Zhenia (Seomun: 秦國, Jinmun: 진국), formally known as the Republic of Zhenia (Seomun: 秦和民國, Jinmun: 진화민국, pronounced 'Jinhwa minguk'), is a unitary semi-presidential republic located in East Tarsis. Spanning over around 4,510,000 km2 of territory in East Tarsis, it is subdivided into 30 provinces, 2 metropolitan municipalities and one special city. Zhenia is home to around 591 million residents, being one of the most populous nations in the world. It borders Niunkuet directly to its south, Kordalsam to its west and several other states to its north, while it borders Sakaro to the east across the North Zhenian Sea.

Republic of Zhenia

진화민국
秦和民國
Motto: "자유, 민권, 민생."
Liberty, Democracy and the Welfare of the People.
Location of Zhenia in Themys, highlighted in green.
Location of Zhenia.
Location of Zhenia within East Tarsis.
Location of Zhenia in East Tarsis.
Capital
and largest city
Daedo
Official languagesZhenian
Recognised regional languages
Ethnic groups
(2020)
Demonym(s)Zhenian
GovernmentUnitary semi-presidential republic
Lee Saemin
• Premier
Kim Junghun
LegislatureParliament of Zhenia
Sangseowon
National Assembly
Establishment
• as Shindan
888 AC
• as Zhu dynasty
1303 AC
1408 AC
1499 AC
• as current form
1569 AC
Area
• Total area
4,510,034.13 km2 (1,741,333.91 sq mi)
• Water (%)
1.55%
Population
• 2020 estimate
591.1 million
• 2020 census
591,171,822
• Density
131.08/km2 (339.5/sq mi)
GDP (PPP)2020 estimate
• Total
$18.189 trillion
• Per capita
$30,845.95
GDP (nominal)2020 estimate
• Total
$15.607 trillion
• Per capita
$26,468.34
Gini (2020)Positive decrease 30.7
medium
HDI (2020)Increase 0.901
very high
CurrencyZhenian Won (ZW)
Time zoneUTC+7, +8 (ZWST, ZEST)
Date formatdd-mm-yyyy
Driving sideright
Calling code+53
ISO 3166 codeZHE
Internet TLD.zh/.zhen/.roz

While modern humans first are said to have inhabited Zhenia around 55,000 years ago, civilization emerged in both mainland Zhenia and the Danguk Peninsula around 2,400 BC. The Liang dynasty came to existence in central Zhenia around 2300 BC, while the State of Danguk was founded around 2400 BC. Since then, much of ancient Zhenia was led by expansion, fracture and replacement of hereditary dynasties both in the mainland and the Danguk Peninsula. In 732 BC, the Zhen dynasty, led by Shen Lien, became the first dynasty to unify both the Danguk Peninsula and mainland Zhenia, conquering most of East and Southeast Tarsis and expanding well beyond the Taimir Basin. The Zhen dynasty developed into one of the largest empires of the ancient world, being a leading political and cultural center: its legacy is still seen within the fundamentals of Zhenian culture to this day, most notably Wuist beliefs and the Zhenian language. Numerous empires, kingdoms, republics and city-states came and went over the course of Zhenian history with their own sets of achievements - the mainland dynasties made enlightening achievements in literature, fine art, music and science, while cities, republics and kingdoms around the Golden Arc prospered and expanded economically and culturally as the eastern node of the Old World's trading network.

By the early 14th century, an era of enlightenment and the resurgence of numerous schools of humanism and anthropocentric philosophies brought about the rise of Zhenian nationalism and a period of political upheaval. This resulted in the formation of the Zhu dynasty in the mainland, while it spurred the Industrial Revolution in Shindan, combined with changes in surrounding economic circumstances. Shindan, having industrialized earlier and more rapidly than the mainland, led a series of wars against the mainland under the leadership of Emperor Seongjo, fully reunifying Zhenia under the Empire of Zhenia; many survivors of mainland entities retreated south and established Niunkuet. Zhenia's reunification and subsequent surge into a world power in the 15th century resulted in the advent of the Shinzhen Movement, sparking conflicts against Azoran colonial powers in Tarsis and the Hanmaric Ocean. The empire transitioned into a republic in 1499 AC following the December Revolution, being one of the first republics in the modern sense of the word in the region. While its victory in the First Great War confirmed its status as a global military power, Zhenian involvement in the Second Great War ended in its military defeat and economic devastation in 1538 AC. During a sequential era of political instability, military dictatorships and democratization, Zhenia enjoyed a period of economic resurgence and prosperity after the war, rising to become a highly developed country to this day.

Today, Zhenia is considered to be one of the world's most economically and culturally advanced nations, as well as one of the most politically influential. It ranks high in life expectancy, quality of life, education, worker productivity and economic output. With a GDP purchasing power parity (PPP) of over $22 trillion, it is home to one of the largest single economies in the world, while it is one of the largest exporters and importers of goods in the world. Its export-driven economy makes it a leader in an array of industrial and technological sectors, including electronics, aerospace, automobiles and robotics. Considered a great power, it is home to one of the largest military forces in the world with an annual defense budget of around $360 billion, as well as a de facto nuclear power since the 1550s. It retains significance presence on the international stage being a prominent member of the World Concordat, the Pan-Hanmaric Treaty Organization, the Hanmaric Association for Economic Development and the Tarsis Economic Cooperation Association. Due to its rich history and cultural heritage, Zhenia is often ranked within the top tourist destinations of the world.

Names

The name "Zhenia" has been used in Elyrian and other western languages as early as the 4th century, although it was never used by Zhenians themselves until well into the 18th century when Zhenians were frequently exposed to how the west viewed them. Its origin has been traced back to Elyrian texts dating back to the Elyrian Empire describing the existence of the Zhen dynasty to the far east. The oldest surviving record that uses the word "Zhenia" is an Abayadi encyclopedia dating back to around 710 AC, which include journals of Abayadi sailors that made way to the modern-day Balhae Peninsula. Coupled with the discovery of additional excerpts of local Zhenians describing the existence of the Zhen dynasty (322 BCE - 514 AD) alongside said encyclopedia, it has been widely suggested that the word Zhenia is derived from the name of the Zhen dynasty. This is further supported by the fact that the Seomun character for Zhenia's shortened name 'Jinguk' (秦國) uses the same character as the Zhen dynasty (秦) and is currently accepted as the origin of the name.

The official name of the state today is the "Republic of Zhenia" (Zhenian: 진화민국/秦和民國, pronounced 'Jinhua minguk'), while its shorter form is "Zhenia" (Zhenian: 진국/秦國, pronounced 'Jinguk'. The shortened name is the addition of the Seomun character referring to the Zhen dynasty (秦) and state (國), thus resulting in the term being translated as 'land of Zhen' or 'land of the Zhenian people'; while both translations are accepted, the latter translation has been used more frequently in Zhenian contexts since the rise of Zhenian nationalism in the 17th century. Thus, the name has historically been used to refer to the region surrounding the Gulf of Danguk, otherwise known as the 'Zhenian heartland', although the term 'Zhenwon' (Zhenian: 진원/秦原), literally translated as the 'realm of Zhen and the Zhenian people', is used more frequently in recent contexts.

Its official name, the "Republic of Zhenia" was coined in 1909 by the Constitutional Council of the Republic of Zhenia, which assessed the first constitutional draft that would become the nation's Constitution. The first syllable, 'Jin', was selected to signify the identity of the new nation as that originating from the Zhen dynasty as well as the Empire of Zhenia, which used the same letter; the second syllable, 'hwa', was selected to signify the harmonious existence of the nation under stability; 'minguk', formed by the third and fourth syllable, signifies its political identity as a republic: this hints towards the first clause of the Constitution, which clarifies that Zhenia is a republic.

History

Prehistory and Antiquity

 
The Bonsanin Cave, discovered in 1560 AC, has revealed itself as the first signs of human civilization in Zhenia.
 
Ruins of the Liang dynasty are found around the Taimir Basin, as north as Yonggang and Hwabuk Province and as south as Changbaek Province.

The oldest surviving evidence of human civilization in modern-day Zhenia has been discovered in the Bonsanin Cave (literally translated as the "Cave of the Human Roots"), located in modern-day western Imhae Province and dating back to around 750,000 years ago, although it is speculated that primitive forms of human life settled in the region at least 900,000 years ago. Additional archaeological discoveries have allowed for estimates that early traces of human life arrived in the Danguk Peninsula around 700,000 years ago. The distribution of Middle Paleolithic Levallois techniques across modern-day Zhenia has allowed for the postulation that Paleolithic-era civilization had flourished in mainland Zhenia no later than 70,000 years ago, while the oldest remains of civilization in the Danguk Peninsula suggest Paleolithic-era civilization flourishing around 55,000 years ago. The Neolithic Age is estimated to have arrived in Zhenia around 10,000-9,000 years ago, evident by the earliest traces of rice and millet cultivation near the Taimir and Weisu rivers. It has been confirmed that settlements of various forms and sizes had begun to form across Zhenia with the agricultural revolution, despite inadequate evidence beyond archaeological remains and sites for further detail.

All Zhenian historical records describing the origins of Zhenia point to the Liang dynasty as the first state in Zhenian history, emerging in the Taimir River basin near modern-day Yonggang and Bukhwa province by 2400 BC. Characterized by bronze age sites, the Liang dynasty became the first example of Zhenia's political system based on hereditary dynasties. As it expanded throughout the Taimir River basin, the Liang adopted a system of feudal lords across the dynasty's domain forming a complex tributary system to keep the dynasties in line. Parallel to the Liang's prosperity, the Dan dynasty, also referred to as the State of Danguk, came to existence in the western coast of the Danguk Peninsula around 1800 BC; although based on a similar political system based on hereditary monarchies, established a centralized political system earlier than the Liang. The central authority maintained by the Liang dynasty, however, ultimately weakened and collapsed around 756 BC after the rise of feudal warlords and continuous war with nomadic tribes to the north. The State of Danguk survived well into the 6th century BC, until it was finally annexed into the State of Zhen to form the Kingdom of Zhen in 551 BC.

The demise of the Liang opened the way for the Era of Great Divide, when the feudal warlords that previously upheld the Liang's feudal system each waged war against one another for dominance in the Taimir Basin and eventually the mainland. Over a hundred different clans, once feudal lords under the Liang, became independent factions fighting against one another in the Taimir Basin; by 600 BC, only eight entities, including the still-intact Dan dynasty in the Danguk Peninsula, survived. The continuous conflict among the independent factions and feudal lords called for a need a philosophy to empower their states, resulting in the advent of dozens of schools of thought with thousands of followers across the Taimir Basin offering ways of national prosperity and military power, otherwise known as the Thousand Schools of Philosophy. It was by the Thousand Schools of Philosophy that defining ideologies of ancient Zhenian history, including legalism and collectivism, surfaced as ruling ideologies among states during the Era of Great Divide.

Ancient History

File:Zhen dynasty greatest extent.png
The Zhen dynasty was the largest entity in Zhenian history until the First Great War, as well as the first entity to have unified all of what is now modern-day Zhenia.

The Era of Great Divide ended around 742 BC, when the Kingdom of Zhen conquered the remaining dynasties in mainland Zhenia and unified Zhenia for the first time. Shortly after unification, Shen Lien crowned himself as the first emperor of the Zhen dynasty in 322 BCE. It was during Shen Lien's rule that the Zhen dynasty formally adopted legalism as the dynasty's ruling ideology, centering the dynasty's legal system around it to consolidate Zhen rule over the entire mainland. Currency, measurements, script and road width were also standardized across the empire during his rule, at an attempt to thoroughly consolidate Zhen rule in conquered regions. While the newly-unified Zhen dynasty saw a series of rebellions near its edges, they were suppressed through a series of military campaigns across the mainland.

Using the dynasty's initial stability as a stepping stone for growth, successive rulers of the Zhen dynasty expanded further to the south and west, conquering the Balhae peninsula and reaching the Chang River by 510 BC, while some emperors, including Emperor Myeongjong, led campaigns against northern Balakhaat and Kharlin factions to the north and west, further expanding the dynasty's domain throughout East Tarsis. The dynasty's expansion and economic prosperity, as well as involvement in Central Tarsis, resulted in the establishment of several overland westbound trade routes, with some reaching as far as modern-day Abayad and the Elyrian Empire. Aspects of Zhenian culture as well as Wuist beliefs proliferated along the overland and maritime trade routes, resulting in the formation of a number of Wuist denominations across the region. It is widely speculated that the economic size of the Zhen dynasty was comparable to the entire Elyrian Empire at its zenith. The cultural achievements of the Zhen dynasty had lasting impacts in Zhenian history, including the basis of Standard Zhenian as well as the Seomun script, Wuist religions as well as Zhenian Wuism, and numerous aspects of Zhenian culture that survive to this day.

 
An artist's estimation of Jinhae in the later days of the Zhen dynasty, around 50 BC.

Continuous warfare to the north and west against Balakhaat, Yemeg and Kharlin nomadic tribes during the later phases of the Zhen dynasty eventually undermined the dynasty's power and treasury, draining its economic might. Coupled with famine, droughts and widespread corruption by imperial eunuchs and warlords near the borders, the empire's financial crisis, peaking in the first century AC, resulted in higher burdens and subsequent dissent among the peasants. Hence, the later years of the Zhen dynasty were ravaged with peasant revolts and weak imperial rule characterized through the prevalence of eunuchs as well as power conflicts between the emperor's maternal relatives, while military leaders near the border grew to become autonomous warlords that could challenge the throne. Many of the empowered military leaders began to aim for the throne, starting a cycle of civil war and resulting in what is known as the Era of Military Emperors. Amid the decentralization of political power, the Zhen dynasty ended with the execution of its last emperor, Emperor Sangjo, in 104 AC following the Siege of Jinyang by the Balakhaat Northern Zhae and Kharlin troops.

Middle Ages

 
Chang Munmu, an admiral of the Eastern Zhen, repelled piracy in the Gulf of Danguk and played a key role in building the maritime trade network in East Tarsis.

Following the collapse of the Zhen dynasty in 104 AC, most of mainland Zhenia plunged into an era of continuous division and warfare, with each kingdom that sprung up in the mainland claiming itself as the legitimate successor of the Zhen dynasty. During this period of strife known as the First Hundred States Era, several Wei states, with diminished Wei population and diminished land due to northern invasions and continuous warfare, mixed alongside states founded by northern Balakhaat and Kharlin tribes. Many of the Wei states retreated south of the Weisu River in fear of further invasions from the north, while the Weisu River basin was mostly occupied states founded by the northern peoples. While classical Zhen culture from the Zhen dynasty held prestige among the ruling class in the northern dynasties, the culture of the commoners were mostly a mix of the northern newcomers and the native Wei people in the area. Amid widespread assimilation of Kharlin and Balakhaat tracts into the mainland, the Wei rose to become a prominent power in northern and central Zhenia, unifying all that was north of the Taimir River by 213 AC. Central Zhenia stabilized under the Wei dynasty, entering an era when philosophy and the arts flourished. A general trend of stabilization occurred in the mainland as the many states during the Hundred States Era were annexed into either the Wei or the Empire of Balhae to the south, thus resulting in the Era of Southern and Northern Dynasties.

The Era of Southern and Northern Dynasties in the mainland is characterized by the political standoff between the Empire of Balhae to the south and the Wei dynasty in the north. The two states maintained their own tributary systems throughout East Tarsis, each claiming to be the legitimate ruler of the mainland as a whole. Despite the political standoff, large-scale military conflicts between the two were rare: instead, the two states coexisted and traded with one another, while many of the cultural achievements since the Zhen dynasty were continued on and developed further among the two states. While both Balhae and the Wei repeatedly attempted unification of the mainland during the era, neither were completely successful in the process. Although the Iksan War in the late 5th century AC turned the tide towards the Wei's favor, the Wei collapsed amid civil unrest and military rebellions. The Empire of Balhae too was ravaged by peasant revolts and widespread famine, which led to its demise in 471 AC and the beginning of the Second Hundred States Era.

 
A view of Zhuhae Island's Old City, one of the most thriving ports in the mainland when the trade routes were established.

Mainland Zhenia during the Second Hundred States Era saw intense competition for the Taimir River basin, as the Yemeg Yan invaded the mainland and captured the Weisu River basin and forced existing northern states further south and inland to the west. Some smaller states along the western coasts of the Gulf of Danguk, leveraging their geographical advantage, became part of the maritime trade network spanning the length of the western Hanmaric Ocean, although many were still involved in numerous continental military conflicts for superiority in the mainland. Some cities in particular, including Jinhae, Suripo and Zhuhae, rose to prominence as the mainland's main gateway of trade with Southeast Tarsis and the Hanmaric Ocean. Many of them, starting off as trade-dependent city-states, they grew into earlier forms of republics in which the merchant class had significant political power. Such political freedoms allowed for the commercial revolution as well as significant leaps on academic and artistic advancement, further setting it apart from inland kingdoms where feudal systems remained the norm. Earlier forms of capitalism and banking emerged in the Republic of Jinhae, while some of the oldest private universities in Zhenia that exist to this day started from such city-states on the mainland and wealthy merchants began to modify and popularize Shisas as a freer form of literature. The political circumstances along the Gulf also allowed for the emergence of humanist schools of thought and secularism, promoting lifestyles distancing human nature from theological salvation by divine intervention. The Second Hundred States Era, however, came to an end as the Kharlin led a series of successful military campaigns throughout East Tarsis, conquering all of modern-day Zhenia north of the Taimir River by 760 AC.

During both Hundred States Eras as well as the rise and fall of the Empire of Balhae in southern Zhenia, the Danguk Peninsula experienced a period of relative stability as the survivors of the Zhen dynasty founded the Eastern Zhen in 105 AD, shortly after the Zhen's collapse. Relocating its capital further inland around modern-day Hansan, the Eastern Zhen focused on economic prosperity and eventually the reconquest of the mainland, although the latter was never achieved within its time. Instead, the Eastern Zhen established a trade network spanning the Gulf of Danguk and the North Zhenian Sea, with itself being at the center: this was done after the Balhae pirates were repelled by the combined effort of Chang Munmu, an admiral of the Eastern Zhen, and the Kingdom of Balhae. At its height, the Eastern Zhen was at the heart of the trade network operated by mainland, Zhen and Japanese ships, with these ships often traveling as far as modern-day Dhamila and Abayad for exotic goods to fill the markets. Gwangseong, which was a primary trading port in the maritime network as well as Admiral Chang's base of operations, grew into a major cosmopolitan center, with the port city regarded as one of the most populous cities in the world at the time, while a developed shipbuilding industry allowing for the formation of a permanent navy under his command. Some historians claim that the Eastern Zhen, at the height of its maritime trade network in the Western Hanmaric Ocean, was the thalassocracy in Zhenian history, which continued well after the collapse of the Eastern Zhen and the advent of the Jin that replaced the Eastern Zhen in 550 AC. While maintaining the maritime thalassocracy established during the Eastern Zhen, the Jin claimed itself as the rightful successor of the Zhen dynasty and attempted to reconquer the mainland, bringing a majority of the Golden Arc region under its control during the reign of Emperor Sejong. Its demise began after the death of Emperor Sejong, as numerous states along the gulf revolted and declared independence, followed by a series of Kharlin invasions that swept through most of central Zhenia. The peninsula itself was also ravaged by Kharlin invasions, although most of the peninsula fell under Kharlin hands and the surviving regime retreated south to establish Daehwa in 784.

The middle ages of Zhenian history ended with the Kharlin conquest of Zhenia. In 791, the Kharlin leader Temuchin Khortai established the Kharlin Empire over conquered Zhenian territories north of the Taimir River, while the last remnants of the Wei states in the mainland retreated further south to the Chang River basin. The Kharlin conquest, as well as brutal, discriminatory policies and active ethnic cleansing against native Zhenians resulted in a decrease in mainland Zhenian population by almost 40 percent from 800 to 900 AC. The Kharlin Empire was driven out of the Zhenian mainland entirely in 901 AC amid revolts in central and southern Zhenia, as well as the betrayal of the Yemeg Khanate in northeastern Zhenia.

Early Modern era

 
The Kharlin Empire met heavy resistance in the central and southern Danguk Peninsula, with the war producing many war heroes that would play a key role in establishing Shindan.
 
The Wei led a series of conquests to further repel northern tribal states in modern-day northern Zhenia and Aday. The picture portrays one of such campaigns.

Following the retreat of the Kharlin Empire to the northwest, a power vacuum formed in mainland Zhenia, resulting in the rebuilding of numerous city-states along the Gulf of Danguk, while the Zhao dynasty prevailed over much of inland central and southern Zhenia. Although a largely feudal empire, the Zhao dynasty maintained a stable political system centered around the balance of power between scholar-officials and the warrior aristocrats. Leveraging such political stability to its advantage, the Zhao made profound progresses in science, technology, the arts, philosophy and language: one of its most notable achievements include its progresses to Seomun literature, which is widely agreed to have been perfected during the later days of the Zhao, further consolidating the culture known to be native to the Wei today. Despite its involvement in the overland and maritime trade networks surrounding modern-day Zhenia, it never rose to become a major player amid extreme competition against Shindan and competing states in the Gulf region; the Wei made expansions further west and south, controlling most of the Chang-Nam Basin by 1050.

The Wei met its decline, however, as it was involved in a series of military conflicts against smaller states in the Golden Arch, most notably the Kingdom of Balhae and Shindan. Such attrition wars resulted in the depletion of the Wei's treasury by the early 1120s. Amid increased taxation and compulsory labor to carry out the war effort and compensate for the financial deficit, the final days of the Wei were ravaged with peasant rebellions and occasional subordination from military officers in its border regions. The Wei ultimately collapsed during the Taimir War in the early 1140s, a war fought among several warlords and peasant rebel factions. It was restabilized under the Zhu dynasty, which unified most of the former Wei's territories and declared itself an empire in 1149.

 
The Zhu dynasty, the last Wei-led empire on the mainland, was considered among the most prosperous states of its time.

Claiming itself as the legitimate successor of the Zhao dynasty, the Zhu attempted to reconstruct regional order around itself. The early days of the Zhu saw the reinstatement of a hegemonic system centered around mainland Zhenian dynasties in the region, as a result of its victory in the Golden Arch Wars against Shindan and the Cheonsan Campaign against the Toburni and Balakhaat people. It was mainly during the Zhu dynasty that the basic outline of Zhenia's modern-day western borders along the Cheonsan Mountains were laid out. Building upon the reinstatement of a regional hegemony, numerous accomplishments in the arts and culture were made, with three of the Four Classics of Zhenian Literature completed during the Zhu, while art techniques from the west were introduced to the mainland via Shindanese traders, resulting in artistic experiments not attempted before. With the advent of the Zhenian Enlightenment, however, imperial authority in the Zhu was increasingly challenged by military leaders in the borders as well as statesmen in the government, resulting in a series of internal conflicts seeking the throne. Imperial power naturally dwindled, with most of imperial power revolving around the Imperial Council rather than the Emperor himself. The weakening of the Zhu's central power in the 14th century provided key opportunities for second movers in the region, including the Kingdom of Balhae and eventually Shindan, to increase its hold in the Golden Arch.

In the Danguk Peninsula, the Kharlin invasions in the 8th and 9th centuries had taken a significantly smaller toll in the Danguk Peninsula than in the mainland: however, this did not prevent the end of the Eastern Zhen altogether and its relocation to Daehwa in the southern half of the peninsula. Coupled with resistance in Kharlin-controlled territories, coupled with Daehwa's continuous reconquest attempts, eventually drove the Kharlin Empire out of the peninsula throughout the later half of the 9th century. The reconquest of the northern peninsula, however, resulted in the rise of prominent military commanders in the political stage, with the most notable figures being Li Juwon and Seok Min. In 888, following a power struggle against Seok Min, Li Juwon led a dynastic revolution against Daehwa and established the Kingdom of Shindan.

Claiming its lineage from the primordial State of Dan, Shindan adopted statesman Kim Dojin's Sambong thought as its key ruling philosophy early on, with the objective of ensuring political stability under legalist ideals. Building upon such political stability, Shindan consolidated itself as a prominent power in the peninsula through continued campaigns against the Kharlins and Yemegs in the north, while also permanently bringing the Haedong Islands under Shindanese control in the mid-10th century. The earlier years of Shindan also saw the standardization of the Zhenian language centered around the Seodan dialect, as well as the development of philosophy, art, science and technology. It is postulated among historians that sophisticated uses of gunpowder were perfected by the end of the 10th century, while pragmatic applications of metal-based movable type printing appeared around the same time. The invention of the Jinmun script under the orders of King Seongjong resulted in the rapid proliferation of literature and knowledge throughout the Shindanese academia and the populace. Earlier days of Shindan also saw the enactment of the Code of Hwamyeong, the cornerstone of Zhenia's legal system until the Empire of Zhenia, while the public examination system was revised into a system combining certificates and letters of recommendations with formal exams on systems of government and legalism, resulting in the increase of political grasp the local elites and aristocrats had in Shindanese politics.

 
The Zhenian Age of Discovery was sparked by Shindan, as well as kingdoms and smaller city-states in the Gulf region in the 11th and 12th centuries. Shindanese expeditions in particular led to the discovery of many Hanmaric islands, including the Kapukuan archipelago.

The early modern ages in the Danguk Peninsula and along the Gulf of Danguk saw the beginning of the Age of Discovery, as Zhenian explorers claimed land in Southeast Tarsis, the Hanmaric islands and eventually Veharia. Balhaean and state-sponsored Wei explorers mostly made their way south, while Shindanese explorers focused on claiming islands in the Hanmaric Ocean as well as crossing the Hanmaric Ocean to western Veharia; after such discoveries and claims were made in the 10th and 11th centuries, many state-sponsored companies and explorers from all around the Gulf region set out to claim land under their flag. The first of such attempts were initiated by Shindanese admiral Chang Handeok in the late 10th century, who arrived in modern-day Kapuku for the first time in 993 and discovered the western coasts of Veharia in 1028. The success of Chang Handeok resulted in a surge of both state-sponsored and private expeditions throughout the Hanmaric and eventually onto Veharia, marking a historical event known as the Eastern Expeditions. Several colonial possessions were claimed under its name from the 11th and 12th centuries, with the most notable examples being the Viceroyalties of Gamman, Aman and Geumsan in modern-day Shinlim. Having been the most prominent of Zhenian states in colonial expansion towards the Hanmaric Ocean and Veharia, Shindanese colonial possessions altogether formed the Hamseon trade network: reaching its zenith in the 13th century, it had lasting effects on the global economy at the time. Coupled with Shindan's mercantilist policies during the era, Zhenian colonialism resulted in the surfacing of early forms of market capitalism, involving stock markets and public companies, in Shindan as well as many cities in the Golden Arch. Such colonization attempts outside Zhenia, although varying in intensity, were practiced by other states in the mainland, most notably Balhae and the Republic of Imhae, but were mostly focused in the Western Hanmaric region.

Amid changing economic circumstances and coupled with a boost in scientific discoveries across Zhenia, the Zhenian Enlightenment surfaced in the early 14th century in both the mainland and the Danguk Peninsula, with some philosophers criticizing the absolute nature of divine intervention and calling for a more anthropocentric, humanist world upon Zhenia as a whole. Philosophers during the Zhenian Enlightenment also brought the current circumstances of Zhenia into criticism, returning to the zenith of the Zhen dynasty to seek solutions and ultimately formulate a comprehensive identity for the Zhenians - the notion of "Zhenia" and the "Zhenian people" surfaced as a romanticized nationalist manifestation of such philosophical discourse. This, coupled with the Romanticist cultural wave that swept central and eastern Zhenia in the mid-14th century, resulted in the rise of various political movements ignited by both intellectuals and commoners in Shindan and numerous gulf states, with some proposals involving a federation of Shindan and smaller states along the Gulf of Danguk. Although trans-Gulf relations never surfaced to such extent, a set of trade unions across the Gulf were formed by the mid-14th century AC - a political phenomenon historians have postulated as the earlier forms of modern confederations.

Zhenian unification

 
The Battle of Handan was a key turning point in the fate of mainland Zhenia.
 
The Empire of Zhenia, reorganizing the existing Confederation of Zhenia, was declared in 1438 as a result of Zhenian unification.

The call for Zhenian unification originated mostly in Shindan during the late 14th century, during the wave of Zhenian nationalism. Seeking the origins of Shindan and the Zhenian people from the Zhen dynasty rather than its successor states, Zhenian nationalism was directly linked to the Five Jin Unification Movement, which pursued the unification of the five major entities around Zhenia under one flag, mainly under Shindanese leadership. The Five Jin Unification Movement was reinforced with the publishing of the Fate of Nations by Shindanese revolutionary and statesman Zhu Cheonmyeong in 1359, which was rapidly proliferated throughout Shindan and resulted in the movement gaining momentum in the Shindanese royal court. It gained further momentum at the core of Shindan's domestic and foreign policies when King Jeongjo came to power in 1361, who, along with voluntarily opening trade and establishing formal relations with Achysia and other Azoran powers, sought to modernize and empower Shindan against the mainland.

At the same time, the Zhu dynasty was plunging into an era of decentralization and continued political unrest, with the cost of suppressing internal revolts and maintaining control over its conquered territories becoming an increasingly heavier burden on its treasury, while the power of the Imperial Council began to overtake that of the emperor's. Its conquest of Balhae in the early 14th century, although having been successful, became an even larger burden to the dynasty's dwindling financial situation, resulting in the government to declare bankruptcy three times between 1300 and 1320. The Zhu's imperial court attempted to resolve its financial crisis through increased taxation, which backfired and resulted in further unrest. The arrival of Azoran ships in its southern coasts calling for open trade, which both incited fear among the local Zhu and spread apocalyptic rumors regarding the dynasty, was of no benefit to the already decadent dynasty. Both at an attempt to clarify its regional hegemony and suppress internal dissent, the Zhu waged war against Shindan in 1368; Shindan, however, having modernized through early treaties with Achysia and other Azoran powers, defeated the Zhu easily and signed the Treaty of Sanggyeong, significantly weakening its hold in the mainland and costing its regional hegemony.

The Treaty of Sanggyeong was a major turning point in the history of Zhenian unification, marking a major transition of the center of power from the mainland to Shindan. Using war reparations from the Zhu for further modernization, Shindan thus became one of the first nations in East Tarsis to begin industrialization, at a pace comparable to that of Azoran nations. After the First Shindan-Zhu War, Shindan thus underwent a series of reforms under King Jeongjo, prohibiting topknots and abolishing the caste system, while the military and political system was further westernized, modeled after that of Achysia and Ichoria. In the 1380s, following the Massacre of Bakhan and the persecution of the Dan population in central Zhenia, Shindan declared war on the Zhu, thus waging the Second Shindan-Zhu War from 1388 to 1391. Despite the war resulting in significant casualties on both sides, Shindan defeated the Zhu again, consolidating its regional hegemony in the Treaty of Bakhan. The Third Shindan-Zhu War in 1393 was detrimental to the Zhu's survival, with the surrendering of several Zhu military leaders and warlords to Shindanese forces and the death of Emperor Aizong during the Siege of Junggyeong; surviving members of the Zhu imperial family retreated south to modern-day Niunkuet and continued its struggle from the south.

After the collapse of the Zhu, Shindan divided most of the Zhu's former territories into eight feudatories, each of them different kingdoms ruled by a Shindanese imperial family member or a surrendered Zhu military leader as their monarch; some parts of the mainland, including Changan and Jinhae, became directly-controlled municipalities under Shindanese rule, serving as the centers of Shindanese control in the region. In the years of stabilization that followed, the feudatories were effectively integrated into the Shindanese sphere of influence, all of them becoming part of the Gwangseong Treaty Organization at its formation in 1414. Wars against surviving militants and imperial loyalists in northern and western Zhenia, however, continued regardless of the years of stabilization, while skirmishes to the south against the surviving Zhu imperial family continued. A series of revolts among the Feudatories from 1425 to 1428 resulted in the permanent abolishment of feudatories in 1433, with some feudatories entering a personal union with Shindan and others being directly integrated into Shindan as provinces. In 1434, Shindan initiated the Southern Campaign as its final push against the Yin to the south, which resulted in a Shindanese defeat after four years of ongoing conflict. At an attempt to compensate for the unrest, Emperor Seongjo declared the unification of all former feudatories and Shindan under the Empire of Zhenia on June 4, 1438, shortly after which it signed the Treaty of Zhuhae with the Yin, acknowledging its existence and temporarily ending the war.

Modern Zhenia

Following Zhenian unification, the Empire of Zhenia maintained a nationwide drive for industrialization and military buildup under a centralized governmental structure, under the leadership of Emperors Seongjo and Saejo as well as Prime Minister Cao Longshan. A series of reforms that were previously implemented on Shindan were expanded onto former GTO states in the mainland, promoting industrialization along not only the Golden Arc but also further inland. Several infrastructure projects, such as the first railroad traversing the Golden Arc region as well as a nationwide telegraph network, emerged in the mid-15th century, further proliferating the empire's ruling power across the mainland. Unified education systems, standardization of units and language, as well as nationwide conscription, were also introduced to the mainland as a means to consolidate imperial rule and effectively reduced the power of local worthies and aristocrats. Together, the Daeseong and Gwangmu reforms under the two emperors strengthened Zhenia's position as a great power by the later half of the 15th century AC.

Amid increasing international power, the Shinzhen Doctrine, initially proclaimed by Shindan to emphasize Zhenia's increased role in the Tarsis-Hanmaric region as its protector, was expanded into the Shinzhen Movement under Emperor Saejo. Combined with the One Continent, One Empire ideology, the movement justified Zhenia's increased role in the region as its sole leading power. The implementation of the Shinzhen Movement into the empire's foreign policy resulted in the formation of the Daedo Treaty Organization (DTO) in 1450 AC - nominally an extension of the Gwangseong Treaty Organization but in practice a political and economic alliance around Zhenian allies. The formation of the DTO provided an effective economic bloc centered around the new empire and promoted Zhenian economic expansion, while also providing Zhenia the basis to exert power in the Tarsis-Hanmaric region, with the formation of massive international conglomerates operating throughout DTO by the end of the century.

Amid economic prosperity and elevated international position, there were increasing demands for the democratization of the government, the calls for which were eventually organized into the Civil Liberties Movement in the later half of the 15th century. While they were generally persecuted for treachery against imperial rule, their demands were partially reflected with the formation of the Imperial Parliament of Zhenia in 1479 as well as the Imperial Constitution, which clarified the Empire of Zhenia as a constitutional monarchy.

 
The December Revolution resulted in the abdication of Emperor Gojong, and the subsequent end of imperial rule in Zhenia.

As a result of the December Revolution in 1499, the Empire transitioned completely into a Republic, hence marking the beginning of the First Republic. The First Republic retained most of the foreign policies of the Empire, proclaiming itself as both the diplomatic and spiritual successor of the Empire and its legacy, most notably the Shinzhen Doctrine. The One Continent, One Empire ideology saw revisions during its implementation into the Republic, with the definition of the term 'empire' in the particular context referring to suzerainty rather than the existence of a monarchy.

 
Zhenia's involvement in the First Great War was a pivotal role in its rise as a regional juggernaut.

The First Great War, waged primarily against Niunkuet and Azoran colonial powers, resulted in a largely Zhenian victory in the Tarsis-Hanmaric region, establishing Zhenia as the sole great power in East Tarsis.

After the Second Great War ultimately ended with the surrender of Zhenia in 1538, Zhenia was left defeated with tens of millions of lives lost and much of its economy devastated. Taking the responsibility of causing the war, the First Republic was dismantled by allied powers and was immediately replaced by the Allied High Command and the Second Republic, established by a new round of elections overseen by occupying allied forces. Millions of Zhenians were also repatriated from former Zhenian colonies and internment camps after the end of the war. Borders around Zhenia were also redrawn following a series of treaties between Zhenia and allied states: most notably, the Treaty of Jinhae, signed under Allied oversight, clarified Zhenia's southern border with Niunkuet along the Chang River as it remains today, while Zhenia’s northeastern land borders and maritime borders to the east with Sakaro were redrawn with subsequent treaties in 1539 and 1540. The Republic of Zhenia Defense Forces were also reduced significantly in size, with the much-reduced forces, partly under Allied command, assigned the task of maintaining domestic security.

 
An iconic standoff during the final stages of the November Revolution, that eventually resulted in the end of the Third Republic.

Under Allied oversight, the Second Republic focused on normalizing Zhenia’s stance within the international community and the post-war rebuilding of Zhenia, despite continued political unrest and rebound from the Western-educated elites of the nation. The Second Republic was eventually short-lived with the eruption of the Second Zhenian Civil War from 1549 to 1550, a civil war that eventually restored a unitary political system under the now-reinstated RZDF leaders. The Third Republic was established as a result of the civil war and subsequent re-elections, effectively ending the Second Republic’s decentralized rule throughout Zhenia. Under Kim Shimin’s leadership, the Third Republic renegotiated with the Allies for Zhenia’s reentry into the international community including Zhenian rearmament, which was clarified with the Treaty of Jinhae in 1551. Amid normalized relations, Zhenia saw an era of economic resurgence and rearmament spurred by changing geopolitical circumstances, all while enforcing the Third Republic's rule through political repression of its opponents. Despite the regime's accomplishments in the nation's infrastructure, including a nationwide expressway and high-speed rail network, as well as the fundamentals of economic development, Kim Shimin received criticism as a military dictator. Economic stagnation and maladministration in the early to mid-1560s resulted in social unrest and eventually nationwide protests calling for the end of the Third Republic, which was met with suppressive actions from the government. The cycle repeated until in 1569, when the November Revolution ended in nationwide rallies causing the Third Republic to end.

The Third Republic was replaced with the establishment of the Fourth Republic, formed primarily by politicians and activists who had led the November Revolution to success. The Constitution was once again revised, eliminating the authoritarian characteristics that were existent during the Third Republic. A detente with nearby states, most notably Niunkuet, was also achieved in the Fourth Republic, while it continued much of the economic development drive initiated since the Third Republic.

Geography

Zhenia has a vast and diverse landscape, ranging from the arid Daeseo and Shingang Deserts to the northwest to the subtropical rainforests to the southeast and temperate coastal regions to the east. In the Zhenian mainland, the Cheonsan Mountains separates the arid west from the temperate plains to the east. Numerous rivers, some of which are among the world's longest, originate from the Cheonsan Mountains and traverse the nation's mainland, mostly ending at the West Hanmaric Ocean. The nation's eastern seaboard along the Golden Arch is home to one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with the area alone accounting for over a half of the nation's population. Unlike the mainland, which consists primarily of the Central Zhenian Plains, the Danguk Peninsula is mostly mountainous and covered in forests, with the Bukdu Mountains running through the backbone of the peninsula. Zhenia has over 14,000 kilometers of coastline facing the Golden Arch and the West Hanmaric Ocean.

Landscape and Climate

 
Map of Zhenia with its climates classified by the Koppen classification method.

The territory of Zhenia exists between latitudes 22.2° and 53.6° N, and longitudes 90.3° and 129.9° E. The landscape of Zhenia varies greatly across its territory, despite the general tendency of western Zhenia being higher in elevation and lower in humidity than central and eastern Zhenia. Much of central Zhenia consists of alluvial and flood plains - the combined subset of which are known as the Central Zhenian Plains - which are traversed by numerous eastbound rivers, most notably the Taimir and Weisu rivers. Western Zhenia is characterized by major mountain ranges, such as the Cheonsan Mountains, Taiqihar and Sochihar ranges, as well as plateaus. Northern Zhenia is mainly characterized by the existence of the North Zhenian Plains along the Baekryong River, although the Shingang and Daeseo Deserts, as well as surrounding steppe regions, encompass most of northwestern Zhenia. Warmer parts of southern Zhenia are characterized by hills and forests, with part of it overlapping with the Central Zhenian Plains and the Taimir River basin. The Danguk Peninsula is an east-high-west-low peninsula in terms of topography, with the Bukdu Mountains running closer to the east of the peninsula, with coastal plains separating the mountains from the Hanmaric. The Haedong Islands, formed as a result of historical volcanic and seismic activity dating back millions of years ago, is mostly mountainous and igneous in nature. The nation's highest point, Mount Tanchelungar (8,782.8 m), is situated at the heart of the Cheonsan Mountains, while its lowest point is Lake Sagyeong (-87 m), situated at the Dragon Valley area.

Climate and precipitation patterns throughout Zhenia also varies greatly from region to region due to the variety in terrain and latitude. Both mainland Zhenia and the Danguk peninsula are significantly influenced by the yearly cycle of dry seasons and wet monsoons, created by different seasonal winds; high-altitude northern winds, usually dominant in the winter, result in cold, dry weather throughout most of Zhenia, while the low-altitude southeastern winds from the Hanmaric Ocean dominate the summer months, resulting in hot and moist summers. Due to the influence of monsoon cycles, most of the nation receives significant portions of its annual precipitation in the summer months. Parts of western and northern Zhenia tend to be less influenced by the cycle of seasonal winds; dry continental winds from Central Tarsis tend to dominate, resulting in an overall cold, dry climate throughout most of the year and hot, dry summers. Extreme weather can be observed seasonally, evident by the existence of typhoons originating from southeastern seas to the occasional yellow dust phenomena observed in the arid western regions.

A major environmental issue in Zhenia is regarding its desertification occurring in its northwest and western regions, particularly around the Daeseo and Shingang Deserts. Although nationwide efforts to curb the growth of deserts, such as the formation of barrier tree lines and the implementation of more sustainable farming practices, have indeed showed meaningful decreases in sandstorm frequency and desert expansion, extended droughts in western Zhenia has failed to altogether halt desert expansion. There are speculations that around 2,000 km2 of steppe land are lost to deserts each year, with the rate of desertification set to further increase amid worsening drought conditions in western Zhenia.

Wildlife and environment

 
The Haedong eagle is one of the species considered native to Zhenia.

Situated at the crossroads of some of the world's most diverse ecozones, Zhenia is considered to be a megadiverse nation. Zhenia is said to be home to around 28,000 species of animals and vascular plants a considerable portion of which are native to Zhenia; the Haedong Islands alone are home to over 1,200 species of flowering plants that are found in very few quantities outside the archipelago. Zhenia is home to at least 450 species of mammals, 1,143 species of birds, 367 species of reptiles and 258 species of amphibians, while over 77,100 species of insects have been confirmed to exist in the nation.

The Ministry of the Environment oversees all environmental matters in the nation, including the maintenance of all of the nation's 1,659 nature reserves that cover around 19.4% of the nation's territory, as well as the protection of the nation's 677 endangered species both in the wild and in captivity. Alongside the National Panel for Climate and Ecology, it is also the governmental ministry primarily responsible for the nation's policies concerning environmental controversies, including its policies on nuclear energy, dealing with water and air pollution, as well as Zhenia's response to global warming and regional climate change that has led to significant changes in the nation's ecology as a whole.

Politics

Zhenia is a unitary semi-presidential republic as clarified in the Constitution in 1569 AC. Since its reinstatement shortly after the November Revolution, the Constitution serves as the superior legal document of the Republic of Zhenia, upholding the separation of powers and the formation of government within the nation. Although its core principles remain more or less the same since its initial iteration in 1499 AC, numerous amendments were made to the Constitution; as of 1609, there have been 21 of such amendments since the Constitution's initial draft in 1499, at an attempt to reflect changes in political circumstances over the years.

Government

Chancellor Lee Saemin, serving since January 1, 1608.
Premier Kim Junghun, serving since January 1, 1608.
 
Daeseong Palace, residence and office of the Chancellor.
 
National Parliament Hall, where both houses of the Parliament gather.

Zhenia is ruled by a unitary government operating under a democratic system. In accordance to the Constitution, the government is divided into four separate branches - the bicameral legislative branch consisting of the Parliament of the Republic of Zhenia; the executive branch; the judicial branch, consisting of the Zhenian justice system; and the examination branch, consisting of the Jungchuwon.

The Executive Branch is led by the Chancellor, directly elected by a popular vote to serve a maximum of four five year terms. The Chancellor also serves as the head of state and commander-in-chief of the Republic of Zhenia Defense Forces. Although the day-to-day operations of the executive branch as a whole have been transferred to the Premier, the Chancellor retains the right to appoint ministers, secretaries and other members of the Executive Branch as well as the right to veto decisions from the executive and legislative branches, in theory serving up to three five-year terms. The Chancellor also directly commands a number of governmental organizations, including the National Department of Security and the Board of Inspection. The Premier, on the other hand, is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Executive Branch and the Cabinet and is the de facto head of the administration. Appointment of the Premier is done through the Parliament after its general elections: thus, the Premier is commonly the head of the majority party in the Parliament. Unlike the Chancellor, the Premier can in theory serve unlimited terms as long as he is elected.

The Legislative Branch, symbolized by the Parliament of the Republic, is bicameral, consisting of the Sangseowon (Zhenian: 상서원/上書院) and the National Assembly (Zhenian: 국회/國會) respectively. Assemblymen in the Sangseowon can serve up to ten four-year terms as long as they are elected; each province-level district is represented by five Sangseowon assemblymen, thereby forming a total of 170 Sangseowon assemblymen. Members of the National Assembly are elected according to the National Electoral Districts in mind; representatives from such National Electoral Districts constitute 575 of the representatives, while 325 more are decided in accordance to proportional representation assigned by the percentage of votes on participating political parties on a separate ballot list, thereby forming the National Assembly with 900 assemblymen. Assemblymen can serve up to five four-year terms as long as they are elected.

The Judicial Branch of Zhenia is responsible for the interpretation of the Constitution, laws and decrees, while it also oversees administrative suits and public functionaries. It consists of the supreme court, the Constitutional Court, regional appellate courts, local/municipal courts and subsidiary units, all of which are under the jurisdiction of the National Judiciary. Local/municipal courts, regional appellate courts and the Supreme Court respectively form the three levels of the Zhenian justice system, with one case being able to be evaluated at court up to three times, one for each level. Constitutional courts, since its establishment in 1979, oversees constitutional disputes and regulates political activities of various political agents in Zhenian politics.

The existence of the Jungchuwon as the examination branch within Zhenia's political system is in respect of public examination systems in pre-modern Zhenian history. It is in charge of the selection of all civil servants and public officials in the government, as well as overseeing the operation of the nation's bureaucratic system - it manages the National Civil Service Examination (NCSE), required for entry into all civil servants and bureaucrats.

Law and law enforcement

 
A police vehicle under the National Police Agency, found in Chungmu Province.
 
Riot control often falls under the level of the NPA.

Zhenia uses a civil legal system, in which law arises primarily from written statutes rather than existing customs. It is the duty of the Judiciary Branch to interpret the law to the situation rather than to make it. Initial iterations of the law were laid in the Code of Jinhwa during the Empire of Zhenia: since then, the baseline of law, in which the laws merely prohibit socially negative actions, has been maintained. A legal hierarchy, with the Constitution on top, followed by laws, statutes, national administrative orders and regional orders has also been maintained since the Empire of Zhenia.

In practice, Zhenian law can be primarily divided into two categories - public law and private law. Public law handles the relationship between the state and the individual, as well as the relationship among various parts of the state - for such reasons, it consists mostly of the Constitution. Private law, on the other hand, specifies the relations among the people of Zhenia, including both civil law and criminal law as well as administrative law. Most legal cases belonging to private law are examined by the Common Court. Despite the prevalence of Zhenian Wuism, its law, among other religious laws, has not been recognized in any administrative area in Zhenia and is strictly prohibited beyond the realm of the temple; freedom of religion is held sacrosanct through both the Constitution and supporting legislation.

A notable feature in the Zhenian justice system is the existence of the Constitutional Court (Zhenian: 헌법재판소). Consisting of twelve justices, with each governmental branch being able to nominate and appoint three to achieve complete judicial neutrality from other governmental bodies, the Constitutional Court examines the constitutionality of the legislation in question, as well as prosecute legal actions that go against the state and veto bills that are deemed unconstitutional. The Constitutional Court also decides on the priority of two or more laws that collide, using the principles of the Constitution as a standard of judgement.

Law enforcement in Zhenia is handled in two general levels - national and local. The former is primarily done by the National Police Agency (NPA), which normally handles law enforcement spanning over at least two province-level administrative areas and law enforcement against national security threats, such as terrorist threats and mass shootings. Alongside the National Police Agency, it is the National Department of Security (NDS) that is often involved in such incidents that are deemed a threat to national security, while it also retains the highest level of command in such law enforcement situations - in normal circumstances, the National Police Agency primarily handles law enforcement. Local-level law enforcement, forming the lower echelons of Zhenian law enforcement, is a part of the National Police Agency and consists of local police agencies, usually starting at the form of province-level subdivisions. Due to administrative differences, the Haedong Special Administrative Region has a prefecture-level police department instead of having its own provincial police department; while the prefecture police departments handle more day-to-day matters of law enforcement, the National Police Agency steps up to take more roles in the special administrative region in particular.

Administrative subdivisions

The Republic of Zhenia is divided into 30 provinces, two metropolitan municipalities and one special city. The 33 provincial-level administrative divisions form the highest level of administrative divisions in the nation. Politically, provincial-level administrative divisions are equally assigned 5 representatives in the Sangseowon, while representatives in the National Assembly are assigned proportionate to the population of said administrative division. All 33 province-level administrative divisions can be categorized into one of Zhenia's five geographical regions - the Danguk Peninsula (often referred to as Eastern Zhenia), Northern Zhenia, Central Zhenia, Western Zhenia and Southern Zhenia. All province-level administrative areas are assigned top-level provincial code numbers in accordance to such classification, with the numbers starting from Daedo Special City in the Danguk Peninsula and terminating at Heuksu Province in Western Zhenia.

Each province-level administrative areas are then divided into 'prefectures' (Zhenian: 부/府) and 'independent cities' (Zhenian: 자유시/自由市), although the former tends to be more common. Prefectures consist of counties and municipalities, while independent cities in principle only consist of municipalities. Counties and municipalities are ultimately divided into smaller subdivisions known as 'districts' (Zhenian: 구/區), as well as neighborhoods, townships and villages each referred to with the suffix '-dong' (Zhenian: 동/洞), '-myeon' (Zhenian: 면/面) and '-ri' (Zhenian: 리/里) respectively. The political structure of prefectures and independent cities serve as regional components of province-level politics, which are in turn governed by the Provincial Assembly and the Provincial Executive Branch.

 DaedoJinhaeChanganGyeongin ProvinceGwanseo ProvinceNamhae ProvinceGwandong ProvinceHaedong ProvinceGyeongcheon ProvinceSonghwa ProvinceJinmun ProvinceSeondan ProvinceHamwon ProvinceDonghae South ProvinceDonghae North ProvinceBukhae ProvinceLoongan ProvinceGilim ProvinceOnmu ProvinceSonggang ProvinceGamju ProvinceBukhwa ProvinceMacheon ProvinceNamhwa ProvinceAnpyeong ProvinceChangbaek ProvinceImhae ProvinceBalhae ProvinceTaehwa ProvinceDonggwang ProvinceSeogwang ProvinceShingang ProvinceHeuksu Province
Administrative subdivision Capital Population (2020) Administrative subdivision Capital Population (2020) Administrative subdivision Capital Population (2020)
Daedo N/A 23,617,281 Seondan Danju 12,839,719 Macheon Magok 26,147,288
Jinhae N/A 15,164,561 Hamwon Hamju 8,717,562 Namhwa Samjinpo 35,174,716
Changan N/A 12,961,532 Donghae South Cheongan 9,334,724 Anpyeong Cheonju 23,167,377
Gyeongin Ariul 40,891,458 Donghae North Songtan 4,914,799 Changbaek Seokmun 13,028,473
Gwanseo Jeonju 12,115,482 Bukhae Bukju 6,595,285 Imhae Namgyeong 27,681,658
Namhae Jin-Nampo 17,316,142 Loongan Solbin 10,482,466 Donggwang Hamun 35,104,727
Gwandong Ulju 4,891,754 Gilim Gilju 16,362,733 Seogwang Jungsan 23,817,462
Haedong Dongdo 5,691,462 Onmu Muju 3,184,174 Balhae Gamman 48,510,891
Gyeongcheon Hanju 8,385,184 Songgang Songak 15,085,728 Taehwa Taeju 28,718,527
Songhwa Hwaju 25,518,249 Gamju Gamcheon 6,014,427 Shingang Seosan 4,809,348
Jinmun Mundo 34,301,485 Bukhwa Hanam 32,278,819 Heuksu Jangsan 3,673,017


Foreign Relations

Zhenia has maintained foreign relations with most independent states in Themys. Zhenia is regarded as a great power in terms of international outlook, being an active and influential figure on the international stage.

Zhenia is also well-known for its active participation in international organizations. It is one of the key members of the World Concordat, as well as the founding member of the Pan-Hanmaric Treaty Organization, the Hanmaric Association for Economic Development and the Tarsis Economic Cooperation Association.

Military

 
The ZF-33 Black Eagle has been at service in the Republic of Zhenia Air Force and Navy since 1604 as the services' key air element.
 
The Balhae-class attack submarines are a core component of the Republic of Zhenia Navy's forward offensive doctrine.

The Republic of Zhenia Defense Forces is the the military primarily in charge of the defense of Zhenia and its interests. With a total of around 1.4 million active troops, it is one of the largest standing military forces in the world. The Republic of Zhenia Defense Forces consist of four major branches - the Republic of Zhenia Army, the Republic of Zhenia Navy, the Republic of Zhenia Air Force and the Republic of Zhenia Strategic Forces. With a military expenditure of around $320.3 billion as of 1610 AC, it also has one of the highest military budgets by a single nation in the world, although its military expenditures-GDP ratio is around 2.9%. The Defense Forces is nominally commanded by the Chancellor, the head of state, although in practice the command structure is led by the Minister of Defense as well as Joint Chiefs of Staff in the respective military services, all of which are ultimately appointed by the Chancellor.

Military service in Zhenia has been voluntary since the November Revolution, although the Ministry of Defense retains the right to conscription during wartime; for such reasons, all Zhenian citizens and permanent residents aged between 19 and 35 are annually tested for the National Military Fitness Assessment. Officers in the Republic of Zhenia Defense Forces are normally selected through the cadet program in the nation's military academies or through further training of selected soldiers in numerous non-commissioned officer academies in the nation, both of which take at least 3 years of education and extensive military training. The Republic of Zhenia Defense Forces also has a path open for foreign nationals to serve in its forces and ultimately acquire Zhenian citizenship or permanent residentship depending on the years they serve in the military, through a system known as the Republic of Zhenia Foreign Legion. Members of the foreign legion undergo longer training and are required to serve longer than their domestic counterparts.

Zhenia is a de facto nuclear power, with its Strategic Forces known to maintain and control almost 600 confirmed nuclear warheads within its arsenal. Its 421-ship navy is one of the largest surface navies in the world by tonnage - being home to 7 aircraft carriers and nuclear-powered submarines in the world, operating numerous nuclear-powered attack and ballistic missile submarines, completing the nation's nuclear triad. With long-range air projection capabilities and naval coverage, the Republic of Zhenia Defense Forces maintain a strong presence in the Tarsis-Hanmaric region, although its long-term objective of achieving a similar level of presence globally remains relatively distant but still on the agenda. It maintains a total of 45 major military installations outside its borders, 16 of which are hosted by more than 2,000 personnel.

In the defense industry, Zhenia is one of the largest exporters of military hardware in the world, selling almost $9 billion worth of military equipment in 1608. It has produced numerous military equipment such as the Jinmu ZF-33 Black Eagle, the KZJ-96 Chungmu main battle tank, the JKJ-90 Cheonja, the Li Shan-class aircraft carriers and the Balhae-class attack submarines among others. Parallel to such progress in the nation's military-industrial complex, the Republic of Zhenia Defense Forces has undergone massive modernization drives over the years, completing its upgrades of battlefield C3I and C4I systems in preparation of network-centric warfare as well as preparation for CBRN conditions. It has also bolstered its power projection capabilities, with a majority of new weaponry and funding going to the Navy and Air Force. It has been spearheading the world in future weapons development, working in tandem with the Jungchuwon and many national research institutes.

Demographics

 
Zhenia's population has doubled over the past 70 years, from around 290 million in 15400 to almost 600 million in 1610.
 
A map indicating Zhenia's total population distribution in 1610, indicating the high concentration of population in the Golden Arc region.

According to the 1610 census, the population of Zhenia as of June 1, 1610 is 591,171,822. Of the 591 million inhabitants constituting the Zhenian population, almost 10 million inhabitants, or about 1.7% of the total population, were foreign-born residents, while around 39.1% of such foreign-born residents having naturalized and thereby acquired Zhenian citizenship. As of 1610, Zhenia is one of the most populous nation in the world with almost 600 million inhabitants, being home to almost 20% of the entire continent's population. Its population density, measured at 131.08 people per km2, over four times the global average. Almost 50% of the population reside on what is known as the Golden Arch region, along the coasts of the Golden Arch, spanning from Balhae Province to Namhae Province.

Historically, the percentage of population increase in Zhenia from 1950 to 2010 is around 102.3%, slightly lower than the global average. Such low population increase, despite the advent of baby boomers in the 1540s and 1550s, is primarily due to extensive family planning and social birth control policies carried out by the Third Republic's Ministry of the Interior. Such successful population control policies policies resulted in the overall decrease of the fertility rate to around 2.1 by 1590, just around the population replacement rate. Since the 1590s, the Zhenian population has reached a phase of steady increase, with most of the increase being a result of immigration from developing nations in Southeast and South Tarsis.

As of 1609 AC, Zhenia has a birth rate of around 10.7 per 1,000 people and a death rate of around 8.4 per 1,000 people. Its population growth rate is positive at around 0.25% per year in 1609, with natural population growth generally stalling and foreign immigration taking up an increasing portion of the population change. The net fertility rate of Zhenian women dropped from 2.1 in 1590 to around 1.56 in 1610, mostly due to declining birth rates for young women and many ethnic minorities, although the birth rates for old women has seen a steady increase since the beginning of the century. Despite ever-diminishing total fertility rates and a rapidly aging population, Zhenia is expected to see an increase in population to 630 million by 2035, with most of the increase fueled by net immigration; the percentage of foreign-born residents in Zhenia is set to increase from 2% in 2020 to 3.5% by 2035.

Zhenia is home to one of the highest average life expectancies of the world, at 82.1 as of 1609, with the average life expectancy of women 2.8 years longer than that of men. The median age in Zhenia is 37.9, although it is set to increase to 45 by 1630, due to declining fertility rates and the rapid aging of the baby boomers. As of 1609, around 9.7% of Zhenians today are ages 65 or older, making Zhenia an aging society; there are, however, projections that Zhenia will become an aged society by 1616, when Zhenians aged 65 and older are expected to constitute around 13.5% of the population.

Urbanization

Since the advent of industrialization during the Imperial Zhenia, Zhenia has seen rapid urbanization and increased movement into its cities. As of 1610, around 84.4% of the nation's entire population lived in urban areas - a trend that is set to continue to increase amid further industrial growth. Despite attempts to curb the speed of urban expansion and restrict the formation of urban sprawls through the introduction of green belts throughout the 16th century, many have been reverted in recent years in the wake of suburban development and new towns. With high-density urban redevelopment being the trend of development in recent years, combined with relatively lax floor-area ratio regulations and limited land available for real estate, urban areas of many Zhenian cities tend to be filled with high-density residential and commercial areas.

At the prefectural level, there are a total of 75 cities that are home to over 1 million residents. 17 of such cities have a population of over 5 million, but only four cities - Daedo, Changan, Jinhae and Bakhan - are home to over 1 million residents. Among them, Daedo remains the most populous city as a whole, with over 23.6 million residents living within city limits. It also forms the largest metropolitan area in the nation, with the Greater Capital Area, which includes not only Daedo but also significant portions of central Gyeongin Province and southern sections of Songhwa Province, is home to a combined total of over 39 million residents. There are other metropolitan areas found throughout the nation, including the Taimir Delta Megalopolis around Jinhae and Balhae Province and the Jungwei Metropolitan Area centered around Bakhan and adjoining cities along the Weisu River.



Ethnicity

Ethnic Groups of Zhenia
Ethnicity Percentage
Dan
50.5%
Wei
36.9%
Yemeg
4.5%
Balakhaat
4.4%
Haedong
1.2%
Other
2.6%

Zhenia, as a whole, is an ethnically diverse nation, with no single ethnic group overall maintaining a significant majority in the nation overall. The single largest ethnic group within the nation today is the Dan people, whose ancestors originate from the Danguk Peninsula and northeastern Zhenia, constituting around 50.54% of the nation's population as of 1610. Traditionally, Wei Zhenians, a subdivision of the Wei ethnic group across East Tarsis, historically constituted the majority of Zhenia's population in the mainland: however, foreign migration amid and after the Wars of Zhenian Unification as well as changing demographic patterns since modern times have resulted in the significant decline in Wei population in Zhenia. The Wei, having been dwarfed by Dan Zhenians in the nation in 1520, now constitute around 36.91% of the nation's population. Some figures, due to extensive assimilation of the two ethnic groups in recent years, categorize both the Dan and Wei people altogether as the Jin Zhenians: under this metric, the Jin Zhenians constitute a combined sum of around 87.4% of the Zhenian population, forming the single largest ethnic majority in the nation.

Although altogether accounting for a combined total of around 13 percent of the nation's population, there are also several ethnic minority groups that exist regionally throughout the nation. The Yemeg, whose ancestry originates from the semi-nomadic tribes in northern and northeastern Zhenia, constitute around 4.45% of the nation's population, or roughly 25.8 million people. The Balakhaat, who are descendants of nomadic tribes in northern and western Zhenia but are genetically distinct from the Yemeg, constitute around 4.3% of the nation's population. Unlike the Dan or Wei, Yemeg and Balakhaat populations tend to be clustered in northern Zhenia, with the Yemeg and Balakhaat often forming a majority in the nation's northern provinces. The Haedong people, originating from the Haedong Islands in the eastern edge of Zhenia, account for around 1.19% of the nation's population, or around 7 million people; a vast majority of them reside in the Haedong Islands and the nation's eastern seaboard, although smaller diasporas exist throughout many of the nation's cities. The remaining 2.55% of the nation's residents constitute of smaller ethnic minorities clustered in smaller regions throughout Zhenia, as well as foreign-born immigrants and naturalized citizens. As of 1611, the Government of Zhenia recognizes a total of 49 ethnic minority groups - aside from the five largest groups and those with a population of over 200,000 - as existent throughout the nation, a figure not including the nationality and ethnicity of foreign-born immigrants and citizens in the nation.

Language

There are over 200 living languages spoken in Zhenia; of such languages, the most commonly spoken languages are part of the Zhenic branch of the Zhenian language family, which contains Standard Zhenian (often simply referred to as "Zhenian") and many Zhenian dialects, including the Seoan and Haedong dialects. Many ethnic minorities in the nation retain their respective languages in Zhenia to this day, although not necessarily as their first language: most of the Wei in Zhenia speak the Wei language as their first language; the Yemeg and Balakhaat speak their respective Altaic languages including Yemegese, Balruvan and Balakhaat; ethnic minorities in central and southern inland Zhenia speak languages belonging to the Tai-Kadai family, including Guang and Hua; Haedong Zhenians primarily speak Haedongese to this day, a distant dialect derived from the Dongdan dialect of the Zhenian language.

As the first language of over 63% of Zhenia's current population, Zhenian has risen to become the single official national language in Zhenia, being used as the lingua franca between Zhenians with various linguistic backgrounds. Significant regional differences are observed in the Zhenian language: the Seoan dialect, with significant influences from the Wei language, is predominant in the mainland, where the Wei remain a dominant majority, while more and more Zhenians tend to speak the Seodan and Dongdan dialects as one goes east. While Standard Zhenian has its roots on the Seodan dialect spoken in the western Danguk Peninsula, other dialects are comprehensively recognized as Zhenian to this day.

The status of the Wei language in the mainland has met significant challenges throughout history in maintaining its status as the primary language of the mainland. Despite being the primary language among mainland dynasties for millennia, it came under attack after Zhenian unification in the 15th century, when it was denounced as the region's primary language and the education of the language itself banned at one point during the Empire of Zhenia. While education of the language was allowed later in the early 16th century under the Republic, the status of Wei had been crippled significantly by then; Standard Zhenian, amid aggressive assimilation policies by the Empire, had already consolidated itself as the nation's official language by the end of the 15th century. More inclusive policies towards the Wei were implemented after the Second Great War as well as Zhenian democratization after the November Revolution, when the Wei language was elevated to a national language, above most regional languages but below the official language. The Wei language remains one of the most commonly-spoken languages among common Zhenians in the mainland, although they are not as used as Standard Zhenian in official contexts.

Seomun, a writing system with its roots on ideograms during the Zhen dynasty, has historically been the primary written script for languages in Zhenia for centuries, allowing for communication between Zhenians with different linguistic backgrounds via writing. However, Jinmun has risen as the primary modern Zhenian script and is recognized as the primary script. Education of Seomun, however, remained in Zhenian society well after the adaptation of Jinmun as the nation's official script, due to its widespread usage as well as it remaining the primary script of the Wei language. In practice today, Seomun and Jinmun are often marked alongside one another in public signs, text announcements in public locations and media, although the Jinmun is usually prioritized in marking the script. Although Jinmun can and is also used frequently to write other languages used in Zhenia, many regional languages, including Yemeg and Balakhaat retain their indigenous writing scripts, while Seomun remains the primary script in which the Wei language is written.

Religion

Religion in Zhenia
Religion Percentage
Zhenian Wuism
61.4%
Atheism/Irreligion
26.3%
Oriental Vayonism
6.7%
Church of Wolmyeong
2.5%
Other local faiths
3.1%

Zhenia is formally a secular nation, with its Constitution clarifying the separation of church and government, while the freedom of religion held sacrosanct as a constitutional right. Therefore, its constitution does not state an official religion of the state; the government itself has no formal ties with any religion whatsoever. Among the Zhenian populace, however, Zhenian Wuism remains the predominant religion: despite the recent rise in atheism, 61.4% of Zhenian citizens have identified themselves as followers of Zhenian Wuism according to the 1610 AC census. An increasing percentage of Zhenians are avowedly atheist or have expressed themselves as irreligious, now constituting around 26.3% of the population: irreligion is strongest in the western Danguk Peninsula, which was traditionally dominated by Zhenian Wuism. Oriental Vayonism, a tract of Vayonism that had existed since Zhenian-Auroran interactions during the 19th century, maintains a considerable hold in the nation, being followed by over 6% of the nation's entire population. The Church of Wolmyeong, a derivative of Wuism formally declared heretic by most tracts of Zhenian Wuism, also constitutes around 2.5% of the population, primarily in southern and western provinces. Numerous local faiths, primarily followed by ethnic minorities, persist in smaller pockets across the nation.

Health

 
University of Daedo Medical Center, one of the largest and most prestigious medical centers in the nation.

Healthcare is universal in Zhenia, provided through the insurance system of the National Health Service including basic healthcare, diagnosis and financial support for sudden medical needs. The National Health Service covers a part of the medical costs to keep medical services affordable to the average Zhenian, while also covering up to 60% of medical fees for low income households. State-owned hospitals, operated by the National Health Service, retain an autonomy in their decisions, despite being owned by the government. In providing financial support on medical care, the National Health Service analyzes the need of each family on a needs-tested basis. Apart from the National Health Services, healthcare insurance can also be additionally provided through private insurance companies; the more expensive the insurance or service is, the higher the care is in quality. While a considerable portion of hospitals and medical centers are privatized, the establishment of for-profit hospitals remain prohibited in the nation.

The average life expectancy of Zhenia is around 82.2 years - 80.5 for men and 83.9 for women. With continuous investments in public infrastructure and basic sanitation since the 15th century, Zhenia has been able to provide access to improved water and sanitation facilities. As of 1609 AC, the leading causes of death in Zhenia were cancer, cerebrovascular disease, hypertensive diseases, suicide and liver disease, with cerebrovascular and hypertensive diseases becoming rising causes of death among older populations. Suicide in particular has been a pressing issue in the health of Zhenians, with many pointing the competitive social sentiment as a key reason behind such phenomenon.

Welfare

Traditionally, various entities in Zhenia has valued the welfare of the people as a major component upholding the rule of the ruling class; the motto of the Republic, "Liberty, Democracy and the Liberty of the People", elevated this notion of welfare to an official level, to the degree of one of the three pillars mandating the Union's existence. Hence, it has been regarded as the duty of those in power to open the ways for even the most unfortunate of Zhenian society to get by, through an array of different methods, although the policy since the Third and Fourth Republics has been reformulated around a self-saving basis with occasional state intervention.

While social welfare is currently covered both by government and private companies, much of the social welfare effort in Zhenia had been centered around medical care and financial support for the ill, disabled and the old; the Third Republic introduced social safety nets for the unfortunate and the unemployed, becoming the fundamentals of the National Social Support system still functioning today. Recent efforts in the nation's welfare system has been geared towards devising more sophisticated pension and insurance systems as well as increasing medical coverage for the nation's aging population, as previously solid notions of traditional support within the family has been weakening for welfare recipients.

Social welfare spending in Zhenia over the years has increased dramatically, taking up almost 15% of the national budget as of FY1609. The unemployed and the bottom 5% of the income tier are eligible to receive official aid from the government, although the former can receive such for up to a four-month period; in return, the government offers numerous programs that link governmental aid to employment, in accordance to the principle of self-saving. All Zhenian employees, registered in the National Social Support System, are eligible for governmental post-retirement pensions given by the National Pension Service under the National Sovereign Wealth Fund after their adjusted retirement age of 70. There have, however, been proposals to expand the National Sovereign Wealth Fund to merge services with National Social Support as a whole and offer more comprehensive financial support to the unfortunate, as well as expand the fund's services into a form of universal basic income.

Since 1549, the Government of Zhenia has mandated every Zhenian employee to put aside a minimum of 12% of their after-tax salaries into a government-designated savings account, while the percentage is 10% for employers; the funds gathered from such savings, are invested as a part of the National Sovereign Wealth Fund and its savings and returns, under a lifelong payment scheme that normally comes in hand with employment, used to guarantee affordable medical healthcare nationwide in tandem with the National Health Service, as well as funding for the nation's post-retirement pension scheme.

Education

 
The University of Jinhae, founded by Emperor Seongjo in 1859, is one of the first public universities outside the Danguk Peninsula. Zhenia today is home to hundreds of public universities as well as private institutions.
 
The University of Daedo at Sudo-gu district, home to its Medical Campus, is one of the most prestigious institutes in the nation.

The education system of Zhenia is widely regarded as one of the best and most rigorous in the world. It is one of the top-performing nations in the world in reading comprehension, math and sciences, and has one of the highly educated workforce in the world. Zhenian society in general is known for its feverish outlook on education, coining the term "Zhenian fever": educational success and academic achievement are widely regarded as crucial to one's socioeconomic success in the nation as a whole. Academic success within the education system frequently becomes a source of pride for not only individuals but also families and within the society itself in general. A vast majority of Zhenians view education as the main propeller of social ascendancy for themselves and their family as a gateway to the Zhenian middle and upper class. Graduating from a top university in Zhenia is the ultimate marker of prestige, high socioeconomic status, promising marriage prospects, and a respectable career path. An average Zhenian child's life revolves around education as academic success is indoctrinated among them from an early age. Overall, competition for the most selective institutions in the nation is fierce, with many students being part of intensive tutoring to supplement classes to gain a competitive academic edge in the process. While such educational pressure has indeed resulted in academic and national success of Zhenia, it has also brought about social side effects, such as the highest youth suicide rate in developed nations.

Education for primary and secondary levels are directly supported by the government, while tertiary education is partially supported and is optional. Primary and secondary levels are predominantly government-funded, although recent years has seen a surge in private secondary schools across the nation. All institutions, both public and private, are subject to the registering system maintained by the Department of Education for national-scale management of institutional management and educational curriculum formation. Regardless of ethnicity, Zhenian is the language in which a bulk of the curriculum is laid out; only a number of selected International Schooling Institutes (ISI) - primary and secondary schools mostly open for foreigners and foreign-born students in Zhenia - are allowed to choose a language other than Zhenian upon which the curriculum will be laid out.

State-funded education, takes place in both primary and secondary levels, both of which have been compulsory for all Zhenian citizens since 1901. All schools in Zhenia start their school year in March and end the following February. Primary education, which a child is required to begin around ages 6 and 7, consists of six years of primary school, the curriculum of which focuses on the development of Zhenian, mathematics, science, history, English and Classic Zhenian. Secondary school, divided by three years of intermediate school and three years of high school, lasts for a total of six years. Almost all secondary schools are classified as one of the four following categories: Academic, Technical, Special and Autonomous. Classes in secondary school are more specialized than those in primary school, as they are assigned to each student through rigid examination of a student's academic and technical level. A number of selected schools are designated as 'Autonomous Schools' and retain the right to design their own curriculum, independent from almost all of the governmental guidelines.

With the exception of a number of specialized institutes, nationwide standardized exams are mandatory across all schools, private or public, taken at the last year of each school level. The Secondary Scholastic Ability Test (SSAT: 중등학업능력평가), taken at the end of the sixth year of primary school, is a deciding factor for a student's entrance and assignment into intermediate school. At the end of the three years of intermediate school, the Academic Aptitude Test-I (AAT-A: 학문적성평가-I), which functions as a critical factor in the decision of the student's high school, is taken; the subsequent Academic Aptitude Test-II (AAT-II: 학문적성평가-II) exams are taken at the last year of high school, the scores of which are considerably factored into university admissions at the same period. Among non-student Zhenians 15 and above, about 16% has passed the AAT-I at the highest level, while only 4.5% had done the same in the AAT-II exams.

Tertiary education exists mostly at the form of public and private universities across the nation. Like primary and secondary education, the National and Provincial Governments provide direct funding to National and Provincial Universities, which account for around 45% of all universities in the nation as of 1609. There are more than 2,400 four-year universities in the nation, of which the University of Daedo, Changan Institute of Technology and Gaehwa University rank within the top 20 of the world. The remainder are funded by private educational foundations. As of 1609, the average tuition for National and Provincial Universities throughout the nation was around 14,000 Zhenian Won per year, although private universities may cost more than twice the amount each year. Other options for tertiary education include two-year/three-year professional/technical institutes, vocational training schools and online courses: upon graduation, diplomas from such options are accepted as 'Professional Bachelor (전문학사)'. As of 1609, roughly 57% of Zhenian citizens aged between 18 and 28 enroll in public and private universities, while about 17% of the population are in the professional and technical institutes.

Economy

 
Daedo's Financial District, alongside Shin Daedo, is a leading financial hub in not just Tarsis but the world.

A mixed post-industrial economy, the Zhenian economy is regarded as one of the largest economies in the world both by nominal GDP and purchasing power parity (PPP), with a total purchasing power parity of over $18 billion as of 1610 AC. It is considered a developed country with a high-income economy, while widely regarded as one of the most industrialized in the world. Although it has seen eras of stagnation and decline throughout history, its economic resurgence and reforms, particularly in the later half of the 20th century, propelled the nation's economy to this day. Today, it is a highly diversified player in the global economy as well as one of the largest traders in the world. It shows high industrial competitiveness throughout various fields within its manufacturing sector, while also being home to one of the world's largest retail markets, both offline and online, taking up roughly 14.9% of the world's retail market shares.

Although the economy of Zhenia has reached a postindustrial phase with the service sector (including information technology) producing roughly 67.6% of the GDP as of 1609 while manufacturing and agriculture produce 30.1% and 2.3% of the GDP respectively, Zhenia remains a key industrial power. Manufacturing remains the leading economic sector by income, whereas retail remains the largest sector by business receipts. It remains among the largest exporters and the importers in the world, as well as one of the largest single consumer markets in the world. Its labor force, as of 2020, consists of some 430 million workers, with an unemployment rate of around 3.6 percent. Around 15 percent of the population was below the poverty line as of 1609 AC.

Zhenia's main exports include transportation equipment, automobiles, semiconductors, chemicals, automated robots, satellites and aerospace equipment, with its largest trading partners being !Japan (15.6%), [[Niunkuet] (15.3%) and Florencia (14.3%) respectively. Its general pro-business attitude and low corporate tax rates, as well as its flexible labor market, make it one of the easiest nations to do business in the world. Its lively, start-up friendly environment has brought forth many unicorns in venture businesses across various industries, despite the prevalence of family-based conglomerates (chaebols) across numerous industries. Notable companies in Zhenia include the Jinmu, Hanshin, Raon, Rotunda, Paragon and PetroEast.

Agriculture, fishery and resource extraction

Although taking up a relatively small portion of the nation's economy in terms of total economic output, accounting for only 2.3% of the nation's entire GDP, Zhenia is home to one of the most robust agricultural sectors in the world. Although only around 54% of Zhenia's land is suitable for cultivation, it has historically attempted to maximize sustainable outputs by several means, including the usage of terrace systems to allow farming in more mountainous sides of the nation. Although Zhenia in theory could be self-sufficient in food production, it remains a net importer of certain commodities including most meats and maize. Some crops, including rice and wheat, are subsidized and protected by the state, with punitive tariffs protecting the profitability of domestic cooperatives over importers. Since the late 15th century AC, most of the nation's farmers, following a series of land reforms and the introduction of market-friendly policies, have organized into cooperatives to collectively produce and market their agricultural products - a number of such cooperatives have grown to be extremely successful as corporations that persist to this day.

Industry

 
Zhenia is competitive in numerous fields of its manufacturing sector, including aerospace (pictured above), motor vehicles, shipbuilding, electronics and chemical substances.

Although the core of its economy has been moving more towards the service and financial industries, manufacturing remains a competitive edge within the Zhenian economy. Because of its export-oriented economic structure, Zhenia has a large industrial capacity, being one of the largest and most technologically advanced producers of ships, aerospace equipment, motor vehicles, machinery, electronics, chemical substances, steel and processed metals. As of 1609 AC, the manufacturing sector alone comprises around 30.1% of the nation's total GDP. The nation's manufacturing output as a whole is one of the largest in the world, while similar figures could be said for overall industrial productivity.

Services and tourism

As of 1609 AC. the service sector accounts for around two-thirds of the nation's total economic output. Prominent industries in the sector include banking, finance, insurance, retailing, transportation and telecommunications, with some companies in the sector being considered the largest and most competitive in the world. Zhenia is a major banking and financial power, being home to some of the largest investment banks and insurance companies in the world. Its retail industry is also one of the largest by number of transaction and market size: its market size, coupled with superb transportation and telecommunications infrastructures, has resulted in the nation leading an array of innovations in retail delivery systems, with many retailers offering same-day deliveries throughout most of Zhenia on default.

With a total of 80 million international tourists visiting Zhenia in 1609 AC, Zhenia is ranked as one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world. The figure of 80 million excludes people staying less than 24 hours, particularly those who are transferring fights during a layover in Zhenian airports. It is also the largest in income from tourism, which now contribute to roughly 4-5% of the nation's GDP. Its vast geographic expanse, as well as its central position as the nexus of eastern Tarsis, makes it an attractive tourist destination in the region as well as the world. In terms of single cities, Daedo is the largest tourist destination in the nation, welcoming well over 20 million international visitors a year, followed by Jinhae (12.4 million) and Dongdo (12.1 million).

Science and technology

 
Space Station Cheonji in orbit. It is the largest man-made object owned by Zhenia orbiting space today.

Throughout its history, Zhenia has made considerable contribution to the world's science and technology throughout its history. Numerous scientific and technological advancements were made during dynasties in both the Danguk Peninsula and continental Zhenia alike, many of them owing to systematic and national-level support by institutions and policies dating back to Shindan. Such national-level reverence for scientific and technological advancement has continued to this day, with the Jungchuwon primarily in charge of spearheading the nation's high academia and supporting numerous research programs, both public and private. Hence, the nation has been a major contributor in the world's scientific research, making major contributions to the natural sciences and engineering through both public and private institutions.

Zhenia remains a major investor in scientific research and technological development both directly and indirectly, utilizing the nation's intellectual base for scientific and technological progress. With the Jungchuwon and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology primarily spearheading many governmental projects, Zhenia has one of the highest scientific expenditures in the world, totaling at $928.3 billion as of FY1610 AC. Numerous Zhenian scientists have won international awards in the natural and applied sciences, as well as mathematics; Zhenia is also home to the selection and awarding committee of the Dashan Awards, an international prize recognizing contributions in the scientific academia and other academic arts assessed and given by the Jungchuwon.

Numerous national universities, including the University of Daedo, Changan Institute of Technology and the National University of Ariul, as well as higher institutes directly operated by the Jungchuwon and numerous private institutions supported by the government, lead the nation's research measured by public and private grant money. Working together with the Jungchuwon and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, many research universities have under them numerous national, military and private laboratories in various fields. The Jungchuwon, in particular, is in charge of operating some of the highest levels of Zhenian academia, such as the National Institute of Science. Many of the nation's most prominent private research universities can host governmental think tanks and national research centers, many of them often operated by universities but funded and provided oversight by the Jungchuwon.

Thanks to extensive investment and support in scientific research and technological development, Zhenia's scientific and technological accomplishments span across numerous areas. It is a leading nation in computing, medical sciences, mathematics, cold fusion and high-energy particle physics. The 120-kilometer, 100 TeV large-scale hadron collider ZHCC is regarded as one of the largest particle colliders in the world, owned and operated by the Jungchuwon and the CIT. In addition, it is a major participant in the International Fusion Reactor Program, widely considered one of the world's earliest forerunners in realizing cold fusion. Zhenia has one of the largest space programs in the world to date, being home to numerous achievements in space as one of the few nations in the world that is capable of launching and retrieving indigenous extraterrestrial missions. Since 1548 AC, the nation's space program is led by the Zhenia Space Agency (ZSA), an affiliated association of the Jungchuwon. Most recently, it is the primary builder and leading operator of the Space Station Cheonji, one the largest man-made objects orbiting Themys today.

Infrastructure

Transport

 
The National Expressway network comprises one of the largest expressway networks in the world.
 
A ZNX train on the Daedo-Changan Line, in Donghae South Province.
 
Daedo Capital International Airport, serving over 100 million passengers a year, is one of the busiest airports in the world. Pictured here is Terminal 2, one of the most recent additions.

Zhenia's large investment on paved roads across the nation is evident by the existence of the vast network of the controlled-access National Expressways and limited-access national roads. Spanning a total length of over 140,000 kilometers, the two systems combined together form one of the largest expressway networks in the world, with the road covering almost every population center within the nation. Zhenia is also home to one of the world's largest automobile markets, with annual sales of passenger cars exceeding 20 million as of 2018; around 87% of Zhenian households own at least one car as of 2018, although the figure is significantly lower in densely-packed urban areas. Road transport remains one of the most common means of transport for Zhenians, handling 45.5% of all passenger movement and 21% of cargo transport nationwide.

The nationalized Zhenia National Railway Company (ZhenRail), in which the government retains a majority stake in, is responsible for a significant portion of passenger and freight rail services in Zhenia, providing frequent connection services all across the nation. As the owner of almost all of the nation's 135,000-kilometer railroads, it handles over 3.6 billion rides a year (excluding subsidiaries and urban rail networks). Subsidiaries of ZhenRail, transit companies chartered by local governments and other private railroad operators compete for rapid transit services of many major cities, such as the Daedo Metro, the Jinhae Metro and the Changan Metro. Hundreds of ZNX high-speed trains connect major cities with daily services in dedicated tracks measuring almost 20,000 kilometers in length, making it one of the most extensive high-speed rail networks in the world. Maglev trains are also set for introduction between the Daedo-Changan Line by 2030, at an attempt to relieve congestion in what is one of the busiest railroads in the world.

Being home to 361 fully-operating airports as of 1609 AC, Zhenia is one of the world's largest aviation market, serving almost 1.3 billion passengers as of 1609 AC, via both domestic and international flights. Daedo Capital International Airport and Shin Jinhae International Airport, two of the major air hubs, are well among the busiest airports in the world both by the number of flights and the passengers they serve, as well as two of the world's few airports offering flights to all six continents. While the nation's flag carrier is the partially state-owned Zhenian Airways, the nation's civil aviation industry is largely privately owned, with 3 full service carriers and 13 low-cost carriers operating under the Zhenian flag. The Zhenian aviation industry is expected to grow further amid the wave of further globalization, with projections of the industry handling 2 billion passengers by 1625 AC.

Inland water transport is also active in the nation, primarily through the Taimir River, the Central Canal of Zhenia and several other major rivers in both the mainland and the Danguk Peninsula. Although slower in speed, inland water transport remains the cheapest mode of cargo transport by price per ton/kilometer and still plays a key role in connecting inland industrial bases with coastal cities, as well as inland transport of cargo in large bulks. In terms of seaborne transport, Zhenia is home to the largest ports in the world due to its economic size, hosting 4 of the 10 largest ports in the world, with the largest two being the Port of Jinhae and Port of Gwangseong respectively.

Energy

 
Two under-construction nuclear reactors in Heuksu Province.
 
Daecheong Dam, the nation's largest hydroelectric dam, provides significant amounts of electric power into the grid with minimal greenhouse gas emissions.

Zhenia is one of the largest consumers of petroleum and natural gas, as well as the seventh-largest producer of petroleum and the ninth-largest producer of natural gas respectively. Zhenia is also home to around 12% of the world's coal reserves and around 8% of the world's coal consumption; the figure, however, is set to go down to around 5% by 2030, as the nation has ambitiously pushed forward a 'coal-exit energy plan' since the beginning of the century. A focus on increasing the percentage of nuclear power in the grid, as well as tackling wind and solar power in the northern and western parts of the nation, has been on the agenda as a part of easing the nation's dependency on fossil fuel, which includes the establishment of a 'completely coal-free power grid' by 1650 AC.

As of 1609, a majority of Zhenia's electricity demands is met by nuclear power, accounting for roughly 56.5% of the nation's energy supply with over 200 reactors across the nation. Hydroelectric dams, natural gas power stations, wind farms and other sources of electricity comprise the remaining 43.5%. All power plants and electricity supply are primarily controlled by the Zhenia National Electric Company (ZNEC), which the Government of Zhenia maintains a major stake in. Private enterprises are allowed to own power plants, generate electric power and provide electricity into the nation's power grid owned by the Zhenia National Electric Company, but in principle the Zhenia National Electric Company is the exclusive electric service provider at the end of the user: this is achieved as the Zhenia National Electric Company purchases the electricity produced by said private electric companies and supply them to the public. Other basic services, such as water supply and sewage, are also managed by public companies that are either entirely owned by the Government or are chartered and subsidized by the state.

Telecommunications

 
The headquarters of ZTC, the single largest telecommunications service company in the nation.

The Ministry of Science, Technology and Telecommunications is responsible for the development and maintenance of telecommunication networks throughout the nation, mostly done through the assignment of development funds to the private sector. With early insights into the possibility of high-speed, high-capacity communications, almost all of the nation is covered by optical fiber networks providing internet services as of 1609. Zhenia has one of the fastest internet speeds in the world as well as the highest number of internet and cell phone users, with a registered total of 500 million cellular phone users and around 600 million subscribers. Zhenia is one of the first nations in the world to have commercialized and integrated 5G communication into its telecommunications network, with the nation's first 5G services being launched in June 1, 1609.

ZTC, Jinmu Telecom and RaonNet, are three of the largest telecommunications service providers in Zhenia, with the three companies servicing a combined total of 98.8% of the nation's telecommunications network users. ZTC, the largest of the three, had around 300 million users, roughly equivalent to 52% of the nation's population. The three operators combined maintain around 3 million 4G base stations across the nation, providing some of the highest telecommunications network coverages in the world. All three companies partake in the government's Essential Telecommunications Initiative, which aims to divert some telecommunications assets to rural areas to increase internet coverage across the nation.

Zhenia is the primary participant and contributor to the Cheolian, one of the world's largest satellite navigation systems. Having been developed since the late 1980s, the system has begun offering commercial navigation services throughout Tarsis and the Hanmaric Ocean region in 1590 and later announced worldwide services on June 4, 1596. In 1600, a consortium led by ZTC and Jinmu Telecom has teamed up with space exploration company Mirae T to establish a worldwide space-based internet service network via a vast network of satellites in low earth orbit, a plan that is set to launch global service by 2025.

Culture

Architecture

Due to the vast size of its domain, architecture in Zhenia varied considerably from region to region, although retaining numerous similarities due to cultural proliferation during the Zhen dynasty. Hence, Zhenian architecture is a mix of local and other influences, made possible through the influx and outflux of various cultures throughout its history. Some common characteristics found across almost all Zhenian architecture include the adoption of bracket systems on the roofs and floors, as well as elegantly-curved, tiled roofs with lifting eaves. An emphasis on symmetry and horizontal layout, based primarily on brick and stone within a wooden framework, dominated most of the history of Zhenian architecture. Local differences, however, were also observed: northern regions and the Danguk peninsula generally feature stone-heated floors for heating in the winter seasons, while southern regions generally have bigger areas allocated to the wooden floor that serve as common areas.

Social class showed stark contrasts in classic Zhenian architecture as well - while the rich can afford more colorful roof tiles, generally pursue height in their architecture and have nature-imitating courtyards and pavilions within their homes, commoners normally resorted to using black roof tiles and simple, lower styles. Imperial Zhenian architecture in the Danguk peninsula and the mainland alike generally utilized golden roof tiles and damson walls, signifying the blessing of heaven given to the rulers. The symbolism of the four guardian animals - the phoenix, the azure dragon, the white tiger and the black tortoise. as well as the Heavenly Bird, are also widely used themes in Zhenian architecture, particularly proportionate with social class.

Zhenian architecture began to embrace more western styles of architecture since the early 19th century, resulting in the coexistence of classical Zhenian architecture and the neoclassical boom in Zhenian architecture. Public buildings built during this time, such as the Daedo Central Station, are an accurate case of Zhenian philosophy of ultimately overcoming Auroran influences and pursuing the midpoint between west and east. Following the Zhenian victory in the First Great War, however, a revival of classic Zhenian architecture, augmented with western architectural techniques, emerged; while the general layout of buildings resembled classic Zhenian buildings, the techniques and specific details of each component drifted closer to its Auroran counterparts, evident by buildings such as the National Parliament Hall. The resurgence of classic Zhenian architecture, as well as its coexistence with western styles, was a trend that continued well into the 1950s, often drawing inspiration from Auroran works and emulating them in Zhenia. It was also during this period that art deco was introduced to Zhenia from Florencia.

The Third Republic under Kim Shimin promoted brutalist architecture, suppressed art deco and state modernism, at an attempt to promote Zhenian resurgence with efficiency. The trend of brutalist architecture was eventually replaced by the dawn of neo-futurism and high-tech architecture towards the end of the 20th century, as reinforced concrete made way to reinforced steel and glass structures. Contemporary Zhenian architecture, particularly since the late 1990s, generally follow the notion of harmony in nature, integrating nearby nature into previously neo-futurist architecture - this was reinforced by the Green Buildings Act of 2004, which specified the levels of green space, energy and water self-sufficiency for all new buildings built in the nation.

The Daejin Palace in Sanggyeong clearly reflects the traditional architectural styles commonplace in the Danguk Peninsula.
The Temple of Shinmir, located near Changan, is an exemplary example of temple architecture in pre-modern Zhenia.
Junggyeong in Namhwa Province, constructed in the 8th century, was one of the largest planned cities at the time.
Plans for the National Parliament Hall in Daedo, a reinterpretation of Zhenian architecture drawing inspirations from the west.
Daedo Central Station is an exemplary reflection of the neoclassical boom in the early 20th century.
The Paragon Towers, the headquarters of the Paragon Group, is an exemplary case of contemporary postmodernist Zhenian architecture.

Art

 
The first half of the Shindan saw art depicting the daily lives of the people.

Zhenian art, also showing some cultural diversity, has undergone numerous different phases throughout its history. With much of Zhenia having been influenced by Zhenian Wuism and Faith of Pyeonggwang, early Zhenian movements tend to depict scenes from religious books, such as the the Tale of the Jinshan-gong in Zhenian Wuism. Paintings at the time were done on either paper or silk, although affluent households tended to have paintings on folding screens. Zhenian paintings at the time were drawn with brushes and colors of varying degree, with religious paintings tending to be colorful and non-religious, personal paintings tending to use a normal maximum of five colors other than black. Non-religious paintings tended to depict scenes of nature, people and landscapes in idealistic situations, as the Faith of Pyeonggwang believed that art was a way of approaching the ideals of the world - a predominant trend in Zhenian art that lasted until the Shindan dynasty.

While luxurious, decorative and idealistic art saw a golden age in most of mainland Zhenia, Zhenian paintings started to deviate from idealistic, picturesque scenes and into more realistic, daily lives of the people starting from the first half of the Shindan dynasty. Such artistic movements were spearheaded by artists such as Hyosang Lee. The same artists led move ments to depict actual landscapes as opposed to text-described versions in their work as well. Western styles, techniques and materials were introduced in Zhenian art during the second half of the Shindan dynasty, with more colorful techniques and light-tracking impressionist methods ultimately forming schools of artistic thought known as Zhenian Impressionism. Western art techniques have been widely employed to create a trend of Zhenian Realism, involving the depiction of realistic landscape and nature as opposed to previously idealistic depictions of the same subject. More avant-garde western artistic styles have since then coexisted with traditional Zhenian art ever since, although it has been traditional Zhenian art that has been more popular among collectors.

Like paintings, early Zhenian sculptures truly started from primarily bronze or marble sculptures depicting human beings and scenes, particularly those related to Zhenian Wuism. Large sculptures depicting humans, deities and other immortal religious beings were built at temples and public areas. Later, sculptures were used to depict immortalized figures for memorials, using stone and metals other than bronze for artistic diversity. The dawn of the modern age in sculpture started with the introduction of abstract sculptures, starting in the mid-1510s AC.

Modern Zhenian art since the 16th century AC has been characterized by an era of cubism, surrealism, dadaism and other avant-garde styles, while merges between western and Zhenian art techniques have been attempted by several artists. Abstract art has also seen light in Zhenia, primarily with existing themes being modified into abstract art, which had been hailed as a philosophical response to the chaotic nature of the modern world. The introduction of new artistic movements from the west in the early 16th century AC, as well as the rise of both photography and film, has resulted in the surge of Zhenian Dynamicism, which focuses on capturing the dynamic nature of the subject rather than the accurate depiction of the picture itself. Owing to extensive industrialization as well as the development of new media in the modern day, numerous artistic experiments in pop art and digital art had been made, opening an array of artistic potential previously unobserved.

Cuisine

 
Namgyeong Pork, one of the best-known pork dishes in Balhae cuisine.

Although showing considerable variation from region to region, Zhenian cuisine is generally centered around rice, vegetables and meats, or fish in coastal regions. Although stir-fried versions are also observed in some regions, Zhenian grained rice is frequently steam-cooked and served with an assorted set of side dishes alongside broth or soup. Inland regions tend to have a variety of soy-based ingredients (such as tofu alongside meat-based ingredients and flavorings in their cuisine, while the more coastal areas see fish-related ingredients and seafood-derived seasonings more common. Usage of often fermented spices and sauces, such as red pepper paste, is very common across all of Zhenia, although the custom mostly originated in the Danguk peninsula and central Zhenia. Zhenian food is normally eaten with long metal or wooden chopsticks and spoons, often used in tandem.

Among the major cuisines of the nation, four of them are often regarded as the best - Danguk, Balhae, Bukhwa and Seogwang. Each major cuisine in the nation has its own characteristics. While Danguk cuisine is normally dominated by the extensive usage of fermented spices and sauces as well as generally hot, spicy tastes, Balhae cuisine is also well-known for its generally sweet, spicy and intense tastes. Bukhwa cuisine is well-characterized by its generally sweet taste, deep-fried culinary methods and variance in its ingredients, whereas Seogwang cuisine employs slow grilling and smoking as its main culinary techniques. While pork and chicken are two of the most commonly used meats in Zhenian cuisine, the usage of beef and horse meat have skyrocketed since the late 19th century. Zhenian cuisine has generally received more influences from western cuisine styles, with western ingredients and culinary methods being fused with mainstream Zhenian culinary traditions since then.

Film and Cinema

 
Blockbuster films, such as The Combatant (scene pictured above), have gained significant footholds in Zhenia's film industry.

Cinema was introduced to Zhenia in 1493 AC, when the first Zhenian film "The Last Train to Daedo" was filmed by Asmar Shin the same year. Although cinematic history in Zhenia started out with filmed versions of Zhenian traditional plays and skits, it became a widely-used means of propaganda by the beginning of the First Great War, with the Ministry of War running propaganda footage of Zhenian soldiers fighting in the Eurian Campaign all across the nation to boost the war effort. Although film production was traditionally centered around Daedo, the center of film production in the nation shifted to Jinhae and Balhae Province by the 1510s AC. Zhuhae, today dubbed the "movie capital of Zhenia", rose to become one of the major centers of the global film industry. Most films during the first half of the 16th century were based on adaptations of novels and plays, as well as the biographies of Zhenian heroes in history and epic poems with clear signs of using film as propaganda for the regime.

The approach to film and cinema shifted after Zhenian defeat in the Second Great War, as the industry was significantly commercialized, this time primarily by investors and filming companies rather than the state. Many prominent Zhenian directors during the mid-16th century opened up further possibilities for film: animator and businessman Zhu Manseok introduced technicolor animation to the Zhenian cinema, directors Lee Juseop and Choi Suhwan played a key role in consolidating location shooting as a key style in filming. The period from 1570 to 1590 AC is widely regarded as the 'golden age of Zhenian cinema', with many iconic figures on film still remembered today, as well as notable films in Zhenian cinematic history, were introduced to the public. Zhenian films in most recent times have been led by blockbusters, mainly characterized by high production costs, earnings and extensive use of computer graphics and special effects.

Literature

 
Many of the Shisas written in pre-modern Zhenia were transcribed and organized during the Shindan dynasty.

The roots of Zhenian literature can be tracked down to the later stages of the Liang dynasty, when great scholars left texts regarding astrology, history and mythology, while some records, including the Gojinga, also hint towards the existence of early forms of epic poems. Legalist literature, as well as shorter free poems dominated Zhenian literature during the Era of Great Divide. Literature during the Zhen dynasty saw the formal inscription of Wuist texts and teachings of Jinshan-gong, mostly at the form of catechetic texts simulating a conversation between Jinshan-gong and his followers, as well as the advent of more formalized Shisas (Zhenian: 시사/時辭) written mostly by scholars and government officials, a trend that continued until the Empire of Zhenia. Zhenian classical fiction met a new era with the advent of novels after the fall of the Zhen dynasty at the form of Gunseols, based on tales of lords and heroes and mostly written with romanticism.

The creation of the Jinmun script during the Shindan dynasty opened a completely new age in Zhenian literature, as poems, Shisas and other works of classical fiction previously written in Seomun were rewritten in Jinmun and opened the gateway for commoners to participate in formal literature composition as well. Shisas, previously subject to rigid rules in structure and format, were modified by commoners during the later days of the Shindan dynasty, while novels and Gunseols, previously depicting legends and fictitious tales, proliferated into the realm of reality in the topics they covered, with realistic plots and settings. Mainland Zhenian literature, although mostly still written in Seomun, showed astonishing progresses in nonfiction literature, with active publishing of numerous encyclopedias covering the history, folklore and culture of mainland Zhenia during the Wei and Zhang dynasties.

Introduction of Azoran literature into Zhenia since the 19th century brought a new turn in Zhenian literary history, resulting the advent of new style novels closely mirroring those of Auroran novels popular at the time. It was also during such era of literary fusion that many of Zhenia's most-honored authors, including Jeong Uishin and Ma Yeongseop, left pioneering works capturing fundamental aspects of human character and realism. Various new genres, such as young adult fiction, scar literature and chaotic poetry, emerged in Zhenia in the early 16th century. Contemporary Zhenian literature is led by tracts of literature pursuing philosophical answers to the realistic world, covering the previously-neglected minority cultures and social groups in Zhenian society and works seeking alternatives to the modern world.

Mass media

 
The Zhenia Shinbo (headquarters pictured above) is one of the largest newspapers by circulation in Zhenia.

Zhenia is home to various media sources with free press. While there are many daily newspapers the popularities of which vary from region to region, the three main daily newspapers in the the nation remains to be the Zhenia Shinbo, Daedo Daily and the Eastern Herald , with the former being a part of the state-funded Zhenia Broadcasting Network. Zhenia is also home to various other daily and evening newspapers that vary in their primary serving region and political views, such as the Danguk Herald, the Central Shinbo, the New Sea and the Haedong Times. Although domestic editions of most newspapers feature solely Zhenian and Wei versions, international editions often feature Elyrian and Valentian editions as well; the latter in particular is found not only outside Zhenia but also in most Zhenian cities alongside domestic editions to cater to foreign readers. Some of such newspapers have separate weekly or monthly takes on political and economic matters, the most notable being The Zhenian Economist published by the Eastern Herald.

The Zhenia Broadcasting System (ZBS), also part of the Zhenia Broadcasting Network, is Zhenia's oldest and largest publicly funded radio, television and internet broadcaster, with numerous television and radio broadcasting stations, both domestic and international, under its name. Numerous other civilian broadcasters, both nationwide and regional, operate throughout the nation as well: however, civilian broadcasters are subject to strict competition laws to prevent the advent of civilian media monopolies. Private broadcasters are primarily funded by viewer contributions, advertising, subscription fees and donations. Digital television broadcasting was introduced in 1590 and had ultimately ousted all analogue television broadcasting when analogue service officially ended in January 1, 1600 AC.

Due to extensive investments in internet infrastructure, around 90.4% of the Zhenian population was said to have access to the internet, making Zhenia home to one of the largest internet populations in the world. Its most frequently visited website by average daily traffic is Mirinae, a Zhenian search engine launched in 1592 AC, as well as one of the most popular search engines in the world. An array of social network services, including Flash!, WeTalk and Worldnest, have gained popularity among Zhenians since the late 1590s, with Zhenia being home to one of the world's largest number of social network users by 1610.

Music

 
Gwangseong, home to the Gwangseong Opera House (pictured above), is regarded as the birthplace of musical theater in Zhenia.
 
Many prominent Z-pop artists, including Hammer Men (pictured above), have gained significant popularity across the global stage.

Zhenia is home to a long and diverse musical history, with music playing a key role in Zhenian culture for centuries. Music during antiquity and ancient ages, particularly at the formal, national level, was centered around music played during rituals and religious ceremonies, although traditional folk music, many of them originating from farmer bands and work songs in the fields, had proliferated among the commoners. Some folk music, particularly Daehwa native songs originating from old tunes during the Daehwa dynasty, made its way into royal courts and ceremonies after their transcription and adaptation during the early Shindan dynasty. Zhenian music met a golden age in both the Danguk Peninsula and the mainland in the 12th century AC, when many of the kingdoms in the region, including Shindan and the Wei dynasty, established state-funded music academies to sponsor talented musicians and composers to work in their royal courts as a means to display the power of their respective royal courts. It was within the music academies that many defining classical genres of Zhenian music, including the Hansan opera, were perfected, although initially as musical genres to cater to the royal court.

The influx of Azoran culture and musical elements in the late 14th and early 15th centuries marked yet another turning point in Zhenian musical history, as many compositions based on Azoran instruments were made by independent composers in the Golden Arc region. While many national musical institutions, including Shindan's Royal Academy of Music, initially eschewed Azoran music and refused integration into Zhenian music, the Imperial Academy of the Arts, reorganized by Emperor Seongjo during Imperial Zhenia, reversed exclusionist policies and openly embraced Azoran musical elements and began to sponsor talented musicians specializing in Azoran musical styles, although traditional Zhenian music remained protected and promoted by the Imperial Academy. While the works of Azoran composers as well as their styles, including classical ballades, concertos and scherzos, gained great popularity within the Empire, ensembles and orchestras involving both traditional Zhenian instruments and Azoran instruments surfaced during the era as musical experiments to fuse the two musical cultures. It was with the fusing of traditional Zhenian plays and western operas that the first modern musicals surfaced. Notable composers and musicians during the era include Yoo Inseok, Kim Jooseon, Bu Yaodin, Han Yujin and Eun Bailian, some of which became pivotal figures in the Romanticist movement in classical music.

In the 16th century, the role of national institutions, particularly the Imperial Academy of the Arts as well as succeeding national institutions, diminished and was superseded by the rise of independent artist unions and entertainment agencies. It was under such circumstances that the core of Zhenian music shifted from state-sponsored to market-based, with the taste of the populace and the industry being the deciding factor in the flow of music within Zhenian culture. While trot and folk-based ballads dominated Zhenian popular music for much of the 16th century, modern forms of Zhenian music, particularly referred to as Z-pop, began to gain popularity among the Zhenian populace since the early 1570s. Mixing hip hop, rhythm and blues (R&B), rock, electronic dance and folk music as well as Western-style pop music and traditional Zhenian musical style, Z-pop grew to be dominant in the mainstream Zhenian popular music scene. Many Z-pop stars and groups have gained popularity across Tarsis and the world, while the proliferation of social media platforms and online video sharing sites further consolidating Z-pop's status on the world stage. The growth of Z-pop has also resulted in the strengthening of many Zhenian music charts and their music awards, including The Orange Chart and the Bulletin Music Awards, on the global stage.

Many musical events and institutions in Zhenia, dedicated to various genres, continue to exist to this day, while a large portion of them exist primarily for classical music and performances, both western and traditional Zhenian. With its roots on the Imperial Academy of the Arts during the 15th century AC, the Zhenian National Institute of the Arts is considered one of the most prestigious musical institutions and conservatories in the world. Other notable venues include the National Hall of Opera (primarily used by the Daedo National Opera), the Gwangseong Opera House, the Gwangmu Theater, the Jangwon Theater in Jinhae and the Tiger's Hall in Zhuhae, although many of the opera-associated venues are shared by Hansan Opera performers. Smaller indoor and outdoor venues dedicated for musical performances are commonplace in many Zhenian cities and towns, with a total of 23,913 registered musical venues nationwide.

Public holidays

 
National Day, commemorating both the unification of modern Zhenia as well as the establishment of the Empire of Zhenia, is one of the largest holidays in the nation.

There are many official public holidays in Zhenia to celebrate changes in season as well as to commemorate historical events. Among such days, four of them - Memorial Day, Foundation Day, National Day, Republic Day - are referred to as the "Four Great Holidays of Zhenia", with a majority of private firms employers as well as the government allowing day off with few exceptions. Foundation Day celebrates the day upon which the Zhen dynasty unified what is all of modern-day Zhenia. Memorial Day, on February 21, honors all members who served in the nation's uniformed services to protect Zhenia. National Day, on June 4, commemorates the establishment of the Empire of Zhenia in 1438 AC as the beginning of modern Zhenia. Republic Day, on December 1, commemorates the establishment of the Republic of Zhenia in 1499 AC as well as the success of the November Revolution in 1569 AC and the reestablishment of democracy in Zhenia. All four of such holidays are accompanied by nationwide commemorations or celebrations, often involving military parades, historical reenactments and sports events.

While Zhenia currently observes a solar-based calendar similar to the Elyrian calendar, it has traditionally observed the lunar calendar throughout most of its history, the legacy of which continues to this day with the existence of many lunar-based holidays. Among the holidays based on the lunar calendar, the nation celebrates Wonil at the beginning of the lunar year, although the practice is more commonly known outside Zhenia as 'Zhenian New Year', while Wonjung (the first full moon of the lunar year) and Gwaman (the eighth full moon of the lunar year) are formally recognized as national holidays. While the remainder of the 24 divisions of the year are informally observed, they are not recognized as national holidays and thus are not commonly celebrated formally, although associated customs, such as those regarding the types of food to be consumed at the day, remain as customs among most of Zhenia to this day.

Sports

 
Mukwondo, alongside kumdo, is considered one of the two national sports in Zhenia.

Traditionally, kumdo and Mukwondo are considered the national sports of Zhenia, with Zhenia being home to the first professional leagues in the world dedicated to each sport. Zhenian martial arts in general, as well as other prominent Zhenian sports such as Tagu, are widely practiced and enjoyed by spectators in the country, with both professional and amateur leagues attracting large numbers of spectators in major games. Western sports, including football, baseball and basketball, have been introduced to Zhenia via Shindan after the Zhenian Enlightenment. Football and baseball bare two of the most popular spectator sports in the nation today, with the Republic League and Zhenia Professional Baseball, the nation's top professional football and baseball leagues respectively, considered to be of the highest levels of professional football and baseball outside Azora. Other sports with dedicated stadiums and top-level professional leagues include basketball, golf, volleyball, Alabu, Tagu, archery and shooting.

Zhenia is also well-known for its heavy involvement in motorsport. The involvement of Zhenian automotive manufacturers and a vibrant automotive-centric culture has resulted in a nationwide popularity of racing. Zhenian automobile and stock car manufacturers often use such races as not only a means to manage their publicity but also as a fields to test technologies applied to production vehicles. Zhenian cars and drivers have made their way into success in multiple different categories and races, with victories on Formula One, Transcontinental Grand Prix and the Cheolima Challenge among other major motorsport events. The Seobu Rally, a non-stop offroad race through the deserts and rugged terrain of Shingang and Heuksu province, has long been a daring challenge for Zhenian automobile manufacturers and drivers alike since its introduction in 1566 AC. The nation also hosts an array of internationally-recognized grand prix races within its territories, including the Transcontinental Grand Prix and the Cheolima Challenge.

See Also