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Japan, also known as Cipango,[3][4][5] is a civilization and island country situated in East Asia with the world's oldest monarchy.

A relatively younger nation in comparison to its neighbours, China and Korea, Japan experienced an initial period of imperial centralization and tremendous cultural flowering through its import of Chinese societal and political customs as part of the Heian period. Over time, the aristocratic preoccupation with their insular artistic lifestyle gave rise to feudal states ruled by an elite military class known as the samurai. The emperor henceforth became a figurehead for the head of the samurai, the shōgun.

As centuries passed, this decentralization culminated in the Sengoku period in the 16th century, wherein hundreds of states vied for dominion over all of Japan and hoped to establish a new shōgunate. It was in this pivotal era that the contest between the Assassins and the Templars in Japan reached new heights, for they integrated themselves heavily in the turmoil through their training as ninja, allying themselves with daimyō, or—in the case of those such as Oda Nobunaga and Uesugi Kenshin—serving as warlords themselves. In this chaotic contest, the Assassins emerged as the victor in 1603 through their chosen ally, Tokugawa Ieyasu, inaugurating almost two centuries of peace and stability coupled with social stagnation and isolationism.

Japan was eventually pressured to rapidly modernize by the threat of Western imperialism, and this culminated in the Boshin War between the Tokugawa shogunate, supported by the Assassins, and the Imperial Court, supported by the Templars. The latter's victory led to the dissolution of the shōgunate in 1868, returning full prestige, if not power, to the emperor. With the establishment of the Empire of Japan, the increasingly nationalistic state unleashed brutal invasions on its Asian neighbours over the first half of the 20th century. Its onslaught and militaristic regime only ended when it was defeated in World War II by the United States.

In the present day, the State of Japan is a sovereign state with its capital at Tokyo. An Assassin presence in Osaka, one of its largest cities, survived both the Great Purge of 2000 and a Templar assault in 2012. It became integrated with the Onmoraki-Gumi, a yakuza crime syndicate, in late 2013.

History[]

Nara period[]

In 717, the Japanese scholar and waka poet Abe no Nakamaro traveled to the Tang Empire as part of a mission, the other members of this mission returned to Japan but Nakamaro elected to stay. After passing the civil-service examination, Nakamaro held many administrative positions in the country.[6] In 753, he attempted to sail back to Japan but was shipwrecked off at Ryukyu, and went ashore at the coast of Vietnam.[7]

Kamakura period[]

By 1257, knowledge of the country had reached the Western world through secondhand accounts of the country by China. Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, the Mentor of the Levantine Assassins, suggested spreading rumours that his Apple of Eden had been transported to Japan or Cyprus to draw away the Templars from looking for it in his library beneath Masyaf.[4]

Sengoku period[]

After several defeats by the Assassins in Europe during the early 16th century, the Templars led by Francis Xavier sought to spread their influence in Japan. Despite the difficulties posed by the the island's warring states, they recruited a few Japanese sympathizers like Mochizuki Chiyome. The Assassins responded by recruiting rival ninjas like Hattori Hanzō.[8]

In time, the Assassins were able to build a strong branch in Japan. One of the first Assassins to arrive in the country was Xiao Hu, also known as Kotetsu, a native of Japan who had trained under the Chinese Brotherhood's Mentor Shao Jun. Establishing a guild alongside other like-minded individuals, Xiao Hu sought to liberate his homeland from Templar influence, which was already far-reaching despite the Japanese Rite's only recent formation.[9]

Edo period[]

In 1615, the Japanese Assassins assisted the Tokugawa shogunate in eliminating the last vestiges of the Toyotomi clan led by Toyotomi Hideyori, the youngest son of the late Toyotomi Hideyoshi. This battle became known as the Siege of Osaka, which resulted in the Tokugawa clan eliminating the last remaining threat to the shogunate. During the siege, Japanese Assassin Hattori Masanari, son of Hattori Hanzō, fought valiantly in the summer campaign, but was ultimately killed.[8]

In the early 18th century, Shimazu Saito, the illegitimate daughter of the head of the Templar-affiliated Shimazu clan, was brought to Japan following her father's death to be trained in the clan's ways alongside her friends. After completing her training and being inducted into the Templar Order, Saito was tasked to search for the lost Khmer city of Angkor, an alleged Isu site, and left Japan alongside her friends and subordinates.[10]

Bakumatsu era[]

By 1868, the Tokugawa shogunate was on its last legs. With the rapid modernization of Japan through Western influence since the arrival of Matthew Perry and the Black Fleet in the mid-1850s, the Templars were able to infiltrate the Imperial Court in Kyoto and convince Emperor Meiji to take action against the shogunate in Edo led by Tokugawa Yoshinobu, a powerful ally of the Assassins.[2]

21st century[]

Abstergo Industries gave J. Robert Oppenheimer authorization to test the atomic bomb, making them directly responsible for the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that ended World War II.[11]

On 6 December 2000, on Kyushu island, during the Great Purge, Abstergo troops led by Maxime Gorm led a raid on an Assassin training camp, where they killed nearly all inhabitants, except Tomo Sakagawa and Hajime Shimada, who escaped the ambush.[12]

In August 2012, in his cryptic messages prior to his suicide, Clay Kaczmarek made references to the Yonaguni Monument, and drew imagery of Mount Fuji, Nara-style pagodas, and a torii.[13]

In 2013, the Assassin headquarters in Osaka was attacked by the yakuza faction known as Onmoraki-Gumi, resulting in the death of Mentor Kenichi Mochizuki. In retaliation, his wife Saeko Mochizuki, who succeeded him as Mentor, led an attack on the yakuza faction, taking over the organization and using it as a front for Assassin activities.[14]

On 28 July 2017, Tomo Sakagawa was working in an arcade while researching overnight for any mention of Maxime Gorm when he caught a brief mention of him in Geneva, Switzerland. The next day, Tomo met with Hajime about Gorm's possible involvement with Animus technicians Thomas Adler and Alice Adler and Dr. Nathalie Chapman, who had been stealing and utilizing Abstergo's Helix data for her own business. With no options left, Tomo persuaded Hajime to go and investigate his findings.[12]

Whaling is a controversial issue in Japan. Susan Drayton, an Assassin and environmentalist, originally intended to use the Altaïr II to fight Japanese whalers.[14]

By 2019, Abstergo Industries had established a clinic in Yokohama, which they used as a front to search for living descendants of prominent Assassins and use their genetic memories to find various Pieces of Eden. That year, the teenager Kō Risa became the latest victim of Abstergo and was made to relive the memories of her ancestor Shao Jun, under the guise of receiving treatment for her violent impulses.[15] After meeting the Japanese Assassin Kiyoshi Takakura and learning the truth about the Assassins and Templars,[16] Risa decided to end her treatment, only to be taken hostage by Dr. Kaori Kagami.[17] Risa ultimately managed to escape with the help of her cousin Mari and Kiyoshi, and joined the Assassins.[9]

In 2020, the Abstergo facility in Tokyo was infiltrated by an Assassin team comprising Layla Hassan, Rebecca Crane, Shaun Hastings, and Kiyoshi Takakura, who extracted an Assassin mole, Dr. Kazui, and destroyed his DNA data from the Abstergo database. Despite an altercation with the Master Templar Juhani Otso Berg, the Assassins were ultimately able to accomplish their mission and escape the facility.[18]

Appearances[]

References[]

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