Japan had engaged in expansionist policies within the boundaries of China throughout the 1930s. In 1932, Japan had created the puppet Empire of Manchkuo out of Manchuria. In 1937, Japan launched a war with China proper, occupying a substanial portion of Eastern China.
Japan's expansion, however, had also created tensions with other countries, particularly the Soviet Union and to a lesser extent, the United States. Japan maintained that the border between the Empire of Manchukuo and Mongolian People's Republic was the Halha River. Mongolia (and its patron, the Soviet Union), insisted it was further east. Japan and the Soviet Union had skirmished off and on as a result.
Japan's tensions with the U.S. had arisen primarily from the sinking of the USS Panay in 1937. Although Japan had taken responsibility for it, there were concerns among the U.S. military personnel still stationed in China that the issue was still smoldering. Moreover, the U.S. had expressed concerns about the brutality of the Japanese occupation. However, as Japan was an importer of U.S. scrap metal and petroleum, these complaints were lukewarm at best.
Japan did not participate in the European war that broke out in September 1938. The Soviet Union, however, did, declaring war on Germany. The following January, the USSR was also at war with Poland. With the USSR busy in the west, the Japanese government decided to invade Siberia with the goal of annexing Vladivostok. The invasion was also an opportunity to settle Manchukuo-Mongolia border issue, although that was incidental at best.
Concurrently, tensions between Japan and the United States began to mount as the U.S. government grew worried about Japan's aggressive growth and inhumanity towards its conquered subjects. Shortly after being re-elected in 1940, US President Roosevelt announced that the U.S. would no longer ship fuel and scrap metal to Japan. Perceiving this as an act of aggression, on Sunday, January 12, 1941, Japan launched attacks on the Philippines, British Malaysia and Indochina.  Japan also attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; however, because of its location, the Hawaii attack came on Saturday, January 11 in the afternoon. The United States was alerted to the Philippines attack by this time, its naval losses at Pearl were only one aircraft carrier and one battleship.
Still, Japan made the most of its surprise attack. The Philippines finally fell, not long after General Douglas MacArthur was killed during a Japanese bombing raid. Other territories, most notably Wake Island and Guam also fell. The Pacific fleet, under the command of Admiral Husband Kimmel, immediately moved to retake it. While Marines were successfully landed on Wake, the U.S. Navy, expecting conventional ship-to-ship fighting seen at the Battle of Jutland,were beaten back by the Japanese fleet's superior air-power. Kimmel went down with his flag ship, the USS Arizona. The landed Marines were largely left behind as the Pacific fleet returned to Hawaii.
Throughout the remainder of the year, the American navy regrouped and resupplied at Hawaii, with a special emphasis on building a fleet of fighter planes and aircraft carriers. As Winter 1941 approached, a fleet including the USS Ranger (a carrier), the USS Boise, three destroyers and a heavy cruiser steamed out of Hawaii to once again meet the Japanese. However, the subsequent Battle of the Java Sea was a terrific defeat for the over-confident and badly coordinated allies. Japan was able to consolidate its hold in Southeast Asia, and began to redouble it attacks on Hawaii.
Determined to regain momentum, the U.S. launched the largest task force the world had ever seen against in an attempt to retake Wake Island. That subsequent battle proved an even greater disaster for the U.S. than Java Sea, with the US losing all of its aircraft carriers. Midway fell shortly after, leaving Hawaii as the USA's most forward defense post. Japan had free reign to bomb Hawaii with relative impunity throughout 1942 and into 1943,, even using biological weapons that it had developed at labs established in it various occupied territories. However, by early 1944, the tremendous strain Japan had put on its resources finally took its toll. In a dramatic raid, the U.S. succeeded in driving the Japanese out of Midway, a drive that continued to gain momentum. Worse still for Japan, the war in Europe finally ended in mid 1944, and the Soviet Union was now free to begin its plans to retake Vladivostok with its new ally, the United States.
Japan in Worldwar
Although culturally more similar to the Race than any other Tosevite not-empires, they resisted the Race when it attacked the Japanese Empire. While their naval forces achieved successful surprise attacks, their army didn't fare well in combat with the Race, as its tanks and weapons were even more inferior in quality than those of other human nations. Japanese forces in China were swiftly reduced to isolated pockets of guerrillas, due to a combination of Chinese uprisings and the Race's crushing superiority. Though some of these guerrilla units remained active till the end of the war, they were able to inflict little significant damage upon the Race and were forced to cooperate with hostile Chinese Communist and Kuomintang forces. Farther north, the Japanese army in Manchukuo made a stand near the strategically important city of Harbin, but by the winter of 1942 the Race had succeeded in capturing the city. By the end of the war, with the exception of Indochina, Japanese ground forces had been expelled from the Asian mainland.
After driving the Japanese out of China and Manchukuo, the Race contented itself with aerial raids against Japan. When the Race demonstrated the power of atomic energy by destroying Berlin and Washington with explosive-metal bombs, the Japanese strove to create their own atomic bombs, basing their efforts in the capital of Tokyo, and interrogating Race prisoners of war for nuclear-related knowledge. In mid-1943 their efforts were thwarted when one prisoner escaped, and Fleetlord Atvar destroyed Tokyo as a warning to all other human powers.
When peace was declared in 1944, Japan was originally not invited to the proceedings, but was eventually granted a seat at the table alongside the United Kingdom. Lacking the resources to build an atomic bomb, the Japanese did not gain full diplomatic relations (de facto acknowledgment of independence) from the Race. However, despite being driven from China, Manchukuo and Korea, Japan still retained its vast Pacific empire including the Philippines, Taiwan, Hainan, the former Dutch East Indies, Indochina, and the Pacific islands from Midway to New Guinea and the New Hebrides. The Race had not bothered to invade these territories during the invasion due to its tendency to overlook islands. Nor did the Race decide to continue its war against Japan in Southeast Asia after the ceasefire, although it refused to relinquish territories on the mainland that it had already occupied. The retention of the Dutch East Indies gave the the Japanese important resources for building their military and economy as well as for trading with the rest of the unoccupied world.
Despite its own grudges against Japan, the United States provided support to the postwar Japanese Empire to have a buffer between the Race and American interests in the Pacific, and to prevent the Japanese from turning to the Soviet Union or the Race. Japan itself supported Chinese rebels, with its influence particularly felt in former Manchukuo, though its lack of nuclear weapons meant that Japan had to be even more circumspect than the Big Three.
When the Colonization Fleet arrived in 1962, the Japanese adamantly rejected the Race's attempts to introduce its Emperor-worship religion among humanity, precisely because they already had their own, rather similar, homegrown worship focused on their own Emperors. In 1965, Japan at last detonated its own atomic bomb at Bikini Atoll. With this achievement, Japan demanded and was granted full diplomatic relations with the Race, the same as were afforded the United States, Germany, and the Soviet Union. As a result of this and retaining a large empire, Japan was able to re-emerge as a great power in the late 20th century and avoid the same decline that befell the United Kingdom.
By 2031, it was considered within the realm of possibility for the Japanese to build an interstellar starship, possibly even a FTL starship, within the foreseeable future.
- The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump, loc. 3384, ebook.
- Ibid., loc. 3933.
- Ibid., loc. 2691.
- Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, March/April 2021
- Gunpowder Empire, pgs. 11-12.
- The Valley-Westside War, p. 193.
- The Hot War, pg. 138, HC.
- Ibid., pgs. 375-376.
- The House of Daniel, loc. 4872, ebook.
- "A Monster in the Sky", Steven Mohan, Jr.Leviathans: Armored Skies, pg. 12-41, loc. 129-586, ebook.
- "Steel, Bamboo, and Rice Paper", S.M. Stirling, Ibid., pg. 47-106, loc. 645-1501.
- "Last Flight of the Swan", Harry Turtledove, pgs. 292-299, loc. 4174-4290, ebook.
- Counting Up, Counting Down, p. 60.
- Imaginings, p. 11.
- Alternate Generals, p. 125, Counting Up, Counting Down, p. 116.
- Thirty Days Later, pgs. 135-141.
- Ibid., pgs. 17-23.
- Eruption, pg. 358.
- See Inconsistencies (Through Darkest Europe).
- Map The Two Georges, frontispiece.
- The Two Georges, p. 131, HC.
- The Big Switch, pg. 397-400.
- Ibid., pg. 399.
- Ibid., pg 162.
- Ibid., pg. 120.
- Ibid., pg. 229.
- Ibid., pg. 136.
- Ibid., pg. 295.
- Ibid., pg. 345.
- Ibid., pgs. 166-168.
- Ibid., pgs. 279-282.
- Last Orders, pgs. 191-194.
- Ibid., pgs. 345-346.
- See Inconsistencies (Worldwar)