The Birth of Detective Akechi Kogorō

Like many detective fiction practitioners, Rampo also created a series based on one detective figure: Akechi Kogorō. This detective which has enjoyed long-lasting popularity up until now appears in 21 works that are oriented toward the adult reader, together with the Boy Detective Club series which are oriented toward children. “The Case of the Murder on D. Hill” (D-zaka satsujin jiken;「D坂殺人事件」) was the very first story featuring Akechi as an amateur detective.

Akechi was depicted as an eccentric, smart intellectual who looked like no more than 25-year-olds. He wore a loud, striped yukata that was unusual and stood out in the crowd, which in one aspect reflects his eccentricity. Rampo mentioned that Akechi’s appearance was largely taken from the crippled storyteller Kanda Hakuryū 神田伯龍(五代目) but with longer and more tangled hair [1].

Akechi’s model: Kanda Hakuryū (the fifth)
Kanda in his elder years
[1] His hairstyle was described as moja moja (モジャモジャ), which gives an impression of curly bushy hair. In the essay “D-zaka to Shinri shiken”(「D坂と心理試験」) from his collection of autobiographical essays Tantei shōsetsu yonjū nen (探偵小説四十年), Rampo mentioned that he was impressed by the fifth generation Kanda Hakuryū’s performance at the storyteller’s theatre in Osaka and “unintentionally took Hakuryū as the model for the amateur detective” (Tantei shōsetsu yonjū nen, 85).