Hondo City, like Mega-City One, is a giant future metropolis with heavy population density that crams its population into city blocks. It appears to stretch from Hokkaido to Wakayama, according to the Shimura strip. The Hondo City Blocks reflect a more aesthetic, manga-like sense of design than the functional squat structs in Mega City One, and exist side by side with traditional wooden houses. Several islands off the coast of Hondo live a traditional 20th Century rural Japanese lifestyle. Hondo is the most technologically advanced of the Megacities, and its energy needs are supplied by orbiting nuclear power satellites. Underneath it is Undercity, the decayed and buried remains of the original Tokyo that are crawling with powerful oni-like mutants.
Like most cities in Judge Dredd, Hondo is run under a judge system, with the judge-inspectors acting as government, police and judge, jury and executioner to preserve order. The Hondo judge-inspectors are highly disciplined and well-armed, and are similar in mindset and culture to ancient samurai. Their uniforms have bio-circuitry links allowing them to use their tendo stave weapons (a form of bludgeon and also a hidden built in laser rifle.) and laser-shuriken discs as extensions of their own bodies. In following their samurai leanings, energy-based sabers, futuristic nunchucks and traditional katanas are also used. Unlike foreign judges, they wear no badge with their name on; their names are printed on the rising sun symbol on their uniforms, viewable only through the visor on another judge's helmet, with the intent that the citizens see justice as one entity rather than a group of individuals. Originally they piloted high-speed Japanese versions of Mega-City One's Lawmaster cycles, but they have recently upgraded to hovercycles. Traditionally the city was ruled by a chief judge but in more recent stories the head of state is now known as the Shogun Judge.
Despite their high discipline, the judge-inspectors have the freedom to conduct sexual relationships unlike their American counterparts, and the law in Hondo seems slightly less harsh. There is a judicially sanctioned "pleasure quarter" in Tokyo District called Yoshiwara, with the intent of containing and controlling the sex industries.
The Justice Department suffers from infiltration by elements of the yakuza societies, leading to corruption and inefficiency – nearly every district house in Hondo has a yakuza judge in its command strata. The yakuza societies and many elements within the judiciary view each other as a necessary evil in order to maintain a balance in Hondo. It also took until 2113 for the first female judge-inspector, Aiko Inaba, to go on duty and there are extremely few other women in that job; there was heavy institutional pressure to have her flunked as a Cadet.
The high technological level of Hondo came in extremely useful during the crisis of Judgement Day. Hondo's skreemers – powerful sonic cannons – were able to vapourise Sabbat's zombies before they could enter Hondo, and this level of security made it ideal as the centre of a global meeting on how to handle the crisis. The global team of judges sent in to bring down Sabbat wore heavily armoured Samurai battle-armour, cutting a swathe through the undead.
The Justice Department of Hondo has a permanent military presence around the Web, the network of Borneo and the Indonesian islands linked by giant mutant coral growths, in order to deal with the threat of the coral mutation and to contain the highly prosperous levels of crime within the Web. The Web was not able to finance a Judge system (seemingly being cut loose from Indonesia, which had a megacity in Djakarta) due to the crippling costs it took to battle the coral – namely paying Hondo a crippling sum to have techno-wizard Masamune Taoka find a way of containing the coral, and the pressure of being forced to take a large number of Hondo's undesirables in return for their services.
Judge-Inspector Sadu, an honourable and dedicated fighter, was one of Hondo's best Judges and one of the Judgement Day team. He sacrificed his life to ensure Dredd and Johnny Alpha were freed and able to bring down Sabbat.
Shimura was one of the Justice Department's greatest fighters, even better than Sadu, but he went rogue – ronin – in order to carry out a vendetta against a Yakuza Oyabun. He is an extremely damaged and murderous individual, wanted by both the judges and the yakuza, but has recently come under the protection of industrialist Amber Taoka.
Judge-Inspector Aiko Inaba was the first female judge-inspector in Hondo, and as a cadet she was tested and passed by Shimura (despite him being under pressure to fail her). She has found herself involved in multiple crisis situations and has several times been partnered with a visiting Judge Dredd.
Chief Judge Ohno is the head of the Hondo Justice Department.
Hondo City is a modern, technologically advanced society and as such it does have quite a few similarities to Mega City One: its population will flock to new fads and leisure activities to spend their days. On the outer islands, many live a traditionally early-20th century rural lifestyle untouched by future society.
Hondo boasts of its superiority as a society over foreign megacities, but it does this often by deliberately ignoring those considered outcasts and in poverty. Officially, these johatsu – "disappeared people", including everyone from homeless vagrants to those hiding from yakuza – don't even exist. The Sanya sub-district, or Eta district (eta meaning "the filth", traditionally the Japanese underclass), is where those openly ostracised and discriminated against for non-conformity are driven to, including former criminals and most commonly the Burakumin, those whose professions involved them getting close to death (butchers, grave diggers, executioners). They are heavily discriminated against for cultural reasons and suffer criminal exploitation. Hondo City also has a far more sexist view on women than many other megacities, viewing them mainly as housewives and mothers.
The yakuza societies run nearly all crime in Hondo, to the extent that they are sometimes seen as maintaining a balance. The yakuza have their fingers in almost all industries, both legal and illegal. The psychotic thrill-killing bosozuki – street samurai – gangs bike around Hondo committing random acts of brutality and atrocity in the hope that the Yakuza will notice and hire them. Outside of the yakuza, dangerous techno-terrorism cults like Deus X have launched several attacks as vendetta for the execution of Masamune Taoka.
Hondo also faces the threat of the mutants, psychos, gangs and outlaw martial art schools that come out of the Radlands of Ji, which sorrounds Sino-Cit 2 across the sea from Hondo. The most famous of these, Stan Lee, AKA Deathfist, recently led a gang of Radland warriors in an assault on the city.
Masamune Taoka was Shimura's first foe and one of Hondo's most celebrated industrialists and techno-wizards. It was his technological achievements that helped Hondo make tech advances over the other Megacities – he created the orbiting nuclear stations, he created much of the judge-inspector equipment, and he was also responsible for finding a way to control the mutant coral infecting the Web. Unfortunately, he went insane and turned himself into a powerful cybernetic being with intent on conquering Hondo, and had to be destroyed.
His daughter, former vid-star Amber Taoka, has inherited the company and on the surface wants to separate it from Masamune's crimes and the actions of cults like Deus X built around him. As head of the Taoka Corporation, she has taken Shimura as her personal bodyguard and lover, and is using the resources of the Corporation to reclaim and detoxify the Radlands of Ji (and other polluted hellholes) in the hope of making it liveable again. While she professes to be different from her father, she has recently shown to have far more power and arrogance than anyone wants to see in the spawn of Taoka.
- Judge (2000 AD)
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