February Entry: the Gempei War
As I mentioned in the main Challenge thread, I don't know if I'll have time to complete this, but I am going to try. No WIP yet, though I'm posting a general map of Japan to show the specific area I plan to work with in my entry. Since I've been working on my feudal Japanese map object set in my Ukiyo-e thread, I decided to utilize those, as well as compell me to create specific objects I will require with this challenge, then adding those to the object collection as well.
As an aside, even though I know RPMiller would love to see something in the Sengoku or Warring States Period - 1478 - 1608, I decided to work with events that occurred 300 years earlier. The reason is I have favorite Japanese ghost story called Mini-nashi Hoichi or Hoichi the Earless (I will definitely tell you the story later in the thread...) that has lots to do with ghosts from the Battle of Dan no ura, the final battle in the Gempei War.
The Gempei War (1180 to 1185), basically the emperor retires and has several sons vying for the imperial throne, each supported by different families and living in different locations in Japan. One clan the Taira or Heike basically take over government and support one of the younger sons for the throne. The oldest son is killed, but before he dies he asks his friend Yorimasa Minomotto to defend his right for the throne, raise an army and remove the Taira from controlling the Court. This is the start of the Gempei War.
Yoritomo Minomotto is both an historical figure (eldest surviving son of Yorimasa) and folk here - he was listed as a hero in the original Deities and Demigods by Gary Gygax - so that makes it true! :P
He will become the first Shogun of Japan, establishing the Kamakura Bakufu, important enough that all later Shoguns, including the Tokugawa Shogunate (who controlled Japan until Commodore Perry's arrival in the late 19th century, bringing Japan into the modern world) claimed descent from Yoritomo. Also the rise of the Samurai class occurs during the years of the Kamakura Shogunate.
The map below (not mine, but something I Googled) is the familiar island nation of Japan. The "Red Rectangular" selected area is the region I plan to map. Some of the socio-political data that I plan to convey with boundries and Japanese crests and battle banners, as well as symbols of the court and major samurai houses are from reseach of the historical record.
I point out Kyoto in the map, as its significant to the war and story of the map.
However, I'm going to have to fake much of it, as there few historical accounts taken from this period. I know major battle sites, major cities and which families controlled them, some reference of other major figures and there hometowns, but the rest will be "created".
One challenge is between the main island of Honshu and that cut-in-half island in the southern portion of my selected area, Shikoku, are supposed to be 10,000 islands. I'll see what I can do, but... only Shikoku is important in that part of the Region in the Gempei War.
Although the Gempei War, was much wider spread, especially in the early period of the war, the last and most lengendary/historical battles occurred between February 13, 1184 and March 13 1185. All events in this final year occur in my selected region of Japan.
If anyone's interested in learning more about the Gempei War, here's something from a site called SamuraiWiki... The Gempei War
That's it for now! Here's the map showing my selected region.
Oda's one of my favorite historical figures too
Oda Nobunage (or as the Japanese Last names come first) Nobunago Oda, is one of my favorite historical figures of old Japan, however he was general during the early years of the Sengoku period in the late 1400's. So for my Gempei War map, Oda won't be born for another 250 years, so you won't see him unfortunately.
I'm thinking of placing Ukiyo-e styled samura, shogun, and various leaders as decoration in the ocean part of the map, rather than ocean itself - something I'm thinking about anyway.
I've been researching "Kamon" which is the Japanese family crest or trademark here in the last few hours, as these will represent the political markings throughout the map. For example attached is the Kamon for the Shimizu family - which is my mother's maiden name...
I will also being using war banners, which are Kamon placed on verticle rectangles or squares in different colors, especially in war hot areas of the map. Of course I'll also rely on the colored lines for the provincial borders of the region. Another issue is that there are 26 provinces within that rectangular selection of the map area I plan to incorporate in my final map. So lots of defined territories to include!