The Historical Crisis Council at TEIMUN 2019
Crisis Committees are a different version of regular MUN committees such as the General Assembly, Human Rights Council and others. Whilst the aforementioned ones are known for their static nature and development, Crisis is more dynamic and requires delegates to have a certain level of experience. In essence, regular rules of procedure don’t apply in Crisis, and the topic is very general or otherwise unknown by the delegates. Where regular councils prepare delegates for the world of international legislative politics, crisis serves as an exercise in executive politics, where time pressure, charisma, creativity and a direct link between the delegates and life and death are important factors.
During the following days, the committee will have a dual structure with a front room where the delegates will be and where the sessions will be carried out; and a backroom where the director and the rest of team will make sure the sessions are carried out smoothly. They will be the ones in charge of directing the committee during the sessions, processing the input of the delegates into an overall interconnected reality to which delegates will then have to dynamically respond to again.
In this case Delegates will take part in a Historical Crisis Council (HCC), which means that the crisis will be set in a real historical period. This year’s topic will be The Age of Warring States in Japan, otherwise known as “Sengoku Jidai”. Each delegate will represent a prominent character of this time period and will be required to do research on it and act alongside their personality and interests.The circumstances of this time period make it so each character has a set of objectives to accomplish which will be in direct confrontation with others.
The session will begin on a set date and therefore time will progress throughout the sessions and events will take place. The backroom will be in charge of informing the delegates about these events (which can come from the agency of delegates as much as from external occurrences handled by the backroom) and more generally, decide the way time will progress.
Topic 2019: The Sengoku Jidai (Japanese Warring States Period)
In Japan every daimyo swears loyalty to the Emperor; the heavenly sovereign that sits on the Chrysanthemum throne as descendant of the sun goddess Amaterasu. However, it is 1559 and the Emperor has become a marginalized symbol, still reigning from Kyoto but inconsequential except on matters of religion.
Even the Shogunate, formerly the only central authority still capable of maintaining order, has lost its influence. The Ashikaga Shogunate was established not on the might or wealth of their clan but rather on their prestige and relationships with the now highly decentralised daimyos. The Ōnin civil war exposed the weaknesses of the Ashikaga Shogun when it became clear that, on the battlefield, prestige is of very little consequence when faced by a katana.
The now de-facto autonomous daimyos rose to fill the power vacuum, increasing their territories and spheres of influence. As the mighty preyed upon the weak this period was also marked by Gekokujo, a time in which low conquers high. Established clans and deep rooted aristocracy were overthrown by more capable subordinates and merit trumped heritage. It was a period in which the lowliest farmer could rise up and become the most powerful man in Japan.
But it is not only the daimyo who move the shogi pieces across the board. Religious sects such as the Ikko-ikki enjoy popular support in many areas, sometimes going as far as to take the place of local governors. In 1543 the Portuguese landed on Tanegashima bringing the word of Christ, but, perhaps more crucially, firearms. In a period in which power was everything it is not surprising that the Japanese warlords adopted the musket within decades.
Will Japan once again be unified under the Shogun? Perhaps even the Emperor? Will the country fracture and crumble by continuous wars between the daimyo?
Issun saki wa yami.