Theme: Enishi (Harmony)
March 31, 1982
August 13th, 1999
”Neither kings, nor dynasties, nor empires can last for eternity, and any person who has read a history book can understand this as well as I do. If any of them are to be remembered, then their purpose should be to leave a legacy worth admiring and striving for. After all, where would we be without the desire to become so grand, but the forgotten dust of history?”
- Imperatrix Akatsuki
Akatsuki (暁 Akatsuki, born March 31, 1982) is the current reigning monarch of the Imperial Federation of Hinodia. She is the 4th of her line according to the traditional order of succession, and the 126th (technically 127th) in Hinomoto's history to inherit the position of monarch. Akatsuki ascended to the Aquiline Throne following the deaths of Emperor Han'ei, Empress Seiyo, and Prince Akiharu on August 9th, 1999 during the Taihoku Incident, and assumed her de facto position of monarch on August 13th in the palace coup that followed.
The second born child of the Emperor of Hinomoto and a Prussian noblewoman, Akatsuki spent the later years of her childhood in Berlin, Germany, where she was tutored in Western manners, language, law, and philosophy before being called back to the Imperial Court in Hinomoto. Her ascension to the throne was far from planned, and only came about after a Sinan terrorist killed Akatsuki’s father, mother, and brother in a suicide bombing during Takasago’s annual Independence Day Parade. With the immediate order of succession for the Hinodian monarchy in ashes, the crown had fallen to the only living member of the ruling branch of the Imperial Family; Akatsuki, who was at the time barely 17 years old. Following the placement of a pretender on the throne by a rival branch of the Imperial Family in her absence, she rose to power in earnest with help from loyalists in the Imperial military. Initially unrecognized and demonized by the Imperial Court as nothing but a foreigner’s spawn, her efforts in revitalizing the national spirit through military successes against the upstart Sinan states to the west as well as her effective economic reforms have rewarded her with respect and admiration from her people.
Akatsuki’s tenure as Head of State has so far been marked by the remilitarization of the country in wake of increasing terrorism, the expansion of minority rights in the political process, the reigning in of exploitative capitalism, increased social welfare programs, and greater economic and military independence for Hinodia. Fluent in Hinō, Sinan, and German, she has also made strides to bring the Imperial Federation out of isolationism and actively improve its standing with foreign countries, however she has noticeably made no solid commitments to international alliances, with the exception of the Prydanian Empire, for the purpose of preserving allied military dominance in the region. Akatsuki has also married the - sovereign, -, and has produced three children from this union.
Thanks to her part in restoring the nation’s pride through victory in the Summer War, as well as her egalitarian agenda and implementation of a regulated social market economy, Akatsuki enjoys great support from almost all of Hinodia’s population regardless of social class, and the aristocracy that once despised her has come to respect the successes of her rule. It would seem that her reign is safe and assured, and will continue to be for quite some time.
The Imperial Era of Akatsuki’s reign bears the name ‘Kōka’ (Velhino: 紅歌 Translation: Crimson Song), and according to custom she will be renamed Empress Kōka following her death. At the same time, the era name of her successor will be decided and established.
As was traditional for children of the Imperial Family, Akatsuki was delivered in the Elysian Palace in the capital Elisya, born to then Emperor Han'ei (then Emperor Fusahiko) and Empress Seiyo, who was known beyond Hinodia as Marie Cécile von Kreytz. Akatsuki takes rather heavily after the latter in terms of appearance. She was the second and last child in their union, born only some 5 years after Prince Akiharu, and so she did not receive quite the level of attention or grooming that her brother did for being first in line for the throne, remaining more or less on the sidelines for most of her childhood.
This suited Akatsuki just fine, as she generally disliked great amounts of attention being placed on her, preferring instead to read quietly to herself in the peace and quiet of her room in the Palace. While she was given a good early education, and particularly excelled in foreign language, history, and natural sciences, her mother believed she would have a greater potential in learning overseas in Prussia. While Han’ei initially objected to this idea and wished for his daughter to stay in Hinomoto, it had become increasingly clear to him over the course of the ensuing argument between him and his wife that in staying with the Imperial Family, Akatsuki would become little more than an ornament for the family to marry off, and thus he relented. After all, sending her away at juncture did not risk the line of succession, as Prince Akiharu still remained with the rest of the Imperial Family.
At the age of 11 years old, Akatsuki was sent away to Berlin, where she was brought under the wing of German tutors affiliated with House von Kreytz, the family her mother belonged to. Her new teachers furthered her studies into the fields of modern philosophy and political sciences. From here, she developed great interest in the subjects of humanism and secularism, and found great contrast between these principles which had allowed for the West to advance so many leaps and bounds and her then stagnating homeland that still held ceremony and tradition above all else. She also learned a great deal of both European and Asian history, and thus about the foundations of her home country and its relationship to its neighbors, especially Sina. Though she naturally saw history as fraught with war and strife, Akatsuki was at heart an idealist who believed that a lasting peace was indeed possible between Hinomoto and Sina, a sentiment that would break with time.
After only 6 years of the 7 she was meant to spend under the wing of House von Kreytz, her tutelage was cut short when she received the news from Hinomoto of her family’s sudden deaths in Taihoku. Though horrified and disheartened by their murder, she would have little time to mourn in the events that came to pass.
As the priority of her caretakers in Berlin shifted to returning her immediately to Hinomoto, internal elements in the Elysian Palace and Imperial government had already moved to put a young, easily controlled pretender by the name of Iekatsu on the Aquiline Throne, a young boy of 6 years belonging to a minor branch of the Imperial Family. With the boy’s newly appointed regents and a reactionary government citing terror and national emergency following the death of the immediate ruling family, martial law was put into effect across the country and all democratic processes suspended, with all power being placed with Chancellor Seitaro Morine and the Imperial Senate in the most quickly executed seizures of power the world had ever seen. In mere days, the Imperial State of Hinodia had transformed from a stable constitutional monarchy into nothing more than an authoritarian dictatorship.
However, while the coup had certainly been executed quickly it did not see acceptance across all levels of the government, with the Imperial military particularly averse to the new government. When word got through to their leadership from the Prussians that the Emperor’s daughter-in-exile was returning from overseas, they made sure to coordinate with her caretakers to ensure her safe return, hoping that with the Imperial heiress behind them they would be able to successfully topple the Chancellor’s rule. Even when she was made fully aware of the dangers facing her on the way back home, Akatsuki agreed to participate in the effort.
After six years spent on Prussian soil, Akatsuki’s return was secret and subdued rather than triumphant. None on the islands save for the highest ranking officers of the Imperial Defense Force were so much as aware that the plane carrying her had so much as landed in Elisya, and it was kept this way even after she met with the Legion’s leadership to discuss her role in the counter coup. Only after the preparations had been made was her presence finally made known to the armed forces, likely for her own safety.
When the counter coup was finally put into action, Akatsuki herself accompanied the platoon of Legionaries that would take the Elysian Palace. When the palace guards initially made to block the entrance and bar their way, they ceased resisting and threw down their weapons upon recognizing her face. With the path cleared, she forged ahead with the Legionaries, seeing to it personally that the puppet regents were arrested for taking advantage of the death of her family, and that the child emperor Iekatsu was removed from the throne.
Reign and Ideology
The early days of Akatsuki’s reign were rocky and unstable, because while she had the tentative support of the Imperial military, the general public, and reformists, she was vehemently opposed by the clans of Hinomoto who fiercely insisted that she was illegitimate and unworthy of the throne because of her ‘weakness’ and ‘impure blood’, as well as the reactionary factions of the Imperial government who had helped to enact Morine’s coup. Soon to come, however, would be a chance to test the strength of the young Empress.
When the upstart Sinan Republics in the west saw this occur, they perceived great weakness in Hinomoto's monarchy and government. Believing that they could exploit this weakness to regain old territory that had been lost to Hinodia a century earlier, they banded together for the first time in nearly 200 years to make an ultimatum to the Imperials: cede Shinra and Takasago to them, or face the wrath of the entire mainland. The Sinans hoped that the fear their words inspired coupled with Hinomoto’s political crisis would be enough to leverage regional balance in their favor, however this would be their undoing.
In their shortsighted haste, the revanchist Sinans underestimated the will of Hinodia and its young Empress, as well as the fact that their previous actions inspired hatred rather than horror. Akatsuki’s first act as Empress was to reject the Sinan ultimatum in full, and when the Sinans made good on their promise of war, she gave the order for Imperial forces to mobilize without hesitation. Her first decisions not a day yet into the Summer War had been decisive enough to silence any claims of weakness by her opponents, and she did not even need the military’s support to do so.
Long before victory in the Summer War, and the end of the war a year to the day of the Taihoku Incident, Akatsuki had already earned a reputation for prioritizing results and efficiency over the aristocratic favoritism that had plagued the government for so long, as well as her compassion towards the Imperial citizenry, seen most prominently in her visit to the city of Sinuiju after it was shelled by Republican forces. These actions gave the Hinodian public the impression of a benevolent, and more importantly capable monarch, something that was not often said of her father even after his untimely death. This image would last through the war and even long after it ended with the signing of the Chrysanthemum Accords.
Her full title is “Her Imperial Majesty Akatsuki, by the Will of the Unconquered Sun, Heavenly Sovereign of the Imperial Federation of Hinodia, Aurelian Imperatrix of Hinomoto, Empress of Prydain, Empress Regnant of Sina, High Queen of Shinra, Lordess of Takasago and the Wandering Islands, Restorer of the Empire and Herald of Eternal Light.”
Since taking power Imperatrix Akatsuki has enacted a series of policies, which have resulted in:
Reorganization, expansion, and modernization of the Imperial Federation's armed forces.
Successful occupation of the belligerent Sinan states in the Summer War.
Establishment of equal rights for Sinans and minorities.
Recognition of minority languages and the decriminalization of their use in their spoken regions.
Crackdowns on nepotism and corruption in the federal government.
Expansion of the nation’s public school system and educational programs.
Increased funding being dedicated to the nation’s development of science and technology.
Increased implementation of social welfare programs for temporarily unemployed individuals and for military veterans.
Scaling down of the Imperial Federation’s foreign aid programs so as to focus on developing the occupied Sinan states.
Decried as a fascist, autocrat, and warmonger by her critics for her expansionist measures in Sina, the true nature surrounding Akatsuki’s political beliefs are not nearly as dark or calculatedly evil as they are made out to be. Her motivation is not the creation of some Hinō-supremacist Asian empire or the like, but rather the continued safety and propserity of her people, with which she seeks to maintain through a firm and just rule. Despite this, she has never turned to overbearing totalitarianism or tyranny, maintaining a stable, if slightly authoritarian democracy.
Ultimately Akatsuki operates on the principles of pragmatism, with policies and views lying on both sides of the political spectrum, however she can be reasonably described as centre-right for her prominent remilitarization efforts and unabashed nationalism. According to her, however, she is a moderate more than anything else, and despises those who would first label themselves as a follower of an ideology or a member of a political party rather than a human being, for she values good character and good merit above all. It is the latter principles on which she strives to build a newer, stronger Hinodia.
Pro and Anti
Pro: Monarchy, benevolent authoritarianism, Hinodian nationalism, mixed economy, strong military, economic independence, scientific advancement, theistic rationalism, secularism, egalitarianism, protectionism, regulated capitalism, and intellectualism.
Neutral: Democracy, United Nations, Christianity, ultranationalism, expansionism, capital punishment, and socialism.
Anti: Communism, Nazism, Syndicalism, war, religious violence, fundamentalism, ethnic nationalism, corporatism, modern liberalism, third wave feminism, Russia, luddites, illegal immigration, foreign aid, laissez-faire capitalism, and Sinan religion.
Five Dimensional Political Compass
Akatsuki is a Socialist Pro-Government Non-Interventionist Traditionalist.
Collectivism score: 50%
Authoritarianism score: 33%
Internationalism score: -33%
Tribalism score: 0%
Liberalism score: -17%
Akatsuki has a fairly active personal life outside of acting as the country's monarch. Her hobbies lie mainly in literature and cinema, with her greatest interests lying in the realm of alternate history and fantasy, of which she occasionally wrote short stories of in the free time of her younger days in Berlin. Her favorite works are 'Fuhrerreich' by Erich Maria Remarque and 'Downfall of Numenor' by J.R.R. Tolkien, the latter of which was adapted into a series of films that received Hino localization early thanks to her professed love of the novel. However, her pastimes are not influenced solely by a sedentary love affair with literature. During her time in Europe she became an avid fencer, and later a faithful practitioner of falkata (kendō) following her return to Hinomoto. As a result of the physical training entailed in these sports, her body is well toned and fit for someone of her age, but her current occupation does not allow her to practice the art nearly as often as she used to.
Akatsuki spends most of her days in the Elysian Palace for personal and administrative reasons, however she has been known to routinely take trips outside of the complex to attend religious services and visit the Han'ei Mausoleum where her mother and father were buried following the bombing in Taihoku.
As with all members of the Imperial Family, Akatsuki openly practices worship of the Imperial Pantheon that Hinomoto has practiced for the last thousand years, and has participated heavily in Hinomoto’s most beloved festivals and ceremonies. She has in the past shown disdain for the arbitrary tendencies of the latter, however with age and re-immersion into Hinō culture she has learned to accept her role as part of its culture.
In sharp contrast to the tough. cold, and hard faced persona she projects in public, Akatsuki is in private an extremely gentle and polite individual, and is often shy to the point of bashfulness. She is also rather easygoing and informal outside of public life, most notably in her insistence that people drop the use of honorifics towards her in favor of using her given name, or even the simpler and more childish ‘Aki’. This relaxed side of her also tends towards humor, particularly in a sarcastic and nihilistic manner, though she takes great care to maintain a level head and avoid making jokes at someone else's expense or out of cruelty.
Despite this however, Aki does not care much for human interaction, much preferring the sound of silence to the prolonged (and in her mind pointless) sycophantic chatter of social gatherings. She generally prefers the company of books to people, with the exception of her attendant Arete and her children. Her favorite moment in any given day will usually be one spent in quiet contemplation, and though some might find this boring, Aki is merely content to live a calm life and appreciate what fate has afforded her.