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Furuhata Ninzaburō (古畑 任三郎?) is a Japanese television series that ran periodically on Fuji Television from 1994 until its final episodes (specials) in 2006. It was written by Japanese playwright Kōki Mitani and is often referred to as the Japanese version of Columbo.
The series is a police detective drama starring actor Masakazu Tamura as Furuhata Ninzaburo and Masahiko Nishimura as his stereotypically bumbling sidekick, Shintaro Imaizumi. The program aired weekly and featured a guest villain each time, usually a famous talent in Japan. Pop-stars like SMAP (boy-band), television hosts like Sanma Akashiya (variety) and even sports figures like Ichiro Suzuki (baseball) have been featured on this program. It was one of the most popular television dramas in the history of Japanese television, having spawned several seasons and TV specials.
- 1 Plot patterns
- 2 The character of Furuhata
- 3 Shintaro Imaizumi
- 4 Other recurring characters
- 5 Episode list / Guest stars
- 6 See also
- 7 External links
Furuhata opens each episode with a humorous monologue that, at first, appears to be a non-sequitur, but really contains a hint or clue relevant to the following mystery. Then the opening credits appear.
The viewers witness the ingenious murder and watch as the killer covers up the crime (usually by staging the murder as an accident). The murder is then discovered, and Furuhata is usually called in by the police to investigate; but sometimes he just coincidentally happens to be nearby when the crime is discovered. The murderer hangs around the scene of the crime to misdirect the investigation by throwing in several red herrings.
Despite the killer's interference, Furuhata spends the episode trying to spot the real evidence and determining exactly how the crime was committed. Furuhata does this by obnoxiously hanging around his chief suspect (much to the exasperation of the criminal, of course). Just before the final act, Furuhata "breaks the fourth wall" and challenges the audience to guess:
A) what tiny slip-up the killer made which let Furuhata know who the killer was.
B) what clue(s) Furuhata spotted which led him to figure out how the crime was committed.
C) what ingenious trap Furuhata will use to get the killer to confess his / her crime.
In the final act, Furuhata cleverly ensnares the killer using a trap (C); then explains A, B
The charm of the story is that while the audience already knows the killer's identity from the episode's outset - it's still up to the viewer to follow along with Furuhata's investigation and spot the clues which will lead to the solving of the crime.
The character of Furuhata
Looks and mannerisms
- He wears a black suit, usually over a black shirt but never wears a tie.
- He usually has awkward posture - he stoops at a 45 degree angle at the waist and carries his hands in front of his chest like a mouse on hind paws.
- Since he stoops, he tilts his head and looks up at the person he speaks to, rather than at eye level.
- His hair is shoulder-length (unusual for a Japanese cop) but always excellently coiffed.
- He has a quirky way of speaking - he speaks in a halting, mumbling tone; elongates his vowels abnormally; uses the honorific, ultra-polite tense of Japanese when speaking and hums while thinking.
- He has odd "tics" like poking his forehead with his forefinger when thinking.
- The character had the rank of police lieutenant from the beginning of the episodes, and despite solving numerous murders over the next decades, the detective is still only a lieutenant.
- And he always thinks aloud in a distracted, stream of consciousness manner.
- Other idiosyncrasies appear frequently throughout the course of all episodes.
The character is said to have been based on the fictional character, the LAPD lieutenant, Columbo.
The character of Shintaro Imaizumi (今泉 慎太郎 Imaizumi Shintarō), portrayed by actor and Tokyo Sunshine Boys member Masahiko Nishimura, is the bumbling, inept sidekick of Furuhata. Imaizumi tends to be quite childlike and very passive. Imaizumi somewhat resembles Charlie Brown in personality.
His character not only acts as comic relief, though, but acts as the Watson to Furuhata's Sherlock Holmes. Through his naivete and ineptitude, Imaizumi often falls for the red herrings left by the killer and comes to the conclusion that the murderer intended. Furuhata will then scold Imaizumi, explaining why he shouldn't have jumped to such a conclusion. Thus, he tends to act as a sounding board for Furuhata to explain his theories and acts as a proxy for the viewing audience.
Furuhata can be downright mean when it comes to Imaizumi. Furuhata is often visibly annoyed by Imaizumi's incompetence and often hurls insults at Imaizumi or gives Imaizumi demeaning tasks. Furuhata constantly slaps Imaizumi on his forehead.
Imaizumi still lives with his grandmother and counts knitting, magic tricks and flower arrangement among his hobbies. He loves meat-stuffed peppers, his favorite movie is Grease, his favorite group is ABBA, his favorite Golden Half member is Eva and his favorite song is Dancing Queen.
In season 2, Shintaro Imaizumi was featured in a series of 7 minute skits which aired after the main "Furuhata Ninzaburo" episode.
Other recurring characters
- Otokichi Mukojima (向島 音吉 Mukōjima Otokichi) - aka Otokichi Higashikunibaru (東国原 音吉), played by Tokyo Sunshine Boys member Takashi Kobayashi (小林 隆 Kobayashi Takashi). Mukojima is a patrolman that often greets Furuhata at the scene of the crime. His first appearance is in Episode 2 and he is the only recurring character (besides Furuhata and Imaizumi) to have appeared in every season of the show. Mukojima is the subject of a long running gag in the show. Despite formally introducing himself in several episodes, Furuhata often forgets Mukojima's name. Furuhata tries to memorize it but by the next episode, has forgotten it. In a "Imaizumi Shintaro" skit, it is revealed that Otokichi adopted his wife's last name because he married into a Zaibatsu (extremely wealthy, established) family with no male heir. FINALLY, Furuhata manages to memorize Otokichi's last name at the finale of Series 2. However, it is then that Mukojima reveals he got a divorce and changes back to his original last name (which is obscure, long and cumbersome) - Higashikunibaru. Afterwards, Otokichi has to remind everyone that his name is now Higashikunibaru. Later, he reconciles with his wife and changes his surname back to Mukojima. In a " Final Series" (2006) episode, it is revealed that Mukojima is baseball superstar Ichiro's half-brother (fictional). In the Chugakusei Furuhata (2008) special - adult Mukojima is shown to have a son.
Strangely, the 2008 Furuhata Chugakusei special (which was written 14 years after Series 1), it is revealed that Furuhata and Otokichi were friends for a few months during Junior High. Otokichi's last name at the time is Mukojima, not Higashikunibaru. Though its implied that they may have been in periodic contact before Series 1, Furuhata does not appear to recognize Otokitchi when they meet in Episode 2.
- Mantaro Kuwabara (桑原 万太郎 Kuwabara Mantarō), played by Tokyo Sunshine Boys member Toshihito Ito, is a forensic scientist who works at the crime lab. He appears in some Series 1, Series 2 and Series 3 episodes but was featured prominently in all of the Season 2 Imaizumi Shintaro skits. These skits often featured Kuwabara consoling Imaizumi after he vents his frustration with his treatment during the episode. Sadly, Ito died in 2002 of a brain hemorrhage
- Haga Keiji (芳賀啓二 Haga Keiji) played by Shirai Akira (白井 晃 Shirai Akira), is a detective who has made several appearances in the series. His appearances include: episodes 14, 17, 25, 27 and two Shintaro Imaizumi skits. Haga has filled in for Imaizumi when the latter has been unavailable (when Imaizumi was imprisoned on suspicion of murder and when Imaizumi was trapped on a ferris wheel with a bomb). Imaizumi and Haga are bitter rivals and extremely competitive with one another for Furuhata's attention. Haga is a much more competent than Imaizumi and Furuhata has said he would like Haga to replace Imaizumi as his partner. In the 1999 Special, Haga is now Head of the Detective Division, and he assigns Saionji to become Furuhata's new partner.
- Mamoru Saionji (西園寺 守 Saionji Mamoru), played by Japanese comedian Masanori Ishii (石井 正則 Ishi'i Masanori), appears in the third and fourth season of Furuhata Ninzaburo. He is a 'second' sidekick to Furuhata and a direct contrast to Imaizumi. Saionji is everything Imaizumi isn't. Saionji is serious, logical and competent as opposed to the silly, immature, and inept Imaizumi. Saionji is a huge admirer of Furuhata and emulates his skills as a detective. As the season progresses, he has become quite the excellent detective whose skills of observation and deduction nearly rival Furuhata's. Saionji is only 5'2" tall but has remarked he is the tallest amongst his relatives.
- Hanada (花田) is a character played by actor Norito Yashima who appears in several Series 3 episodes as well as the 2004 Special. He is a bystander who randomly (and conveniently) appears when the detectives are at an impasse in their investigation. After overhearing the detectives' conversation, Hanada is able to accurately able to deduce the killer's motive or modus operandi. He is uncannily correct and disappears from the episode after he has made his point, leaving the detectives to find the hard evidence. He has appeared every time in different occupation. First, he was a waiter in a family restaurant (Episode 27), then a manager at a cafe (Episode 31), next a server in a pub (Episode 33), then a flight attendant (Episode 36), a taxi driver (Episode 38) and as an employee in the Japanese embassy to Spain (Episode 39). He also appears for a few seconds in a brief non-speaking cameo as the flight attendant in the January 2004 "Imaizumi Shintaro" skit which aired right after Episode 39. In Episode 39, Hanada reveals that the flight attendant in Episode 36 and 2004 Imaizumi skit is actually his older (twin?) brother.
- Matsuzaka the Stage Director (松阪 Matsuzaka) played by Isao Nonaka(野仲功 Nonaka Isao). Matsuzaka has appeared three times in the Furuhata series. He first appears as the stage director for SMAP's show in Episode 26. He reappears as the stage director for the "Rakugo" performance in Episode 28. By the time he meets Furuhata again in Episode 33 (directing an orchestral performance), he becomes exasperated - wondering if every performance he directs will end up in murder. Incidentally, Isao Nonaka appeared briefly in Episode 22 as a taxi driver driving Furuhata and the suspect to the bowling alley. It is not clear if the taxi driver might be Matsuzaka moonlighting in a different job (much like Hanada).
Episode list / Guest stars
Series 1 (1994)
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The episode order is listed by order of the air date. However, the events of the episodes do not necessarily follow the same chronologic order.
|Episode||Suspect played by:||Victim played by:||Special Appearance||Original Airdate||Episode Notes / Trivia:|
|1||Akina Nakamori||Takeshi Ikeda||Dog - "Ben"||April 13, 1994||The Shoujo Manga Murder: Although this was the 1st episode aired, it takes place chronologically AFTER the 2nd aired episode. Furuhata develops his love of Shojo manga. Chinami Oishikawa, the suspect, is referenced in several later episodes of the entire Furuhata series|
|2||Masaaki Sakai||Kitarou||none||April 20, 1994||
The Kabuki Murder: Furuhata and Imaizumi meet each other for the first time; Mukojima's first appearance; The first of Furuhata's problems with vending machines;
|3||Yuko Kotegawa||Yuuichi Haba||none||April 27, 1994||
The Psychological Murder: Establishes that the only foods Furuhata knows how to prepare are: chawanmushi, meat stuffed peppers and meatloaf.
|4||Tsurube Shofukutei||Yoko Takayanagi||Tōru Minegishi||May 4, 1994||
The Faxed Ransom Murder: Establishes Furuhata's love of extremely sweet foods. Establishes Furuhata's love of fish sausages
|5||Yasosuke Bando||Akiji Kobayashi||none||May 11, 1994||
The Shogi Murder: Furuhata and Imaizumi are staying at an inn hosting a shogi tournament. Furuhata is reading a shoujo manga "Kirimantan" by Chinami Oishikawa. He mentions he can't wait to take the train back and order a subuta bento. The reason for this is explained in episode 8.
|6||Nana Kinomi||Shinsho Nakamaru||May 18, 1994||
The Piano Lesson Murder: Demonstrates Furuhata's love of convenience store foods
|7||Nenji Kobayashi||Hatsunori Hasegawa||none||May 25, 1994||
The "Actor Rehearsal" Murder: Two ladies on a tour of the movie studio, break away from the group and take a picture of the suspect. That picture eventually leads Furuhata to solving the case. These same two ladies would appear in Episode 9
|8||Takeshi Kaga||Sabu Sawahara||Zen Kajiwara||June 1, 1994||
The Train Murder: First mention of Furuhata's love of subuta bento. Though this is the 8th aired episode, chronologically it takes place shortly after Episode 5.
|9||Ken Ishiguro||Tsutomu Okabe||none||June 8, 1994||
The Psychic murder: The two ladies who spill a drink on and sit behind Furuhata are the same ladies (wearing the same clothes) from Episode 7
|10||Kazuki Kosakai||Noriko Izumoto||Shūichirō Moriyama||June 15, 1994||
The Political Murder. Furuhata has more trouble with vending machines. This would have been the first episode to feature two murders, but the second victim gets amnesia instead of dying.
|11||Kaori Momoi||Saori Yagi||Michiko Ameku||June 22, 1994||
The "Radio Broadcast" murder: Furuhata must figure out how a live radio DJ committed a murder during a 3-minute commercial break. This episode is notable as the first one with the "Akai Senmenki" running gag. This joke purportedly has the funniest punchline ever but much to Furuhata's chagrin, the punchline is never revealed to him. This is a long running gag which appears throughout the series. In Koki Mitani's movie, "Rajio Jikan (Welcome Back, Mr. McDonald)", Kaori Momoi has a cameo playing a DJ with the same name and spelling as her Furuhata character on a radio programs also called "Midnight Japan".
|12||Bunta Sugawara||Jun Nakahara||Zen Kajiwara||June 29, 1994||
The Stakeout Murder: Furuhata must figure out how a respected veteran cop committed a murder while on a stakeout. Furuhata mentions that he has a younger brother and reveals he never carries a gun and doesn't know how to use one. Kuwabara Mantaro (Toshihito Ito)'s first appearance in the series. Mukojima appears. Zen Kajiwara's second appearance in the series.
Series 2 (1996)
Please note the victim is not always shown, nor is he/she always listed by name in the credits. A credit is given here wherever possible. In the second season, the Shintaro Imaizumi special also begins.
|Episode||Suspect role played by:||Victim role played by:||Special Appearance||Original Airdate||Episode Notes/Trivia:|
|14||Sanma Akashiya||Naomi Akimoto||Akira Shirai, Megumi Odaka||January 10, 1996||
The Lawyer Murder: Haga makes his debut in the series. Mukojima appears. Furuhata reveals that Chinami Koishikawa (the suspect from Episode 1) was found innocent of her crime.
|15||Yasuko Sawaguchi||Kazuyuki Aijima||none||January 17, 1996||
The Catholic School Murder: Furuhata rides in on his bike; Kazuyuki Aijima, was one of the Sunshine Boys along with Nishimura Masahiko, Takashi Kobayashi, Toshihito Ito and Koki Mitani
|16||Masao Kusakari||Shunji Fujimura/Saiko Isshiki||Yoneko Matsukane||January 24, 1996||
The "Fake" Murders: First episode to feature two murders. Furuhata rides in on his bike, meets Mukojima; Saiko Isshiki would appear in the very last Furuhata episode in the Final Series. Shunji Fujimura is among a long list of Furuhata guest stars that have also appeared in Koki Mitani's movie "Welcome Back, Mr. McDonald" including: Masahiko Nishimura, Toshiaki Karasawa, Zen Kajiwara, Taguchi Hiromasa, Keiko Toda, Moro Moroka, Kaori Momoi, Ichikawa Somegoro, Yoshimasa Kondo, Takehiko Ono and Yasukio Umeno all who've appeared in Furuhata Ninzaburo episodes
|17||Takuya Kimura||Uncredited||Akira Shirai||January 31, 1996||
The Amusement Park Bombing Murder: Takuya Kimura was the first guest actor to play two different suspects within the Furuhata series. He would return (playing a fictional version of himself) in the Jan 1999 Furuhata vs SMAP special; The only episode where Furuhata assaults a suspect; Haga and Mukojima make their re-appearance in this episode.
|18||Haruko Kato||Kei Uzaki||Takashi Kobayashi||February 7, 1996||
The Drama writer murder: The murder weapon is not shown on-screen until the end of the episode, challenging viewers to guess what weapon was used.
|19||Toshiaki Karasawa||Hikaru Ijuin||Yoshimasa Kondo||February 14, 1996||
The Quiz show murder: The suspect is trapped at the scene of the crime with no outlet for escape before the commercial break. Right after the commercial break, the suspect has managed to disappear challenging viewers to figure out how he got away. (Only very sharp eyed viewers can catch this without rewinding the episode). Toshiaki Karasawa who played the suspect is married to Tomoko Yamaguchi who was the suspect in the 1996 special. He appeared with Yoshimasa Kondo in Koki Mitani's movie "Welcome Back, Mr. McDonald".
|20||Shingo Yamashiro||Itoshi Yumeji||Takako Matsu||February 21, 1996||
The Magician's trick murder: The only episode where we don't know the suspect's real name; The victim tells the Akai Senmenki Joke but dies suddenly before revealing the punchline; We learn that Furuhata is now taking care of the cat from Episode 14; Matsu Takako's brother (Ichikawa Somegoro) would appear in a Series 3 episode. Their father, Matsumoto Koshiro would appear in the Furuhata Special.
|21||Tojuro Sawamura||Takashi Ikeda||Takashi Kobayashi||February 28, 1996||
The Museum of Antiquities Murder: Furuhata arrives by cab straight from Chinami (the suspect from Episode 1)'s wedding, greeted by Mukojima.
|22||Morio Kazama||Takehiko Ono||Takashi Kobayashi||March 6, 1996||
The "False Identity" Murder: The suspect accomplishes TWO perfect murders until a chance encounter with Furuhata. Amazingly, without even knowing about either murder, Furuhata's skills of observation and lie detection allows him to eventually expose both crimes. Mukojima appears.
|23||Honami Suzuki||Not shown||none||March 13, 1996||The "Armchair Detective" Murder: The second "case" to take place outside Japan. The only suspect to successfully get away with the perfect murder (having already been tried and acquitted of the crime due to lack of proof and could not be re-tried due to double jeopardy). Furuhata, after listening to the suspect's tale still manages to solve the crime conclusively; This episode takes place during a bus trip from Atlanta to NY. Furuhata and Imaizumi are visiting Chinami, the suspect for Episode 1 who we learned has married and moved to the US.|
Series 3 (1999)
A credit is given here wherever possible. In the third season, Saionji also joins the group of regular characters.
|Episode||Suspect played by:||Victim played by:||Special Appearance||Original Airdate||Episode Notes:|
|28||Somegoro Ichikawa||Morooka Moro||Yasukio Umeno||April 13, 1999||
The Rakugo Murder: Kabuki Actor Somegoro Ichikawa who plays the suspect is the brother of Matsu Takako and son of Koshiro Matsumoto, who've both appeared in other Furuhata episodes. Matsuzaka the Stage Director appears in this episode.
|29||Hiroyuki Sanada||Minoru Sawatari||none||April 20, 1999||
The Hotel Murder: The security chief of a 5-star hotel commits a murder
|30||Tatsuo Matsumura||Michiko Ameku||Hachiro Oka||April 27, 1999||
The Murder in a Small Village: This episode takes place right after the events of Episode 32. Furuhata's cold worsens and in forced to stay in a small village. Saionji keeps a daily journal and spends the night writing about the Anzai Incident. (Episode 32)
|31||Mao Daichi||Tai Kageyama||Yuko Ito||May 4, 1999||
The Dentist Murder: Furuhata has a toothache and visits a dentist. The dentists commits a murder during his visit and uses Furuhata himself is as a witness to validate her alibi. Hanada appears in this episode
|32||Masahiko Tsugawa||Rieko Miura||Shigeki Hosokawa||May 11, 1999||
The Yoko-chin Anzai Incident: The only episode not to feature a death. Instead, Furuhata is able to use his skills to prevent one from occurring. Furuhata seems to be catching a cold as he keeps clearing his throat and coughing. The reason for this is not explained until Episode 30 (which was really supposed to air after this episode). "Mangoro" the dog from Episode 1, marks his re-appearance. Displays Furuhata poor game playing ability and his unsportsmanlike behaviour.
|33||Masachika Ichimura||Shion Machita||none||May 18, 1999||
The Conductor Murder: Hanada appears. Matsuzaka the Stage Director appears.
|34||Misako Tanaka||Fumiyo Kohinata||none||May 25, 1999||
The Housewife Murder: Fumio Kohinata would reappear in the last episode of the Final Series
|35||Masaharu Fukuyama||Itsuji Itao||Naho Toda||June 1, 1999||
The Scientist Murder
|36||Koji Tamaki||Chiharu Kawai||none||June 8, 1999||
The Airplane Murder: While Furuhata provides support, this episode centers chiefly around Saionji and his investigation. Handa appears
|37||Yosuke Eguchi||Masato Obara||none||June 15, 1999 (Part 1)||
The Train Hijacking Murder: Furuhata admits that of all the suspects he's captured, this one was the hardest.
|38||Yosuke Eguchi||Masato Obara||none||June 22, 1999 (Part 2)||
The Train Hijacking Murder: The suspect tells the Akai Senmenki Joke, but the punchline is interrupted by a passerby having a heart attack. Handa appears
Final Series (2006)
The FINAL series (these episodes were written with intention to be Furuhata's final adventures) consisted of three 2-hour TV movie specials.
Please note the victim is not always shown, nor is he/she always listed by name in the credits. A credit is given here wherever possible.
|Episode||Suspect played by:||Victim played by:||Special Appearance||Original Airdate||Episode Notes:|
|40||Koji Ishizaka||Tetsuya Chiba||Tatsuya Fujiwara||Jan 3, 2006||
The Curse episode: Furuhata investigates a series of bizarre, seemingly random accidental deaths. He zeroes in on the suspect murderer, but loses faith in his instincts when the suspect is himself killed. However, in the end, he ends up solving three murders and catching the real suspect.
|41||Ichiro Suzuki||Tomohiko Imai||Takashi Kobayashi||Jan 4, 2006||
The Ichiro episode: Ichiro Suzuki plays a fictional version of himself. Mukojima appears in this episode, revealing he is Ichiro's older brother (fictional)
|42||Nanako Matsushima||Nanako Matsushima||Fumio Kohinata||Jan 5, 2006||
The very last Furuhata episode with Tamura Masakazu as the lead. Nanako Matsushima plays a dual role (as twin sisters). Fumio Kohinata returns to the series, playing a different character. The character of the TV producer in this special is the same producer character of the Quiz Show in Episode 19
Most episodes of Furuhata Ninzaburo ran for 50 minutes (excluding commercial and news breaks); however, the show would periodically air extended length TV movie specials
Please note the victim is not always shown, nor is he/she always listed by name in the credits. A credit is given here wherever possible.
|Episode||Suspect(s) played by:||Victim played by:||Special Appearance||Original Airdate / Run time||Episode Notes / Trivia|
|13||Takanori Jinnai||Hiromasa Taguchi||Maki Mizuno||Apr 12, 1995 (2 hours)||The Australian Murder: The first case that takes place outside Japan, in Australia
. The only episode where the victim is murdered twice.
|24||Tomoko Yamaguchi||Minako Osanai||none||March 27, 1996 (90 minutes)||
The Flower Arrangement Murder: Furuhata has more trouble with vending machines. Furuhata FINALLY remembers Mukojima's name. Tomoko Yamaguchi is married to Toshiaki Karasawa, the suspect from Episode 19.
|25||Masahiko Nishimura||Masakazu Tamura||Series 1 & 2 Suspects||Apr 9, 1996 (2 hours)||
The "Documentary" episode: The only episode presented in a "mockumentary" format. All the suspects for Series 1 and 2 reprise their roles for this special. Bunta Sugawara does not appear on-screen(except in flashback) but recorded a voice-over for this special. Tamura Masakazu does not make an on-screen appeararance except in flashback scenes. Imaizumi accidentally locked Furuhata in the same safe the victim from Episode 1 was locked in.
|26||SMAP||Takashi Ukaji||Toda Keiko||Jan 3, 1999 (2 hours)||
The SMAP Murder: Although this is the 26th aired episode, the events of this episode take place after the events of Episode #27. Technically, this is Saionji's first on-screen appearance in the series, though his character is really introduced in Episode 27. Furuhata still remembers Otokichi's last name from Episode 24, but "Mukojima" now reveals his name has switched to Higashikunibaru. The SMAP members play a fictionalized version of themselves;
|27||Ogata Ken||Kurita Kanichi||none||Apr 6, 1999 (2 hours)||
The Fortune Telling Serial Killer episode: Although it is the 27th aired episode, chronologically speaking, the events of this episode took place before Episode 26; Haga has been promoted to Chief of the investigative division; Furuhata meets Saionji for the first time; Otokichi reminds Furuhata his last name is Mukojima. (This episode's events take place before Mukojima's name change in Episode 26). Hanada's first appearance.
|39||Koshiro Matsumoto||Mitsuhiro Oikawa||Masahiko Tsugawa||Jan 3, 2004 (2 hours)||The Spanish Embassy Murder: The third case to take place outside Japan.
A Spaniard tells the Akai Senmenki Joke, but the punchline is told in Spanish which Furuhata doesn't understand. The only episode in which Imaizumi does not appear. Regulars Saionji or Mukojima do not appear either. Hanada appears as an attaché to the Japanese embassy in Spain. Koshiro Matsumoto is the father of Somegoro Ishikawa and Matsu Takako. Masahiko Tsugawa makes his second appearance in the Furuhata series.
Imaizumi Shintaro comedic skits (January 10, 1996 ~ March 27, 1996; Jan 3, 2004)
In the second season of the drama, Fuji TV produced a series of 7-minute comedic skits called "Imaizumi Shintaro" which followed the "Furuhata Ninzaburo" episode. These skits feature Imaizumi and his confidante Mantaro Kuwabara portrayed by Toshihito Ito . This series was immensely popular until the death of actor Ito in 2002. In the skits, meek and long suffering Imaizumi vents his anger and frustration about his treatment in the main episode. During the skits, he tried to prove that he is the superior detective, make prank calls to Furuhata, work up the (drunken) courage to tell Furuhata off, even plot the murder of Furuhata. However, the skit always ends with Imaizumi proving his inepitude or losing his nerve and Kuwabara is forced to help escort his sobbing, spineless and broken friend out of the lab.
Despite the absence of Imaizumi, Saionji or Mukojima in the January 3, 2004 Furuhata Special; all three did appear in a 10-minute "Imaizumi" skit which aired later that night. Hanada also makes a brief cameo appearance
Young Furuhata Special (June 14, 2008)
During his last year in junior high, young Furuhata Ninzaburo, a bright but anti-social teenager reluctantly moves to small village with his single mom. His father abandoned the family years ago and his mother frequently stays out late working as a "snack-bar" hostess. Lonely and bored, young Furuhata, with the help of classmate Mukojima Otokichi, reads Sherlock Holmes and solves petty crimes. We see the origin and development of Furuhata's knack for observation, deduction and lie detection. Young Furuhata is played by Ryosuke Yamada and Young Mukojima is played by Tamoto Soran. Tamura Masakazu and Kobayashi Takashi make cameo appearances at the beginning and end of the episode, respectively. This special was written by Kōki Mitani. This show is considered canon, despite a few continuity errors with the earlier series.