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Hamada Tsunehiko was the sixteen-year-old personal secretary of Sano Ichirō. He had a plump body and a round, pudgy face but was cheerful and good-natured.

His father a powerful bureaucrat who wanted his idle, not-very-bright son to have an occupation, had prevailed upon Magistrate Ogyu to find work for Tsunehiko. Ogyu had assigned him to Sano’s office. In Sano's eyes he had proven himself lazy and was incapable of getting even the simplest tasks right on the first try. His skills at calligraphy and taking dictation were minimal. To the irritation of Sano he also breathed loud and hard through his chronically plugged nostrils. In the police quarters he felt just as out of place as Sano.