A History of the Kurowashi Domei
Sugawara Tadao, a successful merchant, united a number of smaller merchant
families into one organization, the Kurowashi Domei (Black Eagle League), in the
closing years of the Abe Ascendancy.
As the time changed, Tadao saw a great opportunity (and risk) to advance the League's fortunes. He secretly allied himself with the Ogawa clan when they started to oppose the Abe rulership. The Kurowashi Domei passed much valuable information regarding the Abe to the Ogawa clan, providing them with a strategic advantage. In addition, the Sugawara family was responsible for creating and maintaining supply routes to the army, and even, on a few occasions, maintaining the Ogawa forces with his own funds. When the Ogawa clan seized the throne of the east, the Kurowashi Domei received extremely favorable contracts by the Ogawa clan and some of his vassals.
The League continued to support the Ogawa clan, and when they reunited all Zaidan lands into a single realm the League's influence and power increased, its area of influence increased as several merchant families that joined the League, to the point that they came near to holding a monopoly on the trade throughout the old eastern realm.
However, when the Yamashida clan rose up and defeated the Ogawa, many of the League's contracts were canceled by the new rulers, weakening the League's position, which weakness was exploited by a coalition of others merchant families, that chose that moment to launch a concerted attack the near-monopoly possessed by the Kurowashi Domei. With the loss of contracts, market and trade routes, many smaller families withdrew from the League, fearing it's total downfall.
With the collapse of central authority in the "Kyogo Ryoshu no Toshi" era, the Kurowashi Domei profited greatly by buying ore and selling arms to the principal armies, all the while carefully avoiding any kind of lasting alliance. The League managed to stay neutral for the most part of the era, happily coun ting their money and making their deals. However, as the time passes, the trade decreased greatly, there where to many soldiers in battlefield and too few people to keep a regular production to be sold.
With the ascension of Sugawara Hina to the head of the Kurowashi Domei, in the end of the “Kyogo Ryoshu no Toshi”, the merchant league started to actively venture into the political sphere. Hina married her daughter to the heir of the Takagi clan of Hinohara, whose lands had suffered greatly during the wars. With the influx of League capital the Takagi regained full control of their lands and embarked on a diplomatic campaign under Hina's direction, that resulted new trade routes and new trade partners to the Kurowashi Domei, expanding the League's holdings into new areas, a process that has continued to this day.
Original by Tudor.