Toyo-Ashihara-no-Nakatsu-Kuni (豊葦原中国) is an ancient name for Japan which appears in mythology and literature. Other names for the same place include Ashihara-no-Nakatsu-Kuni (葦原中国) or Nakatsu-Kuni (中津国). It is the land which exists between Taka-ama-no-Hara (heaven) and Yomi-no-Kuni (hell), hence its namesake of being the "middle country". According to archaic beliefs, it also meant that the land was center of the entire human realm –similar to China and Europe's medieval perceptions of the world. Its full name literally translates as "the land of lush fields of reed within the center".
Although the islands were first formed by Izanagi and Izanami, the land was far from peace. Multiple demigods, spiritual deities, and beasts once roamed it. They intuitively hunted or fought against one another to survive. The first god from heaven who descended to Nakatsu Kuni was Susanoo, who was banished due to his reckless and callous behavior towards his elder sister, Amaterasu. His main contribution to dispelling the land's unrest was slaying the giant serpent beast, Yamata no Orochi, and creating his reign in Izumo.
Years after Susanoo's banishment, Amaterasu's descendants decided that heaven should claim Nakatsu-no-Kuni as their own property. Once they deemed the land to be in a "chaotic state", the deities of heaven gradually descended to rebuild it. Their actions provoked the residing deities in Nakatsu Kuni to arms, many of whom delighted the chaos that surrounded them and wanted to keep to their baneful ways. Several gods, both from heaven and Nakatsu Kuni, wanted the land for their own ambitions and resisted heaven's will. Gods loyal to heaven, who were foiled three times by their oppressors' greed, intensified their efforts in return. The incidents which followed thereafter is thought to have further shaped Japan's geography.
The struggle for dominance in Nakatsu Kuni ended when Oukuninushi, the leader of Izumo, serenely offered to give Nakatsu-no-Kuni to heaven. His conditions were for him and his sons to be blessed with a palace in Nakatsu Kuni which is as sublime as the one in heaven. To appease Amaterasu's previous griefs caused by his father-in-law, Susanoo, Oukuninushi presented hundreds of delicacies for the gods' consideration. Takemikazuchi, the deity who was acting as heaven's representative at the time, agreed to these causes and ceased further transgressions with Nakatsu Kuni or humanity.
Wars led by other deities and spirits would continue until Emperor Jimmu fought against the gods to create the first kingdom of Japan. His legacy would eventually include ruling over people within the islands.
Role in GamesEdit
The great war waged in Toukiden's backstory concluded with humanity safe yet demons still rampant. Using the dimensional rift created, demons continue to invade the human realm and disrupt the balance of time. They devoured several time eras in their hunger, gaining the power to manifest different time eras through the portals they create. Nakatsu Kuni is described as the last "safe" era for humanity.
Harukanaru Toki no Naka deEdit
A parallel world version of Nakatsu-no-Kuni is the main setting in Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 4. The land is interchangeably referred to as "Nakatsu Kuni" (中つ国) or "Toyo-Ashihara" (豊葦原) by speakers. It was created by the White and Black Dragon Gods and its capital is Kashihara.
The people of Nakatsu Kuni believe that once long ago, the land was terrorized by a ferocious beast known as the "Bloodied Serpent". To appease the god of destruction, people were forced to become sacrifices for it. Near the end of a long and brutal conflict to slay the beast, a young girl descended from the heavens to save them. With her prayers, she called forth the Dragon God and the Bloodied Serpent vanished forever. The girl returned to the heavens and the peaceful land of Nakatsu no Kuni was founded. In honor of the legend, the royal family members are all said to have received the Dragon God's blessings.
In reality, the girl was a human girl with adept spiritual powers and the first to be chosen as the White Dragon's priestess. The priestess first fought with her comrades to save the land from the Bloodied Serpent's wrath, hoping to do as much as she can to prevent more suffering. When humanity was being crushed, she decided to sacrifice herself to the White Dragon to defeat the Bloodied Serpent. It's hinted that she knew of the Bloodied Serpent's true identity as the Black Dragon –meaning that it can never completely disappear from existence– but chose to stay with her wish to save her people. After she summoned the White Dragon, the priestess paid the price with her life and died in her lover's arms.
Her lover was a member of the Tsukuyomi Clan and he was the only one present at her death. He soon became aggravated that no one in the new era of peace knew the truth of her sacrifice. In spite of his lover's wishes, he lead a rebellion to punish the ignorant masses that she saved. His charge triggered other revolts and a long period of warfare. Nakatsu Kuni was built through the carnage by rejecting outsiders and overpowering their rivals. Though the wars would be forgotten, the hatred and prejudice built by the experiences would remain within Nakatsu Kuni.
During the ancient period of wars, the Star Clan is said to have assisted any who had the dragon god's blessings within the royal family. They also helped locate who within the family had the potential to become the next heir.
Rulers for Nakatsu Kuni are typically men, but in the protagonist's generation, a woman sat on the throne. Her mother was the one who inherited the throne. She became uneasy, however, by the family's secret: none of the leaders could hear the Dragon God. Unknown to them, the White Dragon was sleeping and cut itself away from their prayers to them. Wary that the truth would be revealed, she pressured her daughters Ichinohime and Ninohime to train their spiritual capability for the Dragon God.
About seven years before the game's main story, the queen's fears were realized when a barely sane Raja came to plead for her help. He was aware of the country's legends and sought for the queen to save his land from the "Bloodied Serpent". When the emperor of Tokoyo no Kuni was refused, Raja discovered the truth of the Nakatsu Kuni's royal family. Despising the queen's hypocrisy, he retaliated by ordering a massacre within the country. Raja and his forces continued to their invasion of Nakatsu Kuni. Although the populace in Nakatsu Kuni believe the above notion, they were really fooled by the Queen to commit a pointless slaughter.
The queen stopped the threat by magically sealing the underground passageway that connects their countries shut. She was aware that Tokoyo no Kuni had no means of breaking it, and her plan succeeded for a time. A year later, however, Ichinohime and her companions secretly broke the seal in order to stop the Black Dragon's awakening in their rival country.
Nakatsu Kuni remained unaware of the breech until Raja's troops pressed into the country itself. As the army and survivors fled the disaster, the queen lost her life in the conflict. Tokoyo no Kuni conquered the main capital and gained control in the land without a sovereign. Their forces nearly have the land in submission once the main story begins.
Generals of the Four RoadsEdit
The Generals of the Four Roads (四道将軍, Shidou Shougun) are four reputed warriors within the Nakatsu Kuni army. Each general is said to have the power to drive back an army of 2,000 with only 500 under their command.
Their real world inspiration are the generals who served under Emperor Sujin in the Yamato Bumi. They expertly commanded troops within the Saidou, Hokuriku, Toukai, and Tamba regions and returned triumphant over their adversaries.
- Haruka version
- Kukochi - Nagi's one-eyed father figure and mentor; member of the Kuna Clan; real world namesake is Kukochihiko, a minister who served the lord of Kunakoku, Himikoko
- Oshihito Katsuragi
- elderly unnamed gentlemen, fled from post when Nakatsu Kuni was overrun and was said to have been captured and executed by Tokoyo no Kuni's forces
- Mythological version
Kamigami no Daichi Kojiki GaidenEdit
Nakatsu Kuni is the main setting in Kamigami no Daichi Kojiki Gaiden. The player controls Oonamuji (future Oukuninushi) and is ordered by Amaterasu to suppress Susanoo. To reach Susanoo, Oonamuji has to conquer the divided country under his command, fight various monstrosities, and prove himself as a rightful ruler to any doubting civilians or leaders. Unlike the game's premise, the country itself is labeled and organized in a manner that is relatively faithful to Japanese mythology.