Wutai

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"Forced to disarm after its humiliating defeat in its war with Shinra/Midgar fifteen years ago, Wutai now peddles its ancient and unique culture to tourists from the very lands that defeated [it]. Wutai is a land of many deities, but most of its inhabitants no longer believe in them as strongly as they used to. Much generational friction exists in Wutai over the war and adherence to custom and tradition. Also, Wutai is full of pagodas, ninja, and giant Buddha statues. Eerie real-life counterpart? Huh. I'm stumped."

The village/country/continent in a Medieval European Fantasy world which has inexplicably (and suspiciously) fashioned itself off Jidai Geki. Filled with Ninja and/or samurai, this is where katanas, oni, kitsune, pagodas and sushi all pour out into the rest of the world. These places are frequently a mashup of various Japanese eras, maybe flavored with a little bit of China, and—in a nod to real history—are usually xenophobic. The background music will be stereotypical Asian instruments, if not a public domain tune.

This can perhaps be attributed to the fact that most console RPG publishers are Japanese. However, such a place may not stand out so much if the setting includes other non-European Fantasy Counterpart Cultures. Katanas Are Just Better, Everything's Better with Samurai, and Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja are related phenomena. See also Jidai Geki and Far East.

Examples of Wutai include:

Anime[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Fullmetal Alchemist: The country of Xing is very China-esque, as opposed to Amestris, which feels a lot more like No Swastikas Nazi Germany. It's a totally different country, and across a vast desert, so the differences are Justified.
  • Saber Marionette J: Japoness.
  • There is an island in One Piece somewhere in the extremely dangerous stretch of ocean known as the New World that's themed on feudal Japan. It's even called "Wa no kuni" (or Wano country in some translations), which was a name given to Japan.

Game Books[edit | hide]

  • The Fabled Lands had Akatsurai, based on Japan at around the time of the Meiji Restoration.
  • Fighting Fantasy has Hachiman (medieval Japan) and the Isles of the Dawn (China-like).

Literature[edit | hide]

Tabletop RPG[edit | hide]

  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The sourcebook Oriental Adventures details Asiatic lands further, with their own races, classes, and politics. It even presents Rokugan (originally a standalone game) as a D&D setting featuring nothing but this. The trope is played straight if one is playing Spelljammer and feels like visiting the Rokugan world.
    • Forgotten Realms: The original 1st edition of Kara-Tur had Kozakura representing Sengoku/Warring States-era Japan, and Wa representing Tokugawa/Bakufu-era Japan.
    • Eberron has Sarlona, although that one's more like North Korea than China or Japan.
  • The GURPS Sourcebook GURPS Banestorm includes, amongst its many pseudo-European and pseudo-Arabian nations, the nation of Sahud, a definitely Japanese-inspired kingdom with strong Chinese, Korean, and Mongolian elements. This is justified in that, like all of Banestorm's human cultures, Sahud was founded by humans from the very cultures it represents.
  • Magic: The Gathering has a pseudo-example in the plane of Kamigawa.
    • A better example is the Empire of Madara on the plane of Dominaria.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Breath of Fire IV: Hesperia.
  • Dark Souls has the unvisited mysterious Far East, which serves to mainly as a source of samurai and ninja for the game.
  • Dragon Quest III: Zipangu.
    • The game goes far beyond this trope, since there are also quite a few other real world parallels: Rome (Romaly, which has a monster fighting arena); Baharata (India); Dhama (Tibet); Soo (Northern Native Americans); Portoga (Portugal, where the king even sends you on a quest for pepper and gives you a ship); Isis (Egypt, complete with a pyramid); Assaram (Middle East); and Greenlad (Greenland). Most of all, the game's world map resembles (albeit very roughly) the real world, with all these places including Zipangu corresponding to their real world equivalents. You even end up establishing your colony, "New Town," in what would be the mid-eastern United States, and it eventually goes through a revolution!
  • The Elder Scrolls: Akavir is a mishmash of Chinese (Ka Po' Tun), Japanese (Tsaesci), and less prominent Indian (Tang Mo) and Mongol (Kamal) Fantasy Counterpart Cultures. Of course, these lands have never been represented in an actual game so far, and exist in the lore pretty much to justify the appearance of katana and tanto in the weapon list.
  • Enchanted Arms has a city that is in fact called Kyoto City (one of three cities named after real life counterparts) full of samurais, ninjas, a shogun and Oriental-esque music.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VII: The infamous Wutai for which this trope is named.
    • Although, first there was Eblan in Final Fantasy IV. If you wanted to, you could argue that the nation of Fabul in the same game has parallels to China, as well.
    • Doma from Final Fantasy VI, although Cyan is the only representative from that culture that the player sees during the game, considering the rest of the city gets wiped out in his introductory cutscene.
  • Gaia Online has the Zen Gardens, a Japanese Botanical Garden filled with Sakura Trees, Animated japanese decor, and an adorable Miko. Oh, and Ninjas.
  • Golden Sun series:
    • The village of Izumo. Every single village/town/city is based on some culture from around the world, as is every landmark, if you look into it enough.
    • The sequel, Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, has the China-like countries of Kaocho and Sana and the Japan-like village of Yamata (which is part of the island chain of Nihan, itself named after the Japanese name for Japan, Nihon, and vaguely shaped like Japan as well).
  • Guild Wars The first expansion takes place in Cantha, specifically designed by the game's American producers as a blend of ancient China, Japan, India, Thailand, and virtually everything else from southern and eastern Asia, from landscape to culture to art design, and it works magnificently and believably, given that it's its own distinct section of the world, separated from the conventionally European fantasy realms by a wide ocean.
  • The Katamari Damacy games. The world is basically one giant Wutai.
  • LittleBigPlanet: The Islands.
  • Magic Knight Rayearth: Fahren. Fuu specifically muses on how it seems to be a combination of Japan and China, much to its princess's irritation.
  • Mushroom Men: Shiitake Town . Technically, it's found in the same, vaguely-located town of Meteor Falls as the rest of the game, but it's where the ninja-like Shiitake Warriors live. Oh, and it's made out of old sushi boxes.
  • Neopets has one, Shenkuu.
  • Painkiller Overdose: The second level, Japanese Massacre, is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Pokémon Gold and Silver/Crystal/HeartGold/SoulSilver: Violet and Ecruteak Cities.
    • Then again, they're supposed to be Nara and Kyoto respectively. Both cities are former Japanese capitals and are known for their traditional architecture.
  • Ragnarok Online: A Korean MMORPG based on the manwha series Ragnarok (itself based on Norse Mythology), has a very Japanese village called Amatsu. It has a few other cities patterned after other countries, too: Louyang (Mainland China), Kunlun (Taiwan), and Ayothaya (Thailand).
    • The above-mentioned cities are considered "World Project" cities—none of them have any connection with the manwha Ragnarok Online is based upon. Rather, they're a sort of Shout-Out / Fan Service for specific nationalities which had a huge (and legit) RO player base. Originally a wild west-themed city was also planned to represent the United States, but was scrapped (the songs "Big Guys Love This" and "Antique Cowboy" were probably written for the town and its surrounding fields). Years later, a Russian-themed city was made in its place (Moscovia).
    • There is, however, a Wutai in the Ragnarok world, so to speak, which appeared in the original manwha and had major significance—Payon, which draws very heavily from Korean (and general Asian) culture in a world that's heavily flavored with Norse.
  • The Rance universe. JAPAN is the East Asian themed land. Of course, Sengoku Rance, appropriately enough, takes place in JAPAN.
  • The Rune Factory series. There's apparently one somewhere in the world. We don't get to see it, but there's some characters that very obviously come from it, such as Yue from Rune Factory 2. It's called "Yamato", according to Uzuki of Rune Factory: Frontier.
  • SaGa 2 (aka Final Fantasy Legend II): The Edo plane, complete with a black market in "bananas" in the Bowdlerised localization. (In the original Japanese, it's opium.)
    • In the Fan Translation of the DS Release It's just called black market goods.
  • SaGa Frontier: Kyo, home to the Mind Magic dojo and at least one Opium Den. It's more like a drug factory run by a minion of the Big Bad
  • Scott Pilgrim Vs The World: The Game: Level 4 (after the part inside the bus).
  • Shadow Hearts: From The New World: Lampshaded when you visit McNinja Frank Goldfinger's home town in Brazil and find out that it's a cheesy Japan-themed amusement park.
  • The Sims 2 adds one in the Bon Voyage Expansion Pack called Takemizu Village.
  • Skies of Arcadia: Yafutoma, one of many Fantasy Counterpart Cultures, has elements of China (such as a wall resembling the Great Wall) as well as Japan.
  • In the Sonic the Hedgehog series:
  • One NES game based on The Flintstones, The Rescue of Dino and Hoppy, has the usual platform environments of jungles, ice, sea etc. but one level appears to be the prehistoric version of feudal Japan (huh?), complete with sakura trees, karateka and even Youkai. At the end Fred must fight a sumo fire-breathing dragon for no reason at all.
  • Star Control: The Shofixit from are an entire RACE of fuzzy beings with heavy Japanese themes. To top it off, they use weak-yet-fast ships and have a "Glory Device" that is used to kamikaze their ship as a last resort.
  • Suikoden: Rokkaku, a hidden ninja village that's oddly small even by RPG standards. Then again, they are ninjas, so maybe the player character only sees as much of the village as they want him to see.
    • The series also has several other Japanese-looking and -sounding characters who explicitly have no connection to Rokkaku, with not even vague hints as to where they do come from. Some even live in the Medieval European Fantasy towns, with no other residents finding anything odd about this.
    • At least in the first two games, there are certain towns that have a decidedly eastern style of architecture, while others are more western. Seems like quite a big difference for cities within the same empire/nation.
  • Super Mario Land has World 4.
    • Super Paper Mario has the Sammer Guy kingdom, modeled after ancient Japan, complete with fitting music, falling cherry blossom leaves, pagodas, an emperor, and ninjas. The goal is to beat 100 Sammer Guys, one at a time, in succession, only being allowed to save after every 25. Of course, the first time you try, the world is absorbed into nothingness after the 20th Sammer Guy.
  • Tales of Symphonia has Mizuho. Lampshaded when one of the characters convinces the others that they'll be visiting The Theme Park Version of Feudal Japan, much to the irritation of the one character who's actually from there.
    • There's also the hidden Ninja village of Tales of Phantasia. Note that this game is predominantly Norse in its mythology.
    • Ashihara, the Japanese representant of the culture-mix that is Tales of Innocence.
  • Tomba: The Hidden Village of Ninja.
  • Valkyrie Profile: Yamato.
  • The Warcraft universe. The island nation of Pandaria, though it's based more on China than Japan. It's also the focus of the fourth expansion pack "Mists of Pandaria".
    • Pandaria started off as the Far East but over time has become a straight-up Fantasy Counterpart Culture of China due to complaints from Chinese, who thought the depictions of pandas combined with aspects of Japanese culture was offensive.
  • Wario Land: Shake It!: While not inhabited by anything other than enemies, and without Ninjas, has both Mount Bighill and Bamboo Village with this kind of area theme.
  • Harvest Moon: A Tale of Two Towns has the town of Konohana, which is meant to be a contrast to the other town in the game, the western-style Bluebell. Still, the other games in the series take place in western-style towns anyway, so while Bluebell looks the same as the towns in the previous games, Konohana feels very unique.
  • Ionia in the League of Legends setting.
  • While the Ura from Bastion aren't completely this, they do have at least some of the traits, mostly in the physical traits and position of being at odds with the main character's country.
  • The Far East Village (although not being particularly far east, but it is a village) from Shining the Holy Ark is a village made up of Ninjas and have a very Japanese feel to it. It's also isolated from the rest of the map by a series of mountain ranges.

Web Comics[edit | hide]

Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Tasakeru: The squirrel culture, mostly based on Feudal Japan.
  • Tales of MU: Youkan.
  • RWBY: The Asian-flavored towns and villages that Team RNJR encounters on the continent of Anima during volume 4. Oddly, their inhabitants aren't ethnically Asian, but everything else about the place is.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Fire Nation is heavily modeled on pre-World War Imperial Japan, or possibly modern China, though it is not a typical example as it is one of many Asian-styled countries in the universe.
    • Like all the countries in ATLA, it's a bit of both, and then some.
    • Kyoshi Island, part of the Earth Kingdom, is modeled after isolationist Japan.
    • Ironically, the Fire Nation is also the closest thing the Asian Avatar world has to a European counterpart culture.
    • It also seemed to have some basis in the British Empire, but that may have just been the sideburns.
  • Ninjago takes place in a fictional Asian country populated entirely by Lego Minifigures.