The military of the Showa Ascendancy was dedicated to local defense, and consisted of the Imperial Showa Army and the Imperial Showa Navy. Each branch was headed by a committee of senior officers: the General Staff for the Army and the Admiralty for the Navy. The Chief of Staff from each body was a member of the Emperor's cabinet.
The Imperial Showa Army (ISA) was the planetary defense force of the Ascendancy. Since Japanese was the official language of the Ascendency, ranks, formations, and even equipment names drew heavily on Japanese terminology and culture. It was generally considered the superior branch to the Navy, much to the delight of the General Staff.
Uniforms and Insignia
The ISA maintained several levels of uniform, depending on situation. For formal dress, officers wore a khaki single-breasted tunic with a stand-up collar accented with gold buttons and khaki trousers, topped by a black and khaki peaked cap with the ISA crest. Rank was displayed on red and gold rectangular collar patches. Medals were worn across the chest. For the most formal occasions, a sword in the traditional Yokosukan form was mandatory. Service dress was similar, but of a more relaxed cut and fit of the uniform. The gold buttons were replaced by tan plastic fastenings and the sword was not carried.
Enlisted personnel wore a similar formal uniform, but with silver buttons and a stand-and-fall collar. The cap is a soft field cap, with the sides pressed in to create a roughly conical shape. Swords were permitted for senior non-commissioned officers, but strictly prohibited for junior noncoms and enlisted personnel. On duty, more practical and modern all-weather fatigues were worn, with colors in khaki, green, or white depending on duty station.
For combat dress, all personnel wore standard issue combat kit: a utility vest and body armor over enlisted-style disruption-patterned fatigues. Caps gave way to aramid and titanium helmets with integrated communications and life-sign monitors. For nuclear-biological-chemical threats, the ISA had fully-sealed armored combat hazard suits with pressurized oxygen canisters.
The ISA was primarily devoted to defense of the surface and airspace of Yokosuka. Rapid deployment centered around airlift and high-speed mechanized infantry transport.
The Imperial Showa Navy (ISN) was the space-going defense force of the Showa Ascendancy. Military vessels of the ISN bore the prefix of THU, from the Japanese "Ten'nouheika no uchuusen" (天皇陛下の宇宙船), or "His Imperial Majesty's Spacecraft." Since Japanese was the official language of the Ascendency, ranks, formations, and even vessel names drew heavily on Japanese terminology and culture. It was considered the inferior branch to the Army, to the Admiralty's deep irritation.
The ISN was headed by the Admiralty, consisting of the Chief of Naval Staff, Bureau Chiefs, and six supreme theater commanders: inner system, outer system, and Galactic North, South, East, and West for extrasystem activities. Due to the Ascendancy's limited extended operations, the supreme commanders of the extrasystem theaters were typically employed as pre-retirement positions for respected admirals nearing the end of their service.
Each theater had a dedicated fleet assigned, though actual strength could range from a destroyer division to a proper battle fleet.
- First Fleet was assigned to protect Yokosuka V and the inner planets. It was the strongest fleet, built around a battle squadron and escorts.
- Second Fleet was assigned to protect the outer solar system and had at least a heavy cruiser squadron and escorts. During periods of civil strife, battle divisions or even squadrons could be assigned.
- Third Fleet was posted to Galactic North Theater, but functionally acted as reserve for the First and Second Fleets.
- Fourth Fleet was responsible for the Galactic South Theater, which saw action against pirate bases.
- Fifth Fleet was posted to the Galactic East Theater. Functionally, this was a reserve for the Fourth Fleet's antipiracy missions and a light unit reserve to the First and Second fleets.
- Sixth Fleet was assigned the Galactic West theater. While Yokosuka's relative isolation meant this was effectively a reserve command for much of its history, Sixth Fleet's region of responsibility meant that it was responsible for securing interstellar communications and the limited trade with other systems prior to joining the Commonwealth.
Uniforms and Insignia
Officers wore a white single-breasted tunic with a stand-up collar accented with gold buttons and black trousers, topped by a black and white peaked cap with the ISN crest. Cuffs were trimmed in black, with a second black stripe above the first for officers ranked above Fleet Captain. Rank was displayed on black rectangular shoulder straps. For ceremonial dress, a sword in the traditional Yokosukan form could be worn. Enlisted personnel wore utilitarian blue coveralls with numerous patch pockets. Rank was displayed on an integral sleeve band.
Doctrine and Role
For its history, the ISN was a peacekeeping and self-defense force. Very rarely was the ISN called upon to strike beyond the Yokosuka system, and only in response to persistent pirate and mercenary raids did it do so. Accordingly, ISN ships FTL systems had a focus on economy and reliability over raw power, even in comparison to the locally-available technology.
The roots of the Showa Ascendancy can be traced back to Old Japan of Terra. The Japanese Restoration Union was a social movement dedicated to "a restoration of the imperial Japanese culture and spirit." Their stance was frequently derided as nationalistic and even accused of whitewashing history by critics. Nevertheless, the Union was able to secure enough funding--especially from outside Japan--and influence to commission the colony ship Haruna Maru from the Zend Corporation in 244. During the twenty years of construction, the Union searched through the latest system surveys to find the ideal planet for their cause.
In 263, an unnamed G5 star with a viable planetary system was formally registered as Yokosuka and claimed by the union. The cryovoyage took ten thousand settlers and their nationalistic ideals into the depths of space. The successful signal that the ship had reached the halfway point on its voyage led to a boon for the Zend Corporation, as more orders from reactionary national or ethnic groups began to pour in. This, in turn, caused even detractors to financially support these efforts, on the basis of "better they're out there than down here."