Mishima Corporation Lords – Mutant Chronicles
The Lord Heirs
Mishima System Holdings Group, the umbrella company controlled directly by the Mishima family, is divided into three divisions, one each for Mars, Mercury and Venus. These are headed by one of the three Lord Heirs, who governs all Mishima business on that planet. Each Lord Heir’s dominion is virtually a corporation in its own right, separated from the others by the yawning chasm of space, and each is self-sufficient to a substantial degree.
Of the three, Lord Heir Moya of Mercury is the most senior, and viewed as most likely to be the next Overlord. His brother, Lord Heir Maru of Venus, and sister, Lord Heiress Mariko of Mars, have other plans regarding the succession. The three of them are fierce rivals, competing through hostile takeovers, industrial espionage, executive assassinations, and PR blitzes. Actual warfare has yet to break out, tempered by decorum, the expense of military space travel, and the knowledge that the family and corporation’s enemies would be sure to take advantage.
Lord Heir Moya
Prince of Soil and Governor of Mercury, rules his planet with an iron fist. He controls a majority of Mishima’s business empire. He is admired for his killer business instinct, but is followed by gossip that he is mentally unstable. His right-hand man, Lord Nozaki, is rumoured to be the power behind the throne.
Lord Heir Maru
Prince of Water and Governor of Venus, is a military man and the youngest of the Lord Heirs. A grim figure driven by a slavish devotion to the samurai virtues, his bravery and strategic genius inspire a fanatical loyalty in his followers. Though his lands are rich in resources, Maru must devote much of his revenue to military expenditures – a necessary evil on war torn Venus. In public, he is always obedient to Moya.
Lord Heiress Mariko
Princess of the Skies and Governor of Mars, is the most independent-minded of the Lord Heirs. Charismatic but cruel, she is a deadly enemy but a devoted friend. Unlike her brothers, she supports the Brotherhood and enjoys its favour in return. Mariko fills her court with Brothers and like-minded individuals, and from time to time actually listens to the spiritual advisors the Brotherhood sends to her palace on Mars.
A frail old man on a lonely throne, the present Overlord cuts a forlorn figure amid the opulence of his great palace on Luna. Officially the only Mishima ambassador, he negotiates in the Cartel and signs off on corporation policy, but the real power lies with the Lord Heirs. Respectful to his face, the other corporations conduct formal but meaningless meetings with the Overlord while their negotiators deal directly with the Lord Heirs in secret.
In his younger years Overlord Mishima, Emperor of a Thousand Suns, the Prince of Fire, the Father Above All, was a charismatic leader and a hero to his people. Ruthless but fair in business, he expanded Mishima holdings and revenue streams, winning the respect of his peers in the other corporations. But that was a long time ago. The Overlord did not reckon on the ambition of his children, and the Lord Heirs chipped away at his authority until one day he looked around and realised he had become a relic.
Today he lives out a bitter exile on Luna, surrounded by 10,000 infighting courtiers, and the 1,000 hatamoto – Mishima’s elite warriors who form the Overlord’s hand-picked personal guard.
Founding of a Dynasty
The story of Mishima begins during the Fall of Earth, when Mishima Heavy Industries was able to use its technical advantages in the fields of space and hostile environment technology as leverage in a series of unequal deals that created a business hegemony. Simply put, Mishima had the spaceships, so if you wanted to get off the planet, you gave them what they wanted. In the chaos and panic of humanity’s exodus to Luna, that deal was good enough for hundreds of corporations and millions of customers, who found themselves locked into multi-generation exclusivity deals with the company, now operating as the Mishima System Holdings Group umbrella organisation.
The Seven Sages
In the time of the Neronian Heresy, the Brotherhood was torn apart by schism. For three years rival claimants to the Cardinal’s mantle fought one another, a battle ultimately won by Durand XI – later known as Durand the Mad. During this time, Mishima began to cut many of its ties to the Brotherhood, as the first of the Seven Sages began to spread his message of another way of living: an older way, drawing on ancient truths of Mishima’s heritage. After Yuroji, the first sage, came six more – each of these influential thinkers contributed in his or her own way to the principles that now govern the Mishima way of life.
The Seven Sages taught that wisdom, and the Art, were not the sole province of the Brotherhood. Anyone with sufficient training could master the innate energies within themselves. They founded schools of the philosophy they called the Way, and provided training to all who had sufficient self-control in the mystical discipline of ki powers.
Sufficient mastery of the Way allows a practitioner to tap an internal reservoir of energy called ki to achieve superhuman feats. Combined with training in the corporation’s traditional martial arts, the result is an advantage in battle that marks out the Mishima warrior as uniquely dangerous.
The Seven Sages’ doctrine greatly appealed to Mishima’s elite – in particular, the samurai warrior caste saw in the Way a weapon that others could not hope to match. In the upper tiers of management, the Seven Sages supplanted the Brotherhood almost completely, though the Brotherhood has a strong following among Mishima’s commoners.
Today the teachings of the Seven Sages are the blueprint for samurai life, while commoners regard the Sages as objects of veneration. Their icons and statues are found in almost every Mishima home, in ornate temples, and humble wayside shrines. There are many different beliefs about the nature of the Seven Sages. The most common is that they were beings enlightened to the cusp of godhood, if not to godhood itself, who shaped Mishiman society to serve some cosmic purpose. Others hold that they were simply great men and women, albeit with an unequalled insight into matters of deep significance. A third view hews closer to mainstream Brotherhood teaching, and considers the Sages dangerous heretics who steered the corporation away from the true path.
The Sages’ philosophy is now so deeply ingrained in Mishima society that the Brotherhood is powerless to root it out. Equally, the Brotherhood is too powerful for Mishima to simply ignore. As a compromise, the corporation allows Brotherhood observers, and the Overlord and Lord Heirs each consult a spiritual advisor appointed by the Brotherhood. In return, the Brotherhood tolerates Mishima’s peculiar society.
Mishima has achieved its position as the second largest corporation – after Capitol – through smart, ruthless, and adaptable business strategies, coupled with an indomitable work ethic. The secret behind its rise to prominence lies chiefly in two areas: lower costs and superior design. Mishima products tend to be either expensive luxury items with ridiculously high build quality, or cheap knockoffs of other corporations’ designs, offering – in theory – better value for money.
Mishima uses extensive corporate espionage to save time on research and development. By getting the inside scoop on upcoming developments, Mishima can have a cheaper, more appealing copy of a given product mere weeks after the original launches to market. Sometimes even before.
Mishima’s mass-market products are usually cheaper to replace than to repair. Such disposability is usually not a problem, but it has given Mishima products a less than stellar reputation in the military industry and other markets where in-the-field repairs are important.
Paradoxically, perhaps, Mishima culture places a great premium on craftsmanship. Dedication to one’s profession is held in the highest esteem and so, by extension, the products of an individual’s lifetime of dedication to their craft are highly prized. Mishima aesthetics disdain excessive ornamentation, in favour of an ideal perfect fusion of form and function. The expression of craftsmanship may be realised in a tangible object that can be passed from one generation to the next, such as the legendary Mushashi blade swords, or transient experiences like a noh drama performance or an elegantly served tea in an idyllic setting.
Mishima has an ironclad reputation for always honouring a deal – and shrewdness in making those deals in the first place. Mishima legal teams excel in this area, and very rarely does anyone ever leave a meeting with a Mishima negotiator feeling sure they have got one over on their counterpart.