Edo, Japan. Tenmei 3 (1783)
The second year of the Great Tenmei Famine had brought the nation to near collapse. Riots erupted in cities and towns all over the country, a testament to the desperation of its starving citizens. In the twenty third year of his reign as shogun, Tokugawa Ieharu appeared relatively unconcerned with the near catastrophic proportions that the famine had reached. Though it seemed inconceivable that that the state of the nation could sink any further, the eruption of Mount Asama plunged the nation into greater chaos. For three months, the active volcano spewed a thick ash of pumice into the sky, finally culminating in a flood of molten lava that lasted more than half a day. The food supply had already proved woefully inadequate to meet the needs of the people, but now the fields that were to grow more rice were covered in ash and would not be fallow for years to come.
Incensed by the shogun's casual attitude towards the suffering of the people, General Gaoh Kyogoku Hinowanokami was unable to sit idly any longer while the cries of the peasantry continued unabated. From his lands in the Hinokawa region, he had set events in motion that would either force the shogunate to take action or end in his own demise.