Edo, Japan, 1853
Commodore Perry has just left the Bay of Edo with the promise to return next year. The Shogun is in a difficult position. What should he do? The Westerners have been pressing for Japan's trade opening for some time now. The Americans apparently are not joking. Either we agree on their demands or else they will punish us. The Japanese way of living is in peril. It is time to summon the Daimyos from the entire realm and consult with them on what we should do. But the Shogun knows already... Japan should resist! It is time for Japan to show the world it is not going China's way!
A new mod for an early game (1850) Japan
Many persons have found Japan quite boring in the beginning of the grand campaign because of the Shogun's passivity. Albeit this is historical, I always wanted to elaborate on the vanilla event of the Daimyo Consultation that happens after Commodore Perry arrives with his demands in the Bay of Tokyo. This mod adds many new events that happen until the penultimate Shogun (and hope for stability) dies. You can now resist the Westerners and even take the war on them. It should be very hard and challenging, not for the feint of heart.
Japan will get on a war footing
If you decide to resist, Perry won't be happy. Most Westerners will not be amused (except perhaps the Dutch), but you will be able to prepare for war with one or more of them. The most important danger comes from the Americans who won't get no for an answer. The Americans in the beginning of the game have 3x the power of Japan and a much higher potential to destroy you because of their technological advantage. But you could take advantage of Western tech as well, if you make the right choices...
You can do the unthinkable
The best kind of defence is offense! This is in the spirit of the samurai, albeit somehow stereotyped. Your eventual war with the Americans means that you might be able to surprise them. Remember that the only State in the West in the beginning of the 50s is California. All the rest (Oregon, Washington, Arizona, etc) is unincorporated territory and far away from the rest of the US. Can the Americans repulse an expedition force of unyielding samurais as they have their own problems at home (pre-Civil War)? Your goal as Japan is not to conquer the USA, this is impossible, but time your attack in such a way that you get them while they are most vulnerable. Pacific expansion (in order to resist the Americans) also allows for a rather limited allowance of early colonial options you will certainly enjoy!
Completely compatible with the rest of the story
No, you can not finish the game with the Shoguns. I have made it so that this mini-campaign fork reunites with the official storyline. The Shoguns will eventually die and the Emperor reinstated. Nonetheless, it will provide you with an entire decade or so of razor-sharp war experience with the Westerners (especially the Americans) which can and will crush you if you are not careful.
PS. There are some typos in these early screens, I have fixed them. If you find anything else or some event that fires and doesn't make sense, contact me so I can look at it.