edogawa.jpg This article was created with material from the abandoned Kurotokage sourcebook project. That material is in the public domain since 2003. The unfinished original content is archived.

This "group" is responsible for carrying out Amaterasu's plan, although they usually have their own agendas instead of hers. They are also the ones who fill in a new Emperor on what's happening, in the event that Amaterasu doesn't (which is common; getting straight info from a crazy shamaness who died maybe 4000 years ago and is communicating through dreams, is not an easy task). As a result, individual members of the Kuromaku may know considerably more about what's going on than the Emperor himself.

The Kuromaku is the name generally used to describe the group of men (this is Japan; probably no women in this group [although women may play important, but unofficial roles, and Dave Farnell has promised us some info on the remains of the pre-Meiji concubine intel network]) who often decide the course of the Japanese nation. There is no formal organization, and the members rarely meet. The Kuromaku itself, as a group, has no resources, no people, no buildings, no funds. It is not an organization in any Western sense of the word, but rather a nickname used to refer to the way that the "makers and shakers" behind the scenes cooperate with each other to move Japan. The last full meeting took place on August 13, 1945, after the Hiroshima bombing. Members were called to the hospital room of Tamasaburo Imasaki, the real head of the Mitsuboshi group, who was dying of old age, and by the time they had arrived the second bomb had been dropped on Nagasaki. They had little to discuss; the Emperor was informed in no uncertain terms that Japan would surrender (Japan accepted unconditional surrender on August 14 1945).

Since it is not an organization in a true sense, it is difficult to determine precisely when the Kuromaku came into existence. Its origins definitely trace back to the earliest periods of recorded Japanese history, when the Emperor in power would "retire," turning apparent political power over to his son but in fact retaining all control. As the power of the warriors increased over the years, control of the nation gradually slipped from the hands of the Emperor, and the heads of military-political groups would meet with each other to discuss key issues, settling things quietly (when they could agree on a course of action - as often as not, the result was warfare).

As the merchant class emerged in the middle ages, the sheer power of money fueled the entry of several people into this select group, which, by this time, recognized itself as the actual power of Japan. As today, they almost never met, primarily because they knew they could never trust any of the other members, but also because they had little to talk about - almost by definition, members combined vast economic strength and a lust for power with an almost total lack of ethics. As a result, they could often accurately predict what other members would think of a situation, and act appropriately on major issues such as national policy. And when a problem flared between two members, they usually settled it themselves, and the other members wisely kept their noses out of the affair.

At the present there are seven (maybe) members, although new members can enter the group at any time by basically forcing the other members to accept them through sheer power (economic, military, political), successful blackmail of other group member or members (thus proving their fitness), or by achieving control of an existing member. It is also possible for existing members to be destroyed (for example, if the head of Hidachi, who would probably NOT be the president or chairman of the board, or even an officer, dies without arranging for a suitable replacement, Hidachi as a corporation continues business as usual, and is unaware that anything has happened. But the Hidachi group would no longer have any say in the Kuromaku, which would mean major advantages to Mitsue and Mitsuboshi.)

The current members are (in no particular order):

  1. Head of Mitsuboshi zaibatsu Imura Koujin; 井邑晧人. For background info, see: Information on Mitsubishi 1945 president
  2. Head of Mitsue zaibatsu Utano Ikichi (歌野亥吉)
  3. Head of Hidachi zaibatsu (possible conflict with Adam's ideas for Green Dragons).
  4. Aozora-kai (Blue Sky Association), a group of strategic planners within MITI who have been working to achieve their own aims since the end of World War Two, including the Vice-Minister. Their aims are basically endless growth and development for "Japan Inc" as a nation, with little consideration for the individual Japanese citizen. No particular Mythos connections; sheer power grubbers.
  5. Head of Black Ocean Society or Green Dragons (need input from Adam)
  6. Head of the yakuza (possible conflict with Adam's ideas for Green Dragons)
  7. Some group within the Imperial Palace, possibly the traditional heads of Shinto and related traditional rite and ritual, who would also be the guys grooming the new Emperor-to-be for his night out with Amaterasu. Another possibility is the Imperial Household Agency, Archives and Mausolea Department, Mausolea and Tombs Division (see Imperial Household Agency).

Of the kuromaku, the head of group 7 is always one of the shoka (see chapter on Amaterasu), and other kuromaku members have also been shoka in the past.

During the Edo Era (1603-1868), when the Tokugawa Shogunate ruled, the kuromaku consisted of:

  • Head of Black Ocean Society or Green Dragons (need input from Adam)
  • Head of the yakuza (possible conflict with Adam's ideas for Green Dragons)
  • Some group within the Imperial Palace, possibly the traditional heads of Shinto and related traditional rite and ritual, who would also be the guys grooming the new Emperor-to-be for his night out with Amaterasu.
  • The Shogun himself in the early years, but only until 1709 when the Shogun Tokugawa Tsuneyoshi died. From that time he was basically a tool of one group or another, usually the kuromaku.
  • Imagawa Shimbei, the head of the Silk Merchants' Guild, centered in the major trading cities of Sakai, Kyoto and Nagasaki. This was founded as a secret cartel of silk merchants during the 16th century, and in 1604 received a monopoly on the import and distribution of Chinese silk, which represented enormous wealth. Imagawa scrabbled his way to the top in 1596 and remained there until 1638; his son Imagawa Takataro took over both the Guild and the kuromaku membership at his death and remained in power until he died in 1673 and the kuromaku membership was lost. The Guild itself remained rich and powerful until early Meiji.
  • I'm sure there are others we need to add… any ideas?
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