Mishima Corporation – Mutant Chronicles
Loyalty. Honour. Obedience. Tradition.
These are the principles that bind together the Mishima Corporation. Perhaps more than any other corporation, Mishima holds fast to the cultural traditions its founders brought with them when they fled the dying Earth – traditions of honour, loyalty to the family, and sacrifice for the greater good.
Corporate structure: techno-feudalism
Mishima is not, strictly speaking, a single corporation. Instead, it is a mass of individual companies called keiretsu, tied by historical and contractual allegiances to the Mishima System Holdings Group, which is owned by the Mishima family. The keiretsu form subcultures within the wider Mishima society, with distinct ways of life, cuisine, and music. A number of keiretsu even have their own languages, though that of the Mishima family remains the lingua franca for business.
At the very top are the Overlord and his family. Beneath them are the great families of the samurai – the warrior and management caste – who hold powers of life and death over the commoners beneath them. Within the samurai caste, each keiretsu is headed by a daimyo, who commands the lords of lower-status samurai families. Each lord is a Mishima shareholder, and runs a particular business concern or municipal district, commanding samurai-caste executives and the commoners below. By tradition, each lordship resides with a particular family from one generation to the next.
The keiretsu are diversified conglomerates, encompassing divisions across a far-reaching portfolio of industries. They often produce enough diverse products to sustain their workforce and facilities without any need for supplies from outside their own keiretsu. Each division of a keiretsu is managed by a lower status samurai family.
Within the Mishima corporation, the keiretsu and their sub-divisions compete with one another constantly. Some outside observers say this creates a wasteful duplication of effort, but Mishima philosophy encourages competition as a means of focusing effort to achieve perfection.
Mishima society is rigidly stratified. Every Mishima employee must pay tithes to his or her superior: a commoner to his executive, an executive to his lord, a lord to his daimyo, and the daimyo to the Lord Heir to whom he owes fealty – or, in a handful of cases, directly to the Overlord, who receives tribute from the Lord Heirs.
Even the great mass of commoners is divided into a complex array of ranks according to profession, though commoners do not pay tithes to other commoners. Every commoner is assigned a work unit at birth – usually the same one as his mother or father – which becomes an extended family. Outside of operational hours work units eat and socialise together, and most commoners must obtain permission from their unit managers to travel, take leave, or even to marry.
Samurai may call on their subordinates for military as well as financial support. If a subordinate cannot pay or otherwise make restitution, the superior may seize property in recompense, or assign it to another, more favoured vassal.
Each rank possesses a specific set of social privileges and taboos. Social roles are well defined: the rulers command, the soldiers obey; the management point the way, the workers make it happen. That is the way it has always been, and that is the way it will always be. Upward mobility is rare, though meritorious deeds or the favour of the powerful can bring it about. For a commoner family to rise to the samurai class is sufficiently rare for people to know their place, but just common enough to encourage ambition and hope.
Demotion from the samurai class is virtually unheard of, but potential loss of status within the class lies in wait as punishment for even the slightest failure. Association with a samurai shamed in this way carries a stigma of its own, and such a cloud can hang over a person’s family, work unit, or military squadron for years. Samurai so punished frequently choose to commit ritual suicide rather than bring dishonour on their colleagues and loved ones.
Outside the System
Some people fall through the cracks. Ronin are masterless samurai. These rootless fighters are the product of disaster, however they came to be. Samurai most often become ronin when their lord is killed and his corporate fiefdom is wiped out with him. This may occur in a hostile takeover by a rival lord, or in battle with another corporation or the Dark Legion. A more shameful route to ronin status is to fail your master so appallingly that he chooses to dismiss you without allowing you the option of ritual suicide.
Ronin retain the privileges of samurai – they may carry two swords, wear kote armour, and request samurai hospitality, for example. They must be treated with the bare minimum of respect due to a samurai. But because they have no lord, they have no protector and no income. Many ronin become bandits, security guards, or mercenaries in order to earn a crust. As far as samurai go, they are considered the lowest of the low.
The Triads are organised criminal societies who engage in racketeering, smuggling, and any number of other activities, both legal and illegal. Fiercely insular, a Triad society becomes its members’ second family. Members are marked with extensive tattoos that show their years of service and deeds of note. The structure of each Triad is unique and hidden from outsiders. Each has a dizzying array of allusive titles and degrees of mastery that muddy the waters for investigating magistrates, with names like “Third Jade Gate” and “Great Pillar of Longshore”.
Ag ainst the Darkness
The Order of Demon Hunters is sworn to eternal vigilance against the Dark Soul, rooting out its servants by all means necessary. Most are chosen in childhood for training on the Forbidden Isle on Mercury, where they become fanatical warriors against evil. Others come to that dark and fearful island later in life, in the wake of tragedy. Few are accepted. Fewer still survive the tests. Those that do are given knowledge of secret arts and trained to become among the best warriors in the solar system.
Demon Hunters may be commoners or samurai. Regardless, they are given the right to wear powered combat armour – usually reserved for samurai alone. By tradition, they conceal their faces behind scowling masks.
If we treat our subordinates harshly, it is only the harshness of a loving father towards his child. Dedicate yourself to the service of your Lord. Exercise righteous stewardship over those below you. Do this and know that you will never be cast aside.
– from the Sayings of Lord Yamagata