Bako-chun is an island nation in the Vistelo galaxy and a former Chairui colony. Bako-chun was the first and so far only nation to leave the Empire peacefully, after the intervention of the Alliance of the Vistelo System. It is a small volcanic island that peculiarly seems to rest on no fault lines, with its dormant peak dominating the landscape, surrounded by a thick forest.
Bako-chun is the native home of the dancing-people, and they lived there for millenia before the Chairui Empire established a colony in the year 1959 CA. The nation was officially inducted in the emperor only a year later, and the dancing-people were moved to the imperial colony as official citizens of the empire. Despite this, they were given rights below those of their kage-shun invaders, and often served as laborers in constructing new imperial settlements over the remains of their traditional structures.
Since its departure from the Empire, Bako-chun has become a thriving tourist spot, in part because of its warm, tropical climate, and in part because of its unique ecosystem. Its plants and animals, separated from their landlocked cousins for millenia of evolution, have developed forms unlike ever seen. Some developed sophisticated camouflage, while others have bizarre natural weapons, even utilizing natural spells in defense. Bako-chun is a popular location for biologists as a result, drawn by the desire to understand what produced this strange biosphere.
Bako-chun is the least populous civilized nation on Fervidus, estimated at only around 3,100 in population. It has only six cities, all lined along the southwest coast.
Geography and Environment
As an island far off the coast from the Chairui mainland, Bako-chun's environment is fairly unique to itself, and many scientists such as biologists and geologists travel to the island in hopes of understanding its peculiarities.
Bako-chun is officially recognized as a volcanic island due to Jyookuza-shi, the dormant volcano at the center of the island. However, modern mapping of Fervidus's fault lines has found none under the island. This has lead geologists to request access to the volcano to study it, in attempts to solve this enigma, but standing laws prevent them from doing so.
Jyookuza-shi is the tallest known volcano on Fervidus, though not the highest. Its peak rises 12,576 feet above sea level. Entrances dotted around the base of the mountain and the cliffs at the edge of the island suggest a network of caves within and beneath it, though no modern expeditions have been granted access to study them.
The north face of the island, as well as its southernmost peak, are high, insurmountable cliffs, with rocks hidden in the crashing waves. Only the two beachs on either side of the south coast of the island are safe ports, with the southeast coast being home to the only cities on the island.
Ancient dancing-person tools containing ygripetra have been found by archaeologists, suggesting the island at one point held a deposit of the rare mineral, but no current mines are known.
Flora and Fauna
As an island, Bako-chun's ecosystem is thought to have developed from life that blew in from overseas, or washed up in the waves. As such, many animals on it can be traced to ancestors on other Fervidian continents. However, their isolation on the island has lead to a flourishing of new, bizarre forms of life, to an extent not even seen on other Vistelan islands. Animals with living stone shells or magical defenses have been found, and some plants have poison only otherwise known from alchemy. Biologists often come to the island in attempts to understand the mystery of its evolution, but though genetic testing has positively identified common ancestors with mainland creatures, what catalyst drives their seemingly magical traits has not been identified.
What is known is that the small ecosystem is delicate, and many of the species on Bako-chun are protected under AVS acts to prevent further loss through pollution and deforestation, a factor in the loss of many species of animal under imperial rule. Peculiarly, the plants of the island seem to suffer less; the forest grows back quickly, though some new trees are poisonous to the touch, or release toxic spores when cut, as though the forest is growing and learning.
Bako-chun's climate is typical for a tropical island, with warm temperatures year-round. It is recognized to have two seasons, the wet season and dry season. During the wet season, the island experiences monsoons that are some of the heaviest known rainfall on Fervidus, and many cities have irrigation systems designed to minimize flooding from the rainfall, and conserve the water for general use. During the dry season, temperatures rise, and precipitation is rare; as a result, the cities utilize a heat warning system to alert their citizens to stay inside and keep hydrated.
Bako-chun is currently a representative democracy, established in 233 CF after it was declared an independent nation. It consists of an executive, legislative, and judicial branch, as most democracies do, albeit at a smaller scale due to the needs of a smaller population. Much of the infrastructure is adapted from the old Chairui colony's, due to the difficulty in establishing a completely new system of governance.
The executive branch consists of a democratically elected president and his chosen cabinet of advisors. A presidential election is held every six years, and is decided by majority vote. There is no term limit on presidency, but overturning a regrettable election simply requires another majority vote.
The current president, Wahei Kunakawa, is only the second president since independence. He was elected on a platform promising to bring Bako-chun out of its dark imperial legacy, and is considered by many to be either radical or delusional, depending on one's political alignment.
The Dragon Guard
The Dragon Guard is the personal guard of the president and his cabinet. The role was held over from the previous government, where they acted as the bodyguards for the oni of the island, but their role has been diminished from then, such that there has been talk of dismissing them altogether. However, it is unlikely, considering President Kunakawa chose Hotsuki Majutsu as its new general. Kunakawa and Majutsu were childhood friends, and Wahei trusts Hotsuki as his closest advisor.
The legislative branch consists of six city councils, each of which has a head councilor who meets as part of a general council. The size of a council varies with the size of the city, but there will always be only one counciler per city on the general council, to afford all cities the same legislative heft in nation-wide law-making. Bills can be proposed by councillers or the general public, but all nation-wide bills must pass through all six city councils before they can be approved by the general council.
The judicial branch consists of six local courts throughout the cities, as well as a Supreme Court that handles cases of island-wide importance. Notably, the current judicial branch is the first instance of island-wide power of attorney on Bako-chun, as all cases under imperial rule were decided by the oni's hand-picked judges.
Bako-chun's history is poorly documented, with much of its pre-imperial history limited to oral tradition, and even its early history as a colony has been extrapolated by spotty reports of the journals of the colonists. What is known is its absorption into the empire was swift, if brutal, and the relationship between colonizers and natives remained tense in the millennia since.
Current archaeological studies of traditional dancing-person history suggests they lived united under one tribe. There is no evidence that the tribe had a formal leader, but rather, the dancing-people lived for the common good, their unique biology seeming to divide them into roles as needed.
First Imperial Contact
In the year 1984 CA, Fuku Kunakawa set out on a diplomatic mission to Roshiro-chun that was waylaid by a fierce storm which tossed their ship the Shukubai off-course. The Shukubai washed up on the shores of Bako-chun, previously unknown to the Chairui cartographers, and the crew found themselves surrounded by curious dancing-people, who offered shelter and succor to the travelers as they repaired their ship. The men established a small colony on the beach they landed on with the blessings of the natives, living off the land for the month before they could set sail again.
The crew of the Shukubai were awestruck by the island, with Kunakawa keeping a detailed journal of the discoveries he made. Upon his return, he shared his crew's finds with emperor Hatsuri-ryu, who took great interest in its unique natural properties. He approved Kunakawa's request for additional exploratory expeditions, and the Shukubai was joined by the Kekkai, and the two went down in history as sister ships. Kunakawa continued to petition expeditions over the next decade, establishing a relationship with the dancing-people, and his crew turned their seaside settlement from a temporary port to a more permanent township, named Toge-kai. For the time being, the dancing-people held no quarrel with the imperial explorers.
Rising Tensions and the "Weekend War"
The first recorded conflict between the Chairui settlers and the native dancing-people comes from a journal attributed to Fuku Kunakawa's daughter, Hiki. The journal reports a scuffle between the kabu-shun workers of a budding farm, and a foraging party of dancing-people who had stolen vegetables from the gardens. Modern anthropologists consider this to be one of many conflicts triggered by a fundamental miscommunication between the settlers and the natives: the dancing-people had no notion of personal property, and not only did they struggle to understand that the farmers owned the fields they tended, they seemed unaware that the settlers had come to think of the land they lived on as their own. As the dancing-people came to understand the settlers' claims, what had once been acceptance of their foreign ways started to give way to disquiet and tension.
Thefts from Toge-kai became more frequent and targeted, with messages crudely scrawled by those who had taken to learning the settlers' tongue to warn them of the unhappiness they were causing. Hiki Kunakawa recorded her father venting his frustrations when the dancing-people took the doors from the village gates, scrawling "Our home has no doors" upon them. As the unrest grew to unmanageable levels, Fuku Kunakawa wrote home requesting assistance from the imperial homeland. Hatsuri-ryu, unwilling to let a budding colony fall to chaos, sent a small military force in response, handing control of the legion to now-general Kunakawa.
The battle that followed came to be known as the "Weekend War", for it was all but over in the course of three days. Though the dancing-people outnumbered the Chairui legion 15 to 1, their stone spears and obsidian-tipped arrows were inconsequential against the soldiers' armor, made to withstand steel blades. The dancing-people were routed and subjugated, and after the third day, Bako-chun was officially declared a Chairui nation.
The specifics of the Weekend War are lost to history, as only one account of it remains; Hiki Kunakawa, conscripted into her father's invasion force, wrote but a single sentence: "May the gods forgive us for what we have done." Fuku Kunakawa declined the ryu's invitation to become Bako-chun's oni, and he and his family abandoned the colony they had founded.