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Onihei Hankachō (鬼平犯科帳?) is a popular series of stories and television jidaigeki in Japan. A story by Shōtarō Ikenami in the December 1967 issue of the magazine "All Yomimono" developed into a series, which Bungei Shunju published the following year. In all, 135 stories were published.
The title character is Hasegawa Heizō, head of the special police who had jurisdiction over arson-robberies in Edo. Nicknamed "Onihei," meaning "Heizō the demon," he led a band of samurai police and cultivated reformed criminals as informants to solve difficult crimes.
Four actors have portrayed Onihei on television. The first was Matsumoto Hakuō I. Tetsurō Tamba and Kinnosuke Nakamura also played the lead in Toho series on NET. More recently, Nakamura Kichiemon II, son of Hakuō, led a cast in a Shochiku production on Fuji Television.
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.
In other media
- Heizo Hasegawa was highlighted in volume 15 of the Detective Conan manga's edition of "Gosho Aoyama's Mystery Library, a section of the graphic novels where the author introduces a different detective (or occasionally, a villain) from mystery literature, television, or other media. The character Heiji Hattori was also named after Hasegawa.
- In the Japanese media franchise, Tantei Opera Milky Holmes, Hasegawa is depicted a female police detective named Hirano Hasegawa.