Akihiro Kanou

Kanou profile


Kanou 2

Name Akihiro Kanou
Japanese Name 嘉納 明博 (かのう あきひろ)
Romaji Kanō Akihiro
Species Human
Status Deceased
Gender Male
Height 176 cm
Weight 72 kg
Blood Type A
Affiliations Teihou University (Formerly)
Kanou General Hospital (Formerly)
GFG (Formerly)
Aogiri Tree (Formerly)
Kichimura Washuu
Clowns[1] (Associates)
Occupation College Student (Formerly)
Coroner (Formerly)
Relatives Akihiro Kanou's mother †
Unnamed father †
Ward 5th Ward (Formerly)
20th Ward (Formerly)
1st Ward (Formerly)
Manga Debut Chapter 1
Anime Debut Episode 1
Seiyuu Kenji Nomura
English VA Mark Stoddard
Film Actor Ryō Iwamatsu
Image Gallery

"This distorted bird cage is arresting our world. I want to destroy that."

— Akihiro Kanou, Tokyo Ghoul Chapter 99

Akihiro Kanou (嘉納 明博, Kanō Akihiro), often referred to as Professor Kanou (嘉納教授, Kanō-kyōju), was a physician responsible for Ken Kaneki's transformation into an artificial one-eyed ghoul, using him as a prototype for his ghoulification surgery. In the past he was employed by the GFG, the CCG, and was later a physician at Kanou General Hospital before joining the ghoul terrorist organization Aogiri Tree. He has also been referred to as a "good friend" by members of the Clowns.


Kanou was an elderly, grey-haired man who wore the typical attire of a physician: white coat, white shirt, and black necktie. In :re, he also appears in a Hawaiian shirt and carries a fan. Kanou is often seen with two or three loose strands of hair falling over his forehead.


Kanou appeared as a benevolent physician whose purpose is to ensure the health of his patients. He disregarded regulations if it allowed him to save the life of his patient. However, behind this facade lies the mind of a disturbed mad scientist. Kanou considered ghouls, or more specifically one-eyed ghouls, as a way for humans to evolve in order to escape the "birdcage" that is encasing the "world." He was a misanthrope who perceived humans as weak and believed they possess no potential for the future. He stated that he had lost all hope in living in a world with humans. He showed no remorse for the test subjects of his ghoulification experiments, dismissing them as stepping stones for his ambitions. Kanou exploited the loneliness of naive people, manipulating them for the progress of his clinical research.

Surprisingly despite Kanou's loathing of the human race, he admitted there are individuals among them whom he respected for their abilities. This is seen when he compliments Dr. Kouitsu Chigyou on his modification and refinement of the kakuhou transplant surgery to create the Quinx.



As a child, Kanou was said to be a cheerful individual who liked to tell jokes and make others laugh. He had a sickly mother who his classmates said he would visit everyday in the hospital. She died shortly before Kanou entered university, causing a change in him.[2]

Kanou graduated from Teihou University's School of Medicine at the top of the class and traveled to Germany to become a researcher with the GFG. After spending three years in the GFG's lower ranks, he joined the CCG for four years.[3] There, he was involved in research on integrating the bodily capabilities of ghouls into the human body. His research, however, received a large amount of criticism out of ethical concerns. Due to this, his project was forcibly terminated,[4] and he was driven out of the CCG and resigned.[5]


After Ken Kaneki was mortally wounded by Rize Kamishiro, Kanou performed the kakuhou transplant surgery on Kaneki using Rize's kakuhou, turning Kaneki into a one-eyed ghoul. This caused an organ transplant scandal since Kanou did not ask Rize's family for permission.[6][7]

Doves' Emergence

After Kaneki was released, Kanou continued performing Kaneki's regular medical examinations. Kaneki questioned if Kanou figured out what had happened to his body because he should have an elevated Rc factor. Kanou instead told Kaneki there was nothing unusual.[8]

Aogiri Arc

Tatara revealed that Kanou was aware and responsible for Kaneki's transformation into a half-ghoul. Supposedly, Kanou transplanted a kidney into Kaneki, but in actuality, had transplanted a kakuhou. Kanou escaped from Aogiri Tree's clutches.[9] Yamori later brought him up when torturing Kaneki, stating that it was because of Kanou that Kaneki had remarkable regenerative abilities and part of Rize in him before mentioning that there are others that the doctor has worked on.

Raid of Kanou's Lab

Kanou is taken away by Shachi

Kanou is taken away by Shachi.

Kaneki and his group begin searching for Kanou after Kaneki is attacked by Kurona Yasuhisa and Nashiro Yasuhisa, who reveal themselves to be One-Eyed Ghouls. An investigation into Kanou is also undertaken by the CCG, who discover that he had apparently gone missing after the organ transplant. It was also found that Kanou was a former worker for them before going off on his own. A manhunt for the doctor soon began, with both groups and even Aogiri Tree on the search, eventually reaching his mansion.

Kaneki finally discovered Kanou at the very core of his lab. He called Kaneki his "ultimate creation" and explained his reason for turning him into a ghoul. Kanou felt that the world was trapped in a "cage" and decided to create artificial one-eyed ghouls to become that "ray of hope" to finally break free from that cage. Kanou nearly persuaded Kaneki to join him and Aogiri Tree so he could show Kaneki the "true form" of the world, then shared that Yoshimura was responsible for creating Aogiri Tree. Kaneki struggled to decide on what to do when Yomo suddenly appeared and rescued Rize. Yomo told Kaneki to follow his own path and warned him of the approaching Doves. Kanou escaped with Shachi, not before releasing all of his failed experimental subjects after Kaneki, adding that he would look forward to seeing him again.[10]

Afterward, Kanou watched events unfold from a monitoring room alongside Eto. When Kurona arrived, he noted her poor condition but advised her to abandon Nashiro as a lost cause, reassuring her that she would make plenty of new friends at Aogiri and later departed through a back entrance to the facility.[11]

Post-Owl Suppression Operation

Kanou appeared in a new laboratory, accompanied by Tatara and Eto. He discussed how investigators had stronger bodies than normal people and was pleased that Aogiri had provided him new materials for his experiments. The doctor admitted Kaneki was only ever intended to be a test of his procedure, but turned out to be far more than he had ever imagined. Eto suggested that, since Kaneki was gone, they should make a "new Kaneki" using the captured investigators and Yoshimura as the new donor.[12]

Root A (Anime)

As the 11th Ward battle comes to an end, with Aogiri's base collapsing, Kanou watches the destruction from afar at the hospital with Kurona and Nashiro, commenting that it's now over and proceeds to tell the twins to leave with him.

Later, Kuro and Shiro state to each other that their "papa" had told them about Kaneki's strength as they briefly battle him, revealing that they are one-eyed ghouls who were also experimented on, and that they have Rize's kagune like Kaneki. An investigation into Kanou is carried out by Kousuke Houji, who discovers that since Kaneki's organ transplant, the doctor had disappeared.

After the raid on Cochlea, Eto under the guise of Sen Takatsuki interviews Shinohara and Juuzou, and questions them upon whether it is possible to artificially create ghouls. Shinohara responds that he does not think it likely, wondering why someone would want to make more ghouls. Eto shows a hint of interest in his answer, implying that she knows of Kanou's goals.


Of the sixty-three investigators Kanou subjected to the ghoulification process, Seidou Takizawa was the only one considered a successful product being given the designation "T-OWL." Kanou's research data noted that Koutarou Amon being transformed with the ghoulification surgery eventually caused an unusual Rc cell level increase of over 10,000. Amon was designated as A-OWL and a floppy. Kanou mused how much of a disappointment Amon's conversion was and the possibility of him developing a kakuja.[13] Some time after Takizawa's surgery, he was imprisoned in a cell and visited by Kanou. Rather than answer his questions, Kanou removed his clothing and showed Takizawa his regenerating left arm. Horrified by the deformed limb, Takizawa panicked while Kanou explained the stages of the transformation to him. As Takizawa vomited, Kanou was fascinated by the beginning stage of ghoul transformation occurring in Takizawa's body. He informed him further testing would be conducted later before he left Takizawa alone in his cell.

Kanou torturing Takizawa

Kanou torturing Takizawa.

In the time following his initial transformation, Takizawa was repeatedly subjected to extensive torture at the hands of Dr. Kanou. Kanou explained it was a part of the process intended to force the development of new Rc pathways in order to strengthen Takizawa's body and remove any lingering human weaknesses. Kanou's repeated torture eventually shattered Takizawa's mind and diminished his life span.[14]


Dr. Kanou remained a member of Aogiri, and observed the battle at Zeum hall from a room filled with monitors. He advised Eto it was time to send the "Owl." The first of his new artificial ghouls to be debuted was Seidou Takizawa.[15]

Rose Extermination

Kanou was discussing Gagi and Guge with Naki, hoping to gain his consent to use the twins' kakuhou for experiments. He simplified his words to Naki due to the latter's lack of proper education, telling him that he would definitely revive the twins. Naki thanked him and shared his joy with other fellow White Suits. Kanou expressed his interest in the Quinx, describing Dr. Chigyou as a genius and hoped to have a conversation with him. Kanou then wondered what his "beloved prototype" — Ken Kaneki — was doing at that moment.[16]

Kanou was given the body of the former Quinx Squad Leader, Ginshi Shirazu, after Aogiri Tree attacked a vehicle containing it. Kanou examined Shirazu's body and was impressed by the CCG's ingenuity of gradually accustoming a ghoul's kakuhou into a human body through frame technology. He was certain that by implementing Quinx technology into his ghoulification experiments, he could increase the success rate and decrease any adverse side effects. Kanou later asked Tatara for a new body to use for his experiments and expressed his wish to speak to Eto, only for Tatara to inform him that she was "busy."[17]

Rushima Landing Operation

Kanou managed a hidden lab on Rushima when suddenly an injured Kurona arrived at the lab, greeting him.[14] Kurona revealed a deformed figure on her abdomen and requested Kanou to help Nashiro, to which he replied that he was not Dr. Frankenstein and could not raise the dead. Kurona argued that Nashiro was alive because she could breathe, eat, and speak. Kanou pondered and concluded that the sounds produced from the deformed figure on Kurona's stomach were actually gas escaping from the body, not speech. He also stated the reason she saw Nashiro's face was because she was imagining it, explaining it as the phenomenon known as Pareidolia. Kurona then decided that she wanted to kill Kanou, so the latter immediately introduced a product of his Quinx surgery, Okahira.[18]

Kanou releases another batch of Quinx

Kanou releases another batch of Quinx.

Kanou commanded Okahira to attack Kurona but she managed to break a pipe which released a blistering steam that wounded Okahira. Kurona mentioned there was once a tragic accident in which the pipes malfunctioned and incinerated various researchers, boldly saying it would happen again. Kanou released another batch of Quinx while asking them what they thought.[19] After Kurona escaped Okahira, who tried to snap her neck, she told Kanou she knew what he was, declaring him a crazy mad scientist, which Kanou was only relieved to hear. Unexpectedly, Nishiki Nishio arrived, and held Kanou in midair with his kagune, telling him he had been looking for Kanou, who commanded his Quinx to kill Nishiki. At the arrival of Shikorae and Roma Hoito as a request from Furuta, he was freed and taken away by Okahira.[20] Afterwards, he was seen escaping the island with Okahira and his assistants, one being Kimi Nishino who had brought him research material.[21]

Post-Clown Siege

Kanou eventually returned to the CCG and continued his research alongside his partner, Nimuru Furuta, who had also been made into a One-Eyed Ghoul by him much earlier. Kanou began working a new batch of Quinx called the Oggai. Furuta introduced Koori Ui to the doctor, who was impressed with the swift success of the Oggai children and hoped to use them more.


As Dragon rampaged throughout Tokyo, Kanou spent his final moments at the graveyard visiting his mother, musing that the completion of his task of "destroying the birdcage" was his only saving grace. Kurona watched from behind and approached him. Kanou explained to her that Dragon would finally be able to push humanity forward when it came to ghoul research and expressed satisfaction that the Washuu's goals were now met. He revealed that he chose Rize as his donor out of a desire for the power the Washuu's held.

Kurona angrily argued that Dragon would destroy the city, rendering all of Kanou's goals hopeless, to which Kanou simply stated that it did not matter to him if it occurred. Before Kurona could kill him, the doctor instead pulled a gun on himself and apologised for not holding a grudge against her, before committing suicide.



Ogura's research into Kanou's past uncovers that he had a sickly mother. Kanou was supposedly close to his mother, visiting her in the hospital everyday until she died. Reportedly, her death affected Kanou greatly. Ogura hypothesizes that she is the reason he became a doctor.[2]

Ken Kaneki

Their initial relationship is that of a kindly doctor and his patient, though the truth complicates things greatly. Kanou never intended for his patient to become anything more than a test of the procedure, but is extremely pleased to witness his growth. He attempts to persuade Kaneki to join him and is disappointed at the harsh rejection. After news of Kaneki's apparent death reaches him, he expresses derision for his "ultimate creation", dismissing him as an unusual prototype. However, after discovering that he had survived and was able to battle his Owl upgrade equally, he changed his mind, designating him as his beloved prototype.

Nashiro and Kurona Yasuhisa

Kanou approached the twins and convinced them to become his allies by revealing the truth about their parents' deaths. He used them in his experiments to ensure the success of the procedure he had initially tested on Kaneki. They are his second and third successful experiments and fiercely loyal servants, as well as Madam A's bodyguards. He manipulates them both to the extent that the girls refer to him as their father, but when Shiro is fatally wounded, he refuses to do anything further to help her. During the Rose investigation, Kanou states that they are failures, labeling them as "floppies." During the Landing Operation, Kurona tells Juuzou that she is confident that Kanou can restore Nashiro, who has been absorbed by Kurona.

Hisashi Ogura

The first meeting between the two was during their medical study. Ogura immediately noted that Kanou stared at him and the rest of the students as if he were looking at bugs.

Maiko Abe

She lived in poverty, wishing for money, quality meat and things only upper-class ghouls received and became indebted to Kanou when he gives her a better life after she attempted to kill and eat him. She is a valuable ally to Kanou and cares for his less-successful experiments, yet she is merely a pawn who he throws aside without even a second thought.


The two see each other as important allies with similar goals and believe in the same concept of the "twisted birdcage". He frequently interacts with her the most out of all the members of Aogiri and respects her.


Kanou expresses his gratitude to the ghoul for providing him with excellent facilities and materials for his experiments. Though only a human, he seems to be useful enough to be treated decently by the second-in-command of Aogiri.

Rize Kamishiro

Rize is a victim of his experiments, a donor had captured and farmed to create his artificial half-ghouls. He considers her a valuable resource but allows her to suffer both incredibly mentally and physically while being used. He does not seem to care about her in the slightest, keeping her restrained and naked in a glass tank whilst starving her, driving her progressively insane.

Nimura Furuta

Before the events of the story, Furata was hired by Kanou as a bodyguard and to collect people for his experiment for unknown personal reasons. They still maintain contact, as it was how Aogiri came to know about the corpse transportation after the Rose Extermination.

Koutarou Amon

During the raid of his lab, Kanou knew plenty about Amon, including his upbringing as a ghoul's foster son and his reputation as an excellent investigator. He immediately deemed him as a good subject. Later after Aogiri captured him, he performed the kakuhou transplant surgery on Amon with Yoshimura's kakuhou. How long the two may have been in each others' company is unknown. Seidou Takizawa notes that Kanou dismissed him as a failure after the experiments on the captured investigators were completed.

Seidou Takizawa

Takizawa is one of the many investigators captured by Aogiri given to him for use in his experiments. He seems pleased with the results of the experiments, and eagerly unleashes his creation.


Yoshimura is the second ghoul to become his donor, farmed for kakuhou for the next stage of his experiments.

Powers and Abilities

Keen Intellect: Kanou had proven himself to be a highly charismatic and intelligent man from being able to convince loyal CCG cadets, such as Kurona and Nashiro, into joining his cause and permitting him to perform ghoul experiments on them.

Medical Expertise: Despite his disregard for human life, Kanou was a surgeon whose medical skills and knowledge of the body are astonishing, allowing him to perform operations capable of converting a human into a one-eyed ghoul or Quinx. Proof of his knowledge is in his ghoulification research. He has created several successful artificial one-eyed subjects, such as Kaneki, Furuta, Kurona, Nashiro, Takizawa, and Amon. He also has much knowledge in ghoul anatomy and how to create Rc pathways, as shown when torturing Takizawa. Nico has mentioned his knowledge of humans equates to his extensive knowledge of ghoul biology.


  • Thinking about Kaneki: "I wonder how you're doing... my beloved prototype..."[16]
  • To Amon: "You will die."
  • To Kurona: "Thus does the cage break."
  • To Kurona: "I'm sorry."
  • Last words: "So this is death. How very interesting."[22]


  • Kanou's role in converting Kaneki into an artificial ghoul and in Kaneki's character development mirrors the relationship between Victor Frankenstein and the Frankenstein's Monster in Mary Shelley's book Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus. Interestingly, Kanou himself states to Kurona that he is not Dr. Frankenstein in response to her request in bringing Nashiro back to life.
  • Kanou states that he experimented on a total of 1,200 people, using Rize Kamishiro as his base. Of those experiments, only three resulted in an artificial one-eyed ghoul. It is known in :re Chapter 90, that sixty-three investigators were experimented on using Yoshimura as his base, but he claims to only have one success from those experiments.
  • In Tokyo Ghoul Trump, he is featured as the "Seven of Clubs."


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