21 June 1897|
Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan
|Died||28 December 1980 83)(aged|
|Allegiance||Empire of Japan|
|Service/branch||Imperial Japanese Army|
|Years of service||1918–1945|
Second Sino-Japanese War|
World War II
Sakurai was born in Fukuoka as the eldest son of a samurai retainer of the Fukuoka Domain. He attended military preparatory schools, and graduated from the 30th class of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in May 1918 and was initially assigned to the IJA 36th Infantry Regiment. He graduated from the 37th class of the Army Staff College in November 1925.
During his career, he served as an instructor at the Army Toyama School, as a military advisor to the National Revolutionary Army in Beijing, on the staff of the IJA 10th Division, on the staff of the IJA 8th Combined Brigade, battalion commander on the IJA 24th Infantry Regiment, instructor at the Army Infantry School, and on the staff of the China Expeditionary Army and the IJA 1st Army. He was promoted to colonel in August 1939. During the Second Sino-Japanese War, he was a member of the Japanese negotiating team on the Hebei–Chahar Political Council assigned to the headquarters of the China Expeditionary Army. Sakurai was subsequently appointed chief of staff of the IJA 34th Division, which was at the Battle of Zaoyang–Yichang in 1940. In 1941, he served as an instructor at the Military Police School, and in 1942 was appointed commander of the IJA 65th Infantry Regiment based in Hubei. In August 1943, he was promoted to major general.
Subsequently, as commander of the Infantry Group of the IJA 55th Division, Sakurai was assigned to the Japanese Burma Area Army and served as military advisor to the Burma National Army. He was the main Japanese commander at the Battle of the Admin Box from 5 February to 23 February 1944. He returned to Japan in April 1945. Appointed commander of the IJA 212th Division, one of the new divisions raised to contest Operation Coronet, the projected American invasion of Japan, he was based near his native Fukuoka at the time of the surrender of Japan.
In December 1961, Sakurai was arrested for illegal possession of firearms and swords, and on suspicion of assisting an ultra rightist organization in weapons training and planning a coup. However, he was released due to insufficient evidence. In June 1966, Sakurai took the tonsure, becoming a Buddhist priest, and lived at the temple of Ruriko-ji in Yamaguchi until his death in 1980.
- Fuller, Richard (1992). Shokan: Hirohito's Samurai. London: Arms and Armor. ISBN 1-85409-151-4.
- Allen, Louis. 1984. Burma: The Longest War, 1941-1945. London: Phoenix Press. ISBN 1-84212-260-6.
- Hastings, Max. 2007. Retribution: The Battle for Japan, 1944-45. Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 978-0-307-26351-3
- Ammenthorp, Steen. "Tokutaro Sakurai". The Generals of World War II.
- Budge, Kent. "Sakurai Tokutaro". Pacific War Online Encyclopedia.