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Bungo Stray Dogs: Facts You Should Know

Bungo Stray Dogs: Facts You Should Know

For viewers who have not watched BSD anime yet, this article hopes not to spoil you.

[Disclaimer: The following information does not belong to me it comes from Manga, Anime, and Fandom Websites.]

BSD manga was written by Kafka Asagiri and illustrated by Sango Harukawa. Later, became an anime series produced by Studio BONES. The first twelve episodes aired on 7th April 2016 that ended on 23rd June 2016. The second cour began airing on 6th October 2016 and concluded on 17th December 2016. The third season started on 12th April 2019 and finished on 28 June 2019. BSD is an action, comedy, mystery, supernatural, seinen anime.

Short Background

The series begins with the 18-year-old, Nakajima Atsushi who has been kicked out of the orphanage and left hungry, and homeless. While starving on a riverbank, Atsushi saves a suicide enthusiast, Dazai Osamu from drowning. Dazai together with his partner, Kunikida Doppo has been investigating the same tiger that has been threatening Atsushi. He is forced to join the Armed Detective Agency. It is the firm of supernatural investigators taking on unusual cases the police cannot manage.

Aside from being a fascinating light novel, manga, and anime, author Kafka Asigiri has something to serve every one of us. With the upcoming fourth season of BSD slated to air in January 2023. The following are facts about the series, specifically about the Armed Detective Agency members that will leave you in awe and inspire you to either start or continue watching/reading the series.

BONES | BSD – Armed Detective Agency

BSD characters are based on real-life Japanese authors

Meet the Characters and their Japanese Literary Authors’ Counterparts together with their Literary Writings and BSD Special Abilities and Personalities


Nakajima Atsushi (中島 敦), one of the protagonists of the series and a member of the Agency possessed the ability “Beast Beneath the Moonlight”. This ability allows him to transform into a weretiger. While Japanese author Nakajima Atsushi or Nakajima-sensei (1909-1942) taught English and Japanese literature at a girls’ school in Yokohama. Unfortunately, he had to stop because of asthma. His novel Light, Wind, and Dreams are based on Stevenson’s diaries during the final years of his life when he lived in Samoa.

In the series, Nakajima has a traumatic past that affects his daily life which is tormented by the internal monologue of the orphanage director who abused him. Relating to Nakajima’s ability to be the weretiger, Nakajima-sensei has a short story “Moon over the Mountain,” also known as “The Tiger Poet.” Furthermore, BSD Nakajima and author Nakajima-sensei have a resemblance in personality because both have outlooks, feelings, and perspectives that were more pessimistic.


Fukuzawa Yukichi (福沢 諭吉), is one of my favorite BSD characters. He is the president of the Agency. Being a leader, he appears serious and capable man. His ability, “All Men Are Equal” (which is perfect for a frontrunner of the team) allows him to control the abilities of those in the Agency.

Going on the literary side, when Japan renewed its contact with the West in the mid-nineteenth century, Fukuzawa Yukichi, which I addressed as Fukuzawa-sensei (1835-1901) served his country as one of its most outstanding evaluators and interpreters of Western civilization.

His interests extended from Western philosophy to bookkeeping and public speaking. He is also an effective writer and teacher. Aside from being a successful and widely read author, he founded a school, Keio University a prestigious private research university that is also the oldest Japanese university focused on Western higher education. He also started a newspaper, Jijishimpo (Current Events), that focused on liberal writings that reach an even wider circle of people.

The will of Fukuzawa-sensei is deeply rooted in the idea of freedom and independence which I found amusing because this characteristic of Fukuzawa-sensei is prevalent with Fukuzawa in the series. Fukuzawa-sensei’s most influential publication and the first book that enlightened people about Western culture was titled “Things Western.”


Yosano Akiko (与謝野 晶子) is a female member of the Armed Detective Agency. Her ability is a rare healing ability named “Thou Shalt Not Die.” Since her ability is related to treatment, it makes her the personal physician of the agency. Evident in the story that she is prone to prominent sadistic and aggressive tendencies, which are amplified by her ability conditions. She prides herself on being both a strong woman and a capable doctor. [Just best gurl thingz].

She is a feminist who believes that now is the age of equal rights for men and women.

Conversely, Yosano Akiko or Yosano-sensei’s (1878-1942, real name: Yosano Sho) characteristic is remarkably similar to BSD Yosana, which is being both vigilant and feminist. She authored a poem for the magazine Seitou, the first magazine in Japan written solely by women and for women. It was 1910 when the magazine got banned which set off a Feminist Movement in Japan.


Kunikida Doppo (国木田 獨歩) is another member of Armed Detective Agency. His ability is called The Matchless Poet or “Doppo Poet”. He is living with his ideals written in his journal. He constantly feels the need to organize, gather, and schedule everything—the exact opposite of Dazai, his partner in the investigation.

The ability of BSD Kunikida is inspired by the writings of author Kunikida-sensei (1871-1908), specifically, Kunikida Doppo’s poem “Freedom is in the mountain” is directly inspired by his life events. In 1896, after five months of marriage, he was in distress because his wife had deserted him. He was extremely humiliated and wished to escape from Tokyo to start a new life somewhere in the mountains. Kunikida-sensei’s poetry collection “Doppo-shuu” was popular during his lifetime.


Tanizaki Jun’ichirō (谷崎 潤一郎), the older brother of Naomi Tanizaki who is a member of the agency and owns the illusory ability named Light Snow. He is one of the most “average” members not being eccentric or loud compared to any other members.

On the other hand, author Tanizaki Jun’Ichiro (1886-1965) or Tanizaki-sensei’s early works were influenced by various authors like Edgar Allan Poe, Baudelaire, and Oscar Wilde. During this period, Tanizaki was obsessed with cruelty, sexual aberration, and mysterious demonic forces which earned him the label of a “satanic” writer. However, BSD Tanizaki has a sister complex which assumed that his relationship with Naomi is not filial.


Miyazawa Kenji (宮沢 賢治) is a cute, naïve, jolly, and fascinating member of the agency. He has the ability, “Undefeated by the Rain” which grants him superhuman strength. Raised in a small rural village, Kenji is a simple but carefree and hospitable boy, who never fails to greet people with a smile on his face.

Similarly, author Miyazawa Kenji (1896-1933), or Miyazawa-sensei, is exposed to agriculture. His graduation paper was about the value of the inorganic elements in the humus for plants, a controversial issue during his time. He took his master’s degree from an agricultural school and lectured on mineralogy, soils, chemistry, and fertilizers.

Miyazawa-sensei also loves teaching, and he dressed casually while discussing. Another fact that is prevalent in BSD Kenji’s attitude is to exit the classroom/room through the window.


Izumi Kyōka (泉 鏡花), the former Port Mafia member who became the newest member of the agency. She possessed the ability, Demon Snow that allows her to materialize a female sword-wielding phantom, which only follows orders coming from a mobile phone. During her stay under the wings of Port Mafia, she is known as someone who lacks all emotions and is ruthless when she is ordered to perform a duty. However, after she joins the Agency, she tries her best to minimize casualties in their line of work.

Unbeknownst, author Izumi Kyōka’s real name was Izumi Kyōtarō (1873-1939), he was born male. Because he lost his mother when he was nine, Izumi-sensei would often write female characters in a way that reflected his young mother. It was a way for him to deliver himself from his many anxieties by establishing a fictive purgatory that is often precious and bizarre, though always genuine despite its melodramatic formality. Akutagawa called this eccentric place “Kyōka’s world”.


Edogawa Ranpo (江戸川 乱歩) is the only non-ability user member of the Agency. He is gifted with surreal intelligence like fictional detectives Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot. BSD Ranpo believes his entire life that he has a special ability and named it “Super Deductions”. Despite not being an ability user, he is known as one of the best detectives highly sought by the police, and renowned by his comrades as the “greatest detective in the world” because he can solve any mystery in mere seconds.

See Also

From the literary perspective, author Edogawa Ranpo has been called the Edgar Allan Poe of Japan, and his pen name (Edogawa Ranpo) is partially inspired by Poe’s name. A famous literature prize for mystery writers in Japan is named after Edogawa Ranpo. His real name is Tarou Hirai (1894-1965) and died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 71.


Dazai Osamu (太宰 治), the top favorite BSD character. He is a former executive of the underworld organization, the Port Mafia and later became a member of the Armed Detective Agency. Dazai’s ability is called “No Longer Human”, which allows him to nullify others’ abilities on contact. It relies on skin contact and is always active.

Author Dazai Osamu (1909-1948) is the writer of No Longer Human (one of his famous books). Akutagawa-sensei is one of the people Dazai looks up to, thus his suicide affected Dazai and caused Dazai to neglect his studies, devoting himself to writing, dressing foppishly, and hiring geisha at expensive restaurants. Not only in BSD story Dazai, Oda, and Ango friends, but it also takes place in reality—they drank at the bar Lupin on the Ginza in Tokyo together.

Dazai got to write a play, A New Hamlet, at the request of Akutagawa’s son, a popular actor of the time. Dazai, who had looked up to Akutagawa and failed twice at winning the Akutagawa Prize, must have been moved by his literary hero’s son asking him to write a play. BSD Dazai and Dazai-sensei were both suicide enthusiasts, and some of the writings of Dazai-sensei were used perfectly to portray his character in the series.

Lastly, this article would be incomplete if I will not mention Akutagawa even though he is not a member of the agency.


Akutagawa Ryūnosuke (芥川 龍之介) is a member of the Port Mafia, the adversaries of the Armed Detective Agency. His ability is Rashōmon, an offensive, and defensive shadow-like beast. Akutagawa has a black-and-white “survival of the fittest” view of the world, claiming that weak people should die and give way to the stronger ones. He is not afraid of pain and defeat if it means getting the recognition of BSD Dazai.

Contradicting the real-life scenario of Akutagawa-sensei and Dazai’s relationship; BSD Akutagawa is longing for BSD Dazai’s affirmation. Having only heard berating and experiencing the heavy hand of Dazai, learning of his high opinion of Oda damages Akutagawa on a deep level, feeling insulted he is thought of as lower than someone who refuses to kill in the mafia.

BSD Dazai’s defection has left a permanent inferiority in BSD Akutagawa’s mind no matter what he accomplished in the Mafia. A known fact about the author Akutagawa-sensei is his given name. The name “Ryunosuke” literally means “son of the dragon” because he was born in the hour of the dragon, of the month of the dragon, of the year of the dragon.

The “dragon” in Akutagawa’s name is important in the series because the dragon and the tiger are often seen as opposites and represent the balance of power in Buddhism. Akutagawa’s given name made him and “weretiger” team up even more symbolic and was a major foreshadowing of the relationship between BSD Atsushi and BSD Akutagawa in the future.

Thinking about the characters written and created by the astonishing mind of Kafka Asigiri makes the story more interesting.

It is amusing to read or watch literary authors written on the series act, be humans in the story, and reference the inspirations as guides to their thought process and characterization. The moment Kafka thought of compiling Japanese authors into one story is already a blast, but not only did he name the characters after them, but did thorough research and investment in learning and understanding their writings, personal and social history, and personality to incorporate it on a beautiful tale of writers fighting to keep their world safe.

Before BSD Season 4 breath of air next year, take the chance to discover BSD characters, their special abilities, and more deeply their correlation to Japanese literature.


Anne. (n.d.). Japanese Literature and Bungo Stray Dogs. Tumblr. Accessed on Dec. 1, 2022, through https://bsd-bibliophile.tumblr.com/about-bsd-bibliophile.

Bungo Stray Dogs Wiki accessed on Dec. 2, 2022 through https://bungostraydogs.fandom.com/wiki/Bungo_Stray_Dogs_Wiki.

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