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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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Cultural Borrowing and Japanese Crime Literature

(p.1) 1 Introduction
Purloined Letters

Mark Silver

University of Hawai'i Press

This book examines the responses of Japanese authors to the problem of writing in the borrowed genre of detective fiction. It considers the implications of Japan's deliberate policy of Westernization for crime literature, with particular emphasis on how Japanese writers were forced to assume the role of imitator by their choice of genre. It argues that the development of detective fiction in Japan is a form of literary borrowing between “unequal” cultures, citing Edogawa Ranpo's novella The Pomegranate (Zakuro, 1934) as an example. Through its analysis of the Japanese detective story, the book highlights the complexity of cultural borrowing as well as imitation and anxiety in literature.

Keywords:   detective fiction, Japan, Westernization, crime literature, literary borrowing, Edogawa Ranpo, The Pomegranate, cultural borrowing, imitation, detective story

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