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Sakuragi, Captain. Captain Sakuragi was created by the Japanese author Oshikawa Shunro (Japanese Patriots) and appeared in six novels from 1900 to 1907, beginning with Kaitei Gunkan.

Captain Sakuragi is a naval officer who grows disgusted with the Japanese government's inability to do anything to resist the imperialism of Western governments in Asia and Japan. Whites are carrying out various unnamed incivilities in Japan itself and are bullying other Asian countries. Worse, from Sakuragi’s perspective, is that the Western countries–White Perils, all–are preventing Japan from expanding in Asia in the way that the Western countries did in China. Sakuragi also sees that the Japanese government is not willing or able to do anything about the coming, inevitable war with the Western powers.

So Sakuragi quits the Navy and goes to an isolated island somewhere in the Indian Ocean. There he builds himself the Denkotei, an “undersea battleship” armed with futuristic weapons, including torpedoes and high explosive shells. Sakuragi staffs the Denkotei with a small crew of faithful and patriotic sailors and begins fighting for Japan on the high seas. In Kaitei Gunkan the Denkotei demolishes a group of white pirates who have been harrying Japanese shipping.

In later novels the Denkotei takes on the Russian, British, and French fleets and destroys them, and Sakuragi and the crew go ashore to help Filipino “freedom fighters” against the imperialistic American occupiers. Sakuragi and his crew even rescue Saigō Takamori (1828-1877), the “last samurai,” from his Siberian exile.

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