Twelfth century Japan. Following a period of political upheaval and an unprecedented surge in power and influence, the samurai class ascends above the Emperor to cast its now iconic shadow over society. For centuries, the shogunate rules the land. Through civil war and ruthless military dictatorships unique aspects of culture, religion and philosophy continue to blossom.
Sixteenth century — Japan encounters its first Europeans. The Portuguese offer trade opportunities, one caveat being the Christian mission. A conflict of interests ensues and in the seventeenth century the strict Sakoku (鎖国) policy of isolation and seclusion is enforced. Until the mid-nineteenth century only specific foreign merchants are permitted contact with their domestic counterparts. The Dutch are the lucky ones.
Nearly one hundred years later Japan is a nation where hearts, minds and economy have been crippled by world war. As GHQ looks into funding reconstruction through sports betting, Keirin (競輪) racing is born.