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File:125px-Japan flag large.png Japan is one of three non-european decended powers with the potential to reach for Great Power status, but in 1836 it has many problems which need addressing, civil war, endemic corruption and worst of all, Japan is considered to be uncivilised by the world at large, hobbling early expansionism.

To grow from this pupae into a marvellous butterfly is not a simple road and will lead to decades of internal strife, it is possible to catch the leading nations in the last decades of the Scenario, but it will require humbling your bigger neighbour to the north and the construction of a modern battlefleet.

File:Japan coa.png


A collection of info from the forums.

Development Suggestions Victoria

  • While you're waiting for the civilization events, pretty much the only thing you can do is colonize as much as you can. Straight from the start, start buying stuff needed for colonies, cement and lumber, and colonize the islands south of you. (This strategy only works in Vanilla. In VIP, all countries, including Japan, are prevented from colonizing the nearby islands until 1860 at the earliest.)
  • Put the conservative (not reactionary) party in power. Try to get much much money in bank, ready for later use. Move all your armies to capital, wait for the dutch letter.
  • Trade either colony buildings or newly claimed colony provinces to someone for Exp RR, Freedom of Trade, Publishing Industry, and some other techs of your choice.
  • Build cement, lumber, and steel factories. I found I could easily get the Industry and Prestige scores to go civilized by 1850 or so - but you are just not going to get the Mil Score unfortunately. So, upgrade all your RRs, colonize like mad, and then in 1860-1870 events will trigger to make you civilized and give you some tech. Then you've got two very nice prizes right in front of you - Korea and China. Be wary if you annex Korea though - you'll get enough BB to get the Russians to DOW you.
  • Trade either colony buildings or newly claimed colony provinces to someone for
    1. Publishing Industry to get 5 machine parts
    2. Freedom of Trade to build variety of factories(cement etc.)
    3. Experimental Railroad to build railroad
    4. Flintlock Rifles to organize better army(infantry, cavalry, and dragoon)

  • How to win for Japan ...
    1. Set tariffs to 100%, tax to 50%
    2. Set all consumer goods to "buy"
    3. Set cement, lumber, explosives to buy 20 or more
    4. Demobilize and disband army and fleet
    5. Set crime fighting to zero
    6. Close all your factories
  • You will have a lot of money. Use it to colonize. You need 4 claims in region. Send diplomats to UK to make warm relations. After some time you will have colonies -- trade it to friends for money, land, claims and 5 techs. Claims are usefull for new colonies ... You will have a lot of prestige. With 5 techs (Steel Rail Road + Fredom of trade + Steamers) you can build profitable industry. Concentrate on steel-steamer. You will have a lot of industry points. Now you will have a lot of lot of money ... You can buy good territories from your friends, like UK. For example, former Chinese territories. You can build up navy or army (if you have a flintlock rifles tech). With 10 points of military rating, you can become civilized before 1870.
  • Build some steel factories, you'll win a lot of money (you can use your own coal but not to the end, it won't be enough when you'll reach a high production but it's usefull for good to start). And that's a quite historical option. After try to build some lumber factories and after that steamers factories.
  • Mindanao has iron and earlier in the game it's a lot easier to wage colonial war on Spain than it is to attack Korea. I took Mindanao and it's iron 25 years before I took Korea. Besides, taking Korea always seems to get you into a conflict with the Russians.
  • Once you're civilized annex Korea A.S.A.P. With Korea's massive population and resources, you should be making a lot of money. Then just grab chunks of China here and there and if you're feeling really brave, ally with another GP in Europe and go after Russia.

Development Suggestions Revolutions

  • The best option is to get civilized via Meiji Restauration in 1861. It is not possible to do very much until the event, just concentrate on piling up as much money as possible.
  • After being civilized immediately build up an army and conquer Korea. You can use the iron and coal to boost the steel production.
  • Make sure to have best relations with Russia; if you do, they will not declare war once Korea is conquered, trade techs with them if you have the need to.
  • At the beginning only build steel, cement factories and steam shipyards as they give best profits. Try to get a good income and get the most important economical and industrial techs. Use spare research points to trade techs with russia.
  • If you set up a solid income base (around +200 per day) and piled up 300k to 500k of money you can go for the next stage - conquering China (for a world conquest attempt you will need to do it around 1872-1875; however, the later the easier).
  • In order to safely conquer China, 100-120 divisions are neccessary. The more the better. When attacking, also build some transport ships to attack also in costal regions and not only from Korea. If you attack only from Korea chances are the war might drag too long and that is not advisable (enemy regiments will pop up EVERYWHERE leaving you with no hope of annexing China). Also make sure to always have enough manpower to fill up your troops. It will hurt your economy, but its worth the effort.
  • Once China is annexed you will never have to worry about money, manpower or workforce anymore. However, 10 years of hell are in front of you. If you can make it through you will win the game. Not only will you have all hands full with partisans, Great Britain, Russia and posssibly France will declare war.
  • In order to stand a chance much more regiments will be needed. You can hold off France or Great Britain rather easily because they share only a few province boarders with China (just be wary of invasions from the sea), however if Russia declares war, it might be the best choice to give them a few provinces and swear revenge.
  • It is likely that after 5 years you will find yourself in another war with the three. But 5 years are plenty of time to mass up a giant army and drive them deep into their territory. With the vast resources of China in hands of a civilized country, the game is pretty much done.
  • Because of the HMS Government with a parliament executive (if you chose the right Meiji Restauration events) you can chose the ruling party freely which is one of the main advantages of Japan. I prefer to use the Communist party, because you get more money and can industrialize more effectively. However in order to build railroads, it is good to switch to the liberal party because it will save you a lot of nerves.

Major Events

Dutch Letter

Approx. 1842

Accept Dutch Letter

  • Accept the offer to become a Dutch satellite in 1842, get all the free techs, disband all your armies, and set all taxes to 100%. This has the effect of turning your entire country to liberals. Look as the entirety of Japan turns to black, and wait until the revolution fires. Let your populace rebel and overthrow your government, thereby breaking your vassalage. While this will delay 'civilized' status until 1870, as opposed to 1860, you do get a lot of key techs much much much earlier and can use them to build your economy and colonial claims. This ultimately leads to a much stronger Japan by 1880, as opposed to staying isolated until 1860.
Congratulations, you are now a liberal independent (though unciviliced) democrazy. Put taxes low and beat back the reactionary revolts by building new military units super-fast. After that, just put mil spending to high, build the needed 5 mil score worth of native divisions, and wait for your reforms to bring you enough prestige. You'll be civilized in no time, and it's not even 1850... After that, annex korea, and use them as your cannon fodder when taking territory from the chinese.
The downside is you'll have high militancy and that will take some time to get rid of.
  • Or you can fight successful defensive war against the dutch. Accept the letter, civilize and break the satellite status. That way around 1850s you will be able to attack Korea.

Reject Dutch Letter

  • Don't take the Dutch event, take the Meiji restoration, you can get civilized as early as 1861.

Perry's Mission to Japan

Break the Isolation

  • Militancy, Consciousness, -50 Prestige, +10 Research
Triggers a series of events leading to the Meiji Restoration.


  • Lowers Consciousness, Lowers Militancy, +20 Prestige, bad relations with Russia, USA, Netherlands.
If you Accept the Dutch Letter, you will not get the Commodore Perry event.

Meiji Restoration

Perry's visit opened Japan to new ideas. This led to considerable unrest between the emperor and the shogun. This was followed a general rebellion led by liberal daimyos against the shogun. To gain legitimacy the daimyos made the emperor into a real ruler rather than a figurehead...and the rest is history.

Constitutional Crisis

Once Perry's visit has happened, you will get the Constitutional Crisis event in 1853 that causes +3 militancy and consciousness! This can be tough to deal with, but so long as you protect Edo and never let your units be surrounded by rebel-held areas you should be fine.

If the rebels do win, you will become a Liberal Democracy. This will reduce your prestige dramatically and make conservatives in your country unhappy. It will not affect the other Meiji Restoration events, so regardless of whether or not you want to, you will become a constitutional monarchy.

The Shogunate's Response

After this, you will get one of two events in 1856. There is a 60% chance of getting Ie Naosuke (hardline) leads the Shogunate and a 40% chance of getting Tokugawa Nariakira (moderate) leads the Shogunate instead. These events start the events that decide which government you end up with and when you become civilized. Any choice will lead to Japan becoming a civilized nation with many techs - the difference comes in what kind of government you end up with and what year the Restoration happens.

It's a fairly basic process - if you pick moderate choices, you will end up with a more moderate government, and vice versa.

Choices and Consequences

If Tokugawa Nariakira (moderate) leads the Shogunate (40% chance)

  • Accomodate the Opposition leads to a Two-Party Law by Decree Monarchy with +1 militancy in 1870. This is a bad outcome. Don't choose it unless you want to be a Democracy (you can become a Democracy from a Monarchy, but not from a Constitutional Monarchy).
  • Start Constitutional Reform leads to Tokugawa Nariakira being assassinated in 1858, which gives you two new choices:
    • Satsuma (moderate) succeeds him leads to a Multi-Party Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy with Right to Ban and -7 militancy in 1860. This is arguably the best possible outcome - it's the fastest, it lowers militancy dramatically and you become a Constitutional Monarchy with a Parliamentary Executive (so you can set the ruling party without raising militancy!). However, you won't be able to become a Democracy.
    • Ie Naosuke (hardline) succeeds him leads to a One-Party Law by Decree Monarchy with +2 militancy in 1878. This is the worst possible outcome!

If Ie Naosuke (hardline) leads the Shogunate (60% chance)

  • Accomodate the opposition leads to a Two-Party Law by Decree Monarchy with +1 militancy in 1870. This is a bad outcome.
  • Crush all opposition leads to Ie Naosuke being assassinated in 1858, which gives you two new choices:
    • Tokugawa Nariakira (moderate) comes to power leads to a Multi-Party HMS Government Monarchy with Right to Ban and -3 militancy in 1863. This is the other good outcome. It's one of the fastest, it lowers militancy significantly and you still have the chance to become either a Constitutional Monarchy or a Democracy (see Governments and How to Change Them).
    • Ando (hardline) comes to power leads to NO MEIJI RESTORATION!! This is actually a bug - the event file strongly implies that event 12608 is meant to be triggered, which would create a Two-Party Law by Decree Monarchy with -1 militancy in 1867.

If you want this to be possible, you must delete the line

command = { type = sleepevent which = 12608 }

from the Ie Naosuke is assassinated event, action_a.

Remember that you can always change your government into a Constitutional Monarchy or Democracy later (see Governments and How to Change Them), so you may want to consider a faster option! If you are planning on staying a Monarchy, you will want to pay close attention to the choices you make.

The Restoration

Whenever the Restoration event happens, the results are the same. Japan immediately becomes civilized and you gain the first rank in every technology (that's 25, some of which you may already have by this point) and 3 in the second rank (Practical Steam Engine, Battleship Column Doctrine and Steamers). You also get 100 prestige and your voting rights become set to Wealthy only (regardless of what government you ended up with).

Note: this will automatically make Japan a parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy by the 1st of the following month if you are allowing Public Meetings! I'm not sure if that's working as designed (WaD) or not. If you want to become a democracy instead (to gain its massive plurality benefits) you will need to allow All Parties and Universal Sufferage before that - very difficult with Japan's high population. Your best bet may be to take the Constitutional Monarchy - you'll be able to pick and choose the government at will (no militancy), you won't suffer from high plurality and you have a large number of reform options.

Civilizing Japan

All uncivilized nations can become civilized if they achieve the following:

  • Get a prestige rating of 100
  • Get an industrial rating of 50
  • Get a military rating of 10

All these must be true at the same time (so it doesn't help if you've had prestige > 100 if you've later fallen below that, before you were able to fulfill the other two criterea).

In Revolutions:

All uncivilized nations can become civilized if they achieve the following:

  • Get a prestige rating of 100
  • Get an industrial rating of 75
  • Get a military rating of 25

Meiji Restoration event gives Japan 'Civilized' status.

Civilizing Japan (Revolutions)

A World Power

Potential Enemies

  • Great Britain
  • France
  • Russia
  • Korea
  • China
  • Dutch


  • Korea
    • Give Korea one of your provinces so you border it then DoW. You'll need a decent army, but the population and resourses you get should help a lot.
    • Be wary if you annex Korea though - you'll get enough BB to get the Russians to DOW you.
  • Spain
    • Mindanao has iron and earlier in the game it's a lot easier to wage colonial war on Spain than it is to attack Korea. I took Mindanao and it's iron 25 years before I took Korea. Besides, taking Korea always seems to get you into a conflict with the Russians.
  • China


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