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Thread: February Entry: the Gempei War

  1. #41
    Publisher Gamerprinter's Avatar
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    Wip Completed entry!

    Genpei War Map - hanging scroll is complete!

    GENPEI WAR 1180 - 1185

    The Genpei War really began in 1161 when the Emperor Go-Shirakawa retired from office, a situation that began to occur more and more at the end of the Heian Period (792 - 1185) when emperors found themselves more as ceremonial figureheads and not ruling members of the government, which was maintained by the various Ministers of the court. By retiring, a former emperor is still considered a god with much power, passing on ceremonial duties to his chosen heir, while working politics in the background of the Imperial throne.

    His choice for replacement was met with mixed emotions by various members of the court. Minamoto Yorimasa (the father of Yoritomo and Yoshi-tsune) backed a different heir, but their plot was discovered and emperor want-to-be was slain in his escape attempt. In dishonor Minamoto Yorimasa committed seppuka (ritual suicide), having done so, this incident of seppuka set the precedant for what it means to be samurai, and death if one fails his master. Ritual suicide was not intrinsicly tied to the samurai until after Yorimasa did so.

    His senior sons were executed and his three youngest sons sent away in exile.

    Twenty years later, the exiled sons returned, and the current emperor forgave their father's crimes, and they were granted their familial lands and properties. In return they served the emperor as military generals to quell rebellions or the borders from barbarians. Thus the Minamoto name was restored to honor.

    The emperor died. Kiyomori no Taira, the head of the Taira family took control of the court, essentially kidnapped the emperor's youngest son, under his care named the infant the next emperor of Japan, Prince Antoku as he was called. Kiyomori named himself Minister, but acted as Regent and Shogun.

    The former emperor's father, the retired Go-Shirakawa was still alive and asked Yoritomo, the eldest Minamoto, to remove the Taira from power and retore the throne to his choice, Go-Toba, his elder son.

    The call to restore the Imperial line went out to all the provinces. Thus the war began, not yet a war between two families, but each province was to decide which faction they would support, the retired emperor backed Minamoto or the residing Imperial court backed by Taira. The first year and a half of war, was internal to each province as cousins and brothers fought to decide where each family stood in supporting which imperial heir.

    In 1181, Go-Shirakawa died of old age, his son and chosen heir took charge.

    Late during 1182 a drought and plague struck everywhere throughout Japan and the war simmered down, while each took care of their own lands and people. All except Yoritomo's cousin, Yorinaka who put his own army in charge of Heian-Kyo (Kyoto) the Imperial Capital, while the emperor escaped west to Edo, under Minamoto protection, and forced the Taira into their homelands outside the capital. It was said, Yorinaka was a brute and pleasured himself at the expense of the court and people.

    In 1184, Go-Toba asked Yoritomo to remove his cousin from Heian-kyo and restrain the armies of the Taira, then end this disruptive war. Yoritomo being the consumate bureaucrat sent his two warlike younger brothers to serve as the field generals, while he negotiated for a permanent position of power at court with Go-Toba.

    Yoshi-tsune, the elder of the two brothers sent to fight became a hero of history and legend with his great battle at Ichi no tane. A fort in the mountains west of Fukuhara-kyo, the Taira homeland city, Ichi no tane sat at the feet of a small mountain with a steep incline behind it, allowing the fort to command the box canyon before it to the sea. Yoshi-tsune sent his younger brother, Noriyori with 3000 men to attack the outer gate forts to attract the Taira at the main fort. This occurred March 18, 1184.

    Meanwhile, Yoshi-tsune led a force of 50,000 to the top of that mountain behind the main fort. In a hair-raising charge down a mountainside, the army of Yoshi-tsune moved straight to the main fort, behind the Taira army who saw this act, which they considered an impossibility, and routed.

    A year of skirmishes to settle the formerly Taira strong provinces of Honshu, while the Taira escaped to their secondary fortress of Yashima on the Island of Shikoku, across the Inland Sea from Honshu and the war.

    On March 22, 1185 the Battle of Yashima let a confused Taira host lose their superior defensive position with an inferior force, though the bulk of the army escaped on ships west heading to Shimonoseki - the Straits between Honshu and Kyushu in the south. They were meeting up with their surviving armies on Honshu to build a stronghold in their Kyushu properties. The small village of Dan no ura sits near that place.

    The Minamoto led a superior force of 500 ships to the Taira waiting fleet of 300 ships, on April 14, 1185. Some of the Minamoto ships landed ashore to sent forces against the Taira on shore. In the early hours, the tide which is very forceful in the narrows straits between the main islands were favoring the forces of Taira, they held their line against the superior numbers of the Minamoto ships. But then the tide turned and the Minamoto ships had the advantage.

    A Taira spy gave away the identify to the specific Taira ship that held the Taira family and Prince Antoku. A force of 10 ships concentrated archer fire onto that ship, felling all on the decks. The Taira in desperation leaped from the ships with the infant emperor and died in the rough seas there.

    The Taira forces on the shore were forced off the land and were destroyed in the surf between their dying fleet and the Minamoto army on shore.

    Thus ended the Taira, and the Genpei War in 1185.

    Historical background aside. Here is my final entry for the February Challenge.

    GP

    ### Latest WIP ###
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails February Entry: the Gempei War-genpei-final.jpg  
    Last edited by Gamerprinter; 02-10-2009 at 08:07 PM.
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  2. #42
    Guild Adept joćo paulo's Avatar
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    Definitely!

    You are superhuman GP
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  3. #43
      Ascension is offline
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    Yeah. That's gonna be tough to beat.
    If the radiance of a thousand suns was to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...I am become Death, the Shatterer of worlds.
    -J. Robert Oppenheimer (father of the atom bomb) alluding to The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 11, Verse 32)


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  4. #44
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    You may have outdone yourself GP-san!
    My Finished Maps | My Challenge Maps | Ghoraja Juun, my largely stagnated campaign setting.

    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.



  5. #45
      Bohunk is offline
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    Flippen beautiful. Great job!
    Regards,

    Jim

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  6. #46
      Absinth is offline
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    This is an awesome map! Great! And being ducated while reading this thread makes it even better! I'm very interested in japanese history and folk tales, so this thread raised my attention on the spot. It's amazing to see this come together! The legend and the upper plate with the historical figures is the icing on the cake. Okay, I'm still a newbie on here, but if this work of art doesn't win an award, I can't imagine what would! Keep up the great work! It's very inspiring and I'll definitly look at it again, when our current campaign turns eastwards and I'll have to create some maps with an Oriental Adventures-like / japanese style.

  7. #47
    Publisher Gamerprinter's Avatar
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    Post A few things to fix...

    Now looking at the attachment, I see some anamolies I need to fix. For some reason the glow around the landmasses turned red?! I've still got the original map, so I'll just have to replace it - not sure what happened.

    The wood texture at the top of the scroll is way too low of resolution, and the bevel is too strong. I'll fix that too. And the scroll is just a bit too square, and I need to break up the repeating pattern a bit.

    Just a couple tweaks. I'll do that tomorrow.

    One more fact about the Genpei War I thought I'd throw at you.

    The word "Genpei" what does that mean? Kanji, which is the formal/complex writing style using ideograms originally from China each have two pronounciations of the words they depict. The Kanji symbol for Minamoto is pronounced Genji in Chinese, while the Taira Kanji symbol is pronounced Heike - which when used in the second half of a word can also be "pei" instead of "hei".

    So Genpei is literally "Genji - (Pei) or Heike" War - the war of two families.

    GP

    PS: thanks, Absinth (and everyone) if you want to create oriental styled maps, the map objects used in this map, is another project I am currently working on. Eventually there should be a couple hundred map objects specifically for Japanese styled maps and artwork using them.

    Thread is here... Ukiyo-e Map Objects - take two!
    Last edited by Gamerprinter; 02-11-2009 at 02:41 AM.
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  8. #48
      Hoel is offline
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    You've still got some mountains that lies over the coastline and rivers.
    I can't get over the silly names of some of those japanese provinces...
    I think you've got the japanophile vote on this thou, will be hard to beat.

  9. #49
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    Post Fixes made!

    I've tweaked the map for the issues mentioned in my last post.

    Hoel, technical correctness is important so I searched, moved and resized any and all mountains I could find crossing the coastline or across a river. In some cases the rivers move behind a mountain, and as the mountains are somewhat isometric, I didn't see a real problem with those. I think I got them all this time.

    This map isn't just supposed to impress Japanophiles. Its just I've seen few maps catering to oriental settings that look very oriental in my opinion. That's why I chose to try this - including the Ukiyo-e Symbol project.

    I added a woven border to the reed mat and I think it looks better. Plus I replaced the wood texture on the top of the mat, with a smaller bevel and drop shadow. I also replaced the wood texture on the wall where the scroll hangs.

    Now I'm going to call this entry complete! Though I might bump it with another story, later in the month, before its time to vote!

    GP

    ### Latest WIP ###
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails February Entry: the Gempei War-genpei-scroll.jpg  
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  10. #50
      Hoel is offline
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    It is a good map. Even if I don't know much japanese history and arn't into japanese pop culture, I will still vote for it.
    The concept and quality is great and the details like the background and portraits are just icing.

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