Introduction to Jorea
by GhostWriter & Bo_Emp
The Children of Heaven
Located on the northern edge of the continent of Laurasia, The Republic of Jorea is a nation that is steep in traditions and ancient rituals. Set deep in the northern mountains of Laurasia, Jorea has a history of isolation from the rest of the world and has developed its own distinct culture that is different from the rest of the world.
In fact before air travel, it was almost impossible to get to Jorea. Its rugged coastline made the docking of ships impossible but for a few natural harbours and the big mountains of Jorea prevented land travel except for certain mountain passes from the Kingdom of Vippon. Geographically north of the Kingdom of Vippon, historically Jorea is known as the Hermit Nation but this is a tag it is gradually losing as it takes its place in the international community.
Despite its relative small size, the republic is known for several things in the world. Perhaps its most unique feature is the fact that over 60% of its population lives on mountains. Historically whenever war erupted between the various clans of Jorea, the defenders would retreat back to their mountain fortresses which are located on top of the mountain. In time, these fortresses became the main cities of Jorea and the majority of the population lived in these mountaintop cities. In modern times, the cities of Jorea are all on mountaintops with smaller towns further down the mountains and rural farming communities at the base of the mountains.
The main mode of transport is through the air and the Jorean has a publicly run airline service for domestic flights within the country. The Jorean Air (JA) links the various cities together in a complex network of routes and is also responsible for international flights into Jorea. As they lived (mostly) on mountains and the main mode of transport in the country is air travel, people in other counties have started to call the Jorean people “The Children of Heaven”.
It’s a nickname the Jorean quite enjoy.
Jorea has a temperate climate, neither being hot in Summer, nor being freezing in Winter. But with most of the habitated areas well above sea leavel temperatures are al the low end of a temperate zone. Often it feels quite much colder than the thermometer shows because the wind is always blowing due to local wind shears formed by the mountains. And these winds are often cold sweeping down from the highest mountain ridges. Rain is common all year round, falling as snow more than two months a year in the lower mountains where most people live, and close to half the year in the high altitude regions. You don’t come to Jorea for sunbathing, but the sunny days are dominating in Spring and Summer. Every Jorean prefer sunny weather, but the higher altitudes make the sunlight stronger and the winds reduce how the sun is felt, and Joreans are brought up to be protective even in nice weather.
The Social Framework
The main base of society in Jorea is the family. Jorea is a country with strong family values where everything you do is not only an action that reflects on you but also on your family. This is something all Joreans keep in mind. Families play an all important role in Jorean society, so much so that when you apply for a job, it is common for the company to request for particulars of family members.
It is considered a given that family comes first and Joreans try to keep everything within the family. Family ties are so important in Jorea that the largest business conglomerates in Jorea, or chaebols as they are called, are all family-run business and it is not unusual for the board of directors to all come from the same family.
As is usually the case in such societies, there is a strong respect for the elderly and age comes with natural authority in Jorea. The younger generation is very respectful to their elders and they usually do not openly contradict their elders even when they believe their elders are wrong. In public, it’s common to see youngsters giving up their seats on the bus or trains to the elderly. Some observers have labelled Jorea as a nation where age and family connections are more important than ability and qualifications. This is a criticism that the Jorean people do not necessary disagree with.
The role women played in the Jorean society is twofold.
To say men and women have very different roles in society would be an understatement. In Jorea, men make all the decision in both public and private lives and women have no say in the decision-making process. A woman’s duty is to hear what the decision of her man is and carry it out to the best of her ability. She is nothing but a servant to the family. This is something that is ingrain from birth and it is even considered perfectly natural in Jorea for an 80 years old grandmother to take orders from her 18 years old grandson. In the Jorean society, a woman’s existence is that of servitude.
However women of Jorea also play an important role as they are an extension of the family. So even more than the men, every action done by women is a reflection of the family they belong to.
Jorea has a democratic political system that at times bordered on the rowdy side. The Jorean government is formed by whichever political party that controls more than 50% of the seats in the 135 seat Jorean parliament. As Bills tabled by the government only require approval by 50% of parliament, this effectively means that whoever is in power can pass any Bills it wishes to.
There are pros and cons to this. The sitting Jorean government can effectively put into action any plans it has for the country. It does not really have to bother about the opposition in parliament as they can’t stop the passing of Bills unless there are defections from the government. This streamlined political process means that any plans the government have can be immediately put in place and carried out. In times of crisis (natural or man-made), the government can and often have responded quickly.
However due to the overwhelming power the ruling government has, this also means that the government is susceptible to external influences like lobbying groups and those with special interests. Bribery and corruption scandals has become so common place the past 15 years that some Joreans (especially the younger generations) viewed politics as a corrupt business and politicians as nothing more than legalised crooks.
Although almost every government that came to power in the past decade has promised clean governance, this has sadly not been the case and foreign observers have said that this will not change as the power of lobbying groups in Jorea is so strong that at times they are almost a political party themselves.
As in keeping with the culture of Jorea, only men have the vote in Jorea. Women do not vote and special interest groups like the religious lobby have made universal suffrage a dirty word in Jorea.
Women In Jorean Society
From birth, Jorean women are taught that they have one role and one role only. That is to be the perfect extension of their father, husband or son. To the Jorean people, a woman is one that does nothing unless ordered to by their men. To the Jorean people, women are servants and to maintain order in society, they have to be tightly controlled. Most Jorean families have ‘standing orders’ for the women in their family.
These ‘standing orders’ have specific task for the women to do during the day and a time frame for them to do it in. Their lives are run like clockwork with expectations that they will finish all their tasks in the time allocated. If they finish their task earlier than expected, women are expected to stand at a corner of the living room with their head bowed and hands clasped in front of them waiting patiently and silently, often in a meditative state resembling fainting, for the time of their next task or using the free time to clean their mutemask.
Men of the house are allowed to give orders at any time to the women but they are expected to know when it is “appropriate” to do so. This means that they are expected to know the ‘standing orders’ of the women and any new tasks they have for the women must not contradict or eat into the time of the women.
The practice of veiling in Jorea actually came from Vippon. Even on a continent where over half the population veil in one form or another, the mutemask is famous for how rigid and all-compressing it is. The mutemask covers the entire head and neck, except the area of the hair, and make it impossible for the woman to speak or even to turn her head. Some say protection against the cold, the wind and the sun are reasons for women masking, but women considered weak hiding feelings is much more important, and the fact that beauty is only seen by the family appeals to the men. The mutemask is individually tailored to ensure it locks the neck without doing harm, and although all masks appear identical to make women show a blank anonymous face, all women take pride in showing an immaculate shining mask. Their thick jet black hair is something they take pride in as well, but because they all strive to show the same centuries old hair style it is not something that contradicts the anonymity of the mutemask. In communities further down the mountaintop, rules for women are stricter.
A hanbok is the Jorea traditional female clothing consisting of a chest high ankle long skirt, chima, and a long-sleeved short shirt, jeogori. A married woman only shows to her husband without hanbok. There are plain hanboks for home use and domestic work, which are always changed to something more stylish for going out or serving guests. Unwritten rules make women interpret the subtle details of a hanbok to tell the status of the family, her purpose for venturing out and her approximate age. In public white gloves are always added, making a Jorean woman show nothing but her eyes and her hair.
Relations between men and women in marriage follow strict rules where women are subservient to their husbands. Women marry into the families of the husband and they are expected to obey not only all the men in the family but also the authority of older women in the family.
Polygamy is allowed and the eldest son of the family is expected to have at least 1 concubine as he is the one who will continue the family line. There is no limit on the number of concubines a man can have but for the lower and the middle class, men usually only has 1 concubine as they cannot support more than that. Even for the higher class, it’s highly unusual for a man to have more than 1.
Although Qizen was birthed in Vippon, the Jorean people have embraced the religion as its own. And in keeping with the religion of Qizen, in Jorea women are considered nothing but an extension of their men. Just as everything a man does in Jorea is a reflection of his family, everything a woman does in Jorea is a reflection of her family. More importantly, a proper Jorean woman is one that has no will of her own and is capable of doing nothing unless ordered by her father, brother, husband or son. During upbringing women practise meditative techniques in which they learn to ‘empty’ their mind from any speculation only to concentrate on waiting in itself.