Anyone have any recommendations for classic Japanese crime books? I just read the Tattoo murder case by Akimitsu Takagi but am having trouble finding other Japanese authors who wrote crime books in the 1930-1960 range. Any ideas?



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Can't say I've been impressed by "classic" Japanese crime authors. I've found them to be copy cats of European and American authors.

A very notable exception is the superb Shotaro Ikenami with his assassin series. Not sure about pub dates, but he is unfortunately "late" (as Mma Ramotske would say).
Edogawa Rampo and Seicho Matsumoto are probably the most famous Japanese mystery authors from that general period you listed.
I am a member of BookCrossing.com., and the members are so helpful. There is a Japanese site, of course, in Japanese. However, if you go into the Books forum in English, there will be someone to help you find crime books in Japanese.There is ALWAYS a member who will help in translation, and some of the members speak 2 or 3 languages. I have had lots of fun (really) teaching English to Japanese women in the United States.

I would also suggest contacting a Japanese Consulate in a major city. I think there are still some around. Good luck!

Oh, try a university, too. The Universit y of Washington would be a good choice, And the library in Seattle, Washington, has great lists. You should be able to do all your requests on the Net.

I haven't
to Japan since 1995 annd am out of the loop. Try a university, too, as a you can get a list from an obliging prof.

to Japa

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You don't need to do all that just to get a list of authors. Wikipedia plus a little searching on Amazon will suffice. After all, he's probably looking for English translations, and the number of those is rather limited, especially from such a narrow time period.

Here's a good wikipedia article with a list of Japanese crime writers, some writing during 1930-1960s: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_detective_fiction.

Also, just start with an author you know of on Amazon and follow the links for related books; that's the best way to find obscure books you probably wouldn't notice otherwise.

And if he is looking for Japanese language works, then he probably reads Japanese, in which case finding authors will be even easier.
Boy, I hope that he reads Japanese. I will never learn the dang language with its three separate forms. Maybe when I am 93, 20 years from now, I will be able to read Japanesewith some degree of fluency. The novel that he mentioned I actually have in my car as one that I read when I am waiting for my mail to come 1/2 mile from my house, and the book was one that I got from Bookcrossing, an English translation by a respected author who has been dead for some time.
Just ordered an out-of-print volume of the assassin series by Shotaro Ikenami (only 3 exist in English translation -- a very good translation) for $ 40.00 from an Amazon dealer. All the others were way more expensive.

I still believe in spending money on the good stuff.
Having been to Japan twice, I have had some luck getting Englishtranslations via regular mail. However, the postage is a killer. I own 7 Japanese dictionaries all of which I purchased in Japan when I visited. The exchange rate was much better than it is now. There is a bookstore on nearly every corner in Japan, or so it seemed to me. Mhy pigeon Japanese was smiled at, but one never learns a foreign language without making mistakes, and bookstore owners are sometimes somewhat fluent in English, so I was always able to muddle through in what is often termed Jap-English--can't remember if that coined word is one word or not.
As in other countries where I have traveled, one gets high marks for attempting to speak the native language.

Japan is a great countnry for a woman to travel solo in, and it is true that age has its perks, too.
I am so glad that I did not have to teach typing or computerese (a word?). I took one of the dogs out for her early morning jaunt and saw my typo when I returned. Oh I have couple of Chinese?English classics. I was friends with a lovely Chinese woman whose English was far better than mine. She died of cancer when she was only 33. What a loss!
Thank you all for your help!


I'd second the nomination of Seicho Matsumoto - I love all his books, but Points & Lines is a tremendous peek into the Japanese psyche (and train timetables :) )


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