Thursday, 4 December 2008

Japan 2028 (Part II: Hitotsuyanagi Group - Corporate Profile)

A continuation of yesterday's post. I might leak out a few more of these little titbits (or what one American girl I used to know would charmingly refer to as "tidbids") on my 'Japan, 2028' Cyberpunk 2020 setting over the coming days and weeks.
Hitotsuyanagi Group (一柳グループ) - Corporate Profile

Hitotsuyanagi is one of the so-called 'new zaibatsu' which arose during the years directly leading up to the Great Kanto Earthquake. Founded in January 2009 by Toshiro Yanagisawa, it was originally a bio-technology firm operating out of the Yokohama docklands. Somewhat insulated from the damage caused by the quake and the chaos of the years that followed, it grew rapidly at the expense of Japan's collapsing old giants, though Yanagisawa's motto has always been 'intelligent expansion' and the Hitotsuyanagi Group is one of the smallest of the new zaibatsu in terms of employees and turnover. Its member companies are those specialising in ultra high technology fields such as genetic manipulation, cybernetics, nanoware and biochemical warfare.

Its companies employ around 74,000 personnel, not including a private 'security wing' consisting of a motorised infantry brigade of around 8,000 men, with an attached squadron of gyrocopter gunships. Hitotsuyanagi's military is the smallest corporate army in Japan, though it has a reputation for efficiency and brutality. Many of its members were originally soldiers of fortune, with the majority originating from Brazil and Peru and the rest South Africa, Fiji and the Former Australia.

Kimura Biotech Corporation (Kimura Seimeikougaku Kabushikigaisha, or Kimura Seimei for short) is a key member of the Hitotsuyanagi Group and the favoured supplier of biological warfare components to the Armed Forces of Japan. Because of this, it and the other Hitotsuyanagi companies enjoy high levels of freedom and influence within Japanese politics and industry. Toshiro Yanagisawa is a prominent member of the so-called 'Wednesday Club' (Suiyoukai) of industralists, generals and politicians who meet on the first Wednesday of every month at the Tokyo Hilton hotel to formulate government policy.

It is well known that there is a considerably less than cordial relationship between Yanagisawa and the head of the Hoshino Group, Yuutaka Hoshino - who also happens to be a member of the Wednesday Club. The men loathe each other. The rivalry stems from before the war, when the Hitotsuyanagi Group launched a 'dawn raid' hostile takeover of a medical research company which Hoshino had been just about to approach. In retaliation Hoshino arranged the corporate defection of two of Kimura Seimei's top researchers to one of its affiliates, in a botched move which resulted in the destruction of a Kimura facility and several deaths. Since that time there have been a dozen assassinations and three car bomb attacks, widely attributed to the rivalry between Toshino Yanagisawa and Yuutaka Hoshino.

Yanagisawa has made it clear that the Hitotsuyanagi Group (like the vast majority of the new zaibatsu) is actively working towards an end to the occupation of Western Japan. What the clause 'actively working towards' refers to is unclear.

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