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Wind Through Falling Leaves - New L5R Fiction Story Discussion

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As I mentioned, I have larger objections to D.G.'s treatment. One of them is, there is no reason to believe that 1123 is even that big of a crisis, against the rest of Rokugan's long history. As a master of Rokugan politics, Yoshi should be totally up to the task of the current problems.

Edited by Manchu

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Have you ever watched the excellent British show "Yes, Minister" or its sequel, "Yes, Prime Minister"?

It revolves around two characters--Jim Hacker, a politician, and Sir Humphrey Appleby, a career civil servant. In short, Hacker becomes a government Minister, "in charge of" the Ministry of Administrative Affairs; Appleby is his Permanent Secretary, the top civil servant in the Ministry. The reason I bring this up is because Hacker is Kachiko, and Appleby is Yoshi. Hacker seeks to upend the order, to impose his own selfish, short-term and pretty narrow-minded political goals on the Ministry and the government as a whole. Appleby seeks to maintain the order, preventing Hacker from doing those things to ensure that things continue to function smoothly and efficiently, the way they always have, irrespective of whatever political whims might arise from day-to-day.  Both believe they are right. Each sometimes wins, and each sometimes loses. Hacker is repeatedly thwarted by the ponderous, impenetrable machinery of civil service bureaucracy, until he manages to crack it open and fiddle with it to his advantage, whereupon Appleby ends up frantically scrambling, trying desperately to figure out the right move in order to restore the "proper" order. 

They are complete opposites in their approach to governing, and to their very different goals...and yet, they are also peers, dealing with exactly the same political environment while they do it. Both not only manage to survive, but they each thrive, so much so that Hacker eventually becomes Prime Minister of the UK, while Appleby becomes the Secretary of Cabinet, the top civil service job in the system.

I go back to Kachiko and Yoshi. They are peers, and yet opposites. Yes, what's missing is some wins for Yoshi, at least on-screen--but he clearly has had wins, because he IS the Chancellor. And Kachiko has mostly had wins on-screen, right up until she suffered a major loss.  But both have existed in the same political environment for essentially their entire adult lives, and both have risen to what is effectively the pinnacle of Imperial politics (Emperor not being a job you can vie for, and Emerald Champion being about a bunch of other stuff, and ultimately a sword-fight). The collapse of the system favors Kachiko, clearly, because she can exploit that collapse--or could, until she miscalculated and ended up in a political backwater. Yoshi is stuck in a more difficult place, because he flourishes in order. Yes, this also implies that Kachiko is more flexible, adaptable and perhaps even a little more cunning than Yoshi. But again, they're different characters, and they're responding to the upheaval in different ways. Time will tell which one is able to push ahead and advance their political agenda. Were they real people, neither of them might, they'd both possibly fail hard, and that would be it. However, these are fictional characters, who exist for dramatic purposes, so I suspect we'll see both of them start making progress, each in their own way.

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6 minutes ago, Manchu said:

As I mentioned, I have larger objections to D.G.'s treatment. One of them is, there is no reason to believe that 1123 is even that big of a crisis, against the rest of Rokugan's long history. As a master of Rokugan politics, Yoshi should be totally up to the task of the current problems.

It's a crisis for these characters, and that's all that matters. The story is pretty clear that 1123 has offered up the most wrenching, tumultuous events in the lives of these particular people. The fact that things were even worse or more chaotic a hundred or two hundred or five hundred years earlier isn't the issue. What matters is what's happening now. If Yoshi has enjoyed a life of stable, predictable politics, and now that's suddenly over, that's what's important--not that the horrible reign of the Steel Chrysanthemum would have been a far worse time for him to have been Chancellor (which is probably true, but so what?) 

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10 minutes ago, DGLaderoute said:

Have you ever watched the excellent British show "Yes, Minister" or its sequel, "Yes, Prime Minister"?

It revolves around two characters--Jim Hacker, a politician, and Sir Humphrey Appleby, a career civil servant. In short, Hacker becomes a government Minister, "in charge of" the Ministry of Administrative Affairs; Appleby is his Permanent Secretary, the top civil servant in the Ministry. The reason I bring this up is because Hacker is Kachiko, and Appleby is Yoshi.

Then. the question that remains to be answered is... who is Bernard Woolley?

(For those not familiarized with the "Yes, Minister" show: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Woolley)

Now I cannot shake the idea of a Rokugani sitcom called "Hai, Emperor".

Edited by Agrivar

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Ten years ago the idea that a Matsu could just declare herself Champion and invade another Clan with no declaration of war would have been inconceivable. Honestly it seems reflective of current events. The social order and political norms in Rokugan  must have been breaking down for a while but no one realized how bad it actually was until the crisis hit.

Edited by HamHamJ2

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They are living in an age of declining virtues.  Isn't that the phrase.  I think there was definitely a wide spread perception that things are starting to break down even before the emperor's death.  If there wasn't then movements like the perfect land sect wouldn't be taking hold.  Multiple characters are shown to be questioning the celestial order in their internal monologues.  They are having a theological crisis in the elemental imbalance issue.  Now Rokugan is facing an ultimate crisis of legitimacy, which at this point feels like throwing straw on an already broken camel back.  Pretty much the entire bedrock of society eroded or is in the process of eroding under their feet. 

I don't think it's unreasonable to say people didn't appreciate how bad things had gotten until the pot boiled over.  I think that happens alot in real life.  The signs were there but people ignored it until it was too late or more likely individually they were too focused on their particular issues to see the wider picture.

Edited by phillos

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56 minutes ago, Agrivar said:

Then. the question that remains to be answered is... who is Bernard Woolley?

(For those not familiarized with the "Yes, Minister" show: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Woolley)

Now I cannot shake the idea of a Rokugani sitcom called "Hai, Emperor".

Hotaru?

ETA: for "Hai, Emperor", would Bakatono work?

Edited by Tonbo Karasu

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1 hour ago, DGLaderoute said:

Have you ever watched the excellent British show "Yes, Minister" or its sequel, "Yes, Prime Minister"?

I can see three issues with your metaphor. The first you yourself concede: Yoshi has gotten no victories. So at least you acknowledge there is indeed a problem here, even if only from your personal take on his characterization. The second is that your metaphor trivializes Yoshi as a mere bureaucrat while Kachiko gets to be a stateswoman; the latter as a dynamic force and the former as a static obstacle. (This does explain why Yoshi is consistently written as a rube while Kachiko is written as arch-competent.) The third is something I have twice raised already: Kachiko is not shown working her way up, working against a system she doesn't understand or accept, or learning "how things are" in order to better undermine and manipulate them. She starts the story as a master of both worlds (adopting your distinction between these worlds); whereas Yoshi is only a master of something off stage, before the story begins. In other words, there is also a potential problem with Kachiko's characterization from your POV.

1 hour ago, DGLaderoute said:

The fact that things were even worse or more chaotic a hundred or two hundred or five hundred years earlier isn't the issue.

It fundamentally should be. Rokugan is an empire of institutions first and personalities second; a very distant second. The institutions would have been shaped by all previous crises, for better or worse, even if the particular details of those crises were partially suppressed. The people trained to work in them and run them would be intimately familiar with the levers of resilience. If Yoshi is really the master of the system, then he would realistically have an unbeatable edge of someone who isn't, however individually cunning (or sexy, for that matter) they happened to be.

Of course, I fully realize that this is ultimately a soap opera written in support of a product line. So writing interpersonal drama is more important than verisimilitude. If that's how it is then that's how it is.

Moreover, Yoshi is presented as a rube before the murder of Jodan, before the treachery of Tsuko, before there is a real substantial crisis, aside from the tsumani, which while serious would hardly overthrow the Crane Clan much less the basic assumptions of the imperial bureaucracy. Which leads to my next point:

1 hour ago, phillos said:

They are living in an age of declining virtues.

Yep you may have seen me posting over and over lately words to the effect of "this is the suijindai."

In other words, what's going on in Rokugan is not merely some historical process. There is a supernatural corruption attacking the moral order of society.

To me, this is more satisfactory explanation of why a person like Yoshi is stumbling while a person like Kachiko cannot lose for winning.

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Clearly, we will not agree on this. For instance, if you've watched "Yes, Minister" and its sequel, you will see that Humphrey Appleby is no "mere bureaucrat"--he is one of the most powerful people in government and, as Cabinet Secretary, is actually probably THE single most powerful person in government. I'm not sure where you're from, but if it's a parliamentary democracy, like Canada or the UK, the senior members of the civil service wield enormous power. The politicians may set policy, but the bureaucrats influence, interpret it and enact it. Moreover, politicians come and go, but they're around "forever". In many ways, they can shape the policies that come out of government as much as any politician can, and often more so; indeed, at those senior-most levels, they essentially ARE politicians--but politicians who don't have to worry about campaigning or being re-elected. Now, the parallel isn't quite exact, because both the Chancellor and the Advisor are ephemeral in Rokugan; the Emperor can dismiss them, change them, abolish their offices, etc. at a whim. Still, this is about as far from a "static obstacle" or a "rube" as you can get.

Moreover, I really don't have a lot of trouble with Kachiko's characterization at all. We haven't seen her struggling, because we started the story with her being Imperial Advisor, just as we started with Yoshi as Chancellor. We have no idea what each went through, or did or didn't do to get to where they got. We saw Yoshi start off in control, a control that quickly eroded as events spiraled out of control. We saw Kachiko start off in control, a control that solidified right up to the moment she screwed up and lost control, at least for now. And that's where we are. Rokugan may be all about its institutions, but the story is all about people. I get that you don't like how these characters are portrayed, and I'm by no means saying you're wrong, because clearly this is how you see things. And that's fine. My point is simply that your take on these characters is just that, your take, and not objective fact. In the same way that two people can look at a modern, real-life public figure (none of whom I'll name; just pick your own favorite and insert here) and have two, very different views of the same person. 

In the same way, I see some of the reasons why you feel the way you do, even if I don't happen to agree. I suspect there are other parts of the story we would agree on, that someone else would not. So it goes, I guess.

Incidentally, I do appreciate the thought and passion you offer in your responses. They certainly are thought-provoking. In fact, your views of Yoshi have actually helped me refine and consolidate my own. I'm not sure if I'll ever end up writing the character again, but if I do, it gives an interesting place to work from for him.

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16 minutes ago, DGLaderoute said:

Clearly, we will not agree on this. For instance, if you've watched "Yes, Minister" and its sequel, you will see that Humphrey Appleby is no "mere bureaucrat"--he is one of the most powerful people in government and, as Cabinet Secretary, is actually probably THE single most powerful person in government. I'm not sure where you're from, but if it's a parliamentary democracy, like Canada or the UK, the senior members of the civil service wield enormous power. The politicians may set policy, but the bureaucrats influence, interpret it and enact it. Moreover, politicians come and go, but they're around "forever". In many ways, they can shape the policies that come out of government as much as any politician can, and often more so; indeed, at those senior-most levels, they essentially ARE politicians--but politicians who don't have to worry about campaigning or being re-elected. Now, the parallel isn't quite exact, because both the Chancellor and the Advisor are ephemeral in Rokugan; the Emperor can dismiss them, change them, abolish their offices, etc. at a whim. Still, this is about as far from a "static obstacle" or a "rube" as you can get.

Moreover, I really don't have a lot of trouble with Kachiko's characterization at all. We haven't seen her struggling, because we started the story with her being Imperial Advisor, just as we started with Yoshi as Chancellor. We have no idea what each went through, or did or didn't do to get to where they got. We saw Yoshi start off in control, a control that quickly eroded as events spiraled out of control. We saw Kachiko start off in control, a control that solidified right up to the moment she screwed up and lost control, at least for now. And that's where we are. Rokugan may be all about its institutions, but the story is all about people. I get that you don't like how these characters are portrayed, and I'm by no means saying you're wrong, because clearly this is how you see things. And that's fine. My point is simply that your take on these characters is just that, your take, and not objective fact. In the same way that two people can look at a modern, real-life public figure (none of whom I'll name; just pick your own favorite and insert here) and have two, very different views of the same person. 

In the same way, I see some of the reasons why you feel the way you do, even if I don't happen to agree. I suspect there are other parts of the story we would agree on, that someone else would not. So it goes, I guess.

Incidentally, I do appreciate the thought and passion you offer in your responses. They certainly are thought-provoking. In fact, your views of Yoshi have actually helped me refine and consolidate my own. I'm not sure if I'll ever end up writing the character again, but if I do, it gives an interesting place to work from for him.

I've always used the Ghostbusters analogy, Yoshi is Walter Peck (played by William Atherton), the political adviser who is trusted by the mayor and very much on top of things on the normal day to day operations front. 

Once the supernatural comes along however, he is initially skeptical and blind to the implications of what they mean, until confronted by direct exposure and even then his own obstinate nature and stubbornness leads him to try and reject what is plainly before his eyes.  Eventually we will get one of two resolutions he will come around to what needs to be done to actually right the ship, or he will take his full turn to villain as he looks at the Scorpion securing more and more power and makes the determination that the only way he can counter it is to build up his own unassailable power base.  And frankly I think we've already seen him make the turn to that direction as his positioning of Kuwanan to counter Hotaru and his approaching the Unicorn are the foundations that his "resistance" will be built on. 

At this point our only question will be does he succeed with his gambit or fail as history is written by the victor and that will likely be the final judge on him.

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@DGLaderoute

Your comparison to Appleby ends up less a defense and more a criticism of how Yoshi is characterized. If Appleby is indeed not merely hypothetically powerful because of his job title but is actually portrayed as effective then surely you can see that is exactly what I have been advocating, right?

So are you saying, that is how Yoshi has been portrayed or are you saying you also see a problem?

I mean, what you have posted so far is that in your conception Yoshi is a master of how things worked previous to the current calendar year specifically in the sense that everything used to work in a smooth, predictable, orderly manner. And, importantly, it doesn't work that way anymore. Therefore, what is Yoshi now a master of? Something that no longer applies?

In this sense, you can see why I'd use the phrase a "static obstacle." This is how Yasuki Taka sees him. That's where the "Kakita Yoshi is a fool" meme came from. And this is when we're shown Yoshi "in control"? Well, yes he's in power but he is portrayed as a rube in this story. And according to many readers, he is a rube in every single story in which he appears.

in fact, I have been basically alone in defending his actions, explaining considering his rank and what he knows or believes, why his conclusions and actions are well-founded.

The fact that we don't see Kachiko struggle is exactly the issue with your approach. In purely dramatic terms, the narrative you describe from the Britcom turns on the characters being foils in that they are opposed from corresponding angles. This is not present between Kachiko and Yoshi because the latter struggles but the former does not. Yoshi - master of an obsolete system. Kachiko - mistress of whatever, always.

@Schmoozies

Comparing Yoshi with Walter Peck is as telling as it gets ...

Edited by Manchu

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As a big fan of Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister, I would think the more apt analogy is that Yoshi is Bernard and Kachiko is Sir Humprey. I am not sure there is a Jim Hacker in all this, I guess Jodan.

Yoshi and Kachiko are ostensibly both civil servants, one the Chancellor and the other the Emperor's advisor, serving a higher master. Sir Humprey schemes with the other senior civil servants to make Jim do what he wants meanwhile Bernard...well Bernard just has to bear witness to the tug of war so yeah, the analogy breaks down although quite often it is Bernard's wise council (never asked for of course because he isn't an advisor, merely a secretary) that points Jim on the right path and leads to thwarting Sir Humprey's ambitions.

When Yokuni sent the Army of Rising Wave to Otosan Uchi, I couldn't help but think of my favoourite episode: "He seemed to think that 800 fully armed paratroopers was an awful lot to send on a goodwill visit." "No, it's just an awful lot of goodwill."

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Comparing Yoshi with Walter Peck is as telling as it gets ...

It's certainly a parallel in my mind. As the person who first called Yoshi a fool in those exact words, what ruins Yoshi's "clout" as a bureaucrat is that even when he's shown using his position, the choices he makes seem to be the worst (or very nearly the worst) choices available to him. Yes, Minister's Appleby may be an agent of stasis, but he's a clever, adroit one, who materially demonstrates his competence in his arena time and time again, including an uncanny ability to read his opposite number well enough to persuade him- repeatedly.

Yoshi, on the other hand, feels like the proverbial turtle atop a fence post.

 

It's not simply a failure to adapt to chaos- it's a failure to even recognize opportunities or pitfalls when they're  placed in front of him before things had even gotten that bad- going back to his meeting with Taka. His job there was to say "no" on behalf of the Throne. That was both opportunity AND pitfall, orchestrated by Kachiko- she not only dictated the Empire's response ("No."), but also who would be delivering it (Yoshi). And while Yoshi could be forgiven for not knowing that the Mantis would seize on Taka's alienation to offer to beat up on Crane shipping to cozy up to the Crab, he should have recognized that being handed this job meant that he was being maneuvered into a position where he would be resented- and he stepped right in it. He deployed no awareness of his situation, and in the process made the Throne and Crane clan both look weak and indifferent- possibly maliciously so.

There may have been no way to extract gain from that meeting- Taka was going to be unhappy regardless- but Yoshi didn't even attempt to limit the damage to either of the institutions he represented. And for a man in his position, that's... kind of important.

But even moving on from that meeting, which is arguably the last gasp of business as usual we ever got to see from the guy, his actions have gotten less suitable, not more, ever since. He's not merely blindsided by events- Kachiko was blindsided by the Emperor holding an actual tournament for the Emerald Championship, after all, to say nothing of the whole Sotorii/Jodan/Toturi mess- he is always blindsided by events. We haven't seen him anticipate even one of the curveballs thrown his way. And while, sure, the bureaucracy is meant to thrive on a sort of stasis, he's also supposed to be used to political fencing- to trying to read his opposite numbers and working to set his own agenda. And he's.... thus far been demonstrably terrible at that part. It isn't until this story, with the Unicorn saddled with the stain of Shahai striking one prince and disappearing with another that we even see anyone outside of his own Clan bothering to cultivate his favor (or was there another, much earlier Unicorn request for a bennie? I think there was, but it got truncated because the Scorpion were, again, well ahead of Yoshi).

 

As I said when i first dubbed him a  fool, we're not at the part of the story where capable and wise leadership makes things better, so a bit of folly is to be expected... all Clans need villains as well as heroes. But at the same time?
Kachiko has shown folly, to be sure- but she has also been allowed to demonstrate ruthless competence in her areas of expertise. She's a villain, and a capable one.
Tsuko? Very much a  grasping sort, and definitely not one of the "good guys" from a meta-narrative perspective, but she has been allowed to show both the depths of her motives and skill in her chief arena.
While the Phoenix lack an outright villain at this point, Tadaka, the chief candidate, has been shown as excellent at what he does, which makes his darker impulses scary.
****, even Kuni Yori comes off better in his story, because, again, while he might be taking dangerous actions, he's shown as driving them, guiding his own (probably dark) fate.

Yoshi? Yoshi has yet to actually act. He is in a perpetual state of reaction, constantly back-footed by both genuinely unpredictable events- and by how own demonstrated, concrete failures to read people he has spent years working around.

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10 hours ago, Manchu said:

@DarkHorse

I like where your heart is at about Yoshi but if he says, look I have known for a long time, then the hashtag crowd will say, he knew but still managed to constantly get played by her. 

I’m looking for a moment where Yoshi actually shows himself to be one of the two or three most clever schemers in the world. Because so far, people could say he got his job as a strict matter of nepotism.

Yeah, it would take a reframing of Yoshi for him to reveal his hand to say "yeah, all those times you thought you got one over me, I let you have it because it wasn't important". Mind you, I could see Kachiko vs Yoshi being a real battle of the wits where each has wins over the other. It is the body double thing though where she thinks she has played the whole Empire and that is where Yoshi can reveal that she isn't the Smartest Person in the Room this time, that her hubris is her downfall and that he has known for a long time, waiting to use the information to his advantage and that time is now. Again though, he isn't talking to Kachiko at that time in my little pantomime, he is talking to Yogo Asami who is in full panic mode now, not knowing how to react considering her two masters are now at war. Who does she obey? Who does she show her loyalty to? Shoju or Kachiko and even more, *how* does she show her loyalty? Keep Yoshi happy to keep the ruse a secret? If she disappears then that is against orders too. What is Asami's exit strategy now that the real Kachiko has been secretly banished but the Clan want to keep up appearances?
See *that* I could see as a tasty bit of drama that hinges on Yoshi being a master of his art.

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I think one other thing that we may be overlooking in Yoshi's rise is the effect of Kakita Ryoku and Doji Satsume.  She was the Imperial Adviser prior to Kachiko (and the only other person that we are aware of to have held the title) and if rumours are true may have born an illegitimate child by Hantei the 38th (so a possible third candidate for the Crane to rally around in the 3 way dance for the throne).

Its very possible that she and Satsume due to their close association to the Emperor could have pushed for his rise and similar to Kachiko to Shouju served as a one two punch to keep the Crane in the top position in court.  After her "retirement" and subsequent death of Satsume that was two major allies lost to Yoshi and he no longer had the advantage of the three main advisers of the Emperor all being Crane.  I don't think we can truly discount that until recently and given their relative ages for most of his career at court everyone in the senior government administration had been a direct ally of Yoshi.  This may actually be the first tie that Yoshi has had to deal with significant push back from those who may have different political goals from his clan, and when coupled with the mess that he Tsunami made of Crane power it is only worse for him. 

Edited by Schmoozies

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1 hour ago, Schmoozies said:

I think one other thing that we may be overlooking in Yoshi's rise is the effect of Kakita Ryoku and Doji Satsume.  She was the Imperial Adviser prior to Kachiko (and the only other person that we are aware of to have held the title) and if rumours are true may have born an illegitimate child by Hantei the 38th (so a possible third candidate for the Crane to rally around in the 3 way dance for the throne).

I kind of assumed that the "illegitimate child" was Daisetsu, although that is very much wild speculation based on Daisetsu's and Sotorii's interactions in Red Petals Scatter.

1 hour ago, Schmoozies said:

Its very possible that she due and Satsume due to their close association to the Emperor could have pushed for his rise and similar to Kachiko to Shouju served as a one two punch to keep the Crane in the top position in court.  After her "retirement" and subsequent death of Satsume that was two major allies lost to Yoshi and he no longer had the advantage of the three main advisers of the Emperor all being Crane.  I don't think we can truly discount that until recently and given their relative ages for most of his career at court everyone in the senior government administration had been a direct ally of Yoshi.  This may actually be the first tie that Yoshi has had to deal with significant push back from those who may have different political goals from his clan, and when coupled with the mess that he Tsunami made of Crane power it is only worse for him. 

Well, that would certainly explain the many mistakes Yoshi has made thus far - it's not that he's incompetent, he's just gotten used to- and comfortable with all of his peers being on his team.

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2 hours ago, Mangod said:

I kind of assumed that the "illegitimate child" was Daisetsu, although that is very much wild speculation based on Daisetsu's and Sotorii's interactions in Red Petals Scatter.

Well, that would certainly explain the many mistakes Yoshi has made thus far - it's not that he's incompetent, he's just gotten used to- and comfortable with all of his peers being on his team.

Well, she is implied to have been a lover to Yatoshin after he married her sister, so if Daisetsu’s her illegitimate child by her nephew it would certainly explain why Hochiahime stays in seclusion. 

1120 was a rough year for the Crane. Kachiko replaces Ryoko, and the tsunami hits.  Kakita Teinko’s death is undated but Hotaru & Toshimoko’s conversations make it seem like it was within the past few years and may be what prompted Satsume to focus exclusively on being Emerald Champion only to bite it early 1123. 

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On ‎10‎/‎25‎/‎2019 at 12:34 AM, DarkHorse said:

When Yokuni sent the Army of Rising Wave to Otosan Uchi, I couldn't help but think of my favoourite episode: "He seemed to think that 800 fully armed paratroopers was an awful lot to send on a goodwill visit." "No, it's just an awful lot of goodwill."

I think my favourite line that seems vaguely apt here:

"We'll use the official secrets act!"

"How can it be a secret when everyone important knows?"

"It's a big secret."

"Still...."

"Bernard, the official secrets act isn't there to protect secrets, it's there to protect officials!"

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On ‎10‎/‎27‎/‎2019 at 3:51 PM, Mangod said:

I kind of assumed that the "illegitimate child" was Daisetsu, although that is very much wild speculation based on Daisetsu's and Sotorii's interactions in Red Petals Scatter.

On ‎10‎/‎27‎/‎2019 at 6:23 PM, Doji Hyōkin said:

Well, she is implied to have been a lover to Yatoshin after he married her sister, so if Daisetsu’s her illegitimate child by her nephew it would certainly explain why Hochiahime stays in seclusion. 

There's a bit of crossed wires about generations in her NPC entry in the RPG: if you look at her appearance in Winter's Embrace, she has the (unique) disadvantage 'Broken Hearted' and has amongst her effects 'omamori (a ward against vengeful spirits) given to Ryoku by Emperor Hantei XXXVII'.

She also has the 'A question of Lineage' rule:

"If any of the PCs have mysterious parentage, one possibility is that they are a bastard child of Kakita Ryoku and Emperor Hantei XXXVII or XXXVIII (depending on the PC’s age)."

 

 

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1 hour ago, Magnus Grendel said:

There's a bit of crossed wires about generations in her NPC entry in the RPG: if you look at her appearance in Winter's Embrace, she has the (unique) disadvantage 'Broken Hearted' and has amongst her effects 'omamori (a ward against vengeful spirits) given to Ryoku by Emperor Hantei XXXVII'.

She also has the 'A question of Lineage' rule:

"If any of the PCs have mysterious parentage, one possibility is that they are a bastard child of Kakita Ryoku and Emperor Hantei XXXVII or XXXVIII (depending on the PC’s age)."

 

 

If it's not a detail changed from Old5R, then Jodan is the son of Hantei Yatoshin and Kakita Ryoku's sister (unnamed), who married shortly after she came to court circa 1075 (age 20ish).  When her nephew Jodan (born 1078) becomes Emperor, she's named Imperial Advisor & Mistress of Ceremonies around 1103 when she's 50.

So she could have had been in love with Yatoshin but married him to her sister (hence 'Brokenhearted' and the omamori) at the start of her career, then at its nadir, had an affair with Jodan who'd have been 25 when he promoted her.

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On 10/24/2019 at 4:55 PM, Manchu said:

One of them is, there is no reason to believe that 1123 is even that big of a crisis, against the rest of Rokugan's long history. As a master of Rokugan politics, Yoshi should be totally up to the task of the current problems.

If I can make an observation - it may not be unprecedented for the empire as a whole but it is probably an unprecedented shower of crud for the Crane Clan specifically, as @Schmoozies points out.

I'm not convinced he is a fool. He is arrogant, and entitled - a (negatively) stereotypical high-ranking Crane in much the same way Kachiko is for the Scorpion - but entertaining memes aside I don't think he's stupid.

The 1120 crane clan:

  • Controls the coastal farming provinces, giving them the most productive rice fields of the empire.
    • This means not only an obscene amount of raw wealth, but - with a currency pegged to the cost of rice - the leverage to manipulate the economy on a scale otherwise only available to the Imperials.
    • Add to this more-or-less control of most of the Empire's eastern seaboard and the Daidoji Trading Council's network to exploit said leverage.
  • Holds all the most important posts of the Empire outside the Imperial Families - control of the Military & Judiciary (Emerald Champion), Day-to-day control of access to the Executive (Imperial Advisor, Imperial Storyteller and Empress), and control of the Legislature (Imperial Chancellor).
  • Is united and organised. Even people who didn't much like Doji Satsume respected him - Hotaru and Teinko would have had far, far easier lives if they hadn't cared about his opinions of them!

In three years, he's lost the financial clout - not only the impact of the tsunami but the upsurge in Mantis piracy now they have a totally unofficial agreement with the Crab to fence their ill-gotten loot and the constant drain on the treasury to hire ronin for the war border skirmish that the Emerald Champion isn't around to shut down with legal rulings. The Empress has gone into seclusion, the Advisory and Magistrature aren't just no longer in Crane hands but in the hands of the very clans he'd most want to go to them to complain about, there's a serious possibility the next Empress won't be a Crane, his Clan is fractured (you can argue either that he's making it worse or that he's doing what he thinks is best to fix it but the split is obviously real) and with the demands of battlefield command his Clan Champion is nowhere to be seen.

Even without the relationship between Kachiko and Hotaru to throw into the mix he has to be feeling like the last man standing at court as far as the Crane are concerned, so finding himself getting messed around left, right and tuesdays is not that unrealistic however good or not he is.

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It's a good point about Crane poverty. We must recall that Hotaru is pawning off Clan treasures to finance her losses, er ahem, I mean campaign against the Lion.

But let's not lose the thread of the conversation here. No one is really arguing that Kakita Yoshi doesn't have real problems to grapple with.

The issue is that he's consistently portrayed in such a manner that readers insist he is a fool. And that's a bad thing, not only for Crane fans but also for the verisimilitude of the setting. The readers are asked to take this world seriously; but the Imperial Chancellor has become the butt of a neverending joke.

The bigger issue is that, the government in this setting is huge, ancient, and sophisticated. It is more resilient than any particular officeholder, even an emperor. It has seen off crises far sharper and far wider than anything in 1123. If Yoshi is the master of such a system, he should be a great deal more powerful and unflappable and knowledgeable, especially relative to those who wield power less by institutional means and more personal/relational influence.

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11 hours ago, Manchu said:

to finance her losses, er ahem, I mean campaign against the Lion

"Resolve a border dispute" I believe. It can't be a campaign since as far as the capital is concerned they're not at war. Honest, guv.

Although how Matsu Tsuko's latest contribution to the diplomatic process is going to affect matters is anyone's guess. You'll note one of Yoshi's unambiguously sensible acts is to have the letter destroyed immediately (barring letting his Yojimbo read it out of courtesy) so that unless the Lion come in openly declaring they did it, he can control who finds out about it and when.

Despite Ide Tadaji being a potential ally and also being sort-of-at-war-but-not-where-the-court-is-concerned with the Lion, you'll notice he didn't mention it in his discussions with the Unicorn, focusing discussions about the alliance purely on the Shoju rather than Tsuko.

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On 10/29/2019 at 9:22 PM, Manchu said:

If Yoshi is the master of such a system, he should be a great deal more powerful and unflappable and knowledgeable, especially relative to those who wield power less by institutional means and more personal/relational influence.

I think that after these minor clan wars we will see transitions in the Imperial roles, and likely a scorpion fall from grace. Here I expect to see Yoshi surviving and standing tall. He seems to be handling things on the back foot, maybe to show the scorpion supremacy the underpins the start of the setting, but I expect that to change when an Emperor sits the throne again. 

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