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Inspector Ishida is a popular supporting character in the Usagi Yojimbo comic book series. The character is based on real-life Honolulu policeman Chang Apana, who was also the model for the fictional detective Charlie Chan. As Max Allan Collins points out in the introduction to Book 13: Grey Shadows, Inspector Ishida is, like the real Chang Apana, a more hardboiled character than the mild-mannered Charlie Chan from the novels by Earl Derr Biggers and the subsequent film adaptations.

He is a police detective in a large city whose government was corrupted by at least two villains until recently. Ishida, however is a steadfastly honest officer with a deep commitment to the cause of justice, regardless of who the criminals are. He is quiet in his manner, but highly observant and astute in his reasoning. Those faculties are invaluable in difficult cases like murder where intensive examinations of dead bodies like an autopsy are taboo. In addition, when force is called for, he has formidable fighting skills to call upon using his standard police weapon, the jutte, although he is allowed to also carry a katana.

Ishida first appeared in "The Hairpin Murders" in which the detective, with the help of Miyamoto Usagi, investigates a strange series of murders where the weapon is a hairpin stabbed in the neck. Although the character was intended only as a one shot, he soon proved unexpectedly popular and series creator Stan Sakai has used him in numerous other stories.

In "After the Rat," Inspector Ishida appears in his own story in which he is after a Robin Hood-like character named Nezumi, who steals from wealthy merchants, and buys the favor of the people by donating a portion of his gains to the poor. After Nezumi is accused of murder, Ishida's deductive skills tell him that the thief is no murderer, and despite his resentment, Ishida will not tolerate the crook being charged with a crime he didn't commit.

In the same story, Ishida has a run in with the series' most notorious criminal, Kitsune, but is not fooled by her appearance as a street performer; although he knows the truth, with no proof he subtly demands that she leave, disguised as a compliment. For her part, Kitsune realizes that this police officer is not to be trifled with and decides to acquiesce.

A new story featuring Inspector Ishida is scheduled for the near future:

"UYD Member "Maka" gave Stan a great idea for an Inspector Ishida Mystery, a Hanafuda crime for Inspector Ishida to solve. "The murderer leaves hanafuda cards in his victims clothes as a clue to why the crime was committed." Stan thought it was a great idea and, with Maka's permission, will be using the story in a future issue of UY!" [1]

In "The Hidden" story arc, Ishida was involved in a murder case of two Samurai, one of whom being a member of the outlawed Kirishitan (Japanese term for Christian) religion. Despite Ishida sharing the skeptical views on Christianity as Usagi, especially in regards to the afterlife, he generally turns a blind eye on suspected Kirishitan, especially Hama. Later on, his case led to clashes with Shogunate agents who seek to seize the book while Ishida seeks to use it as a means to bring justice to murderers. As the two groups fought bitterly, Hama later grabbed the bible and plunged himself into the fire--even as he was stalled by Ishida--as he found no means to escape from the Shogunate agents. With the book seemingly destroyed with Hama's matyrdom, the Shogunate agents called off their mission and left the scene. In the end, it was revealed that Ishida himself was a member of a secret Kirishitan group and managed to recover the bible from Hama during his struggle.

Fighting Style

Despite his age and small stature, Inspector Ishida is actually a master martial artist in both armed and unarmed combat. Ishida uses some form of kempo or jujitsu to defend himself when criminal refuse to comply with the law. As a police officer, Ishida mostly uses his martial arts to disarm or neutralize an enemy rather than kill them. Rarely relying on his sword when faced with armed opponents, Ishida uses his jitte to effectively disarm them and even break their katanas. Many criminals sorely underestimate Ishida because of his appearance only to be quickly taken down by the inspector's superior skill.


  • Inspector Ishida's main weapon, the Jitte, acted not only as a weapon but as a badge of office to the men who held them with the authority of the Shogun. Such officials, such as police officers, rice inspectors and fire fighters, were charged with maintaining the Shogun's laws and even had authority over samurai when it came to those matters.
  • The art of using a jitte is called "Jittejutsu".
  • The ban on Christianity in Japan ended six years after the dissolution of the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1873.


Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 3 No. 26 - Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 3 No. 27 (The Hairpin Murders)

Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 3 No. 30 (Tameshigiri)

Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 3 No. 77 (After the Rat)

Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 3 No. 139 - Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 3 No. 140 (Murder at the Inn)

Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 3 No. 155 - Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 3 No. 157 (The Secret of the Hellscreen)

Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 3 No. 159 - Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 3 No. 165 (The Hamamoto's Daughter; Death by Fugu; Body in the Library; and Mouse Trap)

Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 3 No. 166 - Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 3 No. 172 (The Hidden)

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