Detective Tamegoro Ikii and the Bank Poisoning Massacre Part 1

About the famous detective Tamegoro Ikii and the bank poisioning massacre, history and solution of the crime.



The Crime

The doors of the Teikoku Bank in the bustling Shiina-machi district of Tokyo, Japan, were about to close at 3:30 P.M. on Jan. 26, 1948, when a thin, distinguished-looking man wearing a loose-fitting white coat with an official-looking armband bearing the word "Sanitation" on it pushed inside. At his urgent request he was ushered into the office of the acting bank manager, Takejiro Yoshida. Once there, he explained that he was a civilian doctor attached to Gen. Douglas MacArthur's staff, and that he had been sent to immunize the bank's employees against amoebic dysentery, which had become rife in the area.

The bank officer had no objection. In postwar Tokyo the drastic shortage of food had resulted in numerous cases of food poisoning; in fact, Yoshida's superior had gone home early that day with an upset stomach. Then, too, civilians were used to following the orders of the occupying powers. At the time, MacArthur was often referred to as Shogun MacArthur.

The "doctor" told the entire staff plus Yoshida to bring their teacups, which he filled with a liquid he said offered better immunization than an injection. He said some of them might find their throats irritated for a moment, and for them he had a second liquid to relieve the discomfort. He instructed everyone to drink quickly, since he had many other places to visit and was pressed for time. As they drank, many were overcome with excruciating pain and dropped to the floor. Only Yoshida, two other men, and one woman would survive.

The bogus doctor stepped over the bodies and went to the tills, picking up 164,400 yen and an uncashed check for 17,405 yen, or a total of just over $500, in exchange for a dozen lives.

Enter the Detective

At 43, Tamegoro Ikii was one of Tokyo's crack investigators, having solved his share of murder and robbery cases. When several weeks of inquiry by teams of investigators turned up only dead ends, Ikii was ordered to drop his other assignments and concentrate on the poison-in-the-teacup affair.

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