Hingashi is a Far Eastern archipelago off the coast of Othard. It is home to the only international port of the Far East, Kugane, after the invasion of the Garlean Empire in nearby Othard.
The seat of the bakufu government resides in the city of Bukyo, where they maintain an isolationist policy. Recently, however, the bugyo of Kugane established a new residential district just south of the city in Shirogane to house the ever-growing influx of foreigners to the region.
— In-game description
- Main article: Kugane
- Main article: Shirogane
Hingashi consists of two main islands: the small island of Shishu (home to Kugane) and the large island of Koshu (home to Bukyo and the towering mountain of Daitenzan).
- Main article: The Ruby Sea
Commonly known as the “Ruby Sea,” this body of water separates the islands of Hingashi and the shores of Yanxia. Seasonal tides bring in teeming patches of plankton, providing an ample source of food for the sea life which dwells there. The Kojin, a beast tribe easily recognized by their turtle-like shells, also claim this sea as their domain.
The Glass Ocean
So named for the way in which its calmed waters glint in the sunlight, the Glass Ocean is the great body of water lying to the southeast of Othard and Hingashi. Though famed for its picturesque tranquility, seasonal typhoons can transform the smooth surface into colossal waves which toss about even the largest vessels. Drawing from the folklore of the Four Lords, Hingan sailors often use the term the “wrath of Genbu” when speaking of this violent phenomenon.
Koshu is the largest island in Hingashi, home to the nation’s capital, Bukyo, and is thus often referred to as the nation’s main island. With a comparatively warm climate and plentiful water, agriculture is a thriving industry—a blessing balanced out, perhaps, by the frequency of the volcanic island’s earthquakes.
The tallest peak in Hingashi. Rising from the center of Koshu, this solitary giant towers over its surrounds with breathtaking majesty. Unmelting snow forms a perpetual crown at its summit, and the mountain’s beauty is unchanging no matter the direction from which it is admired. Since the beginning of Hingashi’s history, Daitenzan has been the focus of religious belief, as well as the beloved subject of many a work of fine art.
Shishu is one of Hingashi's larger islands, second only to Koshu in size. When viewed from the continent, the isle stands as the entryway to the nation, an image reinforced by the port town of Kugane as it welcomes ships to Shishu’s southwest shore.
Mount Rokkon, a temple and holy site, is located in the northeast part of Shishu.
To the east of Othard, across the Ruby Sea, lies the island nation of Hingashi. Though it is now known to be the birthplace of the ninjutsu and samurai traditions, little else can be said with confidence about this isolated land and its reclusive peoples.
The flag many associate with Hingashi—that of a black circle with three waves curving inward—is in fact not a national standard, but rather the banner of the Mitsurugi clan, which currently rules Hingashi.
Live with Conviction
True power in Hingashi rests in the hands of the bakufu, a military government. However, the official head of state is the emperor, who "entrusts" matters of governance to the shogun and his officials. For generations, the royal household has seen fit to favor the Mitsurugi clan, whose sons have served as strong leaders. It should be noted that while the current figurehead is male, the right of succession is not restricted to men alone—absolute primogeniture is the Hingan tradition.
The Mitsurugi clan leads the bakufu at present. Their influence over a given region can vary greatly, though, as they must retain the support of many wealthy families which have their own agendas.
The people of Hingashi generally profess a belief in the kami, a legion of divine spirits said to exist in all aspects of nature, from mountains and rivers to the very crops Hingans grow and consume. These kami feature prominently in several creation myths, though the particulars of each tale differ from region to region. To declare such myths part of a formal religion may be misleading, though, as the Hingans do not engage in any standardized rituals, nor do they consistently favor any given kami over another—a being deeply venerated in one land may be virtually ignored in another. Their faith might be best described as a pragmatic amalgamation of those practices which appeal to the individual most. Suffice it to say, the average Eorzean may struggle to comprehend this approach.
Rice is a staple of Hingan cuisine, and its cultivation vastly outstrips that of all other crops. Its impact on Hingan society can clearly be seen in how farmland is valued and taxed according to the quantity of rice it could potentially produce.
As an island nation, Hingashi has ever enjoyed the sea’s bounty. The peoples of various regions have developed their own techniques over the centuries—some communities favor spearfishing, which demands more of the individual, whereas others came to rely on trawling, which requires more coordinated action.
Having adopted sericulture from Othard, Hingan weavers applied their distinct dyeing techniques to create exquisite new styles of clothing. So valued are such items by foreign traders that they are worth their weight in gold.
The katana is perhaps the quintessential Hingan weapon, its design having been refined over generations by legendary swordsmiths belonging to several clans. These clans continue to improve upon the ancient traditions, and so their works new and old command a high price at market.
The Hingan people value patience and perseverance in all things. Be one a farmer or a soldier, he should devote himself to his chosen profession. Indeed, if one were to liken life to a road, the traveler must be mindful of every step, that they might learn from the experience and be better for it. This concept manifests in the very language of Hingashi, for the Hingan terms for countless martial and artistic pursuits contain the word “path,” further emphasizing the mindset one is expected to have.
Rice and fish are mainstays of the Hingan diet, and are frequently served together at meals. One of the more well-known examples of this is sushi, in which a small portion of vinegared rice is pressed together, and atop that is laid a thin slice of raw fish. Though at a glance it may appear to be a simple dish, Hingan culinarians must train for tens of summers before they are considered masters of the technique. Miso and soy sauce, as well as fish stock and fermented foods, feature heavily in traditional Hingan cuisine. 
A Forgotten Past
Regrettably, there is little to no information concerning Hingashi prior to the Fourth Astral Era. Extant Allagan records currently available for study make no mention of the islands either. Therefore, it must be assumed that while the Allagan Empire ruled the Three Great Continents at the height of its power, its dominion did not extend to what would later be known as Hingashi. This presumption is further supported by the fact that, in the limited archaeological surveys of the island undertaken with the permission of the bakufu, not a single Allagan ruin has been discovered. This is not to say there was no evidence of Allagan influence whatsoever, though, as small artifacts such as jewelry and tomestones were unearthed.
The prevailing theory at this time is that the islands were either deserted or home to only a token population prior to the Fourth Umbral Calamity, at which point refugees fleeing the collapse of the Empire came en masse. The Allagan trinkets found in Hingashi were brought by these new arrivals, who subsequently cast off the last vestiges of their fallen society and strove to create a new one free from the trappings of the past. Again, it should be stressed that this is a theory based on limited evidence, and it should not be taken as incontrovertible fact.
The First Emperor
The oldest surviving primary sources discovered in Hingashi are wooden tablets which date back approximately three millennia. They were found on Koshu, the nation’s largest island, and appear to be a record of taxes owed to a wealthy landowner. From this we can conclude that Hingan society was sufficiently developed to support complex systems of taxation.
Only two hundred years later, a clan in the western plains of Koshu rose to prominence following the fall of its neighboring rivals. The clan’s head declared himself a great king and launched a campaign to bring all others to heel, and in the span of three hundred years, his descendants managed to unite the whole of western Koshu beneath one banner. As time passed, subsequent leaders were declared emperors, and if records are to be believed, the current imperial household can trace its ancestry all the way to this first ancient king.
An Age of Blood and Strife
For nearly a millennium, an unbroken line of emperors held absolute power. However, fifteen hundred years ago, at the dawn of the Sixth Astral Era, a dispute over succession plunged Hingashi into civil war. Two ruled—an emperor in the east, and an empress in the west—and for the better part of three centuries their descendants fought against one another. The resulting chaos greatly reduced the power and prestige of the royal bloodline.
In order to claim victory, the royals increasingly turned to the vassals sworn to serve them. To secure their martial support, they granted them new rights and promised new privileges. So focused were the royals on defeating their hated rivals that they did not consider the wider implications of their generosity until it was too late. When at last the dust settled, an emperor in the east reigned triumphant, but as a figurehead, for he had surrendered nearly all his power to other clans. Emboldened, these clans then turned upon one another, and a new struggle for supremacy began.
The Rise of the Mitsurugi Clan
Over the course of six hundred years, Hingashi was ravaged by the fires of war. Clans seized every opportunity to strike at their enemies, and were in turn attacked by other equally ruthless foes. In such an environment, people found new ways to survive. Those born into poverty could rise to prominence through strength of arms, and indeed, there were farmers that became landed generals. Those who lacked such talents could resort to trickery and deception, and indeed, there were tales of foolish lords betrayed by their vassals. No one was safe, and naught was guaranteed.
So it was that Hingashi was awash with blood until the Mitsurugi clan, rulers of Onokuni, came to power. Though their leader, Kanzan, was not skilled in the arts of war, he was a peerless politician and strategist. While others resorted to violence to achieve their ends, he forged alliances through marriage and employed ninja to gain vital intelligence. In this way, he not only defended his clan’s holdings from outsiders, but outmaneuvered his rivals so that when at last the decisive battle came, the Mitsurugi clan alone stood above all others. Kanzan once more demonstrated his foresight when he restored the imperial household to power, declaring that the mandate he had to rule had been bequeathed to him by the Hingan emperor. In doing so, he appeared to honor ancient tradition and appeased those who had yearned to return to halcyon days, even if in sooth the Mitsurugi clan remained the true power behind the throne.
The Opening of Kugane
Though the Mitsurugi Bakufu faced resistance from several clans, it was a far cry from the chaos which had once consumed the island nation. Peace had come to Hingashi, and while the clans were not wont to relinquish their independence—and indeed took many measures to preserve it—they could not deny that there was some benefit in cooperating with the new government. No longer preoccupied with internal strife, the people were, at long last, free to look beyond their borders and see what wonders the world held—and many were quite eager to do so.
In recent years, however, the bakufu has grown wary of foreign interests. The rise of the Garlean Empire and its aggressive expansion with the aid of magitek has not gone unnoticed, nor has the struggle of the Domans across the Ruby Sea not been a source of some concern. The fall of Dalmasca served to underscore this, and spurred Hingashi to, like Radz-at-Han before it, formally declare themselves neutral with regards to Garlemald’s actions. As such, they will not intervene in the affairs of Yanxia nor Nagxia.
For the time being, the bakufu maintains its strict isolationist policies and devotes the majority of its attention to internal affairs, whilst permitting only a small measure of foreign trade to take place via the port of Kugane on Shishu. The port is also home to several embassies, including most notably that of the Garlean Empire. Indeed, Kugane could be said to exemplify the nation’s precarious position: all are welcome, but none are friends. 
The Imperial Court
Presided over by Emperor Reigen, the imperial court was once the center of Hingan political power, but over time has lost virtually all influence. By all accounts, it continues to exist only as a concession to historical tradition. In accordance with said tradition, the bakufu is “permitted” to rule by the grace of the emperor, but there ends the court’s official involvement in matters of governance.
The emperor and his cadre busy themselves by promoting the arts through activities such as poetry recitals and tea parties. He also plays an important role in various religious ceremonies to ensure bountiful harvests and prosperous trade.
Hingashi’s true heart of governance, the bakufu was first established by Kanzan of the Mitsurugi clan following a prolonged period of internal strife. Successive leaders have all come from this powerful family, which rules from the capital of Bukyo, within Onokuni, their ancestral home on the island of Koshu. The bakufu has consolidated its political and military might at Bukyo Castle, where many samurai are called to serve as bureaucrats for a time. Their power is far from absolute, though, as many regions and clans retain a measure of autonomy, resulting in a system that may be best described as federalism.
The great Hakutei River flows through this domain of the Yatsurugi clan, which has long been known for its fertile soil and rice of surpassing, quality. However, some few years ago, prolonged rains saw the banks of the river flood, and much of the clan’s farmland was lost. For the sake of her people, the young Princess Yuki resolved to sell several of the Yatsurugi’s sacred treasures in order to fund the reconstruction efforts.
"My people are on the brink of starvation, If I do not do something, all of their sacrifices will mean nothing."
A Raen of only seventeen summers, Princess Yuki succeeded her father as head of the Yatsurugi after he succumbed to a sickness. Unfortunately for the young leader, this transition coincided with the flooding of the Hakutei River, which ruined much of the clan’s farmlands. As if the kami were conspiring to punish her and her people, five of the Yatsurugi’s most cherished treasures were then stolen.
It was this last incident which spurred Princess Yuki to take drastic action. Having trained in the arts of the shinobi since childhood, she believed she had the skills necessary to hunt down the perpetrators. Her journey led her far west to Eorzea, where with the aid of the Doman ninja Oboro and his Western ninja allies, she at last reclaimed three of the clan’s treasures, which she then sold to raise funds for the restoration of their farmlands. She has since resumed her formal duties, and is the picture of grace and responsibility—though she still has her private indulgences, such as anmitsu, a type of sweet bean and seaweed jelly.
The southern coast of Shishu, long ruled by the Buhen clan, was considered an ideal location for the construction of a port to receive foreign traders passing through the Ruby Sea. Due to various entanglements resulting from arranged marriages, however, the clan fell out of favor with the Mitsurugi while the decision was still being deliberated. As a conciliatory gesture, the Buhen formally gifted the land upon which the port was to be constructed to the bakufu. In so doing, though they lost a portion of their holdings, they ultimately benefitted greatly from the prosperity brought by the presence of Kugane within their domain, as well as strengthened their ties with the ruling Mitsurugi clan.
"Rise with Valor, Walk with Honor" - Buhen Clan Maxim
The leader of the Buhen clan six hundred years ago, Zuiko—often portrayed with his famous blade, Tsunakiri, and astride his horse, Hizatsuki Kurige—is to this day regarded as a beloved hero of Shishu. Under his command, the meager forces of the Buhen managed to beat back the far larger invading armies of the Mitsurugi. Zuiko’s feats so impressed Kanzan that he changed tactics and instead secured the Buhen clan’s fealty by allowing them to retain control of their lands, as well as significant autonomy in managing their affairs. In this way, the Mitsurugi clan converted a bitter rival into a stalwart warden that would defend Hingashi’s western front from foreign invaders for centuries to come—even if it meant that they must suffer the occasional vocal objections from a clan that would always consider themselves to be their equals, if not more. After leading a rich, storied life, Zuiko was laid to rest at the age of eighty-three.
The hand of the bakufu in Kugane, the bugyo is the most senior official in the local government. As Kugane is the sole open port within the whole of Hingashi, the expectations and burdens heaped upon this magistrate far exceed those his peers in other domains must endure. Should a foreigner commit a crime, for example, it would fall to the bugyo to administer appropriate punishment. However, in such matters he must consider the wider circumstances, as reckless action could lead to an international incident. Therefore, the position of bugyo of Kugane is not awarded lightly, and familial connections alone will not suffice. One must possess a keen mind and a talent for navigating politics domestic and foreign to even be considered eligible.
Per an agreement with the bakufu, the financial burdens of these protectors of Kugane must be shouldered by the Buhen, which is why roughly half of those who serve have ties to the clan and its vassals. The other half is comprised of men and women who come to the city from all across Hingashi out of an earnest desire to uphold the law. By and large, those who joined out of familial obligation seek only to fulfill their responsibilities. without incident. They may be competent and diligent, but are unlikely to go above and beyond the call of duty. The other sort take to their duties with greater passion, be they training or peacekeeping, and while there are those who praise their dedication, the more zealous Sekiseigumi have a reputation for being quick to draw steel. Needless to say, it is a constant struggle for a captain to balance the concerns of both factions.
"It is no secret that the bakufu is a cesspool of corruption, but in spite of this we must protect the peace. Such is a samurai's calling."
This former captain of the Sekiseigumi was born on a farm not far from the capital of Bukyo. In his youth, he studied swordsmanship, and later resolved to become a samurai that he might better his lot in life. Kongo was accepted into the Sekiseigumi, and his natural skill and earnest nature saw him rise quickly through the ranks, eventually attaining the position of captain following the untimely death of his predecessor. Alas, this good-hearted samurai with a fondness for egg soufflé and rice wine was blind to the treachery of his corrupt lieutenant, Shiden, and as a result was cut down in a duel with the insurgent leader Ugetsu. So it was that Kongo the Unyielding died having seen thirty-eight summers.
"Honor in Service" - Matsuba Clan Maxim
Though many of the Matsuba clan have served as Kugane’s bugyo—including the very first—the forty-seven-year-old magistrate of the city is nevertheless a man of some distinction. With the permission of the bakufu, he studied abroad in Radz-at-Han, and following his return he served in a variety of important posts before finally being granted his position in Kugane. A master of multiple languages and an avid connoisseur of the arts, he regularly hosts Hingan dance performances at Kugane Castle. However, this is less a personal indulgence and more a means to entertain foreign dignitaries, and in so doing create opportunities to engage in “cultural exchange,” much in the same way an Eorzean politician might organize a ball to bring together the influential elite. Alas, one such recent event was targeted by an insurgent faction vehemently opposed to foreign interests, and in the chaos the bugyo himself was taken hostage. Though he survived the ordeal, his position within the bakufu has been somewhat tenuous ever since.
"Samurai, Justice - These things are naught but shallow ideals, and they can change nothing. We must tear down the establishment and dig it up from its rotted root!"
Born into poverty, Shiden was raised by farmers who labored in vain to pay their unconscionable taxes. Thinking there no recourse, they petitioned their liege lord for clemency, and for their courage they were burned alive as an example to their fellow villagers. As he watched his parents die in agony, Shiden was broken by the lunacy of the spectacle, and realized that only fundamental, violent revolution would right the scales of justice. He trained day and night with the katana and won a place in the Sekiseigumi, and swiftly rose through the ranks in his pursuit of power. Alas, despite earning the Unryu name and securing a position of leadership, he found himself ultimately beholden to the system he so deeply abhorred. Thus was this troubled soul with the heart of a poet perfectly placed to serve Ugetsu’s interests, and when approached by the insurgent leader, Shiden readily agreed to assassinate His Excellency the Tairo. Fortunately, this plot was foiled by Makoto of the Sekiseigumi’s First Squad, as well as a foreign adventurer. Following his defeat, Shiden Skyscream, as he was also known, took his own life at the age of thirty-five.