Japanese detective fiction

Japanese detective fiction (Kanji: 推理小説 romaji: suiri shōsetsu, literally: deductive reasoning fiction), is a popular genre of Japanese literature. It is generally called "Suiri shōsetsu" (推理小説) in Japan.



When Western detective fiction spread to Japan, it created a new genre called detective fiction (Tantei shōsetsu (探偵小説)) in Japanese literature. After World War II the genre was renamed deductive reasoning fiction (Suiri shōsetsu (推理小説)).[1] A loosely defined term mystery is often used instead, although this genre includes non-detective fiction as well.


Edogawa Rampo is the first Japanese modern mystery writer and the founder of the Detective Story Club in Japan. Rampo was an admirer of western mystery writers. He gained his fame in early 1920s, when he began to bring to the genre many bizarre, erotic and even fantastic elements. This is partly because of the social tension before World War II.[2][3] In 1957, Seicho Matsumoto received the Mystery Writers of Japan Award for his short story The Face ( kao). The Face and Matsumoto's subsequent works began the "social school" (社会派 shakai ha) within the genre, which emphasized social realism, described crimes in an ordinary setting and sets motives within a wider context of social injustice and political corruption.[2][4] Since the 1980s, a "new orthodox school" (新本格派 shin honkaku ha) has surfaced. It demands restoration of the classic rules of detective fiction and the use of more self-reflective elements. Famous authors of this movement include Soji Shimada, Yukito Ayatsuji, Rintaro Norizuki, Alice Arisugawa, Kaoru Kitamura and Taku Ashibe.


I think that the writer of the detective novels can describe human being by emphatically drawing the crime motive. Because the crime motive originates from the psychology when people is left in the extreme situation. After World War II, I do not think that the writers of the detective novels have succeeded in drawing human being enough. Rather I think that from the beginning they abandon the will that draw human being. In this way, the detective novels became the game for narrow-minded enthusiasts. From old days, I had dissatisfaction toward the detective story of the kind that common people could not be interested in. Accurately, I had this dissatisfaction for the writers who continue to write such a detective novel.

I will not assert that a detective novel has to be literary. However, nonetheless, I hope the detective novels to be written that we can appreciate more than the minimum standard as a novel.

Seichō Matsumoto. Zuihitsu Kuroi Techō (Essays on the Mystery Novel). 1961. pp.18 - 25.
Ellery, the slim handsome young man says:

"To me, detective fiction is a kind of intellectual game. A logical game that gives readers sensations about detectives or authors. These are not to be ranked high or low. So I don't want the once popular 'social school' realism. Female employee murdered in a deluxe suite room; criminal police's tireless investigation eventually brings in the murdering boss-cum-boyfriend--All cliché. Political scandals of corruption and ineptness; tragedies of distortion of modern society; these are also out of date. The most appropriate materials for detective fiction, whether accused untimely or not, are famous detectives, grand mansions, suspicious residents, bloody murders, puzzling situation, earth-shattering scheme . . . . Made up things are even better. The point is to enjoy the pleasure in the world of reasoning. But intellectual prerequisites must be completely met."

Yukito Ayatsuji. The Decagon House Murders. 1987. pp.1.

Japanese mystery awards

Top book lists of mystery fiction published in Japan

Japanese mystery writers

Pioneers of Japanese mystery writing
Writers who debuted in the late 1940s
Writers who debuted in the 1950s
Writers who debuted in the 1960s
Writers who debuted in the 1970s
Writers who debuted in the 1980s
Writers who debuted in the 1990s
Writers who debuted in the 2000s
Writers who debuted in the 2010s
  • En Mikami (ja) (born 1971, M)[31]
  • Aki Hamanaka (born 1976, M)[32]

Aozora Bunko

Listed below are Japanese mystery writers whose works are available in Aozora Bunko, a Japanese digital library.

Ruiko Kuroiwa's short story Muzan (1889), which is also available in Aozora Bunko, is one of the earliest Japanese detective stories.

  • Shiro Hamao (ja) (1896–1935, M)
  • Kaitarō Hasegawa (1900–1935, M)
  • Mondo Hashi (1884–1957, M)
  • Goro Hashimoto (ja) (1903–1948, M)
  • Hatsunosuke Hirabayashi (ja) (1892–1931, M)
  • Juran Hisao (1902–1957, M)
  • Isao Kawada (1882–1931, M)
  • Saburo Koga (ja) (1893–1945, M)
  • Fuboku Kosakai (ja) (1890–1929, M)
  • Ruiko Kuroiwa (ja) (1862–1920, M)
  • Tadashi Nishio (ja) (1907–1949, M)
  • Taketoshi Oba (1904–1945, M)
  • Mushitaro Oguri (1901–1946, M)
  • Kido Okamoto (1872–1939, M)
  • Teruko Okura (ja) (1886–1960, F)
  • Keikichi Osaka (ja) (1912–1945, M)
  • Ikujiro Ran (ja) (1913–1944, M)
  • Sotoo Tachibana (ja) (1894–1959, M)
  • Nogitaro Yamamoto (1889–1951, M)
  • Risaburo Yamashita (1892–1952, M)
  • Kyusaku Yumeno (1889–1936, M)

Japanese detective manga series

See also


  1. 山村正夫『推理文壇戦後史』p.87(Futabasha、1973)
  2. 1 2 Gonda, Manji (April 1993). "Crime fiction with a social consciousness". Japan Quarterly. Tokyo. 40 (2): 157–163. ISSN 0021-4590.
  3. (Gonda, 160)
  4. (Gonda, 159-162)
  5. Tsumao Awasaka at J'Lit Books from Japan
  6. Toshihiko Yahagi at J'Lit Books from Japan
  7. Atsunori Tomatsu at J'Lit Books from Japan
  8. Arisu Arisugawa at J'Lit Books from Japan
  9. Shogo Utano at J'Lit Books from Japan
  10. Kaoru Takamura at J'Lit Books from Japan
  11. Bin Konno at J'Lit Books from Japan
  12. Setsuko Shinoda at J'Lit Books from Japan
  13. Naomi Azuma at J'Lit Books from Japan
  14. Hideo Okuda at J'Lit Books from Japan
  15. Arata Tendo at J'Lit Books from Japan
  16. Yuichi Shimpo at J'Lit Books from Japan
  17. Tokuro Nukui at J'Lit Books from Japan
  18. Fumie Kondo at J'Lit Books from Japan
  19. Yutaka Maya at J'Lit Books from Japan
  20. Mahokaru Numata at J'Lit Books from Japan
  21. Shunichi Doba at J'Lit Books from Japan
  22. Kazuaki Takano at J'Lit Books from Japan
  23. Ryosuke Kakine at J'Lit Books from Japan
  24. Koji Yanagi at J'Lit Books from Japan
  25. Tokuya Higashigawa at J'Lit Books from Japan
  26. Tetsuya Honda at J'Lit Books from Japan
  27. Kanae Minato at J'Lit Books from Japan
  28. Shusuke Michio at J'Lit Books from Japan
  29. Honobu Yonezawa at J'Lit Books from Japan
  30. Mizuki Tsujimura at J'Lit Books from Japan
  31. En Mikami at J'Lit Books from Japan
  32. Aki Hamanaka at J'Lit Books from Japan

External links

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