|Motto: Where Russia Melts into Japan|
|Official Languages||Japanese, Meiji-go Montreiano, Castilian|
|Capital||Meidji City (明治市)|
|Partners||Emperor or Regent of Japan and Alta California|
|Proprietors||Maco, Princess Masaxi|
|Chief Administrator||Cuscobu Alberuto|
Alta California peso
Meidji-dò (明治道), also known as Meidji Colony (明治植民地, Meidji-xocumintxi) is a condominium between the Emperor of Japan and the government of Alta California, roughly 50 square miles in size, near the northern border of Montrei. The territory was originally inhabited by the Kashaya. The colony consists primarily of a city known as Meidji City (明治市, named after Emperor Meidji) and surrounding area. Within the city is a small trading center called Roshiya or Roxía (ロシア), originally known as Ft. Rossiya.
The colony got its start in 1812, with the founding of Ft. Rossiya by Russian fur traders. At the time, sea otter pelts were a *very* lucrative trade, used extensively in the courts of Japan, China, and Russia. Russia approached Castile and Leon with an offer to share the profits in the fur trade if they would allow them to build a trading outpost somewhere along the northern shore of Alta California, which C-L owned at the time. Not wanting it to be too close to their provincial capital which was at the time Monterey (in modern-day Montrei, at the time part of the same province as Alta California), but wanting it close enough, they offered land near the northern cities of Santa Rosa and San Francisco, which offered easy access to keep an eye on the Russians (whom they did not trust fully). They also were not willing to fully give up the land to Russia, and Russia saw the opportunity for trade with Castile and Leon from AC, as well as the chance for access to more sea otter pelts too good to pass up, so an agreement was reached in which it would become a condominium.
The Russians chose an area of coastal bluffs 10 miles north of the river the Russians called "Slavianka" (Still named so today; Montreianos had no name for it, though it forms their northern boundary.)
Ivan Kuskov had thought the site was good for farming, but the Russians found it to be difficult to grow good crops there, so they offered increased profits from their sea otter pelt revenues if Castile and Leon would allow Russian traders to set up farms on the protected sides of the hills behind Ft. Ross in the small valleys. The Russians also offered trade of other Russian products in exchange for crops not easily grown in their own small farms (such as citrus which do not grow well along the foggy coast). Such a deal was too good to pass up.
The colony had good times and bad times. During the Mejican Period (1828 - 1840s), Ft. Rossiya was nearly forgotten, trading extensively with AC, which began showing signs of rebellion from Mejico, as Mejico began to forget about AC as well. This lead to great dissatisfaction and unrest among Californios, who always saw themselves as distinct from Mejico (they saw Mejicans as foreigners who meddle in their affairs, and understand little of their culture). They also saw Mejico as always treating Alta California as a burden rather than a part of "their" nation.
Mejico threatened to burn Rossiya to the ground if they continued trading with AC, and threatened to sink the ships that would sail down to Monterey for provisions. The Russians in turn threatened total suspension of trade and war had Mejico done anything. Mejico very smartly decided to leave Rossiya alone and allow them to continue trade with AC.
When AC gained its independence from Mejico in 1845, Russia established AC as its prime trading partner in former Castile and Leonian territories, as Russian trade ships did not want to sail all the way to Acapulco for minimal trade deals. AC, which had not begun trade with many of the big nations, began a primary trade relationship with Russia and allowed them to extend their colony down to the Slavianka river and about as far inland as our Healdsburg. The Russians gladly agreed although they never extended their settlements far from Rossiya (the land here is hilly and along the coast rugged).
Three years after AC gained independence, Montrei gained theirs and set out to establish relationships with other nations along the west coast. Russia supported AC, and refused deals with Montrei (officially declaring it a rogue nation at first). Japan, which had been isolated from the West was eyed as a potential candiate, and Montreiano ships sailed into Japan.
The Japanese were at first reluctant, but Montrei offered an economic foot in the door for Japan along the west coast, offering natural materials of which Japan had scarce supplies (metals, minerals, etc.). They also offered up mining deals with Japan with the gold that had been recently discovered in 1849 near the eastern border of Montrei (part of which funded the building of Montreiano naval ships). Such a deal was too good to pass up, and the xògun opened Japan up to Western nations.
In 1905, Japan warred with Russia, winning, and of course taking its possessions, one of which was Rossiya. AC, who at the time had not had strong ties with Japan, decided that trying to wrestle back Rossiya would not be a very good idea, as Japan was at this time stronger than AC was militarily (as AC had been fighting Tejas since the 1840's). They decided to offer a new condominiumship with Japan, in exchange for trade once conducted with Russia. Japan saw an opportunity to establish an overseas colony south of Alyaska, and began to send colonists to Rossiya, renaming it Meidji-dò, with its capital Meidji-xi (and renaming the river Slavianka "Sulabíanca"). They gained all of the land offered to Russia formerly, and began to expand out into the surrounding lands (Japan did not need to set up a colony in Montrei, as Montrei was open to allowing Japanese citizens to "set up shop" in Montrei in general, rather than keeping them confined to one enclave). Traders continued to use the name Rossiya, and so eventually the name officially reverted to Roxía for the trade center (but Meidji-xi continued to be the name of the city, and Meidji-dò for the colony).
Meidji-dò began to prosper, as Japanese ships sailed between AC and Japan, using Kanawiki as the central Pacific stopping point. Japan designated Roxía as its exclusive western North American port (being far more central on the western North American coast than Alyaska), where goods from Japan were to be unloaded and goods for Japan loaded onto ships. These ships do head to ports farther south and farther north, though Roxía is simply the port at which they first stop.
Since 1905, Meidji-dò has grown into a small colony with the Meidji-xi being the main populated area and smaller towns scattered about its territory.
Trade has made Roshiya wealthy and a very popular tourist destination for Japanese, Alta Californians, and Montreianos alike. Tourism is now the main draw here, as the Japanese kept the original Russian buildings, but built Japanese-style buildings, and a temple there as well. One of the principal families is descended from Ivan Kuskov and is known either by the Russian name or by the Japanese variant "Cusucobu".
Russian tourists are not keen to visit Roxía as it is a big reminder of what Russia lost in the war of 1905. Some Russians call for the return of Roxía to Russia, but the town has had so much Japanese Influence, that even Ivan Kuskov's descendants no longer consider themselves principally Russian, and relate more to Japanese culture. The people of Roxía would not want to be returned to Russia anyway, as it is rife with corruption and out of touch with their affairs.
The fort and the town now:
Father Mariano Payeras said of it in 1822:
"The fort is situated atop a mesa which is surrounded by ravines which abut the sea. It is constructed of redwood planks (there is no other wood used in any of the structures) and forms a palisade. It is four varas high uniformly and is surmounted by a beam set with pointed stakes intended to dissuade any assault. It has three gates: one to the northeast, one to the west, and one to the southeast"
Lieutenant Mariano Vallejo to Governor Figueroa said in 1833: "its walls form a quadrangle of exactly 100 varas squared"
The fort was constructed entirely out of redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) which is the most common timber tree of the area. The quadrangle contained a church, a commander's house, two warehouses, a supply warehouse, barracks, and three officials' houses. These buildings are all of the log cabin style that the Russians used in Siberia and Alyaska.
The fort is still in existence in Roxía. The Japanese kept it to show off both its Russian history and as a way to mock those Russians who still have not accepted Russia's defeat in 1905. All other buildings are of Japanese design.
The town that has sprung up looks just as if it had been taken right from Japan itself. AC cultural influence is fairly weak, so the Japanese never went with their style of building (also because Japanese builders were not familiar with it). It has kind of a "Japanese cultural park" feel to it, but it is not a park as people do live and work in Roshiya. Nor is it a cultural Disneyland.
The people of Meidji-dò speak either Japanese, Montreiano, or Spanish (Montreiano is important because of the proximity to Montrei). Very, very few families still speak Russian. Most of the people in Meidji-dò are of Japanese descent, but a few are of Russian/Kashaya (a local tribe related to the Pomo) ancestry (they are the ones who tend to speak Russian still), or of Russo-Japanese ancestry, and a few families are of Japanese-AC ancestry. The Japanese in Meidji-dò are not as eager to keep their ancestry pure as they might be if this were in Japan.
The Russian/Kashaya, or Russo-Japanese families still practice the Russian Orthodox version of Christianity. Some of them alternate with Japanese Buddhism/Xintò or Zesucutò practices. Those whose families are of AC ancestry tend to be Roman Catholic or Buddhist/Xinto/Zesucutò. The old Russian chapel exists, a new Roman Catholic church is nearby, and not too far from those churches is the ground of a Buddhist temple.
Entrance into and exit out of Roxía is heavily controlled. A high wall was erected around the main town area of Roxía, which is more to protect the interests of traders than anything else. The walled-in area is roughly the area of the port itself and is where all trading activities occur. Most businesses are within this area and most of the housing is outside of it. Citizens of Alta California, Japan, Montreiano, and anyone belonging to the North Pacific League are allowed to pass freely through the gates surrounding the walled-in sections.
Anyone not a citizen of these nations (Tejas, Mejico, NAL, etc.) are only allowed within certain heavily guarded areas of Roxía, which is surrounded by an imposing iron fence, namely the touristy entertainment districts. Two-week-long passes are granted to those who apply, however. They allow a similar freedom for non-NPL members to pass through into any part of Roxía, although these passes are only issued to those conducting business. Tourists are not allowed these passes.
There is no reason why anyone not on business would want to leave the touristy entertainment district anyway, except maybe to visit the Buddhist temple, the old Russian Orthodox chapel, or the Catholic church. The residential areas of Meidji-xi really are not that exciting or interesting to most tourists anyway.
The slogan in Meidji-dò is "Where Russia Melts into Japan", meaning vestiges of its Russian past remain, such as the old fort buildings, but Japanese culture predominates. It also has a bit of a mocking tone.
The old palisade has been repaired and reconstructed quite a few times. It still stands, and part of the wall that protects the trade areas seems to help protect it as well. The wall that has been built makes the interior of Roshiya look like a much more imposing fort. These walls also have watch towers and the entire structure looks much like the protective walls of Japanese castles.
The entertainment and tourist district is called Meteni (the old name of the site). You can get the best Japanese food in all of AC here.
Meidji-dò, outside of Roshiya, uses the Meidjirequi.
The President of Alta California (currently Arnoldo Schwartzenegger) and the Emperor of Japan share the position of head of state. Local matters are largely under the control of an elected assembly which chooses a chief administrator for a four-year term, subject to the consent of the proprietors, who also possess veto power over all acts of the assembly.
Meidji City sits at the center of a road and rail network that reaches out to the various villages and farms throughout the mountainous coastal area.
Prime trading cities are Naoia (named after Xiga Naoia, the famed author who lived there for a time), Urabe, Caji/Cadji (a primarily Kashayan settlement), Higaxinaruse, (in the hills, but near an Alta Californian border crossing).
Maçu has grown considerably in the last two years as construction boomed on the new TGV Transcontinental Rail-line connecting Louisianne and other points east with Japan.
The colony consists of hilly regions with large stands of coastal redwoods that are carefully managed by ecotopic oversight committees, and used for export. Other valleys are used for growing fruit, both on trees and on vines, which are exported to Yamato and other points west, as well as now to growing markets in Louisianne and the NAL-SLC.
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