Inspector Ishida

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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 favour 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 Hana-fuda 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!" <ref name="hanafuda">What's in store for Usagi's Future?</ref>

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