This past weekend, while driving to a friends wedding, my wife and I listened to a number of podcasts from Stuff You Missed in History Class, which takes a kind of "edu-tainment" approach to historic topics in 30+ min episodes.
One that we listened to was about Japanese artist Hokusai, famous for the following "big-wave" wood block print with Mt. Fuji in its background, as well as many others.
Hokusai (1760-1849) ‘The Wave’ CIRCA 1754. Photo by Universal History Archive/Getty Images
If you listen to the first at least 8-10 mins or so of the podcast, you'll hear a brief rundown of Japanese history in very broad strokes, specifically so they could explain the culture surrounding Hokusai and that allowed for the creation of the kinds of prints he made famous.
In hearing this tale, I realized "The Problem" that we, the SpM Design Team, face as we fully develop Routo-shima. While only partially drawing from Japanese history (this isn't Japan the RPG), there were specific situations which allowed for cultural blossoming during the Tokugawa/Edo era.
Instead, there once was a "mostly" unified Rosuto-Shima under an emperor, but this then fell into a dozen city-state/provinces that allied with and battled against one another in a "Warring States" era (more similar to the Chinese Warring States era) before the more modern era of Rosuto-shima which is in a cold war's peace as they undergo the industrial revolution (similar to the Bakumatsu, but without the unified aspect with the power of an emperor-as-figurehead).
Why It Matters
Maybe it doesn't "need to" but personally, I find immersion in a world strongly broken if I can't logically account for things. This is perfectly illustrated, in my mind, in how the Nerdwriter1 was able to make a very rationale explanation of why, in the world of the Game of Thrones franchise, exactly why hundreds of years were able to go by without advancements out of the feudal-like society of Westeros (hint: Dragons instead of firearms).
I'm sure I could go on and on, but for now, let me just say that I hope a similar if not more clear argument could be made for why the many races, geisha, kabukia, Shangti cowboys, calligraphy masters, and all the rest exist as they do on Rosuto-Shima, because of (instead of despite) what happened in the island's history.