Oi Polloi

Through the Magpie Eye: Japanese Columbo

Published: Wed Nov 24 2021


Don't think there's a person on planet Earth immune to Lieutenant Columbo's shaggy-dog, blue-collar charms, but by golly no one took to the raincoat-clad detective quite like the Japanese.

Somehow not content with over 71 hours of Columbo exploits, media bigwigs in The Land of the Rising Sun produced a series of TV movies, books, cartoons, tie-ins, homages and rip-offs that feature a character with all the Columbo hallmarks, right down to his mannerisms and idiosyncratic rig-out, albeit played by a Japanese guy.

Still not sure what exactly it was about the inelegant Angeleno detective that struck a chord with the inhabitants of the far-east, but it did, and the world is all the better for it.

As you can probably imagine, there's not a massive market in the West for snide Columbo 'adaptions', so thanks to John Frankensteiner for allowing us to peer behind the proverbial curtain.