A mix of Persian and Japanese transplants were the dominant influences in the mix of city states and rural regions ruled by fortress-dwelling robber barons that would be united approximately a century prior to the Great Central War by the Toyahota Family (Motto: "You want it, you got it") in the name of the Divine Shahenshah Artabanus XVI.
Culturally, most of these regions were very similar, having a strict caste system overseen by a hereditary caste, although a merit- and education-based bureaucracy organized on almost Confucian lines provided a means for social mobility for the best of the lower classes. Warfare was stylized and dominated by mounted nobles and their retainers, the mass of the populace being largely unarmed by law and custom, with the exception of certain tenacious hill peoples who provided light-armed infantrymen in lieu of taxes.
Religion is a variation of Zoroastrianism along with a strong ancestor cult and a bushido-like warrior code for the aristocrats.
The Toyahota Shogunate was ushered in with mass armies equipped with rifle-muskets with conical rounds, socket bayonets, and standardized field artillery. However, in order to coopt the various noble houses, after unification the regular infantry was reduced and de-emphasized in favor of the noble muster of horse and the provision for nobles to maintain and command their own infantry regiments or battalions. This system persisted until the beginning of the Great Central War, when its weaknesses were made blatantly obvious by a series of disasters opposing the Swordpoint invasion of the Empire.
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