Faction Mini-Preview: Taira Clan and Minamoto Clan
Introduction: Heian Japan
The rise of the Taira and Minamoto clans, both offshoots of the Imperial clan, was the culmination of the development of a provincial military class during the last two centuries of the Fuijiwara period. This milieu saw the steady erosion of state control, a growth in lawlessness with the formation of bandit and pirate bands, and the creation of military groups around temples, shrines, and local officials. Most of these local leaders claimed descent from lesser clan chiefs, the important ones were descended from provincial branches of Imperial and court families. Starting out from the more remote border regions of the islands, these groups coalesced into extended military clans often with real or pseudo-family ties. In truth, these clans were based on common geographical and economic ties. From 792 AD Chinese-style peasant conscription was abandoned and the task of policing border regions fell to pioneer families who used a professional, permanent militia to protect their land. The techniques employed by these militia, skilled mounted archery and the use of the curved two-handed katana slowly spread to the rest of Japan. A strong allegiance to lord and master within a Confucian model also gained popularity and led to the creation of the ideology of bushido, the way of the warrior.
The Taira Clan: Historical Overview
The Taira clan is often referred to as Heishi (??, literally "Taira clan") or Heike (??, literally House of Taira ), using the character's Chinese reading hei. Grandsons of Emperor Kammu were first given the name Taira in the early ninth century, thereafter descendants of Emperor Nimmyo, Emperor Montoku, and Emperor Koko were also given the surname. The specific hereditary lines from these emperors are referred to by the emperor's posthumous name followed by Heishi(i.e. Kammu Heishi).
The Kammu Heishi line, founded in 889 by Taira no Takamochi, became the most enduring and dominant line during the late Heian period with Taira no Kiyomori eventually forming the first samurai dominated government in the history of Japan. Taira no Korihira, moved to Ise Province and established a major daimyo dynasty. Masamori, his grandson; and Tadamori, great-grandson, became loyal supporters of the cloistered emperors Shirakawa and Toba, respectively. Taira no Kiyomori, son and heir of Tadamori, rose to the position of Daijo Daijin following his victories in the Hogen Disturbance (1156) and the Heiji Disturbance (1160). Kiyomori had become the first courtier of a warrior family to be appointed as a chief minister of the government, and the de facto administrator of the imperial government. But it was through his military success in these conflicts that saw the deep rivalry between the Minamoto and Taira clans develop.
By settling in Heian-kyo (Kyoto) and becoming in effect a new group of courtiers, the Taira clan have risen to their zenith under Kiyomori. However, this ascendancy has weakened their hold over the cliques in the provinces. Minamoto remnants are mustering their strength in the Eastern provinces and eventually they feel themselves strong enough to threaten the Taira's supremacy.
The Minamoto Clan: Historical Overview
The Minamoto clan, whose name means 'original town', was founded by Tsunemoto (917–961), grandson of Emperor Seiwa (859-880), and son of the Minister of War. The Minamoto clan was also called the Genji Clan (??, Genji Clan), using the alternate pronunciation of the Chinese characters for Minamoto (gen) and uji, or family (ji). The Sasarindo, the family crest of the Minamoto, is a blue wisteria flower.
Along with the Fujiwara, Tachibana, and Taira clans, the Minamoto were one of four clans which dominated Heian politics and court society. Originally an honorary surname granted by the emperor, the Minamoto initially served as agents of the court, suppressing rebellions and guarding the state's borders.
Power struggles emerged within the Imperial court during the 11th and 12th centuries, and by the middle of the 12th century, the conflict came to be primarily one between the Minamoto and Taira clans. The Hôgen Disturbance of 1156 saw members of both clans pitted against each other but set the stage for the great rivalry to develop between the Minamoto, led by Minamoto no Yoshitomo, and the Taira, under Taira no Kiyomori. After the Heiji Disturbance, which ended in a Taira victory, several of Yoshitomo's sons were killed, and several exiled, Yoshitomo himself being killed shortly later.
Since that time, the Minamoto, once scattered and defeated, have gradually regained strength and unity. Minamoto Yoritomo and his younger brothers Noriyori and Yoshisune can no longer hide in the shadows and now seek revenge on the Taira. Are the Minamoto now powerful enough to support a usurpation of the throne, or perhaps to even create their own state?
The Shogunate Transformation
The time following the Genpei War saw the rise of the feudal system in Japan under the rule of Minamoto no Yoritomo. During the war, Yoritomo began to appoint stewards (??, jito) and governors (??, shugo) in the eastern provinces from his supporters. The culmination of the war saw his power unmatched, and while the court initially resisted him, on December 23, 1185 the court granted his petition which would allow him to appoint his own followers as stewards and governors. The court had granted a lord the power to control the public functions concerned with law enforcement and the collection of revenue; this was the beginning of the feudal era.
The governors and stewards were not acting as representatives of the central government, but as vassals of the lord of Kamakura. These offices of power were granted to them in return for military services. While the Throne still exercised power over some areas, the fidelity of the land was not theirs to command. Each jito handled the administration of a manor (??, shoen) and the farmers who worked on it, which was inherently not the jurisdiction of the federal government. These jito were administered by the shugo who had administrative authority over a province or multiple provinces in service to the shogun. The warrior-farmers who worked and reaped the benefits of the shoen owed their allegiance both to the jito they served and the shogun who secured their position.
In All Under Heaven, the player can gradually transition from the Ritsuryo system of the Heian Period to the Shoen system of the Kamakura Period and become a Shogunate. For the player to fully alter the system of governance of the region, control must be consolidated by eliminating the opposing clan and maintaining a military policy. This transition will have effects on the military make-up and its institutions as well as impact the civil appointments and economical tenure of the state.
Argent Usher's Real Horses
Campaign models based on work from:
Three Kingdoms mod - waitcu
Blue Lotus - Rinsui (@ The Guild)
Advice & Support
The BC team (especially Strelac)
Ran No Jidai team
Before I hear screams of 'Attack of the Clones' most of the units you see are still being developed, future previews will see much more unit variation being added. Thanks.
~ Yelü Dashi
Glad to see this is finally out in the open! Can't wait for the unit previews!
In the meantime, I will explore a number of 'stop-gap' measures (possibly using altered textures) that could ensure at least we don't have samurai standing atop teutonic castle. Also, the AUH will encourage pitched battles in the open rather than sieges, which for many factions in the mod was not really an option.
Thanks for your kind comments of support, and make sure to watch this thread closely as we will be updating it regularly.