Detective Chief Inspector James Harold Japp is a fictional character who appears in several of Agatha Christie's novels featuring Hercule Poirot.

Japp in Christie's work[edit | edit source]

Like those of Miss Lemon and Arthur Hastings, the role of Inspector Japp in Poirot's career has been exaggerated by adaptations of Christie's original novels; specifically by the TV series Agatha Christie's Poirot, where these characters are often introduced into stories that did not originally feature them.

Japp's career in the Poirot novels extends into the 1930s but, like Hastings, he disappeared from Christie's writing thereafter. A police officer somewhat similar in character (Superintendent Spence) was introduced as a significant recurring character in the later Poirot novels. Where Japp still has some of the overtones of Lestrade from the Sherlock Holmes stories, although not a total bungler, Spence became a very clever and skilled detective in his own right in Christie's later stories.

Inspector Japp is also briefly mentioned in the Tommy and Tuppence book The Secret Adversary; his card is brought to Julius Hersheimmer at the end of chapter five.

Appearances in stories[edit | edit source]

Japp has been depicted in several novels and short stories, all featuring Hercule Poirot:

In most of these appearances, Japp is a minor character with minimal interactions with Poirot or involvement in the plot. However, Japp emerges as a major character and partner to Poirot in Lord Edgware Dies. He returns in this capacity in Death in the Clouds and One, Two, Buckle My Shoe, before being written out of the series. In number of appearances, Japp is comparable to Arthur Hastings who was featured in eight of the Poirot novels.

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Characteristics[edit | edit source]

James Japp, while being a competent detective, is no match for Poirot; he frequently finds himself a step behind the great detective but has developed a grudging respect for the man's abilities over their years together. Japp and Hastings often commiserate on their confusion and inability to keep up with Poirot on cases.

Japp and Hastings are also generally astonished to find that Poirot cannot understand anything typically English (like cricket, which he maintains is utter nonsense).

Japp is characterized as someone who is outspoken, pragmatic, conservative, dogmatic, conscientious, and a tad bit stingy.

In The Market Basing Mystery, Hastings mentions that Japp is an ardent botanist and that he "discoursed upon minute flowers possessed of unbelievably lengthy Latin names ... with an enthusiasm even greater than that he gave to his cases."

Portrayals in other media[edit | edit source]

Thirteen at dinner[edit | edit source]

Philip Jackson first played Japp in the 1985 film Thirteen at Dinner, where Peter Ustinov played Poirot.

Agatha Christie's Poirot[edit | edit source]

Jackson returned as Japp is in the British TV series Agatha Christie's Poirot, where Hercule Poirot's character is played by David Suchet.

BBC Radio 4[edit | edit source]

Jackson also plays Japp alongside John Moffat's Poirot in a series of BBC Radio adaptations, produced contemporaneously with the Suchet TV series.

Agatha Christie's Great Detectives Poirot and Marple[edit | edit source]

As Japp is very similar to the derogatory abbreviation "Jap", he was renamed Inspector Sharp in the Japanese anime series Agatha Christie's Great Detectives Poirot and Marple (NHK, 2004). He was voiced by Yuusaku Yara.

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