Onihei Hankachō (鬼平犯科帳?) is a popular series of stories and television jidaigeki in Japan. It has been based on a novel by Shōtarō Ikenami which started in the December 1967 issue of the light novel magazine "All Yomimono" published by Bungei Shunjū which published the first hard cover the following year. Onihei Hankachō developed into a series, and adaptations into TV programs, a film and theater followed.
The title character is Hasegawa Heizō, who started as a chartered libertine before succeeding his father as a heir and was appointed the head of the special police who had jurisdiction over arson-robberies in Edo. Nicknamed by the villain "Onihei," meaning "Heizō the demon," he led a band of samurai police and cultivated reformed criminals as informants to solve difficult crimes. Later, he was titled "Hitsuke tōzoku aratamekata" (police force for arson and theft), and opened an office at his official resident.
Four actors, Matsumoto Hakuō I[a], Tamba Tetsurō[b] and Nakamura Kinnosuke[c] also played the lead in Toho series on NET. More recently, Nakamura Kichiemon II, the younger son of Hakuō I, led a cast in Shochiku production on Fuji Television over 25 years, reputed as the best actor to portray Onihei which has been the highlight of his career aside from plays as a Kabuki actor.[d]
The Fuji series ran from 1989 to 2001, with occasional short series and specials as recently as 2007. Until his death in 2001, Edoya Nekohachi III portrayed the informant Hikojū, often paired with Omasa (Meiko Kaji). Another informant was played by Chōsuke Ikariya. Yumi Takigawa was Hisae, wife of Onihei. Guests have included Akira Emoto, Frankie Sakai, Rokusaburo Michiba, Makoto Fujita, Shima Iwashita, Isuzu Yamada, Yoshizumi Ishihara, and Tetsuro Tamba. The series has been handed to Fuji on the broadcast satellite network (BS Fuji), after the show ended for Fuji on the terrestrial network.
In all, 137 stories were published and made into TV programs, mainly by Fuji Television and NET Television (succeeded by Asahi Television). In addition, there are 11 special programs per year since 2005 combining several of those stories into a single episode, on consent by Ikenami himself. BS Fuji reruns serials with additional episodes. For Pay TV on a satellite television, SKY PerfecTV! Premium Service and Jidaigeki Senmon Channel co-produced four extra editions called "Onihei Gaiden". The producers shot the extra edition on film, as they knew Ikegami loved films and called himself a Cinemadict (addicted to cinema/film). [e]
Broadcast programs on satellite are: "Yousagi no Kakuemon" (2011),[f] "Kumagorō no Kao" (2011/2012),[g] "Shōgatsu Yokkano Kyaku" (2012/2013),[h] and "Rōtō Ruten" (2013).[i] A DVD is released for each episode.
Ikegami left a will that the scripts would be true to his Onihei novels, and that he prohibited any episode written by a scriptwriter on his/her own storyline so that when all original Onihei stories were made into scripts, the serial should be ended. The final Onihei episodes is planned as two Onihei Hankachō Specials, with episode #149 "Asakusa Mikuriyagashi" (December 18, 2015)[j] and the final #150 shot in the summer of 2016 for broadcast in two segments in 2016-'17. 
"Onihei Hankachō" was released on November 18, 1995, as a film to commemorate the 100th year since Shōchiku was established. DVD was produced later.
Heizō was played by Matsumoto Kōshirō VIII (1970-1971), Takahashi Hideki (1978), and Nakamura Kichiemon II has personalized Heizō since the production of 1990. As the company belongs to Shōchiku aside from the 1978 production, most stages are brought on Meiji-za, where Kabuki is performed in Tokyo. Productions were brought to Minami-za in Kyoto as well as Misono-za in Nagoya, the theaters known to stage Kabuki plays as well.
- "Onihei Hankachō", September 1970 at Teikoku gekijō. Matsumoto Kōshirō VIII as Heizō. As part of the 17 memorial for late Nakamura Kichiemon I. Script combined "Sakura Mansion at Honjo (本所・桜屋敷?)", "Onna suri Otomi (女すりお富?)", and "Oyuki’s Breasts (お雪の乳房?)".
- "Fox Fire", February 1990 at Kabukiza. Nakamura Kichiemon II as Heizō. A repeat performance of the 1971 production.
- "Sakura Mansion at Honjo (本所・桜屋敷?)", February 1991 at Shinbashi Enbujō. Nakamura Kichiemon II as Heizō.
- "A Guest in the Fifth Year (五年目の客?)", February 1992 at Shinbashi Enbujō. Nakamura Kichiemon II as Heizō. Script combined the title work and "Yamabukino Okatsu (山吹のお勝?)".
- "The Woman of the Past (むかしの女?)", February 1993 at Shinbashi Enbujō. Nakamura Kichiemon II as Heizō. Guest stars Nakamura Matagorō (Minobino Kinosuke) and Nakamura Tomijūrō V (Kishii Samanosuke). Script combined the title work and "Dream of an Old Thief (老盗の夢?)".
- "The Woman of the Past", June 1994 at Kyoto Minami-za. A repeat performance of the 1993 production.
- "Color of Fire (炎の色?), February 1994 at Shinbashi enbujō. Nakamura Kichiemon II as Heizō. Script combined the title work and "A Mistress' Child (隠し子?)".
- "Duel of Blood (血闘?)", March 1995 at Shinbashi enbujō. Nakamura Kichiemon II as Heizō. Guest star Ichikawa Sadanji IV (Gorozō). Script combined "Osato of Koigimo (鯉肝のお里?)", "A Man of the Past (むかしの男?)", and "Duel of Blood (血闘?)".
- "Duel of Blood", June 1995 at Kyoto Minami-za. A repeat performance of the 1995 production.
- "Retired Man at Ōkawa (大川の隠居?)", May 2007 at Shinbashi Enbujō. Nakamura Kichiemon II as Heizō. Guest star Nakamura Karoku (Sendō Tomogorō).
- "Retired Man at Ōkawa" April 2008 at Misonoza in Nagoya. A repeat performance of the 2007 production.
- "Fox Fire", May 2009 at Shinbashi Enbujō. A repeat performance of the 1971 production.
- "Retired Man at Ōkawa", June 2010 at Hakataza in Hakata. A repeat performance of the 2007 production.
"Onihei Hankachō (鬼平犯科帳?)", gekiga artwork by Saitō Takao, arranged by Kubota Sentarō, published on "Comic Ran" by LEED Publishing CO.,Ltd. from 1993, with hard cover from both LEED and Bungei Shunjū. Arranger was changed to Ōhara Hisazumi since May 2008 issue upon death of Kubota. The story is true to Ikegami Shōtarō's novel, with exceptions as "Wedding of a Thief (『盗賊婚礼』?)", and the later works combined Onihei stories with other titles of Ikegami. The story of "Executer Maru (仕置きの○?)" is counted as part of the series.
"Sengoku Taisen (戦国大戦 -1615 大坂燃ゆ、世は夢の如く-?)" verson 3.1 by Sega Interactive collaborates Onihei story where there is a deck of Heizō is modeled after Hasegawa Masanaga, who was the elder brother of Heizō's ancestor Hasegawa Nobutsugu.
From Onihei Hankachō - Special series; Ishihara Shigeru, director (2006). Yamabukiya Okatsu (鬼平犯科帳 スペシャル - 『山吹屋お勝』?) (DVD). Shōchiku. (Japanese)
Inoue Akira, director (2007). the Villain (鬼平犯科帳 スペシャル - 『兇賊』?) (DVD). Shōchiku Home Video. (Japanese)
Inoue Akira, director (2008). Monobrow (鬼平犯科帳スペシャル - 『一本眉』?) (DVD). Shōchiku Home Video. (Japanese)
Ishihara Shigeru, director (2012). "Wedding of a Thief (鬼平犯科帳スペシャル - 『盗賊婚礼』?) (DVD). Shōchiku. (Japanese)
- It was during the era before Matsumoto Kōshirō VIII succeeded to Matsumoto Hakuō I , and he played in "Onihei Hankachō '69" between October 7, 1969 and December 29, 1970. For the term of October 7, 1971 to March 30, 1972, "Onihei Hankachō '71" was aired. Both series was given the year in title to make a distinction against his son Kichiemon II's series.
- Tamba Tetsurō played in "Onihei Hankachō '75" between April 2, 1975 and September 24, 1975 on NET television.
- Nakamura Kinnosuke played in "Onihei Hankachō '80", "Onihei Hankachō '81" and "Onihei Hankachō '82" between April 1980 and October 1982 on TV Asahi.
- Onihei TV series was broadcast at 19:00-19:55 each Monday. Nakamura Kichiemon II finished shooting A Vanished Man (消えた男?) before this interview.
- Ikegami frequented film theater since he was young so that he felt hungry without seeing one for three days, and even during the most busy days as a novelist, he enjoyed 15 titles per month. French films of the 1950s which were called "film noir" was his favorite. It could be said that Ikegami was influenced by the drama framework of his favorite director, Julien Duvivier the master craftsman of finesse, and those main characters in his novels could be related to the actor Jean Gabin portrayed as a cool guy in French films of the 1950s. (Referred to "Kaisōno Jan Gaban" - Furansu Eigano Tabi", published by Heibonsha. In the Prologue, "Rōtō Ruten" official site).
- Script based on "Shiranami Kanban".
- Script based on Kumagorō no Kao in anthology "Nippon Kaitōden" published as paperback from Kadokawa. Aired in 2011 on SKY PerfecTV! and in 2012 on Jidaigeki Senmon Channel.
- Script based on episodes for Sanada Soba eatery. Received the Best TV program for November at the Galaxy Award (Japan) 2012 as well as the Best Original Program (Drama) at the 3rd Original Program Award presented by the Satellite Television Union.
- Script based on "Koroshi" in short stories "Edono Ankokugai".
- As the last from the final episode is anounced, Fuji Television interviewed Nakamura Kichiemon II who played Onihei for 26 years. Kichiemon II shares his relationship to Ikegami Shōtarō on the 25th year after his death, and notes they met for the first time when Kichiemon II played Tatsuzō, the son of Hasegawa Heizō aka Onihei whom his father (Matsumoto Koshiro VIII) portrayed. When Kichiemon II turned 40 years old, they offered him to play the part of Onihei, though he felt he was too young and not ready to overwrite his father's Heizo. Ikegami waited for 5 years, and when Kichiemon was 45 years old, he persuaded Kichiemon II to play Onihei as 45 years old when Onihei was appointed the head of "Hitsuke tōzoku aratamekata" (police force for arson and theft).
- "Onihei hankachô". IMDb. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
- Started in 1989, the Channel Fuji and Shōchiku produced the first to fifth series. A publisher sold 26 DVD including the first and second series, and sold out via online marketing."Onihei Hankachō on 26 DVDs, the first + the second series.". U-can. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
- "Onihei hankachô (1995)". IMDb. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
- "A Vanished Man". Jidaigeki "Onihei Hankachō" 5th series. BS Fuji. February 8, 2016. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
- Kabushikigaisha 2013.
- Kabushikigaisha 2011.
- Kabushikigaisha 2012a.
- Kabushikigaisha 2012b.
- "Interview - Kichiemon Nakamura's "Onihei Hankachō" series will end with two more episodes" (in Japanese). Fuji Television. November 11, 2015. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
- "Kichiemon Nakamura's "Onihei Hankachō" series will end with two more episodes" (in Japanese). Fuji Television. December 16, 2015. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
- "Onihei hankachô (1995)". IMDb. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
- Yahei the Kasayama II (2代目傘山の弥兵衛?) is changed from a talented to a novice thief, or Hanzō of Narumi (鳴海の繁蔵?) and Kansuke Hyōtanya (瓢箪屋勘助?) are made into a single person.
- "latest version 3.1 is titled "Sengoku Taisen 1615- Osaka on fire; the life is a dream". Rewards and titles will be updated, based on the results on current version 3.0.". SEGA. May 8, 2015. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
- a private website which lists decks by Sengoku Taisen versions, including Hasegawa Masanaga
- Ikenami, Shōtarō (2011). Onihei hankachō II. Kanpon Ikenami Shōtarō Taisei (in Japanese) 5 (reprint ed.) (Kōdansha).
- Nihon Eiga Eisei Kabushikigaisha; Shōchiku (2013). "Ikenami Shōtarō and Film Noir" (in Japanese). Fuji Television. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
- Ikenami, Shōtarō (2000). Onihei hankachō IV. Kanpon Ikenami Shōtarō Taisei (in Japanese) 7 (reprint ed.) (Kōdansha).
- Ikenami, Shōtarō (2001). Onihei hankachō III. Kanpon Ikenami Shōtarō Taisei (in Japanese) 6 (reprint ed.) (Kōdansha).
- Ikenami, Shōtarō (2010). Onihei hankachō I. Kanpon Ikenami Shōtarō Taisei (in Japanese) 4 (7 ed.) (Kōdansha).
- Onihei hankachō II. Kanpon Ikenami Shōtarō Taisei (in Japanese) 5 (reprint ed.) (Kōdansha). 2011.