A Tale of Five Kingdoms
Rural, sparsely populated province in the extreme south-west of the Imperial Kingdom. A peninsula that runs north to south, it is largely mountainous, with the densely forested (if low) Funai mountains running north-to-south along the spine of the province. The province is scarcely populated, with nearly half of its total population living in its capitol, Jinsho. The remaining population lies scattered in small villages and towns along the coasts.
The Tokachi river bisects the eastern half of the prefecture, east-west about 20 miles north of Jinsho. It is wide, muddy, slow-flowing river that finds its source high in the mountains of Funai and is normally quite docile. It gives its name to the Tokachi high road which spans it along a broad bridge (spanning almost 200 meters of muddy river), which runs north-south along the eastern coast of Funai, joining the Jinsho to the Imperial high road to the north.
Funai is a poor province that primarily practices subsistence fishery along its extensive coasts; rice is grown in limited quantities on the valuable, fertile, lowland territory along its northeastern border. In recent years, Jinsho has grown from a sleepy backwater into a bustling port due to the relative prosperity brought by its lucrative charcoal exporting business, which is gathered from trees in the dense forests lining the slopes to the west of the city. Outside Jinsho, however, most villages live hand to mouth and make due with what limited resources they can gather themselves.
Funai constitutes one of the strongest candidates for the “backwater of the Imperial kingdom”; both its small population, mountainous terrain and lack of proximity to the Imperial capitol or the richer, more populous lands to the east all conspire to make Funai at best a marginal player in Imperial politics. During the last revolution, Funai honored its ties to the old Emperor and, while paying lip service to the revolutionary Totomi, sent the bulk of its military might (and the majority of a generation’s worth of men and boys) to the battlegrounds in the east around the capitol, where they fought valiantly but were ultimately destroyed. In retribution for this, the Totomi ordered their allies the Hida, to conclude their southern campaign by pushing into, and razing Jinsho. The remaining Funai army who had not been sent east, supported by their long-time Chōshū allies to the north burned the Tokachi river bridge, forcing the Hida to ride through the perilous mountain forest paths, where they made a final stand and ultimately defeated the much larger, better trained Hida forces, albiet at great cost.
Funai never economically recovered from the tremendous human toll of the revolution and sank into a deep economic depression, which has only begun to show signs of abating within the last 20 years. While historically Funai has always been close allies with the Chōshū to the north, the Funai clan has in recent generations been inward-looking, seeking to repair their devastated province rather than remain a political player under the new Shogunate, and thus contact between the clans has grown less frequent (though still reportedly warm). The Funai also maintain civil ties to the Kigai in the northeast, with whom they are extensive trading partners (much of Funai’s charcoal exports are shipped from Jinsho by boat, but the remainder are sent north along the Tokachi high road, and then the Imperial high road to Shimasu, the trade capitol of the southwest).