Alternative History

The Empire of Japan is a federal constitutional dyarchy. Its co-heads of state are the Emperor and the Tycoon.

Nineteenth Century

Japan after the Keiō Restoration put considerable effort into modernization. In 1875, Japan signed the Treaty of Saint Petersburg with Russia, ceding control of Sakhalin in exchange for control of the Kurile Islands and the Aleutian Islands.

To the south, the Kingdom of Ryūkyū was annexed to the Empire, its king being demoted to daimyō in exchange for a peaceful annexation. In 1895, Japan and China went to war over Korea (the Sino-Japanese War). Japan was the overwhelming victor, and Korea became a Japanese protectorate. The Tycoon shortly afterwards copied the pattern successfully pioneered in his own nation with Korea, becoming likewise Tycoon of Korea, with the Korean Emperor as (nominally) co-head of state. China was forced to pay a massive indemnity of 200 million tael, and to cede control of Taiwan and the Pescadores. Initially, Japan demanded control of the Liaotung Penninsula, but in the so-called Triple Intervention, France, Germany, and Russia compelled Japan to withdraw that demand, in exchange for a greater indemnity.

With part of this indemnity, Japan purchased the Russian territory of Alaska. A few years later, gold was discovered.

The 20th century and the Russo-Japanese War

Friction grew between Japan and Russia over Russia's annexation of Port Arthur, which Japan had been forced in the Triple Intervention to concede, and growing Russian influence in Korea and Manchuria. In addition, many Russians were unhappy over the discovery of gold in the recently-sold Alaska. This friction lead to the Russo-Japanese War. Japan crushed Russian forces, driving them out of Korea and Manchuria, and invading Russia proper. Shock at these defeats lead to the Russian Revolution of 1905. Japan continued their attack on Russia, while Russia desperately sought peace. Japan marched to the Urals with little effective opposition, setting up a puppet Republic of Siberia, successful beyond their wildest dreams. Japan was now recognized as a major Power.

The First European War

Japan began to acquire greater control over Manchuria, and, during the First European War, took advantage of the distraction of world attention by invading Manchuria and setting up a puppet Empire of Manchuria, with the deposed Emperor of China on its throne.

After the defeat of England and France in the First European War, Japan began to seize their Pacific territories one by one, governing them either as outright colonies or as protectorates, such as the Kingdom of Hawai'i.

The Global War

By the time of the Global War, Japan's empire included most of the Pacific, outside Indonesia and Australasia, Alaska, Siberia, northern China, and southeast Asia.

With the outbreak of the Global War, Japan's empire grew even larger. Japan pushed her influence in China, while expanding to Indonesia to the south. Parts of Canada were added to Japanese Alaska. Russia proper was shared between Japan and Germany in the immediate aftermath, but later became firmly on the Japanese side during the Cold War

Cold War and Restructuring

During the Cold War, the Empire faced a number of internal problems with administrating such an enormous multinational empire. Territories were given independence within a newly-formed Asia-Pacific Harmonious Co-Prosperity Sphere, usually referred to by the outside world as the Japanese Hegemony. Initially, the Co-Prosperity sphere was a single currency union, but later, the various yens (yuans, wons, etc.) began to float one by one.

Members of the APHCPS (incomplete)

  • Alaska
  • Cambodia
  • China
  • Hawai'i
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Laos
  • Manchuria
  • Myanmar
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Tibet
  • Viet Nam

The Co-Prosperity Sphere remains one of the two Superpowers after the fall of the German hegemony in 1994. Relations between the two remaining superpowers have been improving in recent years

Dynastic Struggle

In 1879, Crown Prince Mutsuhito's only surviving son was born, but was, unfortunately, brain-damaged. As a result, a struggle ensued between Mutsuhito, who wanted to keep the throne in his lineage, and his brother, Prince Keihito, who argued that Prince Yoshihito should not be alowed on the throne. The issue heated up upon Kōmon's death and the designation of Yoshihito as Crown Prince. In 1899, the Emperor was forced to bow to the demands of the Tycoon and the Congress, and agree to the designation of Keihito as heir. He attempted to get the designation changed again to his grandson, Prince Hirohito, upon the latter's birth, but was unsuccessful.

And so, upon his death in 1912, Prince Keihito ascended the throne, ruling for another 37 years. The new Emperor had several sons, but Prince Hirohito never forgot his deprivation, and campaigned for the restoration of the throne to his line. In 1929, shortly after the death of his father, Prince Hirohito finally succeeded, and was designated as heir to his great-uncle the Emperor. Twenty years later he ascended the throne, reigning from 1949 till 1989. But, he, too, was required to choose as heir the son (later grandson) of his predecessor. A treaty was signed between the two branches providing for orderly alternation.

In 1989, the Emperor died, and his second cousin, Kunihito, ascended the throne, reigning until 2003. As heir to Kunihito, the Emperor's son Akihito was chosen. Akihito, however, rescended his rights in favor of his son, Naruhito, who became Emperor in 2003.

Naruhito will be the last Emperor of the Mutsuhito line, as no males have been born to that branch since 1964, when Naruhito's younger brother, Prince Fumihito, was born. Shortly after taking the throne, Naruhito arranged a betrothal of his only daughter, Princess Aiko (born 2001), to the eventual successor in the Keihito line (her fifth cousin), thus restoring the rift between the two branches.

Japan's Heads of State

Tycoons of Japan (from the Keiō Restoration)

  • 1866-1913 Yoshinobu
  • 1913-1922 Yoshihisa
  • 1922-1993 Yoshimitsu
  • 1993- Yoshitomo

Emperors of Japan (from the Keiō Restoration)

  • 1846-1894 Kōmon
  • 1894-1912 (Mutsuhito)
  • 1912-1949 (Keihito)
  • 1949-1989 (Hirohito)
  • 1989-2003 (Kunihito)
  • 2003- (Naruhito)