Hi everyone, today’s topic is something that has been requested in every diary thread for months, so here we go. its time to cover Japan.
Japan is a different and interesting nation to play in HOI4. They are effectively an island state like United Kingdom, but lacking its colonial empire to draw resources from. If Japan doesn’t plan to reform towards democracy and settle with what they have they need to aggressively expand as early as possible and grab resources to fuel their war machine and build up their navy to be able to rival the other major nations.
When it comes to expansion routes there are several available, there was much debate and struggle in japan at the time which to go for. Nanshin-ron, The Southern Expansion Doctrine was supported by the imperial navy and involved expansion into southeast asia and pacific islands (bringing you into conflict with the european colonial masters and America). Its opposite Hokushin-ron, northern expansion was supported by the army and involved expansion into eastern soviet and siberia. Japan’s focus tree tries to present these as different paths and also let you decide if you should favor army or navy focus.
Most of the diplomatic focuses for Japan require that you decide how to handle China. Its started by initiating the Chinese Border Incident focus where China is pressured into handing over border territory. Should they refuse Japan will get a war goal on them and can attack. Down this route japan may join Germany in the axis or establish its own faction before setting their aim on french indochina and Siam.
As nations go Japan is very different from the european powers, with its worship of the emperor, spiritualism and self sacrifice for the state. We wanted to make sure to capture this so Japan starts with the national spirit “State Shintoism” which make them more resistant to bombing and improves soldier morale. Their focus tree gets a pretty unique part called “Spiritual mobilization”. It will both give more research options as well as improving the average soldiers morale, unlocking kamikaze missions, and if both research and warrior traditions tracks are completed unlock special rocket powered suicide crafts (MXY7 Ohka) which will be very hard to intercept due to their speed.
Japan has one of the world’s most powerful navies and their air force is also strong. Their army is also pretty big, but in need of modernizing. Industry wise japan can get powerful but will struggle for resources if no successful expansions are done. As a japanese player you need to be careful with your fleet because naval battles can be very decisive and you do not have USA’s powerful capability to quickly rebuild lost capital ships. Chances are if you lose your fleet you will not be able to recover from it in a war with the united states. Focus tree wise Japan can select bonuses to develop superheavy battleships faster and are able to unlock the unique Long Lance torpedo giving them greater range than other nations as well as research bonuses to carrier aircraft.
Historically japan did not develop their armored forces very far so we were faced with some problems when deciding on what should represent their tanks. Japan had plans for some heavier tanks which were never built (in the terrain they normally fight it heavy tanks do not make a lot of sense either), but you never know where a player may take japan of course.
See you next week when we will talk about diplomacy!