[info]stopthatgirl7 wrote
on April 20th, 2008 at 09:28 pm

TTYNKAP AN: A Brief History of Wutai

I haven't been in the mood to write fic much lately, because I think I killed myself doing kinkfest, and my fic-brain needed a rest. Plus, I've been stuck with some small details of TTYNKAP for a while (like, names and stuff) and I needed to plot out some history and other such things before I could proceed. So I started working on the Author's Notes to TTYNKAP, because I figure, everything going into this fic ought to get explained. LOL, I want my hard word acknowledged, dammit. XD

A lot of what I've written is spoiler, which is why I'm posting the AN in pieces/subsections: only when something is no longer spoiler will I be explaining it. So I'm sitting on a bunch of them, and will be until after chapter 10 (that chapter is going to be the biggie. Oh my.) Some will have to wait until after the fic is done. *g* But as long as they were getting, I figured in pieces was better than dumping it on you all at once.

So, without further ado, the first of the author's notes, and this is due to change at any moment just because I might figure something out later (translation, I welcome your thoughts.) :D

The Geography and Brief History of Wutai, aka "Why the hell does Midgar have signs in characters?"

Yeah, so, in college? I was a history major. Yeah, sure, it was WWII Germany focusing on the Holocaust, still. Once a history-minded person, always a history-minded person. You have been warned.

So, the game says jackall about Wutai, and I can't ever leave well enough alone. >XD

Basically, the city of Wutai is to the north, and is the traditional capital of Wutai. Since the name "Wutai" is taken from "Wutai-shan," a really famous mountain in China, I'm putting mountains close to the city. The city of Wutai is pretty much analogous to Beijing, I'm figuring, being the seat of power, such as Wutai still has left.

Since the "wu" character in the name for "Wutai" also means "five" [Wutai - 五檯 (Wu3 Tai2)], I'm going with there being five main provinces in Wutai, which were all formerly five different countries (and I made all this shit up, so you know--well, not the name of Wutai in characters; that I got from the Chinese FF7 wiki page, ditto with Yuffie's Chinese name). The different regions of Wutai are the Northern region, Beizhou [Northern Province]; Guangnan just south and west of there (analogous to Hong Kong) with Taishang to the east of Guangnan; Chaozhong in the middle south of Beizhou but between Taishang and Guangnan (this is the Wutai Korea--the name comes from the first character in the name for "Korea," plus the character for "middle," since it's in the middle of the continent; also, this lets me put a mountain range in the middle of the continent, where it serves to break up the Chinese-influenced languages and the Altaic ones as a physical barrier--thus, Northern, Guangnanese, and Taishangese are tonal languages, where as Chaozhonese and Yamatan aren't), and Yamato to the south (Japan, coming from one of the old names for Japan), which helps explain the language drift, because um, yeah. Japanese and Mandarin Chinese don't sound a thing a like, but Japanese and Korean sound a whole lot alike, and Korean has a lot of similarities in vocabulary to Mandarin (i.e., the word for king is "wang" in Mandarin and "hwang" in Korean, but "ou" in Japanese. OK THEN.) So the language drift is Mandarin->Cantonese/Taiwanese (in Guangnan and Taishang respectively)->Korean->Japanese.

Since a guy named "Godo Kisaragi" is the emperor, I'm assuming the current emperors are Yamatan, indicating there was a take-over, since everything in the city of Wutai was so not even kind of Japan, not with the kind of names being tossed around. I have two hypotheses about this, which fits better I haven't decided on, and it doesn't really matter since it's really just being nitpicky and anal, but HEY LOOK WHAT BEING SO HAS WROUGHT THUS FAR. >XD

One commonality between the two theories is an expansive imperial past, but I'm jumping ahead of myself a bit.

So the Yamatan Wutai took over, but left things as they were, more or less, since that was what happened through most of the history of Ancient China--invaders came in, and then took over the same way as the people they had just kicked out of power. (There was a lot of mixing, which is how I'm writing off the name "Yuffie," BTW, because 'Yuffie' is not even kind of a Japanese name...but her name in Chinese, You Fei, is usually butchered by katakana into "Yuufii", which...yeah, that would be "Yuffie," or close enough for government work, since her katakana game name is "Yufii.")

Before the Yamatan expansion, Wutai was five small countries, but then was unified under a Kisaragi, in a way similar to how Qing unified China, and he set himself up as a Son of Heaven rather than a traditional Yamatan/Japanese emperor, taking the "civilized" Beizhou ways for the sake of legitimacy. The northern areas were always seen as "civilized" and the seat of learning and such, and the south just was determined to catch up and prove themselves, namely by taking over...and then they got greedy and expanded out of Wutai.

That, or the Yamatans did things in waves, and it wasn't a Kisaragi emperor who first expanded his power, reaching eventually over most of the world, but it was a Kisaragi who, after the collapse of the Yamatan empire, eventually reupped and re-unified Wutai, and then decided the past Yamatan emperors got burned when they went too far, and pulled an Augustus Caesar on the empire and decided no going past a certain point--in this case, off the island. They instead then go all isolationist, because d00d, that's what Japan does. So that's what Wutai did, and all was fine and dandy until ShinRa was like, "Yeah, so, about that."

Now, the point where the theories all kind of converge, because, regardless of what emperor did it, I'm assuming a rather large and sweeping imperialist past for Yamato, one that stretched at least as far as Midgar at one point--and my reasoning for that is the extensive use of characters in Midgar on all things official, such as the numbers of the sections (they use the OLD SKOOL number characters, the ones used on money and stuff for official things--ones that couldn't easily be altered), and one exit signs and such around the city, while everything else is written in English (Last Order, everything in the files was English, AC, all the signs are in English)--I posit these as remnants of a Yamatan past, one that the ShinRa company incorporated as a way of proving their validity to rule.

And why Yamatan? Because the reading of the characters used for the ShinRa logo are all from the Japanese readings of those characters; "shin" (god) and "ra," (net; also the characters used for Ancient Rome; in Chinese it can also mean "invite"...interpret these as you will, yo); the Mandarin readings are "xin" and "luo." Since those sound not that much like "Shinra" (company: ShinRa; family name: Shinra. I told y'all I was anal), yeah, it would imply that the characters used for the name were based on a Yamatan reading, which would indicate the Yamatans had once overrun the other continents before eventually, as all empires do, collapsing in under its own weight. But an impact would have been left over from any kind of invasion and occupation.

Also in regard to the name "ShinRa" in characters, in FFX, you meet a character named "Shinra," and it's hinted at that his family is the one that eventually becomes the FF7 Shinra family. Yeah, so, in FFX? The name "Shinra" isn't written in kanji, it's written in katakana, like any foreign name is. Katakana that have been replaced with characters by FF7, something that probably any important family would have done, or tried to do.

Which leads to back to my point (so I meandered a bit.)

Basically, everyone in Midgar knows what "出口" means...it's "exit," and they would say it as "Exit," not "deguchi" or "chukou" or any of the other Wutai readings--the Midgaran reading would be "exit." (And trust me when I say, it's quite plausible. Personally, I gave gone into convenience stores, been poking around for food, and saw 「白飯」 and without missing a beat thought "white rice", completely bypassing whatever the heck the Japanese pronunciation of it might be, since characters are meaning-based) ...and after ShinRa falls, when there's no more Midgar to speak of, just Edge, there are no more "official" things with characters. With the fall of ShinRa and its need to comp an empire for legitimacy, there was no more need for characters.

Also, related to nothing, Professor Hojo's name in the Japanese game is written in kanji as well (which fucked me UP when I first started playing Crisis Core, because I didn't realize the guy I was trusting was THAT Hojo, until I ended up deadeded and my "Dead Zack" count went up nigh exponentially, before I stopped, glared, went, "Wait a minute, who is this guy...Houjou hakushiIIIIIT, THAT'S HOJO!"), probably because "Hojo" is a Japanese name. Now, you look at Hojo, and he doesn't exactly look like he's Wutai, does he. Which makes me think the name is one of the remnants of the Yamatan imperialist past. Another clue is the fact that o-mamori, which even the Ultima guide says are from Wutai but are "for some reason" (cop out, much?) sold in Midgar. You don't just have stuff like that unless there's a past involved, yo.

So all of this, to me, especially given how easily everyone went to war with Wutai when Wutai really wasn't a threat, which kind of indicates lots of bad feelings that went pretty far back, adds up to Wutai having had a much more warlike past and having actually been the invaders once upon a time, because the legacy of invasion lasts a long, long time, and leaves scars.

...Plus, have y'all seen some of the character designs now that they have the technical know-how to not have giant blocks for hands and cube-heads?! I saw some caps from Dirge of Cerberus, and was like, "...Turk!Vincent looks more Asian than Yuffie. By, like, a lot. And heck, minus the blond and blue-eyed thing, so does AC Cloud." So, yeah.

The legacies of invasion, kiddies. Sometimes, they're genetic.

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