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Purloined LettersCultural Borrowing and Japanese Crime Literature, 1868-1937$
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Mark Silver

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824831882

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824831882.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use (for details see www.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 18 January 2019

Arresting Change

Arresting Change

Okamoto Kidō’s Stories of Nostalgic Remembrance

(p.98) 4 Arresting Change
Purloined Letters

Mark Silver

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines Okamoto Kidō's detective fiction. Kidō was a Kabuki playwright who saw the detective story as essentially Western and modern but put it to ends that were thoroughly nativistic and protradition. Directly inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle, Kidō wrote, beginning in the 1910s, a hugely popular series of sixty-eight detective stories set in the old city of Edo (as Tokyo was known before the Meiji period). Kidō's stories are now collectively called Hanshichi torimono-chō (Hanshichi's Arrest Records). This chapter first provides an overview of Kidō's career before discussing his Hanshichi stories. It suggests that Kidō's works are suffused with ambivalent signs of anti-Westernism combined with a nativistic longing for a Japan that has been all but erased by the incursions of modernity.

Keywords:   detective fiction, Okamoto Kidō, detective story, Arthur Conan Doyle, Edo, Hanshichi torimono-chō, anti-Westernism, Japan, modernity

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