Shirakawa

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The Kingdom of Shirakawa
大白川王国
Dai-Shirakawa Ōkoku
Shirakawan Flag
Flag Royal Seal
Motto: 四族協和 Yonzokukyōwa
Four Nations under One Union
Map of Shirakawa
Map of Shirakawa
CapitalEito
Largest Kaigan
Official languages Shirakawan Yashiman, Hayatogo, Parun, Hashinoan
Recognized minority languages Imperial Cathaic, Chahar, Kuiju
Demonym Shirakawan
Government Unitary Parliamentary Ziyuist Constitutional Monarchy
 -  Grand King Tenkatsukō
 -  Chancellor of the Realm Seikoujo Chika
Legislature Heavenly Assembly
Establishment
 -  Unification 1153 - 1200 CE 
 -  Takeshimist Restoration 1591 CE 
 -  First Grand Law 15th February, 1820 CE 
 -  Second Grand Law 18th March, 1905 
 -  Third Grand Law 1st September, 1954 
Area
 -  649,925 km2
250,937 sq mi
Population
 -  2016 estimate 122,025,490
 -  Density 187/km2
484.3/sq mi
GDP (nominal) 2016 estimate
 -  Total $4,434,406,306,600
 -  Per capita $36,340
GiniDecrease 37.2
medium
HDI Increase 0.885
very high
Currency Shirakawan Mon 文 (SHM)
Time zone Royal Standard Time (CET) (UTC+1)
Date format dd-mm-yyyy
Drives on the left
Calling code +41
ISO 3166 code SH

The Kingdom of Shirakawa (大白川王国 Dai-Shirakawa Ōkoku, literally 'The Kingdom of Great Shirakawa') commonly called Shirakawa (白川, meaning 'White River'), is a sovereign state in Escar. Shirakawa has an estimated population of 122 million, making it the Nth largest country in the world by population.

Shirakawa is a Ziyuist Semi-Constitutional Monarchy with a Parliamentary system of governance. The current monarch is Daiō Tenkatsukō. The country's capital city is Eito, a major financial center host to a multitude of domestic and foreign corporations. The city of Kaigan, the most populous urban center in Shirakawa at over 13.4 million inhabitants, is often regarded as the 'second capital', due to it's dominance in the media, the economy and in national politics, despite not holding any official status.

Shirakawa became an influential nation in it's region in the 17th century thanks to the resources it gained from new colonial holdings in Osova, Valeya and the Varunan Ocean; eventually the Empire expanded it's borders and influence as far south as Zenha. In doing so, it joined the ranks of the great powers, standing shoulder to shoulder with the Zossic and Yeongseonin empires, among others. It suffered greatly throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries however, as it's empire slowly decayed, and eventually collapsed almost entirely in the 1910s and 20s due to economic strain and multiple military failures. Later, in the Fourth Shiro-Yamataian War Shirakawa fought Yamatai to regain control of territories the latter had taken from it in 1923 Treaty of Wanshi, and the Kingdom reemerged as a prominent player on the Escari continent in the process. It went on to be a founding member of the Heian Cooperation Organization and the Fraternity of Nations, as well as a leading member of the Ordic League.

Etymology[edit]

The kanji for Shirakawa (白川) literally translate to 'White River(s)', and came into use in royal documents around the 10th century CE. Prior to this, the country was known by a variety of names, the most commonly used of which was 扶桑 (Fusō/Fusau in classical Yashiman).

It is not known exactly which river is referenced in early uses of the names; likely candidates include the Furukawa (古川) and the Tetsukawa (鉄川), both of which have their sources in the Seikaiju mountains and flow through the Enoka region, the center of power for both modern and ancient Shirakawa. It is also possible the name references the extensive river systems of Shirakawa as a whole , rather than any one in particular.

History[edit]

Prehistory & Antiquity[edit]

Anatomically modern human habitation of the Shirakawan mainland first began around 30,000 years ago, with the main routes of migration being across the Chahar plain on the border with modern day Tsutikuo, and later along the northern coast, from modern day Jiquan. It is unknown if earlier species of hominids inhabited the region prior to the arrival of homo sapiens; the current academic consensus is no, due to lack of evidence, but discoveries in other parts of Escar suggest it is a possibility.

Kojin pottery.

Agriculture arrived relatively late, by the standards of Cathai for example, with the first evidence of farming being dated to around 5500 BCE. Animal domestication and husbandry however was likely been embraced before then, as the bones of oxen and dogs have been found in human burial sites created between 6700 and 6100 BCE by the Shinko culture, alongside primitive forms of pottery. Ceramics are believed to have been of great significance to the early inhabitants of Shirakawa, known as the Kojin. Besides the aforementioned clay pottery of the Shinko, thousands of samples of ceramic artwork, likely used for both practical and religious applications, have been found across the country; in particular from the Mikoshu, Saiyu delta, and Haku pottery cultures.

The arrival of agriculture did not have an immediate impact upon Shirakawa; farming communities remained largely small and insular until until around 4000 - 2900 BCE, when dozens of small trading towns began to spring up along the western and northern coasts, within inland river valleys, and on surrounding islands. Around this time, the earliest written records (yet discovered) were produced - carved into stone tablets, using various indigenous writing systems. These cities over time became city states, and were largely ruled by priestly oligarchies or local princes. Among the earliest example of such a theocratic hierarchy was the Kanazawa Empire centered on the recently discovered Kanazawa temple complex and the surrounding Kanazawa lakelands, which may have briefly controlled a region spanning from modern day Chiisaijima to Akazawa.

Larger political entities began to develop around 1000-600 BCE, in what is known as the River Kingdoms Period - so named for the dependence of these states on the major Shirakawan rivers as sources of fresh water and transport of trade goods, people and other commodities.

These states were generally highly diverse, and this period saw a vast amount of migration from within and without; the Tanerans, possibly a Chaharic or Transescaric group, were active in the eastern part of the country, while the Kara, suspected by many scholars to be early speakers of a Hino-Yashimic language, grew in influence throughout the west after migrating from further south; the Karaic states in particular left a considerably rich archeological record especially around modern-day Wanshi, where their ceramic works are commonly found to this day, though much of their language and culture beyond this remains mysterious.

Migration Period[edit]

Yezay noble with his two sons, 570 - 670

By 300 CE the main hegemon among the Karaic principalities was Yezayau (sometimes known as Yezuy or Yetusayou), which succeeded in unifying a realm stretching from Wanshi to Eito - the core of the future Shirakawan state. Also around this time, an increasingly active Hinoan Kingdom had begun to influence the region, and the first major migrations of Yashiman peoples took place. Initially, population movements were sporadic and temporary; the earliest discovered and preserved Hinoan settlement at Shinzan, dated to 381 CE, was likely part of this initial movement of peoples.

By the late 4th and 5th centuries, active settlement efforts were undertaken with sponsorship from powerful Hinoan families, and it is during this period that many of Shirakawa's oldest cities, such Komura, Asou (Usu) and Wanami (Shiramori), were founded. Elites settled on the mainland too, and those who could not find employment in the coastal colonies tended to travel inland; the most detailed accounts of Karaic societies such as Yezayau come from such merchants and nobles who entered the service of local monarchs.

The increasing numbers of Yashiman settlers and the growing frequency of contact with the locals likely led to the development of a local creole language, which is theorized to have been the ancestor of modern Shirakawan Yashiman.

Classical Shirakawa[edit]

Detail from Tale of the Katō War, depicting the attack on Okakyo

As the relatively centralized feudal regime of the Kingdom of Hinomoto began to devolve into a more anarchic state, it's direct influence over it's mainland vassals began to wane, and by 1100 the Yashiman mainland states were effectively independent. Many resorted to piracy and inland raids against both Karaics and eachother to survive, and it was this chaotic period saw the birth of the Shirakawan nation, as the coastal warlords were eventually unified under the rule of Jinhō, who was supposedly crowned the first Grand Queen of Shirakawa. According to legend, the coronation took place in 1153, but the choice of date is likely chosen for it's auspiciousness - reflecting the legendary queen's supposedly divine origins - rather than a historical basis; modern historians place the date of complete unification after 1200, and some dispute Jinhō's existence, claiming her tale may be a conscious attempt by later governments to create a 'mother of the nation' figure resembling the Yamataian Himiko and legitimize the ruling house.

Regardless of it's specific date of unification or it's rulership, the Shirakawan Kingdom expanded quickly and ruthlessly. Sources from the late Azure Empire, which controlled large parts of southern Shirakawa at the time, record the chaos and brutality of the wars to the north. Some scholars have called the conquest of the Karaic states a 'pre-modern genocide', and much of the mystery surrounding their culture is likely the result of this bloody episode of history.

At the same time the Shirakawan Kingdom itself flourished, developing a rich court culture with strong influence from the Azure Empire and later the Chaharic White Empire, to which it paid tribute and sent multiple embassies, bringing back many new traditions and technologies. However despite it's prosperity the regime was not entirely secure in it's authority or unity, and there were strong tensions within the court at various points. In 1259 there was a palatial coup attempt by Prince Nakatama to oust the reigning branch of the family, which failed, resulting in a dynastic split as the Prince and his entourage attracted supporters from among the aristocracy and instead declared a new government at Eito (later known as the Summer Court - for the city was the location of the Royal residence during the summer seasons) in opposition to the old King in Okakyo (near modern day Wanshi). This civil war, known as the Katō Period, lasted until 1273 when the Summer Court captured Okakyo and executed most members of the Winter Court, with the survivors being largely scattered and demoted.

After the civil war came what is usually seen as the golden age of Shirakawa, the Eishun Period, in which it firmly asserted it's dominance in the north and largely secured it's frontiers and independence, defeating the Empire of Hinomoto in the Shinzan War. Domestically, there was considerable administrative reform, which established a semi-meritocratic system of bureaucracy (albeit still dominated by the traditional court aristocracy), rule of law, and taxation. Neo-Confucian and Taoist ideas spread among the Shirakawan elite, and there was also some religious change, as Buddhists and Nestorian Christian communities established themselves, while Jindo beliefs solidified and were embraced by royalty, who increasingly took on an inactive, shamanistic role.

Feudal Period[edit]

Early Modern Era[edit]

Reform & Industrialization[edit]

Imperial Decline[edit]

Peaceguard officers facing off with striking workers, 1919

By the early 1900s, although Shirakawa remained a dominant military power in northern Escar with it's colonial holdings in the Varunan and Osova still largely intact, the Kingdom was quickly entering an economic crisis brought on by the large wartime loans of the 1890s and the poorly executed fiscal reform of the Koizumi government. This period of weakness stoked the ambitions of nationalist movements in the Empire, and there were a series of revolts in Pulau Todak, XX and XX to which the Royal Army responded with military force. At the same time, domestic discontent was bubbling and the popularity of the populist National Ashikasist Party was at it's peak. In 1904, an attempt was made on the life of Grand Queen Tengishinko, and another (this time successful) against the King-Consort a year later. In both instances, state security was unable to effectively root out the radicals responsible, and the NAP would operate openly until 1920.

Isokorkur Touya and Kôzuke Maho, leaders of the Conciliar Government 1924 - 1946

At the same time as the Shirakawan empire was in a state of decline, the Yamataian empire was gradually ascending - it's victory against Tsutikuo in the 1860s had deeply shaken many of Escar's established imperial powers, and Shirakawa in particular had actively attempted to contain the Yamataian's expansion. This doctrine of containment culminated with a colonial crisis in 1920, during which Shirakawan and Yamataian warships and marine troops skirmished in the southern Varunan Ocean - this would escalate to open war by 1921. The Royal Navy was decisively defeated at the Battle of Usu that same year, and as a result the Escari mainland was suddenly open to invasion. The Imperial Army seized the opportunity, and rapidly occupied the western seaboard of Shirakawa as well as it's outlying island possessions. In 1923 a grand counteroffensive was prepared, but never launched, as the threat of revolution at home and abroad sparked the August Incident which saw the reigning government removed and replaced by the faction led by the Ministry of the Center.

By the end of the year the Treaty of Wanshi was signed, greatly humilating Shirakawa and ceding it's western territories and large numbers of colonies to the invaders. Immediately the treaty provoked fury among the armed forces, who saw themselves as having been stabbed in the back by civilian leadership. Consequently in 1924 reactionary and ashikasist radical elements in the Royal Navy and Marines orchestrated yet another political takeover, known as the Rat Coup, and after a brief period of fighting in the capital instituted a military government centered around an officer's assembly called the Council of Elders.

The Council, initially dominated by a duarchy of Kôzuke Maho and Isokorkur Touya, undertook an ambitious program of rapid rearmament and militarization of Shirakawan society and what remained of the overseas territories, with the intention of guarding against possible future invasion and eventually reconquering the parts of the heartland lost to Yamatai. Among the regime's first actions were a brutal crackdown on suspected dissidents and the indefinite suspension of civil liberties.

Endwar[edit]

Contemporary History[edit]

  • Postwar recovery
  • Decolonisation
  • & other shit

Politics[edit]

Grand King Tenkatsukō, Monarch since 1989

Shirakawa is a Federal Parliamentary Neo-Confucian Constitutional Monarchy. The monarch, known as the Daiō of Shirakawa, is the head of state and the head of the executive, responsible for opening and dissolving the legislature, turning approved parliamentary bills into laws, approving the appointment of a State Marshal and their ministers, nominating candidates for the supreme court, issuing peerages and clerical positions, issuing Royal Decrees in times of crisis, ratifying treaties, declaring war and making peace, and appointing the Sei-i Taishōgun of the armed forces. These extensive powers are in fact exercised by the Crown on occasion, albeit rarely, and this has led to allegations of Collared Democracy by Shirakawan liberal campaigners. Most of these powers are subject to approval of the elected lower chambers of the legislature, and the legislature as a whole has the ability to replace the monarch, a right which it has exercised on a number of occasions.

The parliamentary legislature of Shirakawa is the Ten Gikai, or Heavenly Assembly, and it is divided into three chambers. These are the House of Commons, the House of Exemplars, and the House of Lords. The Commons and Exemplars have held a status of legislative supremacy over the Lords since the institution of the Third Grand Law in 1954, meaning only the two lower houses are allowed to propose new bills, with the upper house acting only to confirm them. The sole exception to this rule is in regards to bills affecting Royal Succession or demanding impeachment of an official, which require approval from all three chambers, and may be proposed by a member of any house.

Voting systems vary between the houses; the House of Commons and House of Lords operate on a simple majority, while the Exemplars use different forms of stratified voting. Appointment also varies: the Lords is hereditary with some Royal appointments, the Exemplars nominated and elected through preferential voting on a provincial basis, and the Commons elected through a two round system of voting. Suffrage is available for all citizens, barring those currently serving a criminal sentence.

The composition of the Assembly as of the 2016 snap elections is as follows:

Political Party Name Representation in the Commons Representation in the Lords Representation in the Exemplars Alignment Ideological Tenets
Federalist Party 連邦党 Renpōtō
409 / 800
262 / 528
24 / 93
His Majesty's Government Popular Principle, Social conservatism, Laissez-faire, Federalism, Neoconservatism
Royalist Party 王権党 Ōkentō
302 / 800
110 / 528
11 / 93
Opposition Popular Principle, Center-left politics, Centralization, Clericalism
Social Front 社会運動 Shakai Undō
65 / 800
1 / 528
22 / 93
Opposition Democratic Ashikasism, Social democracy, Trade unionism
New Ziyuist Party 新自由党 Shinjiyūtō
24 / 800
18 / 528
24 / 93
Opposition Technocracy, Secularism, Non-interventionism, Laissez-faire

The Commons is also key because the political party that holds a majority within it has the right to nominate one of it's members, typically the party leader, to the office of State Marshal. By convention, this nomination is equivalent to appointment - no Daiō has refused to approve a State Marshal chosen by the Commons since the 18th century. The State Marshal as head of government leads the Daijō-kan (Great Council of State) an interconnected network of multiple smaller councils at the center of which is the Shuyō kaigi (Primary Council) a cabinet made up of the State Marshal, the three Ministers of the Left, Right and Center, and the Vice-Chancellors of the Royal Inspectorate and the Royal Personnel Agency.

Ministers are generally not members of the legislature, but of the state bureaucracy, and are promoted to their posts by the State Marshal from positions in the federal ministries, the royal court, or in provincial governments. Each heads a department, each of which covers three ministries represented by Middle Counselors (also typically bureaucrats, but on occasion selected from members of the Assembly in the event of a coalition government). The Department of the Left for example represents the ministries of the Interior, Civil Administration and Popular Affairs. They are also quite influential in the State Marshal's decisions, as the Shuyo kaigi collectively wields Crown-delegated authority to conduct foreign policy, make appointments, and other such matters.

Due to their separation from the Parliament, ministers are technically non-partisan, though many are indirectly affiliated with certain political parties. It is not unknown however for some ministers to be continuously reappointed by multiple governments of different parties in succession.

Foreign Relations[edit]

Shirakawa is an influential force in Escari poltics and is widely considered to be among the great powers of Ordis, generally aligned with the right-leaning anti-communist faction in the Great Game that includes the Heian Cooperation Organization of which it is a founding member, alongside Yeongseon and Yamatai. The aforementioned nations are the Kingdom's closest allies, but it is also a founding member of the Vallier Conference and thus maintains a considerable network of military and economic partners in Orda. In general Shirakawa's foreign policy is heavily focused on the containment of Nakgaang, it's closest major military rival, along with other states supporting it such as Suavia.

Since the end of the Transoxthraxian civil war in 2016, Shirakawa has largely cut off relations with and promoted the isolation of the new Revisionist regime. This stance, along other issues such as recent Ahreno-Gaangi cooperation and the Vignassar Affair, has led to a breakdown of relations with Ahrenrok. Following the 2017 coup by the radical elements of the TzaRHa, certain members of the old Thal administration were taken into protective custody by the Shirakawan government, and have formed a provisional government in exile. In January 2018 this move was followed by a wave of sanctions against the leadership of the military government.

On the whole Shirakawa maintains positive relations with neutral nations in Ordis, such as Yorcke, Meriad and the FRAUT

Shirakawa maintains very warm relations with members of the Fraternity of Nations, an international organization formed in 1954 aimed at promoting common cultural influences, democracy, and rule of law among the nations that once formed the Shirakawan colonial empire, such as Pulau Todak and ____. The nominal values of the organization are promoted in the Pledge of the Fraternity and the Union Games. The current Chairman of the Fraternity is Nawar Sakushima.

The Kingdom is also a member of the Ordic League.

Military[edit]

Type 13 Jade Rabbit tanks of the Rikugun in northern Pulau Todak, 2016.

The Royal Shirakawan Armed Forces are the unified military forces of Shirakawa, consisting of six branches: the Shirakawan Royal Army, the Shirakawan Royal Navy, the Shirakawan Royal Air Force, the Shirakawan Royal Marine Force, and the Shirakawan Peaceguard. The Grand King of Shirakawa is the formal Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, but in practice this responsibility is exercised by the elected State Marshal of Shirakawa.

In the present day, Shirakawan strategic goals center around power projection within the Varunan Ocean in support of key trade routes and regional stability, as well as the containment of Namgiang and it's Seventh Internationale allies.

Shirakawa maintains the XXth largest defense budget in the world and the second largest armed forces in size in the Heian Cooperation Organization after the Yamataian Armed Forces. Shirakawa also maintains the third largest nuclear deterrent in the world after Ahrenrok and Zossia.

Administrative Divisions[edit]

Administrative divisions of Shirakawa

The Kingdom of Shirakawa is a unitary state, but maintains a system of devolved regional powers. The country is divided into four national districts (民族地方 Minzoku Chihō) representing each of Shirakawa's constituent countries (Shirakawa, Hashino, Uranuur, Saramosir) and a fifth district known as the Bureau of External Tributary Authorities, which manages overseas territories.

Each of the districts have devolved powers, and maintain their own parliaments, legal codes, official languages, local courts, heads of government and even monarchs, with the Grand King of Shirakawa also serving as King of Shirakawa. These individual authorities also have devolved powers within their spheres of influence; most notably the Gakudō, an autonomous circuit housing the Daigaku-ryō (state academy) and a number of other historically independent and neutral institutions, located within the Shirakawan national district.

Below the districts, there are six levels of administrative divisions used by the government of Shirakawa, which are as follows:

  • Circuits (道 )
  • Provinces (国 Kuni)
  • Counties (郡 Gun)
  • Townships (郷 )
  • Wards (区 Ku)
  • Neighborhoods (里 Sato)

Circuits are the primary division for local government audit authorities such as the Royal Inspectorate, and due to their close correspondence with geography and major infrastructure are also fundamental to the structure of the Shirakawan transport network, such as the state-run railway authority Hachidō (八道 'Eight Circuits').

Provinces are the primary political division below district level. Since 1954 all provincial governors (守護 Shugo, 'Protectors'), have been directly elected through the same two round system used for elections to the Ten Gikai. Prior to this, most Shugo positions were unelected or indirectly elected.

Judicial System[edit]

Law Enforcement[edit]

A pair of Uranuur Police Agency officers in Ourano.

Law enforcement in Shirakawa is primarily provided by the national police agencies (民族警察庁 Minzoku Keisatsu-chō) of the Kingdom's constituent countries. These operate as unified organizations at the district level, and there are no independent local police departments as is the case in many other countries, barring the Academy Police of Shinshi and the Shirakawan Royal Guard of Eito, which are maintained by the Daigaku-ryō and the Shirakawan Peaceguard respectively. There is however significant decentralization in the internal structure of the NSA, providing some degree of local attachment to regional departments.

The National Security Agency (全国警備庁 Zenkoku keibi-chō) meanwhile operates nationwide, and is responsible for both overseeing and coordinating the efforts of the national agencies where necessary, and tackling large scale criminal activity on a national and international level, working closely with the domestic security department of the Shinsengumi and the Peaceguard.

Although gun ownership in Shirakawa has always been relatively high, strict regulations mean district police departments do not usually arm their officers. Firearms capabilities, anti-terrorism and rapid response units are maintained and provided by the Shirakawan Peaceguard. The Peaceguard also serves as back-up for regular police and NSA forces, and conducts policing in areas outside their jurisdiction (such as overseas territories and the Capital) and where resources are insufficient to support a local policing department, such as in isolated rural areas.

Geography[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Population[edit]

Kehito women in traditional clothing.

Shirakawa's population is estimated at 122 million, with over 70% of this concentrated within the Grand Coastal Belt on the Northwestern Mainland. Shirakawan society is, and has for most of it's history been, highly multicultural. The largest ethnic group, the Yashiman people/Yashimato, are only 43% of the population, though 83% of citizens are fluent in Shirakawan Yashiman, often alongside a regional language. Other major ethnic groups include the Tsuchito, Kehito and Hayato peoples; together with the Yashimato these groups are often collectively known as the Daibunka, or 'Grand Culture'. In this sense, Shirakawan is seen by some as home to a majority 'Shirakawan' ethnicity that is the product of multiple disparate cultural influences.

Small regional minorities include the Zhoggchu and Chahar people, mostly concentrated in the southeast of the country. Some of these are recent migrants from North Jiquan and Tsutikuo, however most are the descendants of postwar refugees and the residents of the areas annexed from Jiquan by Shirakawa in Operation Soraoka. The Mishihase people of Hokukaido were considered until the 1970s to be critically endangered due to assimilation, but their recognition as an official Shirakawan minority in 1981 spurred a vigorous cultural revivalist movement. In 1996 legislation was introduced, providing guaranteed protections to small minority groups.

Immigrant communities from across the former Shirakawan Empire also make up a sizeable minority, at about 10% of the population. These include Shiro-Osovans, Setics, Shiro-Todakese and others.

Culture[edit]

Shirakawan culture is historically rooted in the traditions and practices of the Shirakawan people, who form the plurality of the population, with large amounts of influence from the Hashinoan, Hayatic and Kannaguru people, the other three major ethnic groups of Shirakawa. The Shirakawan people originated from the colonization of th


What is commongly referred to as 'Shirakawan' culture is known within the country as 大文化 Dai-bunka, literally "Great Culture/Civilization". The dai-bunka is conventionally seen as a collective product of a number of different cultural influences; primarily the indigenous Four Peoples (Yashimese, Kouchi, Tsuchigomori, Hayato) but also various later migratory groups (such as the Chahars) and post-18th century immigrant communities (Mozanglians, Kashtun and Maresians.) In addition, there are numerous historical foreign influences that have continued to the present day, most notably from Yamatai and Cathai.

Traditional Shirakawan arts are largely derived from practices of the Yashimese and Hayato and include crafts such as textiles, lacquerware, swords and dolls; performances such as rakugo, noh, Shirakawan opera, sokizh biyi; and other practices, such as Ikebana, the tea ceremony, calligraphy, origami, onsen, geisha, uma yarisi, kizhr matsa and matsuri.

Sports[edit]

Yabusame archer on horseback

Shirakawan athletes are most well known internationally for their frequent success in archery and combat sports such as boxing, judo, taekwondo and competitive dueling, where a number of champions have emerged, particularly after government efforts to encourage and ease the growth of these sports in the wake of and the run-up to the 1964 Eito Olympic Games. Competitive dueling specifically also owes much of its rejuvenated global profile to the export of Shirakawan media and popular culture to countries in Escar and the rest of the world; today Shirakawa is host to the Ordic International Dueling Association and has held a large number of international pistol and fencing championships.

The Shirakawan Royal Association Football Team was formed in 1910, but grew to prominence only in the 1950s, as the growing domestic leagues produced national football icons such as Takahara Ryu, Morinori Toki and Kaneki Unno. Rivalries quickly formed between the Shirakawan team and those of frequent competitors. The aforementioned domestic leagues meanwhile continued to grow into the 21st century, fueled by commercial sponsorship and the growth of television ownership. In 2016, football was the most widely watched sporting event on Shirakawan television, followed closely by horse racing and baseball. There is also a significant following, among the well-off, for aviation and motor sports. Gambling, on both traditional horse races and their modern counterparts, has exploded into a highly lucrative industry since it's legalization in the 1960s.

In terms of sports practiced by the general public, the most popular are baseball and badminton, followed by volleyball, football and a variety of martial arts. Many of these have been cemented in Shirakawan culture due to their appeal in middle and high-schools, where extracurricular activities are typically mandatory, leading to almost all Shirakawans participating in at least one of these sports at some point in their lives.

Traditional Shirakawan sports, such as the various forms of wrestling and horse archery, remain popular with audiences, especially thanks to their association with Jindo festivals and inclusion in major international sporting events such as the Embassy games, alongside more modern activities. The officially recognized 'national' sports of Shirakawa are sumo and yabusame.

Minority sports (for example, darts and table tennis) have experienced support in recent decades due to greater media attention and a resurgence in Shirakawan pub culture, which many drinking establishments across the country introducing such games to attract customers. Among the youth, E-Sports is a growing phenomenon, largely imported from Yeongseon, that continues to attract larger and larger numbers of spectators and sponsors. Some Zaibatsu in the computing-technology industries have taken to promoting e-sports as a method of subverting more established rivals already sponsoring major physical sports teams.

Architecture[edit]

Traditional Shirakawan architecture bears many similarities to that of Yamatai, and indeed both styles are heavily influenced by the practices of the Yashimese people. It's defining features are wooden structures, slight elevations, and tiled or thatched roofs usually borrowing from Cathaian architectural motifs for decorative features; unlike the Yamataian style however, Shirakawan traditional residences, temples, shrines and castles incorporate a wider variety of local wood types and make much more use of stone and clay, reflecting the greater natural resources of the Escari mainland relative to the Yashiman islands. Architecture in southern Shirakawa and on the island of Kouchi also often eschews the trend towards elevation, with the ethnonym of the southern Tsuchigomori people directly referencing their tendency to incorporate architecture into the landscape (literally meaning 'those who hide in the ground').

Since the 18th century however, Shirakawa has also consistently been influenced by foreign architectural movements, such as modern and post-modern architecture, which have merged with indigenous ideas that came about during the Industrial Revolution and the years thereafter, producing many local variations.

Art[edit]

Cuisine[edit]

Cuisine in Shirakawa is strongly influenced by the country's multicultural heritage and it's persistent ties to both the Yashiman and Cathaic cultural spheres. The traditional cuisine of Shirakawa (古食 _Kashoku_) is based on rice served with _Ouwa_ soup and various other meat dishes. Unlike Yashiman and Hinoan cuisine, traditional chefs in mainland Yashima did not use miso or sugar quite as heavily in cooking, though since the 19th century many foreign seasonings have made their way into modern recipes. The use of oils and soy sauce has been very popular for flavouring.

Porridge made from Shirakawan millet (in the north) or rice (in the south) was once a popular dish among the lower class, that has declined in modern times as available meals have diversified. _Sayo_ is a thinner variant, typically drank like tea after a meal of fatty soups and meat as a palate cleanser.

Noodles are another popular replacement for rice dishes as a main course, and almost every region of Shirakawa has it's own variety of _kake udon_ (noodle soup introduced from Hinomoto) and _ramen_ (a Cathaic import of the 19th century).

Raw meat like sashimi is rarely served in Shirakawa, except in foreign restaurants, and methods such as boiling, roasting and curing are instead used to prepare meat. Deep frying was introduced from the Shirakawa is famous for it's ranching traditions, and both beef and horse meat are widely consumed and exported. The Tazawa Deer was once the predominate game animal, and was widely hunted and eaten by all social classes, but as populations have sharply declined since the 1930s venison has become more of a prestige and festival food.

Potatoes and peppers were introduced into Shirakawa from Valeya in the 15th century, and quickly caught on. Chilli sauce is a highly popular condiment for milder dishes, alongside wasabi. Potatoes are usually eaten as a primary ingredient in _rataskep_/_konshoku_, a mixture of various vegetables and beans stewed until they turn soft and the liquid has evaporated, which are then mashed and seasoned with oils and salt. Mashed potato salad with onion is also sometimes served as a side alongside roasted fish and game, or mixed with mushrooms and used as a filling for _Shitogi_, traditional Shirakawan dumplings made using crushed millet or rice. Other common fillings include pumpkin and ground meat. They are also sometimes served as a desert, with fillings of crushed fruit or sweetened cream. In all cases they are usually fried for serving, with onion (when savoury) or cinnamon (when sweet).

Fish and other sea creatures such as seals, octopi and crab are another staple, especially in southern Shirakawa, where a vast number of domestic and foreign-derived recipes exists. The salmon is the most popular fish, and salmon heads are often a central ingredient of _chitatap_ or _takaki_ - a dish made of various boiled meats and small fish or fish parts crushed together with minced spring onion and vegatables, before being seasoned with dried kelp or salt. _Chitatap_ is often made in bulk from leftovers of slightly older meat, and eaten over several days.

_Ouwa_, _Shiru_, _Ohaw_ or _Oshal_ refers to a soup or hotpot cooked with a mix of meat, fish and vegetables. It is usually based on a stock of animal bone or dried fish, and is cooked with roughly chopped meat, root vegtables and sometimes sweet fruits such as apple or plum. The soup is flavoured with animal or fish fats and a small amount of salt.

Truly vegetarian dishes in traditional cuisine are rare, as even vegetable-based meals are usually seasoned with animal or fish fats. One of the few traditional vegetarian options is _nattou_, fermented soybeans. In the last century however, tofu and other meat substitutes have increasingly seen use.

Green tea may be served with most Shirakawan meals and many varieties are produced in Shirakawa. _Matcha_ is a type of green tea originating in Yamatai, used in the tea ceremony. Since the late 18th century black tea and coffee have also been widely imported from across Escar and Antar. Coffee has been grown in southern Shirakawa since the 1920s, and Wanshi in particular is well-known for it's vibrant cafe culture.

_Shouchuu_ is a distilled spirit made from barley, sweet potato, buckwheat or rice, and is produced everywhere in Shirakawa with distinct regional brands and many famous breweries, but originates in Kaigan. Along with Yamataian Sake and Beer it is among the most popular alcoholic beverages. Beer has been produced in Shirakawa since the late 1800s, and lager is the most common type. Yeongseonin Soju is also a widely imported liquour. Wine is generally very expensive, and exclusively imported, with only a handful of wineries - consequently it is primarily a prestige drink.

A popular form of dessert or street snack are satoukiji, deep-fried balls of dough similar to donuts.

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