The Sakura Kai, Japanese for Cherry Society, was a brotherhood of Japanese military officers and politicians which operated during the early 20th century. They engineered a number of incidents which drove Japan and China closer to war in 1937.
Driving events Edit
The Sakura Kai was concerned about the economic strangulation of Japan and advocated aggressive expansionism as a means maintaining Japan's economic independence. In 1931, they engineered the Japanese invasion of the Chinese province of Manchuria, which became Manchukuo.
After a split in the Imperial Japanese Army, the Sakura Kai controlled the Kodo Ha faction, as well as local commanders in Manchukuo. The Society organised the assassination of various government ministers, including prime ministers, between 1933 and 1935. In 1936, they influenced the First Infantry Division to revolt in Tokyo in support of the Kodo Ha. After more murders, the revolt was put down by imperial order and the Tosei Ha faction maintain control of the Army. However, the Sakura Kai and the Kodo Ha still maintained a presence and an influence over events, pressuring the Tosei Ha into changing their policy. In July 1937, when the Manchukuo commanders provoked a fight against Chinese troops at the Marco Polo Bridge, the Tosei Ha's ostensibly vanquished opponents successfully pressured them to move onto a war footing.
Chasing Ishiguro Takashi Edit
Japanese officer Ishiguro Takashi, who lost brothers in the Tokyo revolt, agreed with the need to save the Japanese Empire from decline but was horrified by the Sakura Kai's violent methods of doing so. He came into conflict with the Society and both sides branded each other traitors to the Empire. Pursued by the Society, Takashi fled Japan to Hong Kong, where he again avoided the Society's grasp and fled again to China. There, he began operating against them under the guise of both a Shanghai nightclub owner named Woo and the vigilante Yan Cheh, seeking to sabotage the efforts of the Kwantung Army once war began against China. He was consistently worried about the Sakura Kai's presence, at times suspecting the Fourth Doctor of being a member. Takashi believed he had sent a number of Society members to yomi-tsu-kuni during his battle against them. (PROSE: The Shadow of Weng-Chiang)