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Ruled by powerful lords, somewhat reminiscent of a feudal arrangement, Jihon is an island nation located off the southeast coast of Dalmasca. The only region particularly close to it is Dalmasca, though to the north lies the Macenian Aesia Isle, which Jihon has had contact, and naval conflict, with before. Dalmasca is just across the Aont Strait, and on very clear days, the shores of Dalmasca can be seen from Jihon's westernmost points. Due to this close proximity, and their similar purviews, Jihon and Dalmasca tend to be allied in international conflicts.

Climate

With a lack of natural wind barriers, Jihon is often very warm, and sometimes rather uncomfortably humid. Jihon sees consistent seasonal variation, but their seasons are relatively mild. Winters are dry and sunny, and temperatures very rarely drop below freezing. Much of the time, it is at least ten or so degrees above it, and it isn't terribly harsh. While snow falls, it typically doesn't last long. The northern Jihonese island sees colder temperature ranges, and may experience more lasting snowfall, but consistent icy conditions and severe blizzards are extremely rare.

In summer, the temperatures rise by quite a bit, and the humidity index is often high, and it can feel warmer than it is. There is a month-long rainy season during which the humidity index rises even more, and it gets very sticky. At the height of summer in late July to mid-August, it becomes extremely hot for about a week, and then cools back off, actually rather rapidly. There is also a typhoon season in summer, during the rainy season, where Jihon may experience tropical depressions and cyclone damage, but a true hurricane, typhoon, or cyclone making landfall, is somewhat rare. Water temperatures near the shore and inland are always very warm, and rarely dip below 75° F (23° C), even in winter, due to a combination of warm water currents that pass by Jihon's main island, and underground geothermal activity.

Culture

Jihon is quite glaringly patriarchal, perhaps even more so than Dalmasca, its closest neighbor and traditional ally. The Jihonese highly value all things masculine, and as such, the embodiments of these valued traits, that is, men, are highly valued. Women are seen as too weak or soft, too emotional, to be particularly strong, even just strong-willed. Dalmascan females have repeatedly proven this preconception extremely wrong, but the Jihonese hold fast to this belief. Men carry on family lines and further the family name, and women care for children. That is all.

In general, Jihonese artwork is rather abstract, and typically having of a heavy streak of practicality. Weapons, even, are often considered beautifully made, or even just skillfully, and often will be displayed like artwork is. The creation of certain everyday items, such as parasols, fans, vases and amphoras, and particularly decorated boxes and other containment vessels, is also often considered an art form. Many highborn Jihonese nobility have extremely elaborately ornate fans and vases displayed throughout their estate, as well as wooden jewelry boxes embedded with semi-precious gemstones and silver or gold detailing.

Dance and music are somewhat conservative. These are considered feminine arts, and women capable of dancing well, and playing at least one instrument well, are praised and valued. Dance often takes the form of perhaps interpretive dance, where it is not terribly wild or uncontrolled, in the provocative sense, but rather intended to tell a story. Dance that evokes emotion in the viewer is highly acclaimed. Most musical instruments native to Jihon are stringed instruments, but there are a few wind instruments with rather reedy, droning sounds to them, akin to bagpipes and the Chinese dizi. Drums can also be found. Judging by the overall sound typical to Jihonese instruments, the Jihonese tend to like droning tones.

While artwork and painting are known art forms in Jihon, these typically are more simplistic in style. Jihonese artists prefer strong, bold line strokes, and rarely use more than three or four different colors in a single painting piece. Similarly, they also very rarely paint people, preferring to paint the variant landscapes of their island nation.

In most places in Jihon, religion is a serious matter, and failing to pay proper respects and prayer to Kirinyaga is a serious cultural offense. During festivals in honor of Kirinyaga, even visiting foreigners are expected to give the sun god offerings, presumably in purported return for their safe travels while in Jihon.

Reserved almost exclusively for the noble and the wealthy, educational centers do not exist in Jihon. Instead, learned educators and private tutors work with the nobility and wealthy of Jihon from the time they are a small child, and teach them the basics of reading and writing, linguistic semantics, astronomy and mathematics, and some basic financial management. Jihon does not believe in science outside of astronomy, and the Jihonese understanding of astronomy is tainted heavily with their internal mythologies, thus Jihonese astronomy is half fact, and half myth. They still firmly believe the sun travels across the sky because Kirinyaga's children draw it across the heavens in a chariot, but to be fair, most in Azaleon don't know what the sun is, either.

Slavery is a rampant issue in Jihon, as particularly wealthy lords and nobility are exceedingly frugal, and do not like to pay for labor when they can get it for free. Thereby the demand for slaves will most likely never entirely cease in the island nation, at least, not any sort of quickly. It was Jihon that introduced Dalmasca to the concept, and thus it was Jihon that had slaves first, or at least, it was in the histories. Whether it actually was or not is debatable. Over half of Jihon's population are slaves, with all wealthy and noble houses having at least three, but usually far, far more.

While Dalmasca is occasionally somewhat more generous in the regard of slaves' rights, Jihon is decidedly not. Slaves are property, period, and a slave owner may do as he or she pleases with them, regardless of the slave's physical limitations and ability to do what is asked of them, their age, whatever. While slaves are occasionally well-treated in Dalmasca's borders, they are entirely expendable in Jihon, and slave owners hardly realize they're there unless they're messing up. While slaves earning their freedom is not unheard of in Jihon, it typically only happens with slaves that are public property, instead of private, and often so late in their lifespan it is essentially moot. Incidentally, when a slave that has children is freed, his or her children are not freed with them.

Homosexuality is ill-tolerated in Jihon. In some regions of the country, those that are not heterosexual are often killed, or sent to Dalmasca, and this is one of the few things Jihon and Dalmasca disagree on - Dalmascans insist homosexuality is natural, and the Jihonese vehemently reject homosexuality's existence and seek to erase it the moment they find it. What's ironic, is Jihon has the highest rate of homosexual prostitution in Azaleon, but on the bright side, those in a homosexually-leaned brothel often do not remain such for long, as the Jihonese ujals often find them within a few years of establishment, and deport all of its slaves to Dalmasca, if they're kind, otherwise they may just burn the place down.

Jihonese names tend toward Asiatic names; specifically Chinese and Japanese, though some Vietnamese influence occurs.

Currency and Trade

The Jihonese were the first to mint currency, and thus it is through diplomatic contact and trade with Jihon that Dalmasca picked it up, and through Dalmasca that it spread across Azaleon. As such, the Jihonese are long past over the whole barter-trade scene, and never accept barter-trade within their borders. They make some minor exceptions in international, larger-scale situations, but the people of Jihon hardly remember how to barter in the first place. Due to this strict monetary system, however, Jihon has a very high rate of impoverished.

Jihon currency is called the jin, plural jina, primarily made of bronze and copper, with varying silver plating thicknesses. In Jihon, silver is actually more valuable than gold, as gold has very limited uses to them, so the least valuable jin coin piece is gold, followed by copper, bronze, and silver pieces of varying plating thicknesses over copper. The most valuable jin piece is embossed with a crown, and is around 80% silver. The gold jin piece is worth about $3 USD, while the crowned jin piece is worth $300 USD.

Demographics

With a booming slave trade comparable to Dalmasca's, Jihon's racial composition is largely hume, but ilim and weres are notably present across the nation, and there is a wide mixture of national origins. The Jihonese are likely not even really the majority, as far as national origin goes, but they are the only ones in power. Jihon's foreign policy is a lot stricter than Dalmasca's, and only those born in Jihon, with entirely Jihonese ancestry, can truly be citizens. Even slaves that are freed, whom were born on Jihonese shores, must, if they intend to reach higher social status than they are and hold political office, or similar, relocate somewhere else, either return to their homeland, immigrate to Dalmasca, or a Free City of the West, for they cannot do so in Jihon.

Jihon's population is constantly in flux. As such, it is difficult to say how the native Jihonese births and deaths rates are doing, but sometimes the population numbers are growing, other times they're declining. Jihon also sees a large number of tourists a year, and these are sometimes accidentally counted in official censuses. Supposedly, slaves are not counted in official census counts, but this is debatable, as the numbers differ so wildly, it is hard to imagine that not all census counters actually omit slaves. Further, the overall lifespan for Jihon is reported to be rather long, and it is difficult to say if this is merely because of coincidence, or because the censuses count more weres and ilim than they should. A large percentage of Jihon is below the poverty line, around 25%, with a very small sliver, about 1.2%, being extremely wealthy.

Geography

While there are mountains in Jihonese territory, a vast majority of its lands are merely hilly grasslands. The Alerasa Forest dominates about half of Jihon's landmass, breaking up the sea winds, but the rest of it is grassy, occasionally marshy, and typically covered in farmland. The Jihonese have, over several hundred years, perfected the art of growing crop in the plains that flood in the summer rainy seasons, and their cuisine is built around foods that grow well in wet conditions, and seafood.

Southern Jihon is dominated by the large Paondra lake, which often floods in rainy season, and can, at times, reconnect with the Aont Strait. As such, it is often a brackish lake, and the marine life and flora to be found in the Paondra lake is unique to it.

Government

The Jihonese have separated their nation into smaller regions. Each region has, at its head, a regional lord, the ujal, and each regional ujal answers to the rhanujal, whom rules all of Jihon. Below the rhanujal, however, the regional ujals often generate, or purposely create, small followings beneath them, and some will actually become more powerful and influential than the rhanujal himself. As such, it is rather typical for the regions of Jihon to vary in loyalty to the rhanujal, and it is also rather typical for the rhanujal to have at least one region that he constantly has issues with.

The ujals handle regional-specific situations and complications, such as famines, civil disagreements, poor weather, and enforcing the varying laws and regulations of Jihon in their region. The strictness of this enforcement varies between ujals, and even two ujals for the same region may be starkly different in what they enforce the strictest. There are actually a group of pirates from Jihon, whom call themselves the ujaliniras, which means 'ujal killer,' that exists specifically to remove particularly corrupt ujals from power. They have never needed to, but it is uncertain if the ujaliniras would, in fact, turn on and murder the rhanujal. Due to the variance in ujalese leadership, which regions of Jihon are outright hostile toward mages varies between ujals. At present, only four of the twelve Jihonese regions encourages murder of mages, but five more do not discourage it.

Traditionally, the rhanujal and ujals are always male. However, a female variant of the titles do exist, these being the rhanujani, and the ujani, but there have only been three instances of a regional ujani, and only one instance of a rhanujani in the history of Jihon.

Religion

Contrary, perhaps, to the general belief systems of the rest of Azaleon, the Jihonese have only one god. This is the god of the sun, Kirinyaga, the supreme and only true deity within Jihonese mythology. In honor of Kirinyaga, the many temples across Jihon light, every morning, a large flame, which is allowed to burn throughout the day, only being extinguished at nightfall. During the summer solstice, the Holy Flame is lit at daybreak, and burns until nightfall the next day, thereby burning overnight for that one night. Likewise, the Holy Flame is not lit at all on the day of the winter solstice.

While there are other spirits, usually helpers of Kirinyaga, in Jihonese mythology, these are lesser servants of Kirinyaga, and not deities or even higher beings in their own right. They are often equated to being only just slightly higher in spiritual ranking than humes, occasionally portrayed as being enlightened humes. Kirinyaga is often said to test his followers, putting them through hardship and strife to measure their resolve and personal will, with one exception; Kirinyaga's doctrine names females as being particularly wishy-washy, as easy to fool and sidetrack, and thus he does not send them tests, only men. This has led to rather clear, distinct misogyny throughout all of Jihon, and while women can overcome this, it is very difficult to do so.

Technology

In regard to auratech, Jihon has absolutely none. Many Jihonese will even shoot at airships on sight, should they pass over the island nation, or at least attempt to. Jihon has outright banned use of magic and auratech, and the punishment for violation of this ban is death; Jihon does not even use aura lights.

However, in terms of mundane technology, Jihon is not to be considered primitive. They have running water, massive aqueducts and water lines running across their entire nation, and hydro-electrical generation is a concept they pioneered. Their naval efforts are also quite advanced, with very strong, sturdy ships built of metal, that fire typical cannons, their arrows are now all made of metal, and while Galace leads the pack in terms of metallurgy, Jihon's swords are impeccably designed and forged. They may go dull faster than a Galacese blade, but they are strong. Their buildings may look simplistic on the outside, but there are often very advanced fortified walls and towers for security, and they invented the concept of barbed wire. On the inside, their buildings are reinforced with brick or stone, overlaid with wood for aesthetics, and feature electrical lights, near modern plumbing, and Jihon is only a few short years from developing instant communication lines.

As of now, Jihonese engineers are attempting to create a motor engine that runs by siphoning water from one end of the engine to the other, in order to generate electrical power, and run the engine.