If the world is a dark mystery, let us build a fire.
This article (Empire Faction Bible), is part of the Faction Bible series, and shows the inner workings of the faction so writers can better understand it. It is not to be changed in any way, as it is from the ample genius of one Open Sketchbook.
By its nature, it's also one large spoiler to the lore behind the Paradox universe. Read no further if you prefer the mystery.
The Empire of the Rising Sun is the government and military of the nation of Japan and its colonies. They are an up-and-coming power who has just hit the technological singularity but are held back by adherence to tradition.
The Empire is a semi-constitutional monarchy with an absolute Emperor making sweeping policy decisions, and an elected legislature. The Diet does the day-to-day running of the nation, but the Emperor's word is the final say. Depending on the situation, the Diet may be the practical power, or serve as little more than advisors for programs enacted independently by the Emperor.
The Empire's direct military power is somewhat limited. They are incapable of truly conquering or holding territory in a meaningful sense, but their technology, organisation, computer-assisted coordination and ability to rapidly prototype new designs due to AI and nanotechnology means that they can cripple a faction's government and industry with devastating surgical strikes. They can't hope to conquer any of the other factions, but they could cripple the Syndicate, Order, and Protectorate if they had the reason and will to, so long as they strike first.
The morality of the Empire of the Rising Sun is based on a combination of Pragmatism and Bushido; the amount of each varies depending on which cultural movement you are talking about.
Ethical pragmatism is a rather complex and subdivided philosphy, but when talking about societies it usually refers to the fullfilment of the goals of the greatest number of people within the society.
The three cultural movements of Japan are on a spectrum between Bushido and Pragmatism, with the Traditionalists most Bushido and least Pragmatic, the Transhumanists mostly Pragmatic and minimally following Bushido, and the Militants in the middle.
During the Battle of Kumamoto Castle, a shinobi opened the gates for Saigo Takamori, ending the siege. Saigo marches on Tokyo, shames Emperor Meiji into suicide, and takes the throne for himself.
Trying to halt the Meiji Restoration isn't as easy as using a squad of ninja, however. Saigo, though a decent bureaucrat, realizes while trying to push his half-organized, inconsistently modernised army into war with Korea that the samurai have absolutely no chance of running a modern government without becoming the full-time politicians he loathes. As a result, he approves of a new constitution halfway between his original intent and the Meiji Constitution. The new Saigo Constitution transforms the government into a semi-constitutional monarchy that allows the people to govern themselves under the watchful eye of the Emperor, who can override their decisions.
As a show of faith to the nervous Diet, he allows them unconditional control over military funding in exchange for the samurai having full command control and control of officer commissions. This splits the Japanese government directly between a progressive Diet and a militant, conservative military, both of whom have to suck up to each other to get what they want.
When the Diet nervously votes against funding war with Korea, Saigo accepts their ruling, to ensure his newly set-up government continues to run. This is why Korea and later China were never invaded by Japan. However, Saigo's speech to the Diet, where he states that Japan has a divine destiny to rule the world, has considerable effect on Japanese culture for years to come.
The modern Empire is caught between three cultural movements; let's call 'em Traditionalists, Militants, and Transhumanists. Obviously, they have prettier, more poetic nicknames in Japanese, but I dunno what they are yet.
The Traditionalists are a dying breed, but their virtues are imitated by the other two. They are the last bunch of true Samurai who kinda wished Saigo hadn't wussed out. They are the reason Japan mucks around with mecha and swords; they like their honour, and they sort of wish it was still the Edo period and they could wander the earth swinging swords at things. Emperor Yoshiro represents the Traditionalists, and his approach to the war (striking the enemy armies, commanders and monuments as a way of showing the people there is a new guy in charge, going after the big powers instead of doing local conquest) is extremely reminiscent of the way the Samurai used to do things.
Even when people disagree with the politics or methods of the Traditionalists, they are highly respected in Japan, and gaining their support or imitating their ways is sort of the fallback position to appeasing people. That's why there are still mecha, katanas and sashimono everywhere.
There is a second generation of Traditionalists in the newer officers in the Imperial Army. They want to distance themselves from the militants, but they aren't so much for the Transhumanist way of doing things, so they've taken up the Samurai banner.
The Militants are similar to the guys who ran Japan during the real world Second World War. They like to emulate Western-style militaries, and they love shiny medals, tanks, big artillery pieces, and funding the Navy. They want to conquer and colonise, and favour practicality over "honour" any day of the week. They are also just a little bit fascist. Tatsu represents the Militants; loves technology only so far as he sees military use, and constantly calling for more conventional military methods over Yoshiro's traditionalist approach. The high generals of the Imperial Army and the vast majority of the Navy are made up of these guys.
They were real popular a few years back, and they basically ran the Diet throughout WW3 and the leadup to it, but as a result they got blamed for losing the war and so their popularity dried up real fast. Emperor Kamina isn't really a fan of them either, so they are currently out of favour just about everywhere. Which is a plot point.
The Transhumanists are the current crop in charge and the popular movement. They came about due to two factors; the first being that Japan's economy managed to grow massively in the same year they lost a war, and the other is the fact that there is a network of superhumanly intelligent AIs currently running half of everything that people are just starting to notice. A whole lot of folks are starting to put two and two together and realizing that it's this, and not military might, that is going to lead Japan to its divine destiny; chief among them being Emperor Kamina, who knows first hand that Japan can't fight a war of conquest to save their lives but who also realizes how much the economy and technology of Japan enabled the militants and traditionalists.
The Transhumanists were always there, in the background, but nobody paid any attention to them because they didn't spend their days swinging bits of metal about. They are the salarymen and zaibatsu and the AI networks that was installed to run the infrastructure of the country so everyone could go back to talking about war. Well, the war has come and gone and the army got shafted, but all the infrastructure is still there and suddenly the government notices they are sitting on the economic equivalent of the Death Star.
The Transhumanists generally want two things; they want more money, and they want more robots. Most of them are in favour of putting those robots in charge of things, because those robots are really good at making them even more money, and they can also design even smarter robots. They basically plan on riding the singularity all the way to the bank.
The Transhumanists being in power is the reason for all the post-cyberpunk anime stuff.