Project Konkane Kamuy, 1905

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Purpose

Following the attack on Port Arthur in Ryojun by the fleet of Admiral Tōgō, the Greater Empire of Japan has declared war against the Russian Empire. Following victory after victory, both the Imperial Army and the Imperial Navy have proven themselves more than capable of bringing both honor and glory to the Emperor. In comparison, the recently founded Imperial Agency has not achieved the expected results, and has failed to engage in war efforts, the previously mentioned entities being favored.

While internal affairs have been successful, with Project Hakutaku yielding great knowledge into the world of the sacred and the supernatural, it has not produced tangible, exploitable results. It has been two months since the Agency’s last collection of valuable documents arrived at Tokyo, and the fear of divesting and disbandment inches closer with each passing day. Understanding this, General Okakura has delineated the following project to incorporate the knowledge of the occult that we’ve gathered to aid in the war efforts and prove that the Imperial Agency is an equal and not inferior to the Army and Navy of our Great Empire.

The project in question involves the Ainu, a hunter-gatherer tribe that lives in the area of Hokkaidō and Karafuto and other nearby islands. While this tribe has aided in previous battles, they have also fought with members of the Army over petty worries, making their group unreliable. The Agency recognizes their mastery over nature magic, and has decided to ensure the Ainu and the rest of the Emperor’s subjects coexist in harmony, focusing on the bigger threat that the Russian Empire’s expansionist charade poses.

Goals of the project are the following:

  • Ensure compliance of the Ainu in the war against the Russian Empire.
  • Learn and utilize the power of the ‘Kamuy’ to fight the Russian Empire.
  • Ensure the continued existence of the Agency following our Great Empire’s eventual victory.
  • Educate the Ainu in the etiquette of the civilized world to prevent trivial fights.
  • Collect information from the Ainu to bring to the Agency’s Headquarters.
  • Find manners in which to profit off the Ainu involvement, to obtain alternate funding options.

The last goal must be handled with care, with the Hokkaidō Agency informed of any development. Unauthorized profiting can not and will not be allowed.


Assets

The Ainu people are native to the island of Hokkaidō, who they refer to as Ainu Mosir; The Land of the Ainu. They are a tribe of hunters and fishermen, their culture wildly different from that of the people of Yamato, which has given them a closer connection to the spirits of nature that they call Kamuy.

Due to a lack of understanding of the Kamuy, I have attached an explanation of these creatures by Professor Azuchi of the Shūshū-In. While the professor holds opinions the Empire would find unsightly, his para-anthropological study of Hokkaidō compose the greatest asset to this project:

The Kamuy are spiritual entities that are intrinsically related to the Ainu people that reside within the confines of Hokkaidō and other nearby islands along the Ohōtsuku Sea. These spirits are believed to be the personification of several concepts essential to the daily life of the Ainu, ranging from the fire and earth to bears and birds, to even tools that they’ve crafted, such as daggers and houses and even pots of ink. There seems to be as many Kamuy as there are Kami in the rest of the country.

The Ainu pray whenever there is the need to convey a message to the Kamuy. These can be as simple as thanking a Kamuy of vegetation for a good harvest, asking the Kamuy of the sea for a plentiful fishing season, or warding off a Kamuy of illnesses. In this regard they appear similar to Kami, with both referring to the same kind of animistic entities from their respective religions, although there are several factors that differentiate them.

When there is the need to ask for a favor, a ritual is performed to attract the respective Kamuy and grant them gifts in exchange for the fulfillment of said favor. These rituals often involve the attraction of a Kamuy to the Iwor, the grounds where the ritual is performed by a ritual master, who brings gifts and alcohol to the Kamuy they wish to entertain. The wife or closest female family member to the ritual master will sing epics known as kamuy yukar, their content being that of high praise to the kamuy in question. This allows the kamuy to inhabit the ritual space, listening to the request. Whether they grant it or not depends on many factors that are unknown to us, but most requests are granted as far as we can tell. After the ritual is over, the kamuy is bid farewell, and returns to the Kamuy mosir (Land of the Kamuy).

Two important facts to know beforehand about these rituals is that, first, kamuy do not show their true shapes to the Ainu. They instead don a hayokpe, a form they use as a disguise when visiting the Ainu mosir. These disguises are those of the animals, plants, minerals and other resources the Ainu use in their daily life. When the Kamuy returns to the Kamuy mosir, they leave these disguises behind for the Ainu to use as they see fit. This makes the relationship of the Ainu and the Kamuy a mutualistic symbiosis.

The second fact is that when the kamuy yukar are sung, the singer is ‘possessed’1 by the spirit of Ape huci. Ape huci is the Kamuy of the hearth, and one of the most important Kamuy. She is the mediator between the Ainu mosir and the Kamui mosir. Whenever one wants to contact a Kamuy, they must do so through a lit hearth; through her domain. She also guards the souls of the dead and ensures their rebirth, as the hearth is where the spirits of all of one’s ancestors reside. Through this ‘possession’, the knowledge on how to properly ask for a specific kamuy’s favor is given to the ‘possessed’ individual.

These rituals are allegedly capable of attracting the attention of any known Kamuy. Out of the hundreds of Kamuy Prof. Azuchi wrote about, the ones we are interested in are the following:

  • Hoyaw kamuy: ‘Hoyaw’ is Ainu-go for a large snake, and it often refers to the Mamushi snake. As such, it’s the Kamuy of large snakes. Its appearance is described as that of a snake-dragon mix, similar to the Chinese Long or the Japanese Ryū. They have a body that rivals some ships of the Navy, pale in color and constantly exuding a foul smell that would make any man fall unconscious. If anyone is brave or stupid enough to approach the creature, they can cut through steel with their claws, or spit venom that causes rashes, pain and even death. The perfect weapon against the Russian Empire, although it appears to be weak to cold weathers, which could make its use difficult.
  • Kenas unarpe: A monster that drinks the blood of humans. While she is usually prayed upon during childbirth to drink the blood lost during it, she also enjoys attacking and devouring hunters by disguising as Hasinaw uk kamuy, the Kamuy of the hunt. She might be weaker than the Hoyau, but will most likely be more reliable.
  • Kimun kamuy: The Kamuy of bears and mountains. One of the most prominent figures that we know of, especially because of the iyomante, a ritual that involves the nurturing of a bear cub that is in truth the Kimun kamuy, and its eventual sacrifice to return the kamuy to the Ainu mosir to tell stories of how well he was treated, which in turn will bring good fortune to the village responsible for the ritual. While there does not seem to be a direct way to utilize this Kamuy against the Russian Army, we might be able to command arasarus against them. These are feral bears that are capable of tearing apart through anyone. While we’ve been told there is no way the Kimun kamuy is able to command wenkamuy2, the Ainu are not the kind to utilize the Kamuy’s gifts for warfare, and so haven’t ever tried this kind of ritual usage.
  • Pawci kamuy: The Kamuy of insanity and obscenity. Little information exists of the entity for obvious reasons: It brings insanity to any who contact it. It is said this entity has wiped out many villages before. Any who encounters them is bound to go insane and dance maniacally, fall to seizures, and begin intercourse with anyone or anything they encounter. Their use could be extremely beneficial, bringing down entire armies, and decimate entire outposts at the cost of any who realize the rituals. Testing should be carried out with extreme care.
  • Repun kamuy: The Kamuy of the sea, and one of our main targets. Appearing as a killer whale, they are an extremely generous entity, bringing food to the Ainu shores. Due to Russia’s naval prowess and Port Arthur being a key target of our Great Empire’s advancement, this Kamuy could literally and metaphorically turn the tide of battle in our favor. The problem would be to get them to help us in sinking the enemy navy. We also doubt our Great Empire’s Navy will be too happy about our intervention, so testing and use of the Repun kamuy will be carried out with the utmost secrecy.

While the rituals have not yet been fully planned by the Ainu we’ve spoken with, a total sum of one million yen and two hundred soldiers have been allocated for the project. Testing will commence within the following month, ideally within two weeks from the current date, 12 of January of the 38th year of Meiji.

A mind controlling mechanism will be used on the Kamuy if they decide not to work in favor of the Emperor. While they have not been tested, they have been tested on several Kami and Hotoke. If Prof. Azuchi is correct in their similarities, then we might be able to control their actions. Due to the Ainu helping us with these plans, this mechanism will not be mentioned to them, and will only be used if deemed necessary.


Results

Project Konkane Kamuy provided mixed results:

We discovered that Hoyau kamuy was not a singular entity, but rather a species of Kamuy, dragging several of them into battle. They were as grand as the Ainu had told us: Magnificent beasts, beautiful in their putridity. They were of use in Heikoutai, where they tore through many Russian dragoons. Several of the Army’s men were injured by the Kamuy’s miasma, with 47 deaths and hundreds of injuries, including 6 deaths and 33 injuries on our side. We discovered the illness the Ainu spoke of was smallpox. While a Kamuy of smallpox exists, we’ve decided not to pray to their name. Instead, to prevent an epidemic, the Hoyau Kamuy will only be used while in enemy territory.

The Kenas unarpe cannot be controlled. Her invocation resulted in the deaths of up to three hundred people, including seventy eight of our men, with minimal deaths on the Russian side. She was able to control several wenkamuy, which caused the destruction of equipment and the loss of two outposts.

Pawci Kamuy was equally uncontrollable, but much more powerful: Several thousands fell during the battle of Hōten, piles of crazed men, dancing and fornicating maniacally, completely naked, collapsing to the harsh weather of the region. Almost two thirds of the fallen were Russian or Manchurian however, so we consider this to be the greatest victory achieved so far.

Kimun kamuy was an odd one: We were unable to attain the power of the arasarus we wanted. Instead, we heard a sound nearby. When we went to investigate, we found a large feast amid the bushes, with a bear cub sitting next to it, a scroll painting in its mouth, depicting an iyomante ritual.

Iyomante

On the back of this scroll, the following had been etched:

Outstanding (Bear-like?) Ritual

Another good feast

Another good year

I see you have made new friends (Bears?)

And what better way to celebrate than with new friends (Bears?)

Enjoy the food

High Council (of Bears?)

PS: We are still working on the conflict so please hang on

It will be over soon


This painting appears to be a copy of one of the scrolls of Awagimaro Hata’s Ezo Shima Kikan, one of the most famous depictions of Ainu lifestyle. The message on the back was written in Japanese instead of Ainu-go, and the word bear (熊) replaced every word that acted as its homonym. This, coupled with the scroll message and the feast which had never been received by the Ainu we’ve spoken to that have taken a part of these types of rituals makes us think this is a direct message from the Kimun kamuy to us. We took this as a clear signal of our victory over the Russian, further proven by the miracle that none of the people present during the ritual died or were injured throughout the war, despite their involvement in several battles.

Finally, Repun kamuy was not brought into our realm. By the time we were ready to proceed with the ritual, Port Arthur had fallen. By the time we crossed to the other side of the Empire to fight in Tsushima, the war was long over.

Despite the shortcomings, the Agency achieved most of its goals, actively participated in battle and gained the respect of its peers and the recognition of the Emperor, receiving a total of eighty seven Orders of the Golden Kite. The Ainu people were civilized through our teachings of the etiquette and culture of Japan, two of their members receiving an Order of the Golden Kite, becoming proud citizens of our Great Empire. Furthermore, several trading deals and companies have been established alongside Hokkaidō, Karafuto and Houten, which have considerably augmented the budget of the Agency.

We consider the project a success. We have not only managed to survive the political pressure of the war, but also managed to distinguish ourselves as a more than capable force in the face of peril. We've proven to be a necessary extension, demonstrating that the spirits of folk can be repurposed into tools and weapons that can and will aid the Empire's efforts.

We've had a good year. Let us all work towards a better one.


From the Desk of Lieutenant General Anami, Sapporo Outpost

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