The Police Chief

The chief of police goes on doing what he enjoys doing regardless of the law Government officials sometimes appear in Kenji's stories, but each one is a unique personality. In "The Adventures of the Revenue Office Superintendent," the lead character puts himself in personal danger as he works to bring a bootlegging operation to justice; in contrast, the new chief of police who comes to town in "The Police Chief" is eventually beheaded for engaging in his favorite hobby, catching fish using poison bags--an outlawed method. The new chief of police is portrayed as a pertinacious character who goes on doing what he enjoys doing regardless of the law or any severe punishments--resigning himself to the fact that what he enjoys, he enjoys.

Forbidden use of poison bags The story takes place in a little town in a country called Puhara where four icy mountain streams come together to form one large, placid river. Article One of the Puhara's Law forbids the use of gunpowder to kill birds and poison bags in order to catch fish. Poison bags, the story goes, are made by grinding dry 'sansho' bark with a pestle and mortar, mixing its with wood ash, then putting the mixture into a bag. The bags are squeezed in the water by hand, and fish, having ingested the poison, die and float to the surface, white bellies up. So "one of the most important tasks of the Puhara police was to stop people using these poison bags."
The new chief of police "One summer, a new chief of police came to the town. With a red mustache that stuck out stiffly, he somewhat resembled an otter; and his teeth were all capped with silver. As chief of police, he wore a long red cloak with magnificent gold braid, and he went around keeping a careful eye on things."
Suspected violations of the town's law Nonetheless, some people seemed to use poison bags in defiance of Article One of the Law. Once in a while, dead fish floated to the surface of the ponds, and some of the town's 'sansho' trees were found stripped clean of their bark. One day one of the town's children told his friends that he had be scolded by the chief of police for throwing stones into a pond and been told to go away because the chief was staking out the place on the lookout for lawbreakers.
An astonishing revelation that the chief was the lawbreaker

The chief's last words before being beheaded
Six months later, another child told people that he had seen the chief with a hood over his head, dealing poison bags with a man. And yet another child reported that the chief had bought two bags of ash at his father's store. These stories spread and caused a fuss in the town.
Finaly, the mayor of Puhara decided he couldn't ignore the fuss anymore, so and he went to see the chief of police. Without any hesitation, the chief admitted that he himself had been breaking Article One of the Law. The chief was tried and sentenced to death. The chief's last words before being beheaded. About to be beheaded for his deeds, the chief smiled and said: "Well, it was fun! As far as I'm concerned, I'd be happy doing nothing but catch fish with poison bags all day. And now I think, perhaps, I'll try it in hell." Hearing his words, the people were all immensely impressed.
Material in quotation marks is
from Once and FOREVER, the tales of kenji miyazawa,
translated by John Bester, published by Kodansha International.

Various professions
Ihatovo and foreign land
The World of Kenji's Works
The World of Kenji Miyazawa