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Serving citizen, serving the citizen Edit
One of the most interesting aspects in Imperial civil life is the spread of technology. When visiting the Empire, in any city one will find one thing like no other: Mecha. Be it an automaton serving food, police units with riot shields looking like Peacekeepers or simply androids in hotels, human-looking machines can be found whereever one walks, in parks, on the streets and in shops. This is a strange occurance, when one considers the rather traditional appearing citizens. Strict gender roles have survived the times, and between the glass and steel towers one will find classic music, geishas and the one or other salaryman enjoying some sake after a hard day of work.
Men and women are explicitly separated, in the military as well as in civil life. Seeing school girls wearing traditional marine clothes and skirts is no seldom occurance, but in fact Japanese women are taught many things at home. While schools stand for education, and is a must for boys and girls alike, only men are allowed to join universities and the most parts of the military. Women on the other hand can join the Rocket Angels, an all-female elite brigade of flying rocket-launching soldiers. In recent times, the scope has been expanded, such as the new Kitsune corps, which however is under heavy fire by the civilian population.
Either way, men and women alike have to learn one thing: to obey. When the Emperor demands something, his word is the law and has to be followed. The Japanese are a professional society when it comes to this, and only a very minor group exists rebelling against the government. It is the same group that also causes occasional riots, but if something happens, the police will strike in and quickly disperse said riot.
The Imperial population, while for the outsider living in a techno-paradise, lives in fact a rather spartanic life. Decades of militarisation have left only little for the common people. Families live in tight living quarters, children have only few places where to play, and many house hold goods are expensive to get. That does not mean the population is poor – the opposite is actually the case. While cars, television and the occasional computer game are difficult to get, other things have flooded the market.
The culture is rich in so-called manga, comparable to American comics but mainly in a classic black-and-white, with stories full of heroic deeds of the military and fantasy versions of Mecha. A famous long-runner is Flying Girl Azami, which is about a brigade of flying girls armed with energy weapons and missiles fighting against aliens from outer space. This is in fact a propagandisticly changed version of the very Rocket Angels many women join every year.
Radio broadcasts and books, theatre and movies at cinemas, everything is about the military, and while Allied citizens would point with the finger at the Soviet Union while comparissing it to the Empire, the Imperial citizens are used to it. Everyone in the Empire has a cell phone, a mobile telephone worn like a wristwatch and with a black-and-white display showing the number of the person calling. A cell phone is also able to play music to some degree.
One of the most interesting things is the public transport system. The famous Chinkansen is a train network with a long tradition, which allows reaching any major point in the Empire in hours, and in the cities large busses costing only very little serve the mobility the population needs.
When not on a festival such as the birthday of the Emperor, strict clothing rules have to be followed. While school goers have their own specific uniforms, the average Japanese man wears either a business suit or another type of uniform according to his job. Women have a little more freedom, but not much, and not many women actually work in jobs, rather living a house wife life. What is expected is obedience to the husband, since he brings the money home. Interestingly, traditionally the spouse is in charge of the money.
Once a month is Cosplay Day when the youth of the Empire is allowed to dress however they like; it has become a common sight of teenagers and young adults to dress like the heroes from manga and books, as well as other media such as theatre.
More human than human Edit
One of the most mysterious and insidious inventions of the Rising Sun is their infiltration androids, named "Bunraku" in Japanese. Very little is known about how it was created, other than it was the product of decades of work. While thinking machines were invented first, to make said machines act and look like a human was an entirely different matter. The first androids looked nothing like humans, and in fact were the same models that were used to handle toxic chemicals. The early tests were a complete failure; a film that Allied intelligence managed to steal recorded a test that had a modified factory arm in a tea ceremony with a robotics student. All went well at first, as the factory arm truly believed it was human, until it caught sight of itself in a reflection.
In view of this setback, the bigger step was to make these thinking machines look human, not only for infiltration purposes, but to for the machine's own sanity. While voice and movement were easy enough to replicate, skin wasn't. To that end, several chemical companies were given a bounty on a polymer that felt and looked exactly like human skin, for the given reason of making prosthetic look like real. Meanwhile, a humanoid structure was built to go under the skin, using skilled artists who replicated the human body as exact as they could, beneath and on the surface (earlier attempts by engineers to replicate the human body produced an unwanted "uncanny valley" effect.) While the Bunraku is being constructed, an in depth psychological profile of the intended target is compiled and inputted to the dormant personality in the computer. The first attempt at this android finally had the results the Rising Sun were looking for; the Bunraku, completely believing that he was the head of the android project that he was based on, wondered why he was naked and being stared at by his colleagues. The Rising Sun then began replacing key people with these androids worldwide.
Though critical to the Rising Sun's initial success, the Bunraku has several disadvantages. First and foremost is that they are not truly sentient. Though thinking and capable of solving problems on their own, to act like a human requires outside control, in the form of inputted commands that manifest to the android as subconscious thoughts. This can cause errors; it is that that Ackerman's "seizure" during a high-level meeting with Field Marshal Bingham and a Soviet defector was due to an error from his controller, while glitched feedback during downtime resulted in Maxim Novikov writings about his dreams of "electric" sheep. Intimate contact is also a dead giveaway; a Bunraku feels clammy and cold to the touch, and does not react to a great deal of stimuli. It does not shiver when cold, sweat when hot, or ever react to any sensory input except sight (for this reason, the Rising Sun chose targets that were culturally inappropriate to get near to.)
Furthermore, many techniques for detecting Bunraku have been discovered, and they are not as easy to slip into important positions as previously. From things as complicated as chemical "sniffers", to a simple metal detector, to a curious puppy can easily see through the disguise. The only reason the President of the United States wasn't detected was that the Secret Service protected him from all contact without knowing his nature, and most of the electricity of the White House was used for the constant communications with London and the Allied government as well as the Spectrum Towers surrounding the mansion. As to how they got to the original Ackerman in the first place, no one knows. There was no noticeable change, as the android truly thought it was Ackerman, and acted accordingly. There is a possibility he still lives, somewhere, but beyond a famous and unlikely sighting of him in New York City as a newspaper editor, he has yet to turn up.