Week 6: 本陣殺人事件

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Week 6


Start Date: Feb 5th
Previous Part: Week 5
Next Part: Week 7


Week Start Date Chapter Names Page Count
Week 6 Feb 5th 「礒川警部警倒す」、「耕助の実験」、「本陣の悲劇」 ~31

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Proper Noun Readings

Previous Proper Nouns
Name Reading Notes Proof
井上 英三 いのうえ えいぞう Narrator’s friend (Chapter 1: 三本指の男) (Week 1)
一柳 賢蔵 いちやなぎ けんぞう Head of the family, eldest son, 40 yo, philosopher, lives with his parents
一柳 糸子 いちやなぎ いとこ Kenzou’s mother, widow, 57 yo (Chapter 2: 本陣の末裔)
一柳 妙子 いちやなぎ たえこ Second child, eldest daughter, lives in Shanghai
一柳 隆二 いちやなぎ りゅうじ Third child, second son, 35yo, doctor in Osaka
一柳 三郎 いちやなぎ さぶろう Fourth child, third son, 25yo, lives with his parents
一柳 鈴子 いちやなぎ すずこ Fifth child, second daughter, 17yo, lives with her parents
一柳 良介 いちやなぎ りょうすけ Cousin of the five children, 38yo
一柳 秋子 いちやなぎ あきこ 良介’s wife
久保 克子 くぼ かつこ 賢蔵’s fiancé
久保 林吉 くぼ りんきち 克子’s father, deceased, fruit farmer
鈴子’s cat
久保 銀造 くぼ ぎんぞう 克子’s uncle and the one who raised her/supports her (Week 2)
源七 げんしち 作男
週吉 しゅうきち The miller/小作
磯川 常次郎 いそかわ つねじろう 警部
木村 きむら 刑事
川田 かわた・かわだ The お主婦, or at least the 飯屋 she runs
This week spoiler

Big revelation this weeks.
Can someone help me with the chapter about 金田一耕助’s test. So it seems that 賢蔵 killed himself with a wire trap. I’m not sure how exactly he did it. He killed his wife then he did something with the wire, the water wheel, the bamboo field and the thing stuck in the tree. If someone understood it can he explain to me? I reread it but it’s just more confusing. I think there are three strings. One toward the bathroom one toward the water wheel… maybe… the tension broke the strings which explain the sound. There was one katana + three others?
If someone can explain it to me I’d be happy.

The other thing is the fireplace for charcoal. I don’t think I got what it’s supposed to look like. They destroyed part of it to get the body out but the body managed to enter in it?

I wonder about the other things. If 賢蔵 really killed himself then what about the three-finger man? Did he fall asleep and someone lights up the fire without knowing he was there? 三郎 was wounded after the event so how? Did he fall into a trap? What about the note by the three-finger guy? gonna find out next week I guess. The good thing is I got used to the writing still a bit. The first week was harsh but it’s getting easier.

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I’m imaging this is what happened.

I think there’s only one string. The string hung around the katana. One end of the string passed through 燈籠, the other end passed through the tree and the 琴柱 on the roof. After the 琴柱 was being knocked down, the tension is between the tree and the 燈籠.
(not 100% sure though)


I agree with all @wangqiwen said.


Basically, there’s a long koto string that is folded in two around the guard of the katana. The two ends of the strings are eventually attached to the water wheel, so they begin pulling the katana when the water wheel is turned on by a farmer at 4am.

The strings pass through a gap in the “ranma”, then as @wangqiwen exlpained, one half goes through the stone lantern (then towards the water wheel), the other half goes through the kotoji on the roof then to a tree where it meets the scythe, then pushes against 5 or 6 bamboos, then goes through empty bamboo towards the water wheel.

When the 5 or 6 bamboos eventually give under the tension, it makes a koto playing sound, and when the string ends up breaking against the scythe, it makes the string breaking sound. The purpose of the kotoji it to make sure the katana never touches the ground. The empty bamboo the string goes through is also so that the string won’t leave marks.

When the string breaks, the katana falls down, and the broken halves continue getting pulled towards the water wheel.

Here’s a movie version if it helps. (but they don’t show the bamboo making playing sounds)

As for the oven, I think it’s got this kind of shape, but like made of brick and clay?
The body was buried in the floor of the oven I think, but we don’t know yet how it got there.


What I was having trouble imagining was the scale of this. According to my ‘research’, the average koto is around 2 m long but can be longer. I found sizes varying between 70-250cm. The string is doubled, and while I can imagine there might be enough string to reach to the tree and the stone lantern, reaching the water wheel seemed a stretch…

But I just watched the scene play out in the movie, and they very obviously tied strings together to make it work. :joy: I don’t remember now why I was so convinced it had to be just one string, haha.

Thanks for the link, @miwuc !


It’s still kinda hard to wrap around my head but I understand it better now. Thanks to the both of you.

THERE’S A MOVIE??? I might need to watch it

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There’s a bunch of them, actually! According to wikipedia there’s two movies (1947 and 1975) and three TV adaptations (1977, 1983, 1992). The link is the 1983 version.


The 1975 movie is also available in physical form for pretty cheap (I think the blu-ray is region free? I don’t see any region marking on the disk or box at all - but I live in the same blu-ray region as Japan so it would play for me either way). I watched it that way after reading the book and it was pretty fun! Definitely useful to get some visual confirmation of the stuff described in this section of the book :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: