Okamoto Kidō’s Stories of Nostalgic Remembrance
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.
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