So the world will be roughly based off of Meiji Era Japan. The Meiji era was an amazing era of progress and societal advancement. The Emperor retook power, but relayed heavily on a council of people to help him make decisions. The plan was to quickly modernize the country. In 1868, Japan was a mostly feudal agricultural society mostly run by hundreds of small lords. By 1912, it had a strong central government, a constitution, a parliament, a network of communication and transportation grids, a well educated society, a growing industrial sector, and a strong military. In less than a lifetime, the world had dramatically changed.
I want to place my story in a similar place of dramatic advancement and societal change. 40 years ago, the old emperor died, and a new emperor ascended. the new emperor had become swayed by the newish protestant styled sect, that believed the teaching of the runic magic should be accessible to all people, not just the elites and the monastics. When the new emperor ascended, he began a reformation of the old feudal, class based society. He declared learning the divine runes as an essential component of national education systems.
Since then, A new central government has replaced the old noble class as power holders. The new network of air ships and other magical transportation has led to easier travel around the country and made it more accessible to the average man. Education has allowed the first generation of young people to leave their class and advance themselves has created a group of hard working new blood into the workforce. New industries and magical items have become accessible to the masses. But the echos of the old world still linger. People are still alive that remember the tight class structure. This is the world we set our scene.