| "How Small."|
Hao calls this article small.
|First Appearance:||Flowers Chapter 19 (Manga)|
When Sakurai was alive, he was a youth living peacefully during the Roaring Twenties when Japan was progressing in technology, culture, and industry. However, once the Great Depression set in, he became one of the many young men who lost their dreams and joined the army out of frustration with hopes to improve their lives by just a bit. Before joining though, he became acquainted with a girl named Chiharu at a coffee shop he used to visit and was promised that she would wait for him until he returned.
Eventually, he became a second lieutenant (少尉, Shoui) in the 801 Squadron of the 309th Naval Air Division of the Japanese Navy during the Second World War. At some point, his plane had been shot down and crashed on Peleliu Island, located southwest of the Palau Archipelago, after it had been conquered by the enemy. It is believed that he died sometime later afterward, with a scene showing his skeleton with a fatal injury to the head while still in his plane (now sunken underwater). However, his soul became trapped in the Asura Realm of the Great Spirit. Failing to realize he had died, he later became obsessed with rebuilding his fallen Zero fighter plane in order to return to the defense of his country.
In Shaman King Flowers, Asakura Hana finds Sakurai still gathering parts of his plane and believing the war is still ongoing. He later learns that he is deceased and accompanies Hana to Thalim's coffee shop. While there, he reminisces on old memories while drinking coffee before questioning Hana as to why is he fighting. Afterwards, he witnesses Hana's fight with Kamogawa Yosuke. After blasting Hana away, Yosuke incites his pilot, Anderson, to kill Sakurai. Having recognized Sakurai as the infamous "Death Zero" for his role during the war, Anderson hesitates to shoot Sakurai out of fear, allowing Sakurai to take the opportunity to kill the pilot. When he tries to shoot Yosuke, he is mortally wounded when Yosuke freezes time and repositions the bullet on his neck. While fatally wounded, he still manages to empty his pistol into Yosuke. Before fading away, he states that while he won't return to his homeland, at least he'll be able to see his comrades again.
After Hana is sent into another version of the Asura Realm, Hana encounters a younger version of Sakurai who doesn't remember him. As Hana is interrogated by a suspicious Sakurai, his friends casually tell him to calm down and suggest that they take him to their barracks to listen to his story first before deciding what to do. They also point out if they rough him up to much then they could get into trouble as he could be the son of their officer. Afterwards, Hana fails to explain to them that they are all dead (much to his frustration). Sakurai then leaves to look at his plane while the others share their stories to Hana. Hana is shocked upon learning that they are part of the Kamikaze Unit with orders to crash themselves into enemy warships. He is also shocked when they act calm about it and confess that they believed that it may be futile as they are losing the war.
When Hana questions as to why they didn't resist, he learns that Sakurai volunteered to prevent his friend from being drafted into the unit. Conversing with Sakurai near his plane, Hana comments on Sakurai's resolve by pointing out that there's a girl waiting for him back in Japan, leaving Sakurai shocked as to how he knew about Chiharu. At that moment, the base is bombed and Sakurai and his unit prepare to take off with Hana stuck in Sakurai's plane.
- Sakurai originally appeared in Hiroyuki Takei's one-shot, Death Zero.