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 workEdit
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.
Appearances in novelsEdit
Japp has been depicted in seven novels, all featuring Hercule Poirot:
- The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920)
- The Big Four (1927)
- Peril at End House (1932)
- Lord Edgware Dies (1933), also known as Thirteen at Dinner
- Death in the Clouds (1935), also known as Death in the Air
- The A.B.C. Murders (1936), also known as The Alphabet Murders
- One, Two, Buckle My Shoe (1940), also known as An Overdose of Death and The Patriotic Murders. This is his last appearance in any work by Christie.
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.
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).
Portrayals in film and televisionEdit
The role of Japp is played by Philip Jackson in the British TV series Agatha Christie's Poirot , where Hercule Poirot's character is played by David Suchet . Before Suchet took on the role of Poirot, he had previously played Japp himself in the 1985 film Thirteen at Dinner, where Peter Ustinov played Poirot. Philip Jackson also plays Japp alongside John Moffat's Poirot in an ongoing series of BBC Radio adaptations, produced contemporaneously with the Suchet TV series.
As the abbreviation Jap is pronounced similarly as the chief inspector's name, he was renamed Inspector Sharp in the Japanese anime series Agatha Christie's Great Detectives Poirot and Marple (NHK, 2004).